Instant Pot Butter Chicken and Rice

When I saw The New York Times raving about an Instant Pot dish, I knew I had to try it. The traditional version of this mild, fragrant stew takes a full day to make, but the Instant Pot builds rich, deep flavors in just 30 minutes!

Learn to master the Instant Pot! New Instant Pot Master Class. [learn more]

But after making this delicious dish (and making a few tweaks to it!), I was always left wondering if there was an easier way to make a meal out of it. That’s when I decided to try using a PIP–pot-in-pot–method to cook rice and butter chicken…at the same time, in the same pot.

The result? A one-pot meal that is fast enough for a weeknight and special enough to serve to guests.

Cooking tips: Let the sauce cool a bit before you add the cream. If it comes out thin and watery, you may have put the cream in too quickly. Put the sauce in the refrigerator or freezer and it should thicken. If it’s still too watery, add a slurry of 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water.

The Instant Pot builds rich, deep flavors in just 30 minutes!


Chicken mixture:

  • 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes (do not drain)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger root, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp each turmeric, paprika, salt, garam masala, cumin
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

Rice cooking mixture:

  • 2 cups long grain white rice, rinsed
  • 2 1/4 cups water

Sauce finishing mixture:

  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (you can find it here)
  • 1/3 cup chopped cilantro


  1. 1. Combine all the Chicken Cooking Mixture ingredients except the chicken in the Instant Pot, then nestle the chicken into the mixture in a single layer, flipping once to coat.
  2. Place rinsed rice and water in a separate cooking pan with at least a 7-cup capacity (these fit perfectly). Place an extra-tall trivet or riser (we love these) in the bottom of the pot and place the rice-filled cooking pan on the trivet. Check that the bottom of the cooking pan is not in contact with the chicken sauce mixture and that the top of the cooking pan does not exceed the Max line on the Instant Pot. (Note: If you don’t have these accessories, you can also make the rice separately!)
  3. Using the display panel select the MANUAL function*. Use the +/- keys and program the Instant Pot for 10 minutes.
  4. When the time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
  5. Open the pot and carefully remove the rice pan and riser. Fluff the rice with a fork and then set aside.
  6. Remove the chicken from the pot. Break it up into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
  7. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth. Add the butter, cream, garam masala and cilantro and blend again until smooth and slightly foamy. Depending on how much sauce you like with your chicken, you can now remove up to half the sauce and reserve for another use. It’s great with rotisserie chicken or served over zucchini noodles!
  8. Add the chicken back to the pot and stir until well-coated.
  9. Serve chicken mixture over rice.

*The MANUAL and PRESSURE COOK buttons are interchangeable.