Instant Pot Murgh Musallam


Murgh musallam, a masala coated whole chicken, is a perfect party dish that takes minimal effort to make in an instant pot.

instant pot murgh musallam

Murgh musallam definitely qualifies as a holiday-worthy dish. It’s perfect for a special occasion or a dinner party and guess what? Absolutely no one will know how easy it is to make (unless they read my blog… but don’t worry, you can totally pretend like we don’t know each other if you want).

instant pot murgh musallam

What is murgh musallam? How is this recipe easier to make in an IP?

Murgh means “chicken,” and musallam means “whole,” so murgh musallam literally translates to “chicken whole,” which, um, turned around is obviously “whole chicken.” You get it.

This is a dish that was created in imperial kitchens during India’s Mughal era. Mughlai dishes are such a treat because they’re so rich and decadent (see also: chicken korma, egg korma, shami kebab).

Murgh musallam is typically marinated in a paste made up of yogurt, spices, nuts, white poppy seeds, and caramelized onions. We’re making the marinade much simpler by using my pre-made onion masala.

To make this chicken, you mix a bunch of ingredients to form a marinade, and then you spread that all over the chicken and let it marinate overnight. After that, you cook the chicken in an instant pot, quickly broil the whole chicken (for appearances) and then reduce the gravy at the bottom of the pot. You can make it as thick as you’d like and spread it over the chicken for more flavor:

instant pot murgh musallam

If you’re wondering how to make this dish in an oven and without the onion masala, I have a recipe for oven-roasted murgh musallam in my first ebook. But the recipe I’m sharing here on the blog with you today is much simpler and faster and honestly just as good.

instant pot murgh musallam

Serve this chicken with plain basmati rice, jeera rice, or pea pulao. This would be a great main dish for a holiday or a birthday or, heck, a random Wednesday night (it’s easy, so why not, lol). Enjoy!

Instant Pot Murgh Musallam

instant pot murgh musallam

Instant Pot Murgh Musallam

5 from 6 reviews
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  • 1 4 pound whole chicken


  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • 1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon golden raisins
  • 1 green chili to taste



  • Combine all of the ingredients listed under “blend” in a blender and let the ingredients sit in the blender for 10 minutes to soften then blend. Set aside for now.
  • Combine all of the ingredients listed under “gravy” in a large bowl and mix well. Add the blended yogurt mixture to the bowl and mix well. Spread this all over the chicken and keep in the fridge to marinate overnight if possible.
  • Remove the chicken from the fridge, tie legs with kitchen twine and let it rest on the counter for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place ½ cup water into the instant pot and then place a trivet in the pot. Put the chicken (along with the marinade) on top of the trivet.
  • Secure lid, close pressure valve and cook for 30 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken and place it on a baking sheet. Broil it in the oven for 5 minutes to give the chicken a slightly charred look.
  • Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it.
  • Meanwhile, press sauté and adjust the heat to the highest setting to reduce the gravy until it’s as thick as you’d like (make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot). You can spread/pour the gravy all over the chicken or serve it on the side.
  • Garnish with cilantro and mint if desired.


I like to really reduce the gravy until it turns into more of a thick sauce, but you can reduce it to your desired consistency.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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instant pot murgh musallam
instant pot murgh musallam
instant pot murgh musallam

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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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  1. Kaylee says

    5 stars
    Be still my heart, this dish is my new mascot for the year. If you are hesitating to make onion masala, it’s 1000% worth it, just for this one recipe. My husband almost proposed to me with his mouth full, I’m sure of it, but he was too busy eating. We served it with couscous and beet raita.

    I’m going to now go forth a evangelize the good news of this recipe on my social media platforms, so if you get increased traffic of say, 5 more visitors, you’re welcome.

    • My Heart Beets says

      You can find them at your local Indian grocery store, or you can use white sesame seeds. If you don’t have either – it’s fine to omit in this recipe, the chicken will still taste good. I’ve never used black poppy seeds when making an Indian dish, but I’d think that’d be okay too.

  2. Maya Bery says

    I just typed up my grandmother’s version of murgh musallam from her recipe box (in an effort to preserve everything we can before she passes/can no longer explain the nuances of recipes to us). I’m going to try your technique with her recipe – I’m so excited to have found a way to cook this more easily!

      • Maya says

        5 stars
        The recipes were fascinatingly different – though since her instructions were a bit confusing, I ran with the ingredient list from hers but followed the steps from yours, if that makes sense? I also had to account for the fact that hers calls for the chicken to be simmered in ghee! She also has what appear to be two different garam masala blends, which is where your steps came in handy – and yours also allowed me to feel OK cutting out ingredients I didn’t have (coconut, namely – her recipes are from all over India, but she’s lived in Maharashtra for over 70 years, and there’s a strong Marathi/Konkan influence in a lot of them, I’m discovering).

        The technique was a cinch – I got busy and forgot to finish releasing the pressure after the 15 minutes, so the chicken was falling off the bone by the time it got under the broiler, but it was a big hit! I paired it with your palak dal. Yum. Thank you so much for helping me recreate this recipe 🙂

        • My Heart Beets says

          Maya, that is so awesome to hear! Also, simmering a chicken in ghee sounds magnificent lol. Thank you for letting me know how it turned out – it’s so nice to hear that all went well 🙂

          • Akhtar says

            Hello, Thankyou so much for this!! I am going to try this and definitely get back to you 😅 So excited!!!

            Quick question; just to preserve time can I make the blend and gravy ingredients beforehand, pop them in the fridge for a couple of days and then use it after 2-3 days. Will it be okay?

            Really really looking forward to making it for my wife! 😊

  3. J k says

    I am new to the IP and to Indian cooking. So far I have made dal tadka, which turned out well. I want to try this chicken. Thank you so much for the recipe and great instructions There just one question I have. Do the blender ingredients and the gravy ingredients get mixed together to make the marinade? I wasn’t sure about that part. Thanks again and I will definitely be visiting your site often!

    • My Heart Beets says

      That’s great to hear! And yes, mix the blender and gravy ingredients together to form the marinade 🙂 I can’t wait to hear what you think of this – let me know if you try it!

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