Instant Pot Butter Chickpeas (Vegan Butter Chicken)

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I’m sure you’ve heard of butter chicken, right? Well this instant pot butter chickpea curry recipe has all the butter chicken flavor minus the actual chicken!

Butter Chickpeas aka Vegan Butter Chicken

I almost don’t want to tell you that this recipe for instant pot butter chickpeas is vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free because I am sure that if you didn’t know – you wouldn’t know! You know? ๐Ÿ˜‰

This dish is just as decadent as butter chicken – it’s rich, creamy, and hearty. A celebratory plant-based meal, perfect for the vegans and vegetarians in your life.

It’s also a great option for meat-eaters looking to switch things up. Make this on a meatless Monday or really any day of the week.

I mean just look at these chickpeas swimming in a spiced, creamy tomato sauce – everyone is going to love this.

Butter Chickpeas aka Vegan Butter Chicken

DO I NEED TO SOAK DRIED CHICKPEAS OVERNIGHT?

My recipe calls for dried chickpeas, making this dish extremely economical. With an Instant Pot, this dish takes a fraction of the time it’d take to make this on the stovetop and cooking this dish in an electric pressure cooker really infuses the chickpeas with a ton of flavor.

I know there’s always a lot of disagreement over whether or not to soak legumes but I think a lot of Indian families soak beans/legumes prior to cooking. That’s what I do because that’s what my mom taught me and that’s what my grandmother taught her. I think it makes them easier to digest. You do you – but know that if you’re not using pre-soaked beans then you will likely need to cook the chickpeas for longer than the recipe calls for. My method results in perfectly soft and tender chickpeas.

WHAT IF I FORGOT TO SOAK CHICKPEAS? HOW CAN I DO A QUICK SOAK?

You either need to soak the dried chickpeas overnight OR do a quick soak. The amount of water listed in my recipe is whatโ€™s needed for soaked chickpeas. Dried chickpeas absorb a lot of water so if you donโ€™t soak them in advance, the proportion of chickpeas to water will not be correct. Also, I believe that soaking legumes helps them to be more easily digested.

Did you forget to soak the dried chickpeas overnight? You can easily do a quick soak by covering the dried chickpeas with an inch of water and pressure cooking them for 10 minutes with a natural release. Then dump out the water, rinse the chickpeas well and follow the directions for butter chickpeas from there.

Butter Chickpeas aka Vegan Butter Chicken

If you’ve tried my butter chicken before, then you will love this recipe. And if you haven’t tried it because you don’t eat meat, now you can enjoy this vegan version which is honestly just as good!

Instant Pot Butter Chickpeas (Vegan Butter Chicken)

Butter Chickpeas aka Vegan Butter Chicken

Instant Pot Butter Chickpeas (Vegan Butter Chicken)

4.95 from 37 reviews
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Servings 6 servings

Ingredients
 

  • 2 cups dried chickpeas soaked overnight
  • 2 tablespoons oil of choice
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger

Spices

  • 1 ยฝ teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ยผ teaspoon black pepper
  • ยผ teaspoon cayenne adjust to taste
  • ยผ teaspoon ground cumin

ย 

  • 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 ยฝ cups water

Add later:

  • 1 green bell pepper chopped into large pieces
  • ยฝ cup unsweetened cream from the top of a can of full-fat coconut milk
  • Pinch of dried fenugreek leaves kasoori methi
  • Cilantro garnish

Instructions
 

  • Soak the chickpeas in cold water overnight. Drain, rinse and set aside.ย 
  • Press the sauteฬ button. Add the oil and allow it to heat it up for a minute. Add the onion and stir-fry for 6-7 minutes, or until the onion begins to brown.
  • Add the garlic, ginger and spices stir, then add the chickpeas, tomato sauce and water.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 35 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure.
  • Add the bell pepper, cream and fenugreek leaves to the pot and mix well.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Video

Notes

  • If you are not vegan, then feel free to use ghee instead of oil and heavy cream instead of coconut milk!
  • Did you forget to soak the dried chickpeas overnight? You can easily do a quick soak by covering the dried chickpeas with an inch of water and pressure cooking them for 10 minutes with a natural release. Then dump out the water, rinse the chickpeas well and follow the directions for butter chickpeas from there.

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 341kcalCarbohydrates: 45gProtein: 14gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gSodium: 412mgPotassium: 719mgFiber: 13gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 320IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 89mgIron: 5mg
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Butter Chickpeas aka Vegan Butter Chicken
Butter Chickpeas aka Vegan Butter Chicken

Like this recipe? You can find all of my Indian Instant Pot Recipes right here on the blog!

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About Ashley

Hi, Iโ€™m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and youโ€™ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.

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Comments

  1. Beth says

    5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely delicious. I made it with heavy cream and ghee (non vegan), and it was amazing! Frozen garlic and ginger paste are huge time savers. This is the second chickpea recipe Iโ€™ve made from the blog and I honestly can never go back to canned chickpeas- these are sooooo much better and so easy!!

  2. Rajinder Nagi says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley, made butter chickpeas today and they came out yum….used tinned chickpeas and added yogurt as didn’t have coconut milk…but still tasted very good.
    Thank you
    ๐Ÿ˜Š
    .

  3. Amanda says

    Love your recipes – would you mind including serving size information along with the recipe cards? It really helps with meal prep ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Johan says

    5 stars
    Hi. I’m French, I love this recipe and I recently translated to French it for a cousin of mine. Would you be okay with me putting the translation on my website to point people to it? With due credit of course and like a few minor adjustments.

  5. Kiran says

    5 stars
    The butter chickpeas turned out amazing. I used tinned chickpeas but accidentally didn’t adjust the water quantity so had to sautรฉ it until it thickened up!! I added the green peppers in with the chickpeas when cooking as my husband doesn’t like crunchy peppers in curry. We will definitely be making this again!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Kiran, I’m so glad you liked the butter chickpeas! Thanks for sharing your experience with canned chickpeas – they don’t absorb water – I’m sure your comment will help others. I’m glad you still made it work! Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you guys ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Upstairs Woman says

    5 stars
    Great recipe! I subbed a dollop of sour cream and some ghee for the coconut milk since I didn’t have any on hand. Still came out delicious!

  7. Arielle says

    This sounds amazing! I love all your recipes Iโ€™ve tried! I have a question- I donโ€™t love raw vegetables in dishes and I donโ€™t usually like green peppers. Do they add a lot or can I just leave them out? Or would you substitute something else?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Arielle, that’s great to hear ๐Ÿ™‚ You can skip the green peppers, they don’t add much in terms of flavor – I mainly use them to provide a contrast in texture and also to include a veggie. Let me know how you like this!

      • Arielle says

        5 stars
        Finally made this last night and it was amazing (not surprising- all your recipes are favorites).

        I halved the pepper and cayenne and it was perfect amount of spice for my 3 year old (who prefers his food less hot than we do). I left out the green pepper but next time Iโ€™ll try cooking it with the chickpeas and see what we prefer.

        We were out of rice (how does that happen?!) so we we just ate it by itself and it had the comfort of a bowl of creamy noodles without the gross feeling after. Definitely going into the rotation!

        Thanks for creating this!! Iโ€™m so lucky I found your blog ๐Ÿ™‚

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Oliver, you can leave them out if you don’t have them – it’ll still be great! The fenugreek leaves do make this dish taste more restaurant-like so I would suggest getting them if you can in the future.

  8. Tania benatar says

    i have to say, after 35 min, my chickpeas were still crunchy. Very disappointing. i’m ‘trying 15 min more, but honestly, the crowd is getting rowdy. plus i had timed it to go out after. Now im’ delayed and nothing else to feed people. the timing should be increased a lot, or else, should be used with canned chickpeas. i’m afraid this will still not be done in another 15 min.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Tania, and this is with soaked chickpeas? If so, that’s surprising… I wonder if perhaps the beans are very old? Typically old beans take longer to cook and sometimes don’t cook well at all. I hope it turned out okay!

  9. Emily says

    5 stars
    Family favorite, and friends often ask for the recipe. I always throw some potatoes in, because I love them in curries. If using canned garbanzos, you can adjust instant pot cook time to 7 mins or so. I like to add a splash of liquid aminos (like soy sauce) after cooking too. Thank you for the great recipe!

  10. Elaine says

    Do I put the coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight so that the cream separates from the liquid?

  11. Angie says

    Do you have a suggestion of what to make with the remainder of the coconut milk in the can after using the full fat at the top for this recipe? I do own your cookbook as well if there is a recipe in there you can suggest. Trying to be thoughtful of waste

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Anna, that’s so great to hear! Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you ๐Ÿ™‚ I haven’t tried freezing this dish but don’t see why not – please let me know how it goes if you do. Hopefully another reader can help answer this as well.

  12. Cynthia Parrish says

    5 stars
    OMG!! I cooked this recipe tonight, and it is the BEST recipe for chickpeas I have ever made!!! I made it with canned chickpeas and eat it without rice. I highly recommend it as an alternative chickpea recipe.

  13. Dave says

    5 stars
    Made the non-vegan version, with butter and heavy cream, for the first time tonight. Instant Classic. I donโ€™t want to oversell it but I will never forget the first time I opened my instant pot and tasted this. Seriously, this is life-changing stuff. My wife and I will be enjoying it for a long time to come. Thank you.

  14. pwoody says

    4 stars
    I had to cook the chickpeas 10 minutes longer to get them buttery soft.

    My own couple of hacks:

    2 Tbs tomato paste
    1 tsp sugar
    2 tsp lemon juice

    The fenugreek leaves really lend an authentic taste and aroma.

  15. Anne says

    5 stars
    My husband enjoyed this recipe so much that he asked that we cook it for his birthday dinner. Thank you for sharing these delicious recipes. You’re right; the kasoori methi makes the dish that much better.

  16. Resh says

    Hi Ashley, if I were to use heavy cream, which brand (US) would you recommend? I usually use half and half but not sure if thereโ€™s a better option that tastes more โ€œIndianโ€?

  17. Sarah says

    5 stars
    I write this as I just finished my second serving. WOW! Absolutely amazing dish that will now be one of our regular dinners. Butter chicken was one of our favorites before transitioning to a plant based diet. We won’t miss it now that we have this recipe!

  18. Nan says

    5 stars
    My vegan BFF and I made this together (she’s in Arizona and i’m in Georgia) on Facetime since she JUST got an instant pot. It was amazing!! She loved it, I loved it, i did not miss the chicken! – Thank You!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Nan, that is so awesome!! I love that you guys did this over facetime!! Thank you for letting me know how it turned out for you both and for sharing that sweet story ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Raquel says

    5 stars
    This is just fantastic. I don’t have an Instant Pot, so I just cooked it on the stove top. (Didn’t have tomato sauce so I just pureed a can of stewed tomatoes.) Thank you for this, and all your wonderful recipes.

  20. Sharon Teague says

    5 stars
    Delicious! I substituted garam masala with curry powder cause that was all I had in pantry. I will definitely make again with the garam. My husband LOVED it! He said where did you get this?? hahaha. I made it! Thanks so much for a tasty, satisfying, and quick mid-week meal ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Annie Smith says

    My daughter needs to eat 2 oz of both chickpeas and lentils per day for an allergy desensitization program she is going through. It’s a very specific amount so I freeze things in small ball hard to defrost. I have been freezing your mango chicken and seperately adding chickpeas and lentils after defrosted. Do you think the chickpeas in this would freeze and defrost well? I could just stir in lentils once defrosted.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Annie, good luck with this!! I hope it all works out ๐Ÿ™‚ I think it would be okay – but I’d ask your program if freezing the legumes changes the protein or anything important about it?

  22. Mary Hamer says

    Hi there!
    Can I add the bell pepper earlier, so that it gets cooked with the rest of the meal? I’m not a fan of raw or raw-ish bell pepper. (If not, I can saute them ahead of time, and then add them in later, but I’m wondering if they can be cooked with the rest) Thanks!

  23. Misti-Dawn says

    5 stars
    I just got my Instant Pot and so I’m staring off with easier recipes. I made this tonight. Doubled the recipe and it was excellent. The way that the spices all came together was superb. I didn’t have tomato sauce so I used crushed tomatoes and it made no difference in the taste (at least we didn’t though). Thanks so much for this recipe — this is definitely a keeper ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Anita says

    I am from the UK so we don’t have tomato sauce. What exactly is this and what would be an equivalent. We commonly have canned chopped tomatoes, passata, tomato purรฉe and of course fresh tomatoes

  25. Mary says

    5 stars
    Another winner! After a long, busy week I was craving something warm, comforting, easy and FAST…and this recipe fit the bill perfectly. I used 3 cans of cooked chickpeas and only about a half cup of water and it turned out perfectly.

    My favorite thing about your recipes (besides how yummy they are) is that they are well-explained and can be made with things that I almost always have on-hand. My confidence in making Indian dishes has increased so much since I started following your recipes because they always turn out great. Keep them coming!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Mary, I’m so happy to hear that you’re liking my recipes and feeling more confident when cooking Indian dishes! That makes my day ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for letting me know how the butter chickpeas turned out for you ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Mary says

    Can I use fresh fenugreek instead of dried? I’m not making it for a few days so I would have time to dry it. Also, I’d to add some additional vegetables- do you think green beans would be good?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Mary, fresh fenugreek isn’t as strong in flavor as kasoori methi (dried fenugreek) so it won’t give it the same flavor. As for green beans, I’m sure they’d be good ๐Ÿ™‚ The only thing to keep in mind with adding veggies is that you may need to adjust the spices.

  27. Swati says

    5 stars
    Oh my this chickpeas recipe is unbelievably delicious. I followed this recipe word for word and the result was finger-licking good! I am new to the world of instant pot cooking and I have tried out only a handful of recipes in my IP, all from your website. All of them were easy to follow and delicious. This recipe is a keeper. Thank you so much, Ashley! <3

    • My Heart Beets says

      Swati, I’m so happy to hear that you like the butter chickpeas so much – and that you’re enjoying my other recipe! Thanks for letting me know how it turned out for you ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to hear what you think of other recipes that you try!

  28. Taylor says

    5 stars
    Iโ€™ve never rated a recipe before but this was SO good, I had to!! We halved the tomato sauce and replaced it with water. We also didnโ€™t have a bell pepper. Still absolutely amazing and 3-year-old approved. Yay! We will have to check out more of your recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  29. Monique says

    5 stars
    Oh man, this is delicious. The sauce really does taste like butter chicken sauce. I am about 80% paleo but I eat some smaller legumes sometimes like chickpeas and lentils, so as soon as I saw this I knew I had to make it. To bump up the veggie content I also stirred in 2 cups raw baby spinach and served over cauliflower rice. I will absolutely be making this again. Thank you!!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sincy, thanks so much for the kind words! Yes, you can use fresh tomatoes just be sure to sautรฉ them to cook them down (canned tomato sauce is cooked down). Let me know what you think!

  30. Carrie says

    This was so delicious! Highly recommend it!

    Just a note: If you do not soak the chickpeas ahead of time, increase the water to 4 cups. I forgot to soak mine, and knowing that they would absorb extra water, I increased the amount. 4 cups turned out to be just about perfect.

    Unsoaked chickpeas will also take longer to cook. (I think I got a particularly tough batch of chickpeas. At 40 minutes they were still crunchy โ€” thatโ€™s the maximum suggested cook time for unsoaked chickpeas in the Instant Pot recipes booklet. Even after 60 minutes, they were just barely done. Again, I think that length of time was just my particular chickpeas โ€” Iโ€™d start with 40 minutes and check them then.)

  31. SHASHI JAIN says

    5 stars
    I inaugurated my IP Ultra with this recipe. Very tasty all around and approved by all except, my pickiest teenager. Do you think buttermilk would hold up in place of heavy cream? My kids prefer a sour taste vs. sweeter taste of the heavy cream.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Happy to hear that! And as for buttermilk, I’m sure that’d taste great too! If they prefer sour, you could also try adding a bit of tamarind paste? Just an idea!

    • canadian_sadie says

      5 stars
      She’s got a fabulous recipe for regular stove-top butter chicken. I’d pre-cook the beans (boil them to your preferred texture or even slightly under-done) and then do everything else according to the chicken recipe. I have made that butter chicken recipe a dozen times now, and it’s one of the best internet finds I’ve ever discovered. Let us know how you made out, I want to make this for my vegetarian friend next week. ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. May says

    I’m planning to try this in the instant pot and 35 minutes seems long for soaked chickpeas. Is it that the desired consistency is very soft? I see other cookbooks cook soaked chickpeas for only 12-15 minutes.

    Also how would you modify this recipe to use your onion masala? Thanks.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi May, yes, the desired consistency is very soft. You can try it for less time and see how you like it! As for onion masala with this recipe, I’m sure you can use it but I haven’t tested the amount. Let me know how this goes for you!

  33. Pallavi Gupta says

    Hi Ashley. Can I make this recipe with the onion masala. How much of that masala would I need to use?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Pallavi! I haven’t tested the right quantity for this but my guess would be 1 1/4 cup. The good thing about the masala is that you can always stir in more at the end if you think the dish needs it since it’s already cooked ๐Ÿ™‚

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Amy, due to the long cook time the only way to add potatoes and cauliflower would be once it’s done. I would cut the potatoes into very small pieces and leave the cauliflower in big chunks then try pressure cooking for 2 minutes (I normally do 4 minutes for 1-inch potato pieces but that would turn the cauliflower to mush). I hope that works – let me know!

  34. Georgia says

    5 stars
    While trying to eat healthier, I sometimes make this recipe for myself at the start of the week and make portions for myself for each lunch. I love it! How many servings would you say this makes?

  35. Fareen says

    Hi! Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ I canโ€™t wait to try this recipe. Do you think it will be ok to make this recipe oil free?

      • Marie says

        We typically use a mix of veggie broth and water, by the teaspoon, to sautรฉ onions. The dry spices won’t toast as well, but it’s a trade off. Or you could try aquafaba, which is the liquid from cooked or canned beans.

  36. Vic says

    5 stars
    Ashley, I made this recipe last week and loved it! I want to double it now. Do I need to adjust the pressure cooking time?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Vic, that’s so great to hear! You can leave the cook time the same ๐Ÿ™‚ Because the pot will have more in it, you’ll likely notice that it’ll take longer to build pressure and it will also take longer to release pressure. Hope that helps!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Raleigh, I’m not sure this will work as a good pot-in-pot dish because chickpeas take a lot longer to cook than rice does. If you were going to give it a try though then maybe try it with brown basmati rice – since it’ll be above the chickpeas it will take longer to cook and might actually work. If I give this a try I will update the post – let me know if you try as well!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Shoba! I haven’t tried this using kala chana but I have a feeling it’ll be great in this – I would change the cook time to 45 minutes. Please let me know how this turns out for you!

  37. joanna says

    Hi! I’m trying to be more vegetarian this year and also cook more (now that I have an IP woo!).
    How would this dish differ from chana masala?

    Can’t wait to give this a try! looks delicious!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Joanna! Chana masala has a very different flavor – this dish tastes more like butter chicken but without the chicken. Do you have my cookbook? If so, I have an excellent recipe for chana masala (also known as chole) in there!

  38. Amy says

    Hi Ashley,

    I absolutely ADORE Indian food. I’m really hoping there are ways to make these traditional and savory dishes like Butter Chicken and Butter Channa WITHOUT tomatoes…do you think it’s possible? I’m going to try the AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol) diet, which forbids Nightshades including potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, etc. Funnily enough, your blog was linked from a Paleo/AIP web site as a recommended source!

  39. Sandip Ray says

    Just finished cooking our first IP dish…and it was surprisingly successful! Thanks Ashley for taking the time and sharing this recipe. It was right on the money. The Gorbanzo beans were surprisingly soft and next time I will possibly add a little more chilli to make it spicier. We didn’t have cream so replaced it with some whole milk and the result was almost equally good. Thanks again ๐Ÿ˜Š

  40. Stephanie says

    5 stars
    I just made this last night. So delicious! My kids loved it too. I used heavy cream instead of coconut cream. Thank you for all of the wonderful recipes!

  41. Maneesha says

    5 stars
    This is such a great recipe! I love that it doesn’t use dairy, but you still have the creaminess from the coconut milk! So quick and easy to make!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi SR, canned chickpeas are already cooked so if you use those you really only need to pressure cook for 1-2 minutes just to warm the chickpeas and infuse them with some flavor. Hope that helps ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Smita says

        Hi Ashley, planning to try this using canned chickpeas. With this modification, should we cook the tomato, onion and masalas for 5 – 6min under pressure in IP and then QR and add the canned chickpeas and pressure cook another 1 – 2 mins? Should we QR/NPR after the last step?

        • My Heart Beets says

          Hi Smita, if you’re using canned chickpeas then I’d add them in step 3. A 5 minute cook time will work just fine since the canned chickpeas are already cooked. You will want to use less water too – dried chickpeas absorb water when cooking but since you’re using canned chickpeas that won’t be the case. You can also let it NPR to try and infuse more flavor (though QR will work too!). Let me know how it goes!

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