Instant Pot Indian: Punjabi Masala Butter Chicken

August 01, 2022

Instant Pot Indian: Punjabi Masala Butter Chicken

Another butter chicken recipe, you say? Well, yes! This one uses our pre-jarred curry starter - Punjabi Masala. What we have done with this sauce is create a perfect backdrop for any Punjabi curry. Essentially, I found someone to take my recipe for turmeric, onion, ginger, and garlic, and cook it up like we do at home and package it for you! And, I've been making so many things from it. Though, before I tell you about using it in a particular recipe I always like to try it first. This was a huge winner! With the recipe below, you'll get dinner on the table Instant Pot and instant sauce fast! Check it out and buy a jar today. You can purchase from our website or from a retailer near you if you are in the Midwest - click here for a list, which we are updating weekly. If you want your fave local retailer to carry us just tell them about us. I cannot tell you how many shelves we get on because of our amazing customers. If you don't have our sauce yet and still want to make this recipe not to worry, just click here. I am also working on a stovetop version for you. (Though you can imagine it's relatively simple. I just want to get simmer times perfected - if you are an experienced cook you'll be able to translate it pretty easily.) This recipe is a variation from a butter chicken recipe in my upcoming book, Instant Pot Indian out in April 2023. 


Instant Pot Punjabi Masala Butter Chicken

Pressure Cooker Size: 3 quart or larger *
Warm Up: 11 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Cool Down: 10 minutes NR + MR (if needed)
TOTAL: 36 minutes 
Makes: 4 – 6 servings

4 tablespoons unsalted butter (dairy or alternative) or ghee
1 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed in a mortar and pestle **
1 black cardamom pod (no need to crush)
6 cloves, finely ground
1 cassia or 2 bay leaf
¼ cup almond flour ***
2-4 Thai or serrano chiles, stems removed and thinly sliced or pureed
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons red chile powder or cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons paprika (unsmoked)
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup water
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken, cubed
1 cup Indian As Apple Pie Punjabi Masala ****
1 medium tomato, pureed
1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste
½ cup half-and-half or heavy cream (dairy or alternative)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, for garnish

1. Place the inner cooking pot in your Instant Pot. Select the SAUTE setting and adjust to NORMAL. When the indicator flashes HOT, add the butter or ghee, green and black cardamom, cloves, and cassia or bay leaves. Stir and cook for 1 minute. 

2. Add the flour. Stir and cook for 40 seconds. You can also use 1/2 cup of ground blanched almonds, all-purpose flour, or quinoa flour instead. 

3. Add the fresh chiles, garam masala, cumin, red chile powder, paprika, sugar, and salt. Stir and cook for 1 minute. 

4. Press CANCEL. Carefully remove the inner pot and place it on a heat-resistant surface. Once cool enough to handle, remove the contents to a bowl. Be sure to loosen anything stuck - a tablespoon of water helps as does warming the inner pot on the SAUTE setting until it is completely deglazed. 

5. Return the clean, empty inner pot to the base. Add the water and then place the trivet in the pot. Place the chicken on the trivet and then add the mixture from Step 4 on top of the chicken. Do NOT stir. 

6. Add the Punjabi Masala, the tomato and the tomato paste. Again, do not stir - the key is to avoid the tomato touching the bottom during the cooking process. 

7. Lock the lid into place and make sure the pressure release valve is set to the sealing position (upwards). Press the PRESSURE COOK button and then press the PRESSURE LEVEL button until the panel reads LOW. Adjust the cook time to 15 minutes. 

8. Once the cooking is complete, release the pressure naturally for up to 10 minutes. If needed, manually release any remaining pressure. Press CANCEL

9. Carefully open the lid and let the dish cool for 2-3 minutes. Once slightly cool, remove the trivet with tongs and stir the contents until the chicken is evenly coated. Remove and discard the green cardamom husk, the black cardamom and cassia or bay leaves or leave them in for flavor and eat around them. All the other spices are edible. Add the cream and stir gently until all the chicken pieces are coated. The cream holds up better once the dish cools slightly. Garnish with cilantro and serve with basmati rice or Indian bread like roti or naan

* If making this in a larger Instant Pot, just increase the water to 1/2 cup for a 6-quart and 3/4 cup for an 8-quart. It is critical to have at least this much water when cooking to safely operate the Instant Pot. Also, the chicken will also release moisture during the cooking process. 

** I like to leave the husk in because it adds flavor. When you blend the mixture, it gets broken down and breaks down even more during the cooking process. If you prefer, just take the husks out.

*** I like adding almonds to my butter chicken for a creamier sauce, and almond flour is an easier way to do this. If you avoid nuts, then just leave this out. You can also replace it with the same amount of all-purpose flour to add a little thickness to your dish or ½ cup blanched, sliced almonds ground first in a food processor until smooth.

My Punjabi Masala makes life super simple. We are running a buy one jar get one free special, email us to learn more ( If you would like to make this without the Punjabi Masala and instead add turmeric and mince your onion, ginger, and garlic, just click here for the recipe.  

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Indian As Apple Pie Recipes

Stovetop: Basic Indian Saffron Rice
Stovetop: Basic Indian Saffron Rice

May 17, 2024

Continue Reading

Stovetop: Chickpea Cooking Tips
Stovetop: Chickpea Cooking Tips

May 02, 2024

Continue Reading

Stovetop: Spiced Black Chickpea Broth
Stovetop: Spiced Black Chickpea Broth

April 17, 2024

Continue Reading