Instant Pot Chicken Vindaloo


instant pot chicken vindaloo

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken vindaloo, a popular Goan curry, is known for being tangy, flavorful, and spicy. With this instant pot recipe + my onion masala shortcut, you can have a restaurant-worthy dish on your plate in no time at all.

Vindaloo has a rep for being “the spiciest Indian curry ever,” but oh my gosh, that is so not true… and it’s also kind of silly. You can transform any Indian dish into a spicy curry by adding more chilies or cayenne/red chili. Vindaloo is actually really flavorful – even without the heat. Spices like cardamom and cinnamon add a sweet and herbal/floral flavor and aroma to the dish. And then there’s the vinegar, which gives this curry a unique pickle-like flavor.

Now all of that said, if you prefer a super spicy vindaloo (like my husband), you can easily turn this into a dish that’ll make your eyes water. If you’re like me and prefer a flavorful but milder curry, you can have that too! Yes, yes. You can have your vindaloo and eat it too.

“This is OMG delicious!!!! So easy. Love having onion masala in the freezer. Thanks Ashley!”

Jacqueline G.
instant pot chicken vindaloo

A Goan dish with Portguese origins

Vindaloo is an Indian (Goan) dish of Portuguese origin. When the Portuguese got to India in the 15th century and colonized Goa (which was actually still a colony up until the 1960s…), they brought a dish with them called carne vinha d’alhos which translates to pork cooked in garlic and wine. That dish was doctored up with Indian spices and ingredients, and the name was shortened to vindaloo.

After trying Portuguese cuisine during a trip to Portugal a couple of years ago, I’m pretty confident in saying that the well-spiced, spicy vindaloo we know and love… likely tastes nothing like the original carne vinha d’alhos, which I have to assume (albeit based on my very limited experience with authentic Portuguese cuisine) is a milder dish.

If you’re looking for a more “authentic” vindaloo that’s made with pork, you’ll want to try this pork vindaloo.

instant pot chicken vindaloo

What if I want to use a different type of meat?

I already have a couple of vindaloo recipes on the blog: pork vindaloo and a more everyday recipe for ground meat vindaloo with potatoes. Eventually, I’ll share a meatless version too (maybe something along the lines of my butter chickpeas, but with vindaloo sauce? Oh! Or maybe a jackfruit version? Yes! That! Thinking of ideas as I type! I really need more time in the day to recipe test – if someone makes a meatless version before me, please tell me!).

Can I add potatoes?

I haven’t tried adding potatoes to this particular curry but don’t see why not. I have a chicken and potato curry on the blog, and it calls for the same cook time as this vindaloo. The only thing with this recipe is that you may need to adjust the spices at the end and possibly add an extra bit of onion masala if needed.

I know some people think vindaloo should have potatoes because vindaloo contains the word ‘aloo,’ which means potatoes in Hindi. The fact that ‘aloo’ is in the name is just a coincidence. Potatoes are nice for stretching out a meal, and they also cut some of the heat, so if you want to try, go for it. I’d cut them in half and toss ’em in.

Serve this chicken vindaloo with jeera rice and a side dish like aloo beans or arbi.

instant pot chicken vindaloo

Instant Pot Chicken Vindaloo

instant pot chicken vindaloo

Instant Pot Chicken Vindaloo

5 from 26 reviews
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  • 2 pounds skinless and boneless chicken thighs cut into quarters
  • 2 tablespoons oil of choice
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
  • 1 Serrano pepper or green chili minced, adjust to taste


  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons salt to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼– ½ teaspoon cayenne adjust to taste


  • Press the sauté button, add oil and allow it a minute to heat up. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and serrano pepper. Once the cumin seeds brown, add the chicken and spices and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes to coat the chicken.
  • Add vinegar and onion masala.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 5 minutes at high pressure. 
  • Naturally release pressure or quick release after 10 minutes. 
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve.


  • Adjust the serrano/green chilies and cayenne to spice preference.
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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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  1. Bushra says

    Love this recipe! My husband has asked me to make it three times already. He’s picky so it’s def a compliment. I made your onion masala recipe and used up all that I had in the frozen stock on this recipe! I’m not much of a cook usually so this has been great way to get into cooking more regularly and get consistent results.
    One question though: we love the curry/sauce, but how can I increase the volume of the sauce in this recipe without messing up/changing the flavor? Thanks in advance

  2. Resh says

    5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe Ashley!
    I think a great meatless variation for this vindaloo maybe the eggplant and alloo(aloo baingan masala) recipe. The vinegar with eggplant might work really well

  3. Trista says

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! I’ve made it three times in a very short period of time. I keep thinking about it!

  4. Kristen says

    This might be a dumb question but do you need to wait for the frozen onion masala to melt before securing the lid or is it ok for them to melt as it comes up to pressure? I’ve made this recipe before with fresh onion masala and it was amazing! Excited to make this a regular meal. Thanks for all the wonderful information and hacks!

  5. Manny says

    Just want to confirm which type of salt is used for the recipe? Table salt?

    I made a batch of the onion masala today since Roma tomatoes are in season. It is the only time of year that I make the onion masala. Will make another batch later on the week to freeze. Love the paneer green pepper recipe.

  6. Jackie says

    Ashley, this recipe got me through the early pandemic lockdowns. It’s so good I make it several times a month! I add potatoes (my mom used to make a chicken curry with potatoes that I had long been craving) and it works brilliantly. I add about a pound of potatoes diced small (~1/2″) with the chicken, and add an additional 1/4 cup of onion masala and tablespoon of vinegar, and a 1/4 cup of water. I also increase the spice mix by 25% or so.

    Thanks so much for your great recipes! My husband and I are big fans 😀

  7. Jacqueline Gibbs says

    5 stars
    This is OMG delicious!!!! So easy. Love having onion masala in the freezer. Thanks Ashley!

  8. Ankita says

    Hi! Looking to try this for the first time this weekend. In the list of spices, there is a bullet point marker but no text next to it. I wanted to see if something is missing from the ingredient list or if it’s just a typo. Thanks!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Ankita, thanks for letting me know – it’s an error and I’ve fixed it! I recently switched the look/format of my recipe card and for some reason, empty bullet points are showing up where there should be a space. Appreciate you letting me know! Hope you love the vindaloo!

  9. Maneesha says

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe, Ashley! I made it two weekends ago for the Euros 2020 finals, with England vs Italy. I had just heard the British song “vindaloo,” (yes, it’s a real song!) and I thought to myself, “hmm why not make vindaloo for England? Let me see if Ashley has a recipe.” And of course you did, and of course it was amazing! Hit recipe! Too bad England didn’t win!

  10. Jeff says

    Is there a substitution for the onion masala? I’m not able to eat onions, but don’t know if leaving it out of the recipe is going to upset the balance. Thanks!

  11. Raghuveer Parthasarathy says

    Thanks for the recipe! Since you asked for comments on a meatless version: I made this with seitan (wheat gluten), following the Chickwheat Seitan recipe by “Planted Priyanka:” . I let the chickwheat marinate in the spices + onion masala + vinegar for about five hours at room temperature, and otherwise more or less followed your recipe. It was excellent!

  12. Ken Lutz says

    5 stars
    I made it for the family tonight. So simple and I am hooked on the onion masala. Omitted the heat so everyone would like it. They did but got accused that it wasn’t Vindaloo without the heat more Madras. Next time I will add spicy mustard oil and hide the yoghurt. Another great recipe!

  13. Gary says

    5 stars
    My family likes this a lot. I’ve made it a number of times and the past couple times I’ve been adding a few cloves of chopped garlic to the spice step. I think the extra garlic takes this already excellent recipe to another level.

  14. Cynthia says

    Ashley, it’s a perfect recipe, flavorful bit not spicy. My 11 year old will eat it, which is a huge compliment. Well done!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Anne, I’m so glad you like this dish! Love that you add those veggies to it 🙂 And nope, no tomatoes in this one – vindaloo doesn’t require tomatoes, though you can add them if you’d like!

  15. Holly says

    5 stars
    I have learned everything i know about Indian food from your blog (not much lol)! I finally got around to making the onion masala and tried this recipe tonight after a long day. It was so easy and delicious. I have made many of your recipes, but I think this is my favorite.

    I added a red bell pepper before pressure cookinb and used red wine vinegar. I served it with cauliflower rice, roasted broccoli, and a little yogurt. Wow!!! Speechless.

    I also ran it through a nutrition calculator and the recipe comes up nice and trim…under 300 calories for a reasonable serving. This one is a win on every level.

  16. Shreyas Nair says

    5 stars
    Hi Ashley,

    This was the first recipe of yours that I made last evening. I must say, this is one amazing recipe. The onion masala was so good. I didn’t make a big portion as suggested, but a little bit more than what’s required. However, it looked so good that I ended up using it all. Needless to say, the rest of the dish turned out to be excellent. I will try out many more of your recipes.

    Thanks, Ashley. You’re a lifesaver!

  17. Warren says

    5 stars
    This recipe is outstanding! I have made it twice in as many weeks, and plan to make it again next week. If you substitute the protein to boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of the thighs, it is three points per serving on WW (Weight Watchers Reimagined) Blue. Yes, the thighs are more succulent and I prefer then, but the chicken breasts do very well in the recipe and it is nice to have high flavor with dramatically fewer calories.

    Thanks for sharing the recipe Ashley!

  18. Naz Bhimani says

    5 stars
    Hey Ashley,
    Thank you so much for the recipe. If one doesn’t have onion masala how many tomatoes and onions to use instead?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Naz, it’s hard to say the exact quantity of onion, tomato, ginger, garlic and spices in the masala but I’d suggest caramelizing an onion, cooking down two tomatoes and then using 1 teaspoon each of minced ginger and garlic. You’ll also want to add some turmeric and coriander. I’m sure it’ll turn out well though it’ll take longer as you’ll need to cook the onion and tomato. If you have the ingredients for my onion masala I’d suggest making that then making this recipe – the onion masala is a huge time saver and it’ll be great for many other recipes as well.

  19. Balaji says

    5 stars
    Yesterday I made this… My 13 y/o sold asked “Why does this taste like real Indian food…”

    This may sound like a compliment to me, but all thanks to you…

  20. Jenita says

    5 stars
    I made this a couple of days. Delicious… and easy to make…. with this corona virus lockdown, working from home and the kids being home full… recipes like these are lifesaver. Tastes amazing and so easy… Everyone at home loved it.. I served it with chapathi and also with plain rice and a little bit of yogurt.

  21. Amit says

    Do you have a substitute on how to make this recipe if you haven’t made the onion masala ahead of time. What would the proportions of the ingredients for just this recipe? Thanks so much.

  22. Maneesha Tailor says

    5 stars
    Fabulous recipe, Ashley! I made this, and my husband loved it!! Totally a winner winner chicken dinner

  23. Jane says

    Hi there! I have been trying your recipes and they are all very lovely! My Punjabi boyfriend really loved the chicken patiala I cooked today. It seems that some of your recipe cards are missing the portion/serving information. I would really love if you could add the information.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Jane, I’m so happy to hear that! And yes sorry about that – I always have a hard time listing servings since folks eat such different portion sizes. I’d say this chicken vindaloo recipe feeds 5 – hope that helps!

  24. Sharon says

    What if I make the onion masala shortly before making the vindaloo… can I use a fresh cup of the masala in the recipe, or does it have to be frozen, per your ingredient list?

    • Julie says

      I use it fresh all the time with no problems. It doesn’t last long enough to go in the freezer; I’m always using it for the next dish!

  25. Adrian says

    So glad to see you back with a new post!

    Your site has been a blessing. Found and tried many recipes that I thought were lost to me after grandma passed. Avial, Parippu (haven’t had these in 25 years), instant pot briyani, meat masala and the list goes on.

    Thank you for the effort in putting up this site and look forward to your next posting!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Adrian! Thanks for noticing the new post haha 🙂 My 9-month-old turned into a speed crawler overnight a while back and I’m trying to keep up with both him and the blog lol. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve tried and enjoyed a lot of my recipes – I really appreciate the kind words!

  26. Vi says

    Hi! I just wanted to clarify the type of vinegar you used in the recipe. It’s plain white vinegar and NOT white wine vinegar? There have been times when I’ve accidentally switched the two when cooking…
    Can’t wait to make this!

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