Our Indian-style Instant Pot curry recipe will undoubtedly be a hit with your family and friends this National Curried Chicken Day (January 12). Tender chicken chunks are simmered in a hearty, creamy curry sauce that’s bursting with fragrant flavors. It’s a vibrant, satisfying food that is full of nutrients and packed with protein.
The recipe takes your ingredients from the fridge to your table in 45 minutes using a pressure cooker. Best of all, there is only one pot to clean up after cooking.
What Does Curry Taste Like?
Before answering the question, let’s take a trip back to where this beautiful dish came from.
Curry originated in India and then spread across the world by adapting to local ingredients and cultural preferences. This allowed it to flourish with many varieties from different regions.
You probably adore Thai curry, which showcases the beauty of red chilies and fish sauce. Or try our egg curry; with only basic ingredients included, it’s still a mouth-watering and vegetarian-friendly version of a classic curry.
As for the taste, the curry blend — the soul of the dish — is a complex combination of aromatic spices and herbs like turmeric, chili, and cumin, with many other elements according to choice. With a complex aromatic profile, curry has deep, rich, yet balanced layers that taste like heaven in your mouth.
What Is Curry Made of?
A delicious curry recipe is all about the layers of flavor and aromatics, and our Instant Pot recipe is no different. Here is what you need for our Instant Pot curry:
- Chicken: The recipe calls for chicken thighs that are extra tender and juicier than the other cuts.
- Curry Powder: The popular westernized Indian style blend of curry often contains turmeric — for a slight bitter taste with beautiful colors, cumin — for the earthy, nutty taste, and chili pepper — for a tender heat. If you go for a commercial blend, check the label for ‘sweet’ or ‘hot’ and pick the one that suits your level of heat.
- Garlic, Ginger, and Lemongrass: We love using fresh garlic, ginger, and lemongrass for better sharper flavors. Chop them finely to release the most aroma.
- Vegetables: We’ve added vegetables to improve the flavor and nutritional profile. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are sweet, starchy, and full of fiber.
- Dairy: To enhance the creamy taste, nothing can beat classic dairy like milk or heavy cream. If you want a vegetarian curry, simply switch to coconut milk. It guarantees a similar richness and texture.
Is Our Instant Pot Curry Healthy?
One advantage of homemade cooking is that you have control over the ingredients going into the pot. We carefully tested and formulated the recipe to make this Instant Pot curry one of the healthiest versions you can find on the internet. Each serving of our curry ends up containing:
- 498 Calories: This is relatively low for a rich and creamy dish like chicken curry. As such, we think the curry should go with a fresh salad and juice for a 750-calorie meal, ensuring you have enough energy until the next meal.
- 545 mg Sodium: It’s recommended to consume less than 2300 mg per day.
- 5.5 g Saturated Fat: The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines suggest that the saturated fat should fall between 23 – 30 grams a day. For dairy-contained food, our Instant Pot curry is impressively healthy.
How to Make Chicken Curry in The Instant Pot
Cooking chicken curry in the Instant Pot doesn’t require any special technique other than making the dish on the stove. Here is how we do it:
Sauté the herbs in oil.
Brown the onion.
Sauté the chicken and spices.
Add the vegetables.
Make the thickening agent.
Add the chicken broth and set stew meat mode.
Stir the thickening agent and add cream.
Cook in sauté mode for a few minutes.
Serve over rice.
How to Thicken Curry
We all love the thick and creamy texture of curry; watery curry is a nightmare for any home cook. The easiest (and laziest!) way is to simmer the curry on the stove, but it can feel like a lifetime waiting for the excess liquid to reduce.
So here are three different and easy methods that you can use to get the proper consistency every time:
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch mixture is a smart way to thicken any curry sauce. Whisk together a tablespoon of cornstarch with cold water in a small bowl. Then spoon it into your curry and stir well until you get the desired thickness.
- Dairy: You can achieve a similar effect with dairy products like milk, heavy cream, and coconut milk. We recommend adding these ingredients at the end and with a small amount. Note that this process also makes your curry creamier.
- Stir-Fried Vegetables: Fresh vegetables add extra moisture and make your curry even more watery, so go for the stir-fried ones.
Combining new elements with the pot is a little challenging since it may ruin the curry sauce taste. Thus, it is better to use potatoes, sweet potatoes, or any vegetables that are contained in the original recipe.
Storing and Reheating
- Store: We recommend keeping it in an airtight container to slow down the growth of bacteria and preserve the food’s freshness. Curry can last in the fridge for approximately 2 – 3 days and up to 2 months in the freezer.
- Reheat: There are several ways to reheat your chicken curry.
If reheating in the oven, we suggest setting the oven to around 320℉. Then place the curry in an oven-proof dish and cover with tin foil to avoid the curry from drying out.
If you prefer the microwave, the process should take 3 – 5 minutes at high speed. You may need to stir the dish from the center out, ensuring the dish is reheated evenly before serving it.
Side Dishes for Instant Pot Curry
Curry, satisfying and packed with flavors, is truly a soul-warming and perfect dish for dinner, especially on those winter days. But what’re you going to serve it with?
That is never a tough question for us since we have a list of our favorite accompaniments, ranging from classic to less typical options:
- Naan: Naan, originating from India, is an oven-baked, thick flatbread. There is nothing more satisfying than mopping up a creamy curry with a soft and fluffy naan. If you can’t find this bread, look for chapati — a thinner and softer style of naan — instead. It is just as tasty as a naan.
- Rice: Flatbread may be the most common side to go with a curry, but you don’t always have to serve them together. In fact, rice-based dishes like biryani come with curry as standard in numerous countries. You can also flavor the rice, making it an even tastier side for your curry.
- Salads: It’s never a bad idea to add extra veggies and fruits to your diet. Belonging to a different cuisine, curry may give the impression that it couldn’t possibly go with any Western salad.
How about an Indian salad? Kachumber consists of chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, cabbage, and lemon juice. This Indian-style salad is a delicious blend of flavors and textures, and the best of all, you can make it quickly with easy-to-buy ingredients.
If this dish is of interest to you, you may also find this instant pot dinner recipes helpful. Or, simply have a look at our best chicken thigh roundup for more chicken thigh ideas.
We also have some curry recipes, dedicated to curry lovers. The recipes are easy to follow and complied with our healthy eating standards:
Instant Pot Curry Recipe
If you're looking for a kick of flavors while keeping the dinner quick and hassle-free, look no further than this Instant Pot curry recipe.
- cook TIME 30 mins
- prep TIME 15 mins
- total TIME 45 mins
- COURSE Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
- CUISINE Indian
- SERVINGS servings
- CALORIES 498 kcal
- 1 tbspolive oil
- 2 tbspgarlic (chopped)
- 1 tspginger (chopped)
- 2 tspshallot (diced)
- 2 tbsplemon grass (chopped)
- 2 ozonion
- 16 ozskinless boneless chicken thighs (cubed)
- 0.3 tspnutmeg
- 1 tsppaprika
- 1 tspground cumin
- 1 tspground turmeric
- 0.5 tspsalt
- 2 tspbrown sugar
- 1 tbsptraditional Dijon mustard
- 6 ozpotatoes (cubed)
- 4 ozsweet potatoes (cubed)
- 2 cupsunsalted chicken broth (divided)
- 1 tbspcornstarch
- 1 tbspheavy cream
- 0.3 cupcoconut milk
- 1 tbsplemon juice
- 2 tbspcoriander (chopped)
- 3 cupscooked medium-grain rice
In sauté mode, add 1 tbsp olive oil to the Instant Pot. Then add 2 tbsp garlic, 1 tsp ginger, 2 tsp shallot, and 2 tbsp lemon grass and stir fry for 2 minutes.
Add 2 oz onions and cook for another 1 minute until the onion turns golden brown.
Add 16 oz chicken, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1tsp paprika, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 tbsp mustard. Sauté for about 3 minutes.
Add 6 oz potatoes and 4 oz sweet potatoes to the pot and let it sauté for 3 minutes.
In a small bowl, mix together 1 tbsp cornstarch with 2 cups chicken broth. Whisk until well combined. Set aside.
Add the remaining chicken broth to deglaze the Instant Pot. Close the lid and set the stew meat mode for 10 minutes.
Once done, let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid, stir in the cornstarch mixture, 1 tbsp heavy cream, 1/4 cup coconut milk, and 1 tbsp lemon juice.
Switch to sauté mode and cook for 10 minutes.
Garnish with 2 tbsp chopped coriander.
Enjoy the curry over steamed rice.