socal heat wave – instant pot butter chicken

instant pot butter chicken served with jasmine rice

Instant pot butter chicken with jasmine rice.

if you haven’t heard, socal is on the tail end of a massive heatwave, and we don’t have ac. no… we are not ok. hence i’ve been using the instant pot a ton, since i can’t stand over the stove or have the oven heating up the house any more. adapted this butter chicken recipe from cafe delites for the instant pot, changed a few things around and it turned out amazing. this sauce is what dreams are made of. disclaimer, i did still use the stove to brown off the chicken since i really don’t love the saute setting on the instant pot. also, i typically would never do this but i realized last minute that i didn’t have any onions so i substituted with dried minced onion. it turned out so well, i’d make it again that way.

marinade for chicken

4-6 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of most fat (depending on how many people you’re feeding. I only had four thighs, but there is so much extra sauce you could definitely do 6).
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
*splash of white wine for deglazing the pan after browning


14 oz crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tbsp dried minced onion
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ancho chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
*parsley or cilantro to garnish, if desired


make the marinade for the chicken by whisking together the greek yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, paprika, chili powder, turmeric, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. add chicken thighs and coat them all. cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes, up to overnight if you have time. start the sauce right in the instant pot by adding the crushed tomatoes, minced onion, grated fresh ginger, cumin, garam masala, coriander, chili powder, salt, and sugar. basically everything except the cream and butter. save these for later. simmer the sauce on the low saute setting while browning the chicken. heat a heavy bottomed pan (dutch oven or cast iron skillet) to medium-high. melt butter and add olive oil. brown the chicken in batches for about 3-4 minutes on each side, just to get a nice brown color. it will finish cooking in the instant pot. as they finish, add them to the sauce in the instant pot. once finished browning all chicken, add a splash of white wine to the pan and deglaze it using a wooden spoon (scrape all the brown bits off the bottom) then add all this flavor goodness into the instant pot as well. Set on manual for 12 minutes. allow to naturally vent for at least ten minutes before releasing valve. remove the chicken and set aside on a plate. add sauce to a blender, and blend until uniform. add back into the instant pot and stir in the heavy cream and butter, and add the chicken back into the sauce. serve over steamed basmati or jasmine rice, and garnish with parsley or cilantro if you like it!

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