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Overhead shot of a plate with cauliflower rice, topped with the Instant Pot Butter Chicken, garnished with chopped fresh parsley with a spoon, atop a marble kitchen counter.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

  • Author: Sara Nelson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Gluten Free


With a depth of flavors coming from both a marinade and a sauce, this Indian-inspired Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe uses chicken thighs and is keto-friendly, low-carb, nut-free, egg-free, coconut-free, gluten-free, and grain-free. Made in an Instant Pot, it can be prepped the night before or the day of, and then cooked in under 40 minutes.


Chicken and Marinade:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup (120g) plain full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp (15mL) lemon juice



  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley


  1. Chicken and Marinade: Slice chicken thighs into 1 ½-inch cubes.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mix all marinade ingredients together. Add cubed chicken. Cover with a lid or foil, transfer to the refrigerator, and let marinate for at least 30 minutes, or, if possible, overnight.
  3. Sauce: Select Sauté setting on Instant Pot and select medium heat. Once display says “hot,” add 2 tbsp (1 oz) butter and stir to coat the bottom of pot. Add marinated chicken thighs and onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes to sear. Then, select Cancel setting (turn off) on Instant Pot.
  4. Excluding heavy cream, add all remaining sauce ingredients, including remaining 2 tbsp (1 oz) butter. Stir to combine. Screw on lid, making sure the valve is closed. Select Manual setting (pressure cook on high pressure) on Instant Pot. Cook for 10 minutes before quick releasing pressure.
  5. Remove lid then transfer cooked chicken thighs to a bowl. Using an immersion blender, pulse sauce until smooth or, alternatively, carefully transfer sauce from Instant Pot pot to blender then pour sauce back into Instant Pot. Select Sauté setting, select medium heat, pour in heavy cream, and cook until sauce has thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Add chicken back in to warm through.
  6. Final Steps: Serve chicken with chopped fresh parsley on its own or atop steamed cauliflower rice.

Recipe Notes:

Using Frozen Chicken Thighs: You can do this, but be aware that frozen chicken will not marinate nearly as well as thawed chicken. I personally wouldn’t use frozen chicken for this particular recipe, but it will still work.

Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs Substitution: The best alternative for chicken thighs would be drumsticks, which can be subbed at a 1:1 ratio, and have a similar flavor profile. Alternatively, chicken breasts will work fine here.

Full-Fat Greek Yogurt Substitution: Either plain, unsweetened yogurt or sour cream can be substituted for full-fat Greek yogurt at a 1:1 ratio.

Minced Garlic Substitution: Garlic paste can be subbed in for minced garlic at a 1:1 ratio. For garlic powder, use 3/4 tsp in place of the minced garlic called for in the recipe.

Fresh Ginger Substitution: You can substitute 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger for 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger.

Turmeric Substitution: While not an exact flavor match, you can substitute paprika for turmeric at a 1:1 ratio.

Garam Masala Substitution: Curry powder can be substituted for garam masala at a 1:1 ratio, though I would personally try and use garam masala to get the flavor profile that the original recipe intends.

Lemon Juice Substitution: Lime juice can be substituted for lemon juice 1:1.

Unsalted Butter Substitution: Ghee can be subbed in for butter at a 1:1 ratio.

Yellow Onion Substitution: Red or white onion can be used in place of yellow onion in this recipe. Note that this substitution may alter the overall net carb content of the recipe.

Diced Tomatoes Substitution: 2 cups of fresh chopped tomatoes can be substituted for 1 can, but be sure to retain and use all the juice as well.

Chili Powder Substitution: Dried cayenne powder can be subbed for chili powder at a 1:1 ratio. Note that this will add an extra layer of heat to the dish.

Where To Buy Monk Fruit Sweetener: I purchase mine from Lakanto and have it delivered. If you want to do this, you can use discount code REALBALANCED at checkout for 20% OFF your Lakanto order. If you’d rather purchase monk fruit sweetener in a store, many grocery stores, especially specialty stores and Costco, carry Lakanto’s monk fruit sweetener.

Golden Monk Fruit Sweetener Substitution: Classic Monk Fruit Sweetener, Swerve, or erythritol can be used here at a 1:1 substitution ratio. Note that if you make any substitutions to the Golden Monk Fruit Sweetener, the flavors in this dish may be slightly different than the original recipe intended.

Heavy Whipping Cream Substitution: Combine 1/4 cup of melted butter with 3/4 cup of milk and mix thoroughly to make the equivalent of 1 cup of heavy cream. If you are avoiding dairy, you can substitute full-fat canned coconut milk at a 1:1 ratio.

Net Carbs: Per serving, this recipe contains 5.6 grams of net carbs. The serving size is approximately 6 ounces of chicken with sauce and the recipe, as written, yields 6 servings. Net carbs are calculated by taking total carbs, subtracting fiber, and subtracting sugar alcohols.

Size Of Instant Pot: I personally use a 6 qt Instant Pot, but you can also make this in an 8 qt. Regardless of the size of Instant Pot you use, do not change the cook time. That will remain the same.

What To Serve With This Recipe: I personally love to serve butter chicken atop steamed cauliflower rice.

Refrigerator Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Freezer Storage: Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, allow to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then microwave until warmed through.

Keywords: instant pot butter chicken, instant pot butter chicken recipe, low carb instant pot butter chicken

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