3 qt Mini Duo/ Chicken, Seafood & Meat/ Instant Pot Magic/ Low Carb/ Under 30 minutes

No-Cream Skinny Chicken Tikka Masala in Instant Pot

Chicken Tikka Masala is a super popular Indian dish, where juicy grilled pieces of chicken are served in a creamy spicy tomato gravy. This is the British cousin of the popular Punjabi dish called Butter Chicken. Rumor has it that it is among the most popular dishes in United Kingdom. It is hard to find an Indian restaurant in the world, that doesn’t have this classic on it’s menu, and if you find one that doesn’t, don’t eat there:-)

Traditionally, the chicken is marinated and grilled in a clay oven called “Tandoor”. The gravy is made with fresh tomatoes, onions, fresh ginger-garlic and lots of garam masala. The gravy is finished with cream to balance the warmth of the spices, which makes it a delicacy. This is one of my children’s favorite dish. So, to make an everyday, low calorie version of this dish, I substitute heavy cream with greek yogurt! The result is so spectacularly similar to the traditional version, I promise, you won’t miss the cream and you won’t have to hit the gym after this. Chicken Tikka Masala is best enjoyed with Zeera Rice (Cumin rice), or Butter Naan!

In this video, I have made this recipe in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot. If you marinate the meat and follow all steps, this dish will be ready in about 40-45 minutes from start to finish. You start by marinating the meat, takes 5 minutes to put it together and about 15 minutes in the fridge. In the meantime, you finish the sautéing and pureeing process of the sauce. The start the IP timer for 6 minutes, it takes about 10 minutes for it to come to pressure and then 5 minutes cooling time after it’s done, so about 21 minutes. If you’re skipping the marination process, you can make this dish in under 30 minutes, from start to finish. Simply add an extra teaspoon of Garam Masala to the sauce to compensate for the flavors in the marinade.

I have made this recipe many times in my Hawkins pressure cooker, as well as on the stove-top. Check out the Notes section for details on that.

No-Cream Skinny Chicken Tikka Masala in Instant Pot

Print Recipe
Serves: 4-6 Cooking Time: 30 minutes total (no marination), 45 minutes (with marination)


  • MARINADE for chicken:
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (fat trimmed) OR boneless skinless breast
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (3/4 inch piece of ginger + 2 cloves of garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lime

  • SAUCE:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil + 1 tablespoon butter/ghee (If using one of the two- 2 tbsp.)
  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped/sliced
  • 1 green chili (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste (3/4 inch piece of ginger + 2 cloves of garlic)
  • 4 medium size tomatoes, diced, or, one 14-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 12-15 cashews
  • 3 tablespoons plain full-fat greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro for garnish



Prep: Prepare the marinade for the chicken by combining ginger-garlic paste, garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cayenne, salt, lime juice and yogurt. Pour it in a bowl, or a gallon size ziplock bag (for easy clean-up), and toss the chicken in it, till well coated. Refrigerate for 15 minutes- overnight. If you don't have the time for that, leave it till you prep the sauce.


Turn IP on SAUTE. When the display reads "hot", about 30 seconds, add olive oil + butter/ghee. Add chicken, grilling one minute on each side. The chicken will be raw at this point- in this step we're sealing the marinade flavors. Remove chicken and keep aside.


For making sauce, add onion, tomato, green chili, ginger-garlic and sauté for one minute. Add garam masala, coriander, cumin, salt, paprika, turmeric and sauté for 30 seconds. Add 12-15 cashews and stir. Turn off IP. Transfer onion mix to a blender, cool for 5 minutes and blend into a smooth sauce.


Meanwhile, cut chicken into bite-size pieces.Add yogurt to the cooled sauce and blend again. Add sauce back in IP along with chicken and 1/4 cup water (skip the water if you used canned diced tomatoes). Close lid. Vent set to SEALING. MANUAL (hi-press) for 6 minutes. Open lid after natural pressure release or QR after 5 minutes. If the tomatoes were tart to begin with, you may want to add 1/2 teaspoon sugar to balance flavors (optional). Garnish with chopped cilantro. Enjoy Chicken Tikka Masala with Cumin Rice (Zeera Rice) or Garlic or Butter Naan!


30 minute version: If you are in a rush, you can skip Step 1 and add the diced chicken pieces straight to the sauce and pressure cook the same way. Simply add an extra teaspoon of Garam Masala to the sauce to compensate for the flavors in the marinade.

HAWKINS Pressure cooker: Follow all instructions till step 3 in the pressure cooker. In Step 4, pressure cook for 7-8 minutes on medium-high flame after the first whistle. STOVE-TOP: Follow all instructions in a deep skillet or a stock-pot. In Step 4, cook for 12-15 minutes, covered, till the chicken is cooked through.


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