Chicken Tikka Masala + Instant Pot 101

After taking some time off to recuperate after traveling and living in the van, I am excited to get back to recipe creating, photographing and blogging again! This last week I purchased an Instant Pot and I feel like my life is forever changed in the best possible way!

The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that can also function as a slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, soup maker and it even has a sauté function! As if that weren’t enough, the Instant Pot has a “keep warm” function that allows you to leave the device on until you’re ready to eat!

Typical slow cooked meals like chili, pot roasts, tikka masala, curries and other tougher cuts of meat are perfect candidates for the Instant Pot. Instead of cooking low and slow for hours, the Instant Pot uses pressure cooking to speed up the cooking process, making many meals in as little as 15 minutes!

The best part about the Instant Pot is that it turns out extremely tender meat in almost no time at all. It really is just a “set it and forget it” kitchen tool! So far I have experimented with making homemade bone broth, steaming beets (in only 10 minutes!), cooking chicken breast, chicken thighs and making this Chicken Tikka Masala. And so far, I have LOVED everything that I have made!

Honestly kicking myself for not getting one sooner! Okay enough with the regret, all that matters is I have one now and I can’t wait to keep experimenting! As far as an introduction to the Instant Pot goes, there are a few points I’d like to touch on before investing in this device.

First is size. There are multiple sizes and functions offered depending on the size of your family of what you will use the Instant Pot for the most. I chose the Lux Mini because I do not cook for a large family or need a ton of extra functions. So far I am very happy with the small size of the Instant Pot and will not likely upsize, but you never know!

Second, while the Instant Pot does have incredibly fast cook times, it does take a bit of time to “come to pressure.” This is the period of time before cooking starts where the Instant Pot weighs the food and must pressurize to a certain level depending on the weight and density of the food. This can take anywhere from 5 – 30 minutes before cooking time starts.

Third, the interface of the Instant Pot is not incredibly user friendly. I would recommend reading the more thorough users manual or head over to this post to get a better understanding of cook times.

Feeling armed and ready with some new knowledge?! Let’s get cooking!

* I would like to point out that this recipe can also be made in a standard slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours following through step 1.

Chicken Tikka Masala



1½ – 2 lbs. chicken breast, boneless and skinless, cubed

½ can (7 oz.) full-fat coconut milk

1- 14 oz. can tomato purée (no salt added)

2 bay leaves

3 tbs. tapioca starch

3 tbs. water

Spice blend:

1 tbs. curry powder

½ tbs. sea salt

½ tbs. cumin

½ tbs. garlic powder

½ tbs. ginger powder

½ tsp. turmeric

1 tsp. paprika

¼ tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. white pepper

½ tsp. five spice powder

1 tsp. garlic, fresh or powder

1 tsp. ginger, fresh or powder

1 tsp. sea salt

optional toppings: cilantro, sriracha, lime, avocado, coconut aminos


  1. Cube chicken into one inch pieces.
  2. Place chicken, spices, tomato and bag leaves into Instant Pot.
  3. Set to manual, high pressure and set timer to 15 minutes.
  4. After cycle has ended, manually release pressure and wait for pressure to release fully.
  5. Remove bay leaves and stir in coconut milk, tapioca starch and water.
  6. Let thicken for a few minutes and enjoy over rice, cauliflower rice or over more veggies!


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