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A Healthy Spin on Chicken Tikka Masala…in the Instant Pot

I LOVE traditional Indian restaurant cuisine!  And among my favorites is Chicken Tikka Masala.  I do not eat this as often as I would like because it is very heavy and typically has a lot of butter and cream.  In an effort to use my Instant Pot more, I have been trying to find tasty and healthy recipes and came across one for Chicken Tikka Masala.  To cut the saturated fat and calories, I adapted an Instant Pot recipe* by removing the butter and cream to shave off 10 grams of saturated fat and 112 calories per serving and it was still delicious!  

Healthy Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Hint:  The fresh ginger is key to this recipe.

Equipment needed

6-quart Instant Pot (medium size)


Chicken Tikka

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
  • 1 ½ cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt to taste

Curry Sauce

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons coriander, ground
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 14-oz can fire roasted tomatoes or regular diced tomatoes for less heat
  • 1 large 28-oz can tomato sauce
  • Salt to taste


  1. Combine the chicken tikka ingredients together in a large bowl so that each chicken piece is fully coated with yogurt mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 48 hours.  I marinated overnight and it worked well.
  2. Turn on Instant Pot to sauté setting using manufacturer’s instructions.  
  3. Add olive oil, onion, ginger, garlic, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, and chili powder.  Stir and cook for 3-5 minutes until onion becomes translucent.
  4. Add the fire-roasted tomatoes and tomato sauce and stir.  
  5. Add the chicken, cooking until browned.
  6. Close the lid according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Set the Instant Pot to the Poultry setting and set the timer to 5 minutes.  Lesson learned:  Be sure that none of the yogurt mixture builds up around the rim of the Instant Pot.  This will cause the lid to not seal properly and will give you a ‘burn’ error message.  I was very confused by this message and had to research what was going wrong.
  7. Once the Instant Pot cycle is complete, wait until the natural release cycle is complete, (approx. 10 minutes).  If you are in a hurry, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for quick release.  Carefully remove the lid.
  8. Serve over brown rice.  You can also serve with naan or roti.

355 calories/serving

You may also enjoy:

Instant Pot Vegetable Pulao (Indian Pilaf)

Why the Instant Pot is my Favorite Appliance

Instant Pot Mexican Quinoa

Easy Weeknight Meal: Indian Cabbage Stir-Fry

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2 thoughts on “A Healthy Spin on Chicken Tikka Masala…in the Instant Pot

  1. There is no measurement for the cumin but the directions say to add it. Also, the directions do NaoT tell you when to add the chicken tiki. I assume it’s after you get the sauce prepared?

    1. Thank you so much for bringing this to our attention. The recipe has been edited accordingly.

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