Instant Pot Indian Chicken Curry


This Indian chicken curry is so flavorful and comforting.

Indian Chicken Curry

Indian Chicken Curry

This is the chicken curry of my childhood. It’s the curry that my mom made weekly and while I didn’t appreciate it as much back then, now it reminds me so much of home.

You know that scene in the movie Ratatouille when the food critic eats ratatouille, a dish from his childhood (this is the scene if you don’t know what I’m talking about)… Well, THAT is how I feel when I eat this chicken curry.

It’s like I’m being transported back to my childhood home, sitting at the kitchen table eating chicken curry while I watch my mom heating up fresh rotis/chapatis on the stove. Just thinking about this chicken curry makes me feel so grateful to my mama. It’s amazing how food can conjure so many emotions…

I realize you probably don’t have any emotional attachment to this dish – at least, not yet. But give it a try. This is a simple chicken curry – no cream, no frills. Just a bunch of humble Indian ingredients found in any Indian pantry.

Indian Chicken Curry

And now this chicken curry is even easier to make – thanks to the Instant Pot + my pre-made onion masala!

I feel like I went from being super sentimental to sounding like a commercial lol ๐Ÿ˜‚. But I mean, I have to sell you guys on my onion masala because it makes Indian cooking SO easy.

This recipe is part of my onion masala series called: Onion Masala LOVE. Iโ€™m sharing recipes using this masala all throughout the month of February! ๐Ÿ’˜ My goal: to show you how easy it is to prepare Indian food on a daily basis.

Click on the image below to find out how to make onion masala, how to store it and to find other recipes that call for it!

Indian Chicken Curry

About 5 years ago, I shared a similar stovetop version of this chicken curry on the blog. It’s about time that I shared an Instant Pot version with you. I hope you make this and love it!

Serve this Instant Pot Indian chicken curry with chapati/roti – or if you are gluten-free then serve it with my paleo naan. You can also serve it with basmati rice or brown basmati rice!

Indian Chicken Curry

Instant Pot Indian Chicken Curry

Indian Chicken Curry

Instant Pot Indian Chicken Curry

4.94 from 31 reviews
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  • Press the sauteฬ button, add the oil and allow it to heat up for a minute. Add the cumin seeds and once they brown, add the chicken and spices, mix well, then add the onion masala and water.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure.
  • Garnish with cilantro.



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Indian Chicken Curry
Indian Chicken Curry

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

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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  1. Sri says

    Hey Ashley! I have never left a comment before but wanted to say I have been cooking using your recipes from here and your cookbooks for the last few years. It NEVER fails. Every single recipe has been perfection, so thank you for making my cooking life easier!! I usually have onion masala in my freezer so that makes it easier too! Question though-for times that I donโ€™t have it on hand, what ratios do you recommend of onion/tomato/ginger/garlic for say 1/2 cup masala?

    I forward your website and links to your books every chance I get! Thanks again!

  2. Anita says

    Hi! I love your cooking and I would like to try your chicken curry recipe. Do you know how to make it without the onion masala? Thank you!

  3. Kate says

    5 stars
    A super comforting chicken curry. Used bone-in, skinless chicken thighs cooked at high pressure for 15 minutes. Also added a pound of potatoes.

  4. Jennifer says

    5 stars
    I have to share with you that I found a recipe elsewhere for chicken curry with eggplant (I needed to use some up), and I looked at it and guessed how to modify it for onion masala. Then I saw that the recipe was based on this one, and I had guessed correctly! So a big win for you, and for me. Incidentally, I added cubed eggplant and it was really nice. I’ve also added potatoes, bell pepper, or carrots (cut to be about the same size as the chicken pieces) and they come out fine at the 5 minute mark. One more note: I can’t tolerate garlic or onion, so I make the onion masala with leeks and garlic oil and it’s great. Thanks for providing this tasty and easy way to eat well.

  5. Flanny Alamparambil says

    5 stars
    This recipe was so easy (I used the frozen onion masala), and tasty – flavourful, with a great balance of spices! How tasty, you ask? My very picky brother-in-law complimented my cooking – that’s how tasty!

  6. Emily says

    This is a standby recipe in my kitchen. Itโ€™s easy, tasty, and reliableโ€”great for a quick weeknight dinner! Yes, there are some fancier recipes on the blog that I also love to make when I have time, but the convenience of this one keeps me coming back again and again!

  7. Shirley says

    This is my go to recipe and the family loves it! As long as I make and freeze the onion masala in batches then I am set for the week or so for quick meals!

  8. Jasmine says

    5 stars
    Hi, I made this tonight and itโ€™s amazing! How many minutes if I want to try it with lamb…still 5? Any tips on type of lamb. Thanks again.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Chandra, yes, you can add curry leaves! Curry leaves may add a more south Indian feel to the curry but as a north Indian who is married to a south Indian and who often serves dishes from all over on the same table… I think it’s perfectly fine ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Gaz says

    Hi Ashley, firstly I want to say that I love the content of your blog. The recipes are inspiring and very easy to follow. When you get a few minutes can you please confirm the make and model of your instant pot so that I can set my pressure cooker to your equivalent settings. Thank you so much. Best wishes, Gaz

  10. Sherry Schultz says

    Hi Ashley!
    I made a batch of Onion Masala last week, using ghee instead of oil. (Thank you for answering that question!) It was so easy to make! I didn’t have the silicone molds that you use, so I froze it in plastic ice trays where each cube is about 1/8 of a cup. They popped right out once frozen. I made the 1-minute Shrimp Curry Sunday evening and it truly only takes one minute under pressure. My husband and I both loved it. I want to try this dish tonight. I’m curious as to the differences between Chicken Curry and Butter Chicken. The ingredients seem very similar, except the curry has cumin seeds and no green peppers, coconut milk or fenugreek leaves. If you add green peppers, coconut milk and fenugreek leaves to this Chicken Curry recipe, does that make it Butter Chicken or is there more to it?

  11. April says

    Looks delicious โค๏ธ
    Only question I have is, is 5 minutes long enough to cook the chicken? Iโ€™ve always done at least 15-20 minutes.
    Btw, canโ€™t wait to try this recipe.

  12. Catherine says

    5 stars
    This is one of my go-to recipes when I need a quick and easy dinner. I love having the onion masala ready in the freezer to make the meal prep so much faster. I use kashmiri chili powder instead of paprika (and omit the cayenne), and it comes out so delicious. I also throw in a bunch of sugar snap peas after the chicken curry is cooked, and then close the lid of the pressure cooker and keep it on the “warm” setting for another two minutes. It’s a favorite with all my kids and husband too!

  13. Rachel says

    5 stars
    So easy to make once you have the onion masala and so delicious! I’ve been searching for ways to make delicious Indian food at home, and keep coming up short – not any more! This recipe will be a staple in my home now.

  14. Lakshmi says

    5 stars
    Started the weekend by making half a batch of your onion masala, followed it up by using it in this chicken curry! It came out really well. I can’t tell you how excited I am to have come across your site, and especially the onion masala series, since I have really been looking for a way to simplify weekday cooking and it’s not always easy to do with Indian food. Thanks a bunch!

  15. Erika Pierre says

    5 stars
    I’ve made this a few times and the flavour is delicious, but the texture seems a bit off when I’m using frozen meat rather than fresh! Any tips?

  16. Purav Mody says

    Hi Ashley

    I made the Onion Masala this past weekend (my mom was so proud ๐Ÿ™‚ ) . I am planning on making the chicken curry tonight. Quick question. Do I need to cook the chicken a little before adding to the instant pot or 5 minutes of high pressure should be enough? I apologize if my questions sounds dumb, I am new to cooking chicken (and cooking in general) and want to make sure I do not mess it up!

    Thank you again for your hard work and sharing your amazing receipes!


    PS: I used some of the onion masala with my scrambled eggs and loved it!!

  17. Mandy says


    Awesome recipes!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    Quick question – I have the 8 quart IP, would your recipe stay the same for me or do l have to adjust the time?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Mandy, all of the IP recipes on my site are tested using a 6 quart instant pot but I’ve heard from others who have successfully used my recipes with an 8 quart. You may need to add a bit more water in some recipes though due to the larger surface area.

  18. Deepa Whipple says

    My kids wonโ€™t eat chicken thighs for some reason. Do you know how to adjust the time for chicken breasts?

  19. Frabika says

    5 stars
    Super quick with the onion masala premade. That frozen masala has saved me SO much time, thank you thank you thank you!!

  20. Rachel Van Amburgh says

    5 stars
    So easy and delicious! Thanks for sharing the brilliance of onion-tomato masala and making life so much simpler. It took a bit of extra water to avoid the dreaded burn error, but wasn’t an issue after that.

    I’ve been combining this curry with cauliflower rice and greens and using your amazing paleo naan as “tortillas” to make the most decadent, guilt-free low carb tacos I never knew I needed until now! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • My Heart Beets says

      Rachel, that’s so great to hear! I’m so glad you like the onion masala and this curry ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, chicken curry tacos sound amazing! I’m going to have to try that some time – thanks for sharing!

  21. Natasha says

    5 stars
    Made the onion masala a few days ago and made this recipe last night. I doubled the recipe but not the cooking time. Added the cilantro and mine looked exactly like the pic here! Very tasty BUT for some reason I forgot to add the paprika even though it was right there. Grrr… Anyway, it needed a little salt, as a result of skipping the paprika I think, I added a teeny bit of soy sauce to my serving and it was perfect. Can’t wait to try your other Onion Masala recipes and I plan on keeping this staple in the freezer for now on. Made making this recipe so easy. Thanks!

  22. Sharmila says

    Hi Ashley, do I need to brown the chicken in this recipe? I think in the chicken bhuna recipe it calls for browning, just wanted to check for this recipe since I’m new to cooking.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Sharmila! I actually don’t brown the chicken for this recipe – it’s more of a dump and cook recipe since the onion masala is already cooked ๐Ÿ™‚ I do quickly stir the chicken so it’s coated with the spices but that’s it! Let me know what you think!

  23. Maggie says

    3 stars
    Hi Ashley! Thanks for this easy recipe! I tripled all the ingredients, the flavor was there but I thought the sauce was a little runny. Any advice on thickening it a little bit?
    So I used 4.5 lb chicken, 2.5 cup onion masala (fresh) and only 1/2 cup water. But it was too runny.
    Thank you!!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Maggie, you can just press the sautรฉ button at the end and boil off the liquid to help reduce the sauce. Also, when you make it next time – keep the water at 1/4 cup – chicken releases water so that should be enough to bring it to pressure ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Laura says

    Itโ€™s crazy how good this is and it was so easy to make with the pre-made onion masala. Another keeper!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Robert, if a recipe (especially one of mine) calls for paprika then use plain/sweet paprika. If one of my recipes calls for hot or smoked paprika then I will always specify in the ingredients list. I hope that helps!

  25. RP says

    Hi. How many onions, tomatoes and ginger garlic paste should I use if I donโ€™t have pre made onion masala? Thanks!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Preeti, I’d say it’ll serve 4-5 and as for doubling it – double all the ingredients but keep the cook time the same. The pot will just take a bit longer to reach pressure. Enjoy!

  26. Palu says

    Ashley, it looks like you used boneless chicken? With bone in, how long would you suggest for the cook time?

    • My Heart Beets says

      Palu, if you are using small pieces of bone-in chicken or drumsticks then I’d adjust the time to 10 minutes NPR and that should do it! ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know what you think of the curry!

  27. Niraj P says

    It may have been the extended Sunday funday talking but this recipe was ridiculously tasty. My guests also said the same, so it wasnt just me. We also made some instant pot basmati rice and it also came out much better than our rice cooker (using your instructions). The two items we’ve cooked thus far were tasty, excited to try out more!

  28. Rebecca says

    I made a batch of the onion masala last weekend and made this chicken curry during the week. It is delicious and was so quick and easy to make!!! Both my boys loved it and my 5th grader happily took the leftovers for lunch the next day. This is going in our regular rotation! Thank you so much for another terrific recipe!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Rebecca, I’m so happy to hear that you made the masala and the chicken curry! Thanks so much for letting me know how you and your family liked the dish! Love that your 5th grader took the curry as his lunch ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Anu says

    5 stars
    Really must thank you for saving our dinner today! My husband was supposed to bring fish home which I was going to prepare simply. But he left work late and couldn’t make it to the store on time. So I had about ten minutes to figure out dinner while my husband gave the baby a bath. I used some lamb roast I had, cut in cubes, then followed your chicken recipe above except cooking for a longer time – 10 minutes. Next time I might even do 12. Went up to feed the baby, then came down and whipped up a quick raita / heated up rotis. It was DELICIOUS! Can’t believe it came together so quickly. Your onion masala is genius!

    • My Heart Beets says

      Anu, I’m so happy to hear that you liked this curry so much! It’s great to know that the lamb worked in place of the chicken – thank you for letting me know ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I have to say – you sound like a super mom!

  30. Cyndi Miller says

    5 stars
    Another great recipe made even easier with the Indian Onion Masala. I added some lightly roasted cauliflower at the end to make it a one dish meal. It was a big hit. Thanks Ashley!

  31. Kati says

    5 stars
    I’ve always found Indian food–or anything with more than 5 ingredients, really–but by breaking this down into “onion masala” and “chicken curry,” I felt empowered and made a delicious meal. Thank you very much for the simplification and the new onion masala addiction.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Kati, I am so glad to hear that you felt empowered and made this with the onion masala!! You have no idea how happy that makes me! Thanks so much for letting me know how it turned out for you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • My Heart Beets says

      Thank you! Cumin seeds really do add a nice flavor, especially when browned but if ground cumin is all you have then you can use it – just add it in with the other spices. It’ll still be delicious ๐Ÿ™‚ Let me know how it goes, Josephine!

  32. Nathan says

    Any chance of there being a listing for this without the prepared onion masala? Freezer space is a real premium in my kitchen right now so I would prefer to make this (and a few of the other Onion Masala Month recipes) from the original ingredients.

    • My Heart Beets says

      Hi Nathan, you can find my stovetop recipe here with the full list of ingredients – you’ll want to cook the onions and tomatoes before pressure cooking: As for the onion masala, you can leave it in the fridge for a few weeks if you have room there (I do understand about freezer space, my little freezer is always packed to the brim).

  33. Carey says

    5 stars
    With the onion masala made ahead of time, this was a crazy simple recipe. Delicious too! I served it over cauliflower rice mixed with a “super greens” mix. I will be making this again without a doubt. Thanks Ashley!

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