Instant Pot Chicken Saag


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


(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 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

4.85 from 19 reviews
Pin Recipe Print Recipe
Servings 4
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 5 mins


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

Add later:


  • 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”).



  • 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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Recipe Rating


  1. Nancy says

    4 stars
    This is delicious, but I always wind up having to dump it into a big pot and make on the stove and it takes forever to cook. No matter what I do, I get the dreaded burn notice.

  2. Caroline says

    I ended up having to add a full cup of water before my Instant Pot would actually come to pressure and seal. I tried it without adding the water, but the IP just switched to counting down without ever sealing. It did the same when I just added a quarter cup or a half cup of water. I used bagged fresh spinach and fresh chicken thighs. Maybe the bagged spinach doesn’t release enough water? The sauce was properly thick even with the extra cup of water added. So if you experience the same problem, don’t be afraid to add some water.

    Also, I doubled the amount of garam masala and added a teaspoon of powdered resham patti chilis. I found the sauce rather bland with the original amount of spices (and this was after doubling the spices when I made the onion masala) — but this is probably a matter of personal taste. Or maybe it was that added cup of water!

  3. jw says

    4 stars
    pretty tasty!

    1.def needs more salt. also I think more spice helps
    2.if you instant pot says “burn” don’t worry about it, it’ll be fine!

  4. Laura says

    I love the onion masala and I’m excited to try many different recipes with it: however. For the chicken saag I got the burn warning on my instapot.
    Maybe I should have added 1/4 cup of water to begin? And my onion masala was not frozen, I left it liquid since I made a batch last night. I am still excited to taste final product!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Laura, I’m so sorry for the very late reply! Were the spinach leaves rinsed? That little bit of water makes a difference, I think. Also, did you use chicken thighs? The fat from the thigh meat also helps prevent burning. Hopefully it still turned out well!

  5. BeeCee says

    I’m am just starting my journey with this cuisine. Also with the instant pot. (My son came home for Christmas and we made a couple of fabulous dinners under his tutelage. It’s great to learn from your child no matter what the age!)
    I found this particular dish to be a bit bland, and I don’t like spicy food, but it didn’t seem to have the flavor dimensions of my first two forays into these great recipes. (Jeera rice with red daal and chicken curry with corn.)
    However I expect that as a part of a more varied assortment of dishes this might be a welcome respite.
    I used frozen spinach, my frozen onion masala (!) and added cream to the blended parts.
    I do love coconut, so I’m going to search out some of your recipes with that ingredient.
    I bought the ebook version of your Indian Food under Pressure. Just the table of contents gave me some terrific ideas for dishes to try!
    Thank you for all your content and YouTube assistance.

  6. Claire says

    Hello Ashley,

    Your chicken biryani dish is the number one, hands down favourite with my family and friends. I want to make the saag chicken dish. I plan on making the onion Marsala. Does the onion Marsala have to be frozen? Can I just make it and add it to the pot?



  7. Sneha says

    Can I make this recipe with Paneer instead of the chicken & call it palak paneer. I can leave out the Paneer & add it after pureeing the gravy will that work?

  8. Geoffrey says

    Made a batch, and the house consumed it all in one sitting. Going to try a double batch tomorrow – would you change the cooking time at all? (I may be trying this in bulk quantities for a party in an 8qt. Instant Pot…)

  9. Vy says

    I just made this for lunch – so easy! I used a bag of frozen, organic spinach, a splash of oat milk creamer, a drop of ghee and it came out perfect. It’s “lick the bowl” yummy!

  10. 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! 🙏

  11. 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?

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Trista, did you add rinsed spinach leaves? That little bit of water that clings to the leaves helps to prevent the burn error – if that’s not working, you can try adding a couple of tablespoons of water to see if that helps! Let me know!

  17. Jill Beaty says

    5 stars
    I used chicken breast and it turned out fantastic! Had to add a bit of water (burn error), but that’s OK!! Caught it in time! The spinach was rinsed and still had water on it, but perhaps just a “smidge not enough.”

  18. Niki Checketts says

    5 stars
    This was absolutely amazing! I’ve struggled to make good Indian food for years (white girl alert) when a friend pointed me to your blog. I made the onion masala this afternoon and this dish for dinner. We are in love! Onion masala is heaven sent. As a momma of 1-soon-to-be-2, I need dishes like this. Thank you!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Niki, woohoo! that makes me so happy to hear! I’m really glad your friend shared my blog with you! Thank you for letting me know how much you liked the saag 🙂 Congrats on soon-to-be baby 2!

  19. Todd says

    5 stars
    I didn’t know what to expect since there were no ratings for this recipe. It’s such a simple recipe I didn’t have high hopes but this is SO DELICIOUS! Neither of us are fans of chicken thighs but I didn’t want to substitute anything without first trying it out as directed. I was surprised how moist it was without adding liquid and actually sautéed it bit to cook out some of the liquid after pressure cooking it. Next time I may try breast but otherwise it’s perfect.

  20. Janine says

    My family refuses to eat chicken thighs. They can’t get pass their texture. What would the directions be if I used chicken breast instead? I really want to try this b/c I love saag!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Janine, I haven’t tried this with chicken breast but I would keep the same cook time. I know breasts usually cook faster but breasts are also usually thicker so the same time should work. If the chicken doesn’t look done when you open the pot just add an extra couple minutes. Please let me know how it turns out with breast meat!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Yes, you can make this recipe instead and just put the chicken on top before securing the lid! The recipe I linked to does not call for tomatoes but feel free to add a couple after sautéing the onion if you’d like – you can also reduce the cook time to 5 minutes.

instant pot pour and cook chicken biryani

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