This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala is a great short-cut to a flavorful weeknight dinner! This delicious dinner uses the pot in pot cooking method, which means cooking the dish *and* the rice all together right in the pressure cooker! This gluten and dairy free dish also reheats well for meal prep and is a great addition to your Instant Pot repertoire!
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
This popular Indian dish is bright, rich and creamy and comes from my friend Megan’s new cookbook: The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook. This dish is typically made with heavy cream and few vegetables, so Megan has given it a nutrient upgrade with more than a pound of cauliflower and carrots. The resulting meal may not be quite as authentic, but we just love how the vegetables become nearly undetectable in this rich sauce. Serve it with naan (if you tolerate), and use coconut milk to give it a dairy-free creaminess, but you could leave it out for less fat and a richer tomato flavor!
This recipe uses the pot in pot method of cooking two different meal components in the Instant Pot at the same time. It was our first time using the PIP feature and we’re glad we took the plunge, thanks to Detoxinista, because it’s a game changer.
What is Pot in Pot Cooking?
The ‘Pot in Pot’ method of cooking allows food to cook in a separate bowl that’s placed on a steam rack in the Instant Pot. Steam generated from liquid below the steam rack is used to build pressure and cook the food. Note: the container being used for PIP cooking must be placed on a rack, and not directly in the inner pot.
Can you use Pyrex in an Instant Pot?
Yep! Any pyrex is fine for it although stainless does have an advantage in that it wouldn’t require extra time. Anytime you use glass, pyrex, ceramic or any other heat absorbent material for “pot in pot” cooking, add about 5 minutes to the time under pressure!
I was so excited to get Megan’s new cookbook, The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook! For starters, you know I LOVE my Instant Pot! Secondly, I adore Megan and all of her recipes, so I knew it would be a total winner of a cookbook. You can check it out and grab a copy here!
What I love about this book? For starters, there are gluten-free options for each recipe, and all recipes are free of refined sugar and many of the most common food allergens, yet don’t scrimp on flavor!! Some dishes I cannot wait to make: Korean Chicken Bowls, Eggplant Parmesan Bake, Peanut Butter Crunch Granola Bars, Flourless Banana Oat Bread, and One-Pot Chocolate Cake and Frosting!!
Tools you need to make this recipe:
- Instant Pot
- Raised Rack
- Immersion Blender or Blender ($20 off + free shipping)
- Oven Mitts
- Oven safe bowl/container made of stainless steel, oven-safe glass, or ceramic/porcelain. The container shouldn’t touch the walls of the inner pot and should allow the Instant Pot lid to be closed easily!
Which Instant Pot to get?
If you like this Instant Pot recipe, check out these others:
- Instant Pot Mongolian Beef
- How to Make Easy Shredded Chicken in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Wings
- Instant Pot 2-Ingredient Salsa Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken and Broccoli
- How to Make the Best Taco Meat (In the Instant Pot)
- Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa
- Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon garam masala 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 cup long-grain white rice, like jasmine or basmati
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped (about 1 pound)
- 1 1/2 cups peeled, chopped carrots (about 3 carrots)
- 1⁄2 cup full-fat canned coconut milk
1. Combine the onion, tomatoes with their juices, garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and maple syrup in the Instant Pot and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. (Alternatively, place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, then pour the sauce into the pot.) Place the chicken on top of the sauce and season it with the salt.
2. Arrange a 2.5-inch trivet (I bought mine in this set) over the chicken and place a 7-inch oven-safe bowl on top. Add the rice and water to the bowl. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual or Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. When the cooking cycle is complete, immediately move the steam release valve to Venting to quickly release the steam pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid.
3. Use oven mitts to lift the trivet and the bowl of cooked rice out of the pot.
Fluff the rice with a fork. Use tongs to transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Add the cauliflower and carrots to the sauce. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 1 minute. When the cooking cycle is complete, immediately move the steam release valve to Venting to quickly release the steam pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid.
4. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir them into the sauce. Stir in the coconut milk, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve warm over the rice. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.
- Make it Vegan: Omit the chicken and instead add 3 cups cooked chickpeas or two 15-ounce cans rinsed and drained chickpeas. Decrease the salt to 1 teaspoon and cook on high pressure for only 4 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes to finish cooking the rice, then add the cauliflower and carrots as instructed.
- Author Notes: "I first used Pomi strained tomatoes instead of “diced” ones, which is AMAZING, but that product is hard to find and BURNS in the 8-quart pot for some reason. So, I went with the diced option because it has enough liquid to bring the 8-quart to pressure (I tested all the recipes in both size pots) but at the end you might want to use the Sauté button to simmer off the extra juices!"