Our Instant Pot chicken tikka masala is a quick and effortless version of the authentic Indian staple. The dish features bite-size chunks of chicken slowly simmered in a rich and spicy tomato-based sauce.
The result is a buttery, aromatic tikka masala with a uniquely exotic hint of garam masala. The leftovers taste even more delicious the next day.
Is Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala Healthy?
Yes, our Instant Pot chicken tikka masala is healthy.
While a traditional tikka masala could be considered high in calories, our lightened-up version is packed with nutrients and remains relatively low in calories. Each serving of the dish contains only 499 calories. If you serve our chicken tikka masala as the main dish, we encourage you to pair it with a side and drink for a 750-calorie meal.
We used Greek yogurt as a healthier alternative to cream and substituted regular chicken broth with an unsalted one. This helps keep the saturated fat at 6.1 g and sodium at 518 mg — within the healthy limit.
Plus, the dish is packed with anti-inflammatory spices. In other words, our chicken tikka masala is a nutritious dish that will nourish both your body and soul.
Difference Between Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala?
Originating from Indian cuisine with quite similar ingredients, butter chicken and chicken tikka masala have the same appearance but distinctively different flavors.
Butter chicken is richer and less spicy. Chicken tikka masala, on the other hand, is more tomato flavored and has a stronger kick from its long list of spices.
There is no singular authentic recipe for chicken tikka masala, and actually, you can find dozens of versions online. Our recipe calls for simple ingredients, most of which may already be in your pantry.
Chicken: Skinless, boneless chicken thighs will become perfectly tender and moist when cooked in the Instant Pot. However, if you want to make it vegetarian, substitute chicken for tofu.
Vegetables: Add whatever your favorite choice of veggies is to the pot for additional texture and a nutritional punch.
Tomato Sauce: We used homemade tomato sauce for a flavorful base with a richer tomato flavor than the commercial products.
Heavy Cream: Cream helps thicken and enrich the sauce. In some variations, coconut milk is used instead of a dairy-based cream.
Greek Yogurt: For an extra boost to the richness with a slight tangy touch that beautifully balances out the overall flavor.
Garam Masala: Garam masala is a blend of various spices, including cinnamon, mace, peppercorn, cardamom, and coriander. It is quite popular, and you can easily find it at any local grocery store.
Indian Spices: Spices are the secret to an ultra-richly-flavored tikka masala. We’ve added extra spices into the marinade: cumin, paprika, turmeric, garlic, chili, and mustard for a complex flavor that you would expect from an irresistible sauce. Adjust the amount of chili if necessary to reach your desired level of spiciness.
Greek yogurt gives an extra layer of creaminess but do not add it until you serve the dish. This helps prevent separation, which often happens when you add dairy to the pot.
Chicken tikka masala tastes even better on the days following since it has had extra time to infuse and meld the flavors. You can double the recipe and keep the leftovers as a later lazy-yet-tasty dinner.
How to Store and Reheat
Store: Keep your leftover chicken tikka masala in an airtight container to eliminate air exposure and refrigerate for up to 4 – 5 days. The leftovers can also last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Reheat: Thaw the chicken tikka masala in the refrigerator the night before you plan to eat it. It’s best to reheat tikka masala in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Gently stir occasionally until hot.
You can also quickly reheat the dish in the microwave. Simply place the food in a microwave-safe container, cover it with plastic wrap, and cook until warmed through.
Side Dishes This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Rice: Rice of all types from white, brown, and jasmine to basmati all go perfectly with tikka masala. If you’re watching your carb intake, try serving the dish over cauliflower rice instead.
Naan: This traditional Indian flatbread will soak up the scrumptious sauce and scoop up all the tasty morsels left on the plate.
Salad: To bump up the meal’s nutritional profile, it’s best to pair the tikka masala with a green salad or roasted vegetables. These veggie side dishes are refreshing and flavor-packed on their own and will complement the creamy dish perfectly.
This colorful stir-fry has all the right textures and flavors: tender chicken, chewy mushrooms, and crunchy vegetables. Everything comes together in our Instant Pot, which you can replace with a regular pot.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.