Instant Pot Chicken Saag

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This is hands down the easiest and tastiest, and quickest recipe for chicken saag. A pour and cook instant pot recipe that takes minutes to prep and minutes to cook.

instant pot chicken saag

You will be in awe at how incredibly tasty and easy it is to make this chicken saag. It’s a dump and cook recipe – you just put everything into a pot and press start!

The fastest way to make the tastiest chicken saag:

This chicken saag recipe is unlike any other – there is no need to sauté anything. That’s right. And it tastes absolutely authentic.

How’s this possible? It’s all thanks to my pre-made onion masala. I really hope you’re familiar with my onion masala series by now, but if not – it’s where I share recipes calling for exact amounts of my magical masala. Having this masala handy makes it possible to cook authentic Indian meals in minutes. Actual minutes.

instant pot chicken saag

WATCH HOW EASY IT IS TO MAKE CHICKEN SAAG!

(for the full recipe, see the recipe card below 😋)

Add rinsed spinach to the pot, then add onion masala and chicken.

Remove the cooked chicken and cut it up, then blend the spinach (ideally with an immersion blender for ease). Stir the chicken back in, and you’ve got chicken saag, my friends!


instant pot chicken saag

What is saag?

Saag translates to “pureed greens.” You can use any green veggie to make saag, but I’m using spinach for this recipe. So technically, this is a palak (spinach) saag.

I’ve already shared a couple of instant pot vegetarian saag recipes on my blog if you want to check those out too: this Punjabi saag with spinach and mustard greens (no tomatoes in this recipe) AND this dump and cook palak paneer.

Tips for making chicken saag in an Instant Pot:

  • Make sure to rinse the spinach even if it is pre-washed. The little bit of water clinging to the leaves is enough to get the instant pot to start.
  • You may wonder whether you need to add even more water to this recipe. If using chicken thighs as written, you do not add more water to this! The thighs release water and fat and the spinach leaves will also release water as the pot comes to pressure. If you want to use chicken breast in this recipe, you’ll want to add a tablespoon of water as breasts release less fat and a bit less water than thighs. 
  • If after pureeing you think the saag looks thin or watery, you always press sauté at the end to boil off some of the liquid.
instant pot chicken saag

So… I have the craziest story to tell you guys. It’s seriously wild; brace yourselves.

The first time I made this chicken saag, my toddler Tony ate it, and then he said… “this is good, mom.”

I KNOW.

I didn’t have to bribe him. I didn’t have to ask him to eat the saag with promises of dessert. He just ate it. And then complimented me… on his own. And I beamed. I literally beamed.

It was the first time my 2-year-old (well, he’s 3 now but at the time 2) has ever verbally told me my cooking was good. And about a dish made with spinach, no less. One of my top 10 moments in life.

Even more impressive than getting my toddler’s approval… it has my father’s approval too (lol). As you might know (from the number of times I had to make and remake my gajar halwa, my chole, AND my rajma), his approval is hard to get.

This saag will win the approval of picky children and picky adults alike. 😂

Serve this chicken saag with plain basmati rice or jeera rice!

instant pot chicken saag

Instant Pot Chicken Saag

instant pot chicken saag

Instant Pot Chicken Saag

4.89 from 9 reviews
Pin Recipe Print Recipe
Servings 4
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 5 mins

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound spinach leaves rinsed
  • ½ cup frozen onion masala
  • 1 ½ pounds skinless and boneless chicken thighs

Add later:

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt adjust to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoon cayenne optional
  • Big pinch dried fenugreek leaves
  • Heavy cream optional
  • Ghee optional

Instructions
 

  • Add the rinsed spinach to the instant pot, then add the onion masala on top. 
  • Place the chicken on top of the spinach and sprinkle a big pinch of salt and pepper on top of the chicken (along with a pinch of any other spices you’d like, turmeric or cayenne).
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure (or you can wait 10 minutes, then release pressure).
  • Remove the lid and use tongs to place the chicken thighs onto a cutting board and allow chicken to cool down for a few minutes. Meanwhile use an immersion blender to puree the contents of the pot and then stir in the spices listed under “add later.”
  • Chop the chicken into smaller pieces then add it back to the pot, stirring it into the spinach sauce.
  • Stir in heavy cream or ghee if desired – you can use as much or as little as you’d like (this will also lighten the color and make it more “restaurant-like”).

Video

Notes

  • This recipe (like all of my recipes) has only been tested in a 6 quart instant pot.
  • I did not use heavy cream or ghee in the pictures you see in this post. I normally don’t use heavy cream for our everyday food – usually just when we’re having company and I want the dish to be a bit more rich/creamy. 
  • Make sure to rinse the spinach even if it is pre-washed. The little bit of water clinging to the leaves is enough to get the instant pot to start.
  • You may wonder whether you need to add even more water to this recipe. If using chicken thighs as written, you do not add more water to this! The thighs release water and fat and the spinach leaves will also release water as the pot comes to pressure. If you want to use chicken breast in this recipe, you’ll want to add a tablespoon of water as breasts release less fat and a bit less water than thighs. 
  • If after pureeing you think the saag looks thin or watery, you always press sauté at the end to boil off some of the liquid.
  • This recipe is part of my onion masala series – be sure to check it out!
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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instant pot chicken saag

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’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 you’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. Kay Martin says

    5 stars
    I made the chicken saag today and it was super easy and delicious. I made basmati rice also, and served the chicken saag over rice for a complete meal. I love that I have the onion masala portions already in my freezer, ready to go. It’s amazing to me that I can make such an “exotic” homemade meal so quickly. Thank you for taking the mystery out of this tasty method of cooking. Luckily my local HEB grocery carries ghee and garam masala and I’ve invested in both. How gratifying and fun to be able to produce this dish in my own kitchen. My taste buds and my tummy thank you! 🙏

  2. Sana says

    Hi Ashley, I just made a batch of the onion masala and wanted to try this recipe. Is it ok if the onion masala is fresh? Does it change anything with the cook time?

  3. Andy Dennis says

    4 stars
    I thought this recipe was delicious, but it came out completely liquid. Not watered-down tasting, but the juices from the spinach and chicken just flooded the instant pot. Are there any tricks for reducing the amount of liquid released? I love all of your recipes, I just haven’t been able to master the consistency I want for this one.

      • Gaurav says

        5 stars
        Burn error(s), but eventually worked- I followed your recipe to the letter, and ended up with a burn error both the times (I made 2 batches for meal prep). For the first batch, I tried opening the pot, stirring it a bit and cooking again, but felt the chicken became a bit too tender. For the second batch, I let the instant pot just keep giving the burn error- after around 30 seconds it went away, and finished cooking. And wow, that batch was amazing- some of the most tender I’ve ever had. I didn’t even need to cut it, it would just pull apart. And the saag was the perfect consistency, something that even restaurants get wrong.
        Great and incredibly simple recipe! This is my 4th week of meal prepping from your recipes, and I am not going to stop!

  4. Melanie says

    Hi Ashley – Can this be made with lamb medallions (if yes, frozen or thawed, and what would you recommend for the cooking times?). And can the onion masala be fresh, or does it have to be frozen? Thank you!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Melanie, I haven’t tried this with lamb medallions but if I were going to try, I’d use fresh and cook for 6 minutes at high pressure with a full natural release. Let me know how that goes!

  5. Miki says

    Holy flippin’ moly! I made your onion masala this morning and used it in this chicken saag recipe for dinner. So good! And so easy! Thank you so much for a perfect recipe.

  6. Randhir says

    5 stars
    Ashley, I have made almost all the onion masala recipes on your site. This one is by far the family favorite. My wife who is not Indian, licks the bowl….she loves it so much!

    I have now started making double the recipe because it is such a hit.

  7. Tanya says

    5 stars
    Another great tasty and easy recipe (had already made your onion masala and frozen) that the kids and I loved. Thanks!

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