Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Whole30 Paleo Keto)
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Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Whole30 Paleo Keto) – A comforting, flavorful Whole30 compliant dish cooked in the Instant Pot or slow cooker! Paleo and Keto friendly.
When I first bought my Instant Pot two years ago I had no idea the amount of use it would get. After many months of debating if I really needed another kitchen appliance (let alone a pressure cooker!), I can honestly say it has been my best purchase yet. I use it so frequently, it has found a permanent spot on my kitchen counter. It’s excellent for soup/chili, big batches of pork/chicken, and whole chickens. All in a fraction of the time of slow cooker. Its my best friend on meal prep day and makes quick and efficient work of meal time. With all that said, this recipe for Whole30 Chicken Tikka Masala can absolutely be made in a slow cooker if you are not on the Instant Pot bandwagon yet!
The flavors in this traditional Indian dish are so fantastic and fragrant. This is some serious comfort food without any guilt! There are many variations of Chicken Tikka Masala out there, but I kept it Whole30 and Keto compliant by using coconut milk in the sauce. I also used mild spice because my husband is not a fan of spicy things, but some additional heat would be awesome. I serve it with cauliflower rice to make it a complete meal.
I am planning for a round of Whole30 in January and this recipe will definitely be on the menu. It is a favorite with so many readers and best of all, super simple to make. If you too are planning or contemplating a round of Whole30 but a little intimidated by the program, check out my Whole30 Survival Guide that makes surviving a Whole30 simple and doable even for busy families. I’ve even included a meal plan and shopping list with super easy recipes! And be sure to join my Facebook Whole30 Support Group for extra encouragement and ideas!
I also love to make this Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala strictly for meal prep and pack individual servings for lunches during the week. These glass meal prep containers are my favorite for packaging prepped lunches.
Tips for Making Whole30 Chicken Tikka Masala
Stock up on staples for this recipe at Thrive Market. Thrive is my favorite source of Whole30 staples, including coconut milk, diced tomatoes, and spices used in this tikka masala. Use my code for 25% off your first purchase!
Play around with the spices depending on your preference. There is a lot of room for upping the spice/heat in this recipe.
Make this for Meal Prep and pack individual servings for lunches.
Variations on Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs are also great in this recipe. Whether using thighs or breasts, this is my favorite source for organic chicken.
After pureeing the sauce, add in some roasted cauliflower florets.
For non-Whole30, add some green peas to the sauce and serve with white rice.
Serve over spaghetti squash or zoodles instead of cauliflower rice.
For More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes, Check Out:
Instant Pot Cool Ranch Chicken
Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore
Apple Cider Pulled Chicken in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
Did you make this recipe and love it too? Please leave your rating and review below!
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons butter or ghee for Whole30
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 15 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- Set your Instant Pot to Saute. Add butter, onion, and yellow peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes until veggies start to soften.
- Add garlic, ginger, spices and salt and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and coconut milk and stir well to combine. Place chicken on top of mixture. Close the lid and set to Poultry (or Manual setting for 15 minutes).
- When cycle is complete, remove chicken and shred. Using an immersion hand blender, puree the sauce. Add the chicken back to the sauce and adjust seasoning to taste.
For the Slow Cooker
- Combine onion, yellow pepper, spices, salt, tomatoes, and coconut milk in a slow cooker. Place chicken on top. Cook on High 3-4 hours or Low for 6-8 hours. Remove chicken and shred. Puree sauce using an immersion hand blender and return chicken to the slow cooker.
This recipe was originally published in January 2017 and updated in July 2019.
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110 Comments on “Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Whole30 Paleo Keto)”
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I want to triple the recipe, should I cook it longer,? If so, how much longer? I have made this recipe in the past and love it! I want to make for my big family so I need to triple it! Thanks!
So yum! A new family favorite!
I used a full can of coconut milk, and followed the rest to a T. Delicious and so easy.
Awesome! Thanks so much!
So the newer instant pots don’t have a poultry setting. What would you do there? Also, other recipes say to stir in the coconut milk at the end… this has it before the pressure cooking. Is that bad for the pot?
Thanks for your help.
Hi Mindy, you can use your Manual setting for 15 minutes, which is the same as the poultry setting. I haven’t had any issues adding the coconut milk during the cooking process in this recipe and others, but it can easily be added after if you prefer! Thanks and hope you enjoy!
I’ve made this twice already!! Fantastic recipe. Thank you.
Beth – awesome, so glad you enjoyed the recipe!!
This was awesome and my family devoured it. Doubled the recipe using 28 oz can of tomatoes and 1 can of coconut milk. I sauted the chicken cut up into bite sized pieces and removed until the end and added after the tomatoes. Added the coconut milk (with one Tbsp. Of cornstarch whisked in) after release and sauted for five min. To thicken. YUM.
Karen, thank you! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!
Trying to follow your guide but I’m confused ha
This is one of my favorite recipes. Healthy and so easy to make.
Thanks for taking the time to leave a rating and review! Glad you are enjoying the recipe!
Do you think this could be made ahead and frozen and then reheated? Thanks
Is the Yellow Pepper a Yellow Bell pepper?
India, yes! I will make that correction on the recipe. thanks!!
Have you tried this with frozen chicken breast? Wanting to give this recipe a try, but curious if I need to bother with thawing chicken first
I have not tried frozen chicken in this recipe but I have cooked it from frozen by itself in the Instant Pot. Great results, just takes a little longer to come to pressure.
I made it with a hunk of Frozen chicken breasts tonight. I cooked for 25 mins and it was AMAZING!!
I only have lite coconut milk. Will that work?
Is it best to use the natural release or quick release for this recipe?
Meg – I like to use natural release whenever cooking meat from its raw state.
I had 5 min of lag time before turning to quick release but only because this was my first time using Instant Pot and the recipe didn’t say, so I made a judgement called. Turned out great. If I had let that sit for another 15+ minutes or more for natural, the chicken would have been way over done, I think. The sauce had such great flavor!
I made this tonight and while it was yummy, mine turned out totally differently! I’ve tried many recipes for paleo Tikka masalas (with chicken, veggies, jackfruit), in instant pots and crock pots, and they always turn out more like a brown Indian stew as opposed to an orange creamy Tikka Masala. I always follow the recipes exactly. Anyone know what I may consistently be doing wrong??
This recipe was amazing. My instant pot read “burn” after a minute, I depressurized and checked chicken and everything was fine. I added about a half cup of almond milk and cooked it on Manuel for 12 more minutes. I added rice and voila, deliciousness! We will add this to our repertoire. Thank you!!
So… making this recipe was a bit of a bumpy ride at first, but the end result was great. A couple of tips: 1. Place chicken on the rack insert to prevent the “burn” message. I also added a little extra coconut milk. 2. To get the signature creamy, orange sauce put the sauce in the blender (but wait until it cools to do so!).
Wow, this was wonderfully tasty, rich and filling. A keeper recipe for us, even when not doing Whole30. Thanks!
Thank you!! Glad you enjoyed the recipe!
This recipe is a winner. My husband is picky and he loved it. 2nd time I’ve made this in 2 weeks. I found that 15 min wasn’t enough time for the chicken to be tender. Checked it and then put it back on the poultry setting for 15 more min. Turned out perfect. Got the burn message but nothing was burnt. I also used the full bell pepper and 3/4 can of coconut milk Bc i didn’t want it to go to waste. Amazing flavor and you wouldn’t know it was so healthy. Thank you!
Thanks, Kelly! 🙂
Good recipe! Thank you ?
this was seriously so good! Thank you!
Thanks, Jen! Glad you enjoyed it!
This looks so delicious and much less time consuming than the Tikka Masala recipe I’ve currently been using. Just pinned and can’t wait to try it.
Is the cooking time the same if you Double the recipe?
Yes, the cooking time is the same…it will just take the pot longer to come to pressure if you double the ingredients. 🙂
I had arrow root ready thinking I’d need to thicken the sauce, but it didn’t need it at all.
Fabulous flavor and so easy!
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!!
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Would coconut oil work in place of the ghee/butter? We are dairy free due to my daughter having a dairy intolerance. Thanks!
When it’s done cooking do you use NPR or QPR?
Either works just fine…I prefer NPR for poultry because QR can sometimes result in dry chicken.
Do you still need to add 1 cup of water? I just bought an Instant Pot and am confused if you always need to add water if you have other fluid in the pot like coconut milk.
Hey Annie – no water is necessary if there are other liquids included in the recipe. Enjoy! 🙂
What are zoodles and would all grocery stores have them
Zoodles are “noodles” made from zucchini using a spiralizer. Lots of grocery stores are starting to sell them packaged in the produce dept. Or you can make your own if you have a spiralizer!
Delicious and quick. My Instant Pot doesn’t have ave a poultry setting so I used Meat/Stew instead. Very good and we will make it again!
If making in slow cooker, do you still need to cook the veggies or put everything in raw?
Hey Erin – you can add the veggies raw for the slow cooker!
Do you know the macros per serving on this? I only see the calories listed. And how many servings this makes? I made this tonight and it was perfect! It will be on rotation. We follow macros and would like to be able to figure out the macros for this recipe. Thanks!
Hey Ellen – the recipe is calculated for 6 servings, about 1 cup each. Do you use My Fitness Pal app? I’m pretty sure you can enter recipes there and it will calculate macros for you!
Delicious! My one year old devoured it and my husband loved it as well. I sauted onions, peppers, and mushrooms and added them to finished sauce. And served over roasted cauliflower florets. Thank you for the great recipe!
Thank you SO much, Brittney! Glad your family enjoyed it!
How do it make it less spicy? (as you did for your husband?)
Hey Elizabeth – the recipe as written is the less spicy version. If I’m making it just for myself, I like to up the spice level!
You mention the recipe listed is the less spicy version.
What’s the more spicy version? 😃
Ok, I don’t normally write on posts but this was AMAZING! Felt like I was eating at a restaurant. And it saved me. I am just over half way done my whole 30 and have really been struggling to not stray. This was the tasty dish I needed! Thank you!!
Anna, thank you so much!! Comments like this totally make my day! Glad you enjoyed the recipe 🙂
Five stars for sure! My favorite recipe since starting the whole30 on 1/2. So grateful I found this! It has saved me this month. Making for the third time tonight, and this is absolutely going in the rotation in my post-W30 phase. Can’t wait to try with white rice! Haha. Thanks so much for this recipe!!
Thanks so much, Amanda!!
This is my first time using my pot. I have a Mealthy pot. I think the chicken breasts might have been too big because they were still raw in the center after cooking. I ended up putting them on the slow cooker function because I needed to leave. Fantastic! I think adding little sour cream would taste delish!
The spice mix in this was so tasty! But mine turned out watery. I don’t have an immersion blender, so I skipped that portion, which definitely contributed some. I’m going to blend it up once it cools, but any other ideas how to thicken this up?
Some arrowroot powder dissolved in a little bit of water should do the trick!
If using a slow cooker, do you still use ghee? And if so, do you add it at the beginning or after slow cooking but before the immersion blender? Thanks!
Anna – you would just omit the ghee if using the slow cooker since you are skipping the saute step. Hope you enjoy it!
Do we drain the tomatoes or keep the liquid?
Keep the liquid!
Anyone have any success freezing the recipe? My wife loves it so much!
My husband and I love this recipe! It is definitely going into regular rotation at our house.
Hey Andrea, thanks so much for taking the time to leave a rating and review! Glad you are enjoying the recipe!
Hello, I’m planning on making this today, but my chicken breasts are already cut up in little squares. Does thit effect the cooking time?
Hi there – if your chicken is cut into very small pieces I would reduce the cook time by a few minutes.
Hi. Cooking this now. But I added 1/2 cup of coconut milk but noticed the video shows the whole can of coconut milk. What’s the difference? do I need more?
Hi! The recipe instructions are correct. 1/2 cup!
My family loved it. Thank you.
Great to hear! Thank you so much!
Wonderful recipe Nikki! My husband does not care for chicken at all but mixed with your delicious sauce he could not stop eating! Thank you!!
Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating! So glad you and your husband enjoyed the recipe 🙂
Made this for a friend and my husband. They couldn’t stop RAVING! It was so good! I had more chicken in the package (~3.5 pounds) so I doubled the other ingredients to match. Got the burn message a couple times but I checked and everything was fine. It just took longer because of starting and stopping. Next time I’ll use the rack. Will up the cayenne next time and add more salt but this was fantastic!!
Wonderful! Thanks, Nicole!
Amazing, everything was absolutely perfect and follow! Will be a staple in my weekly dishes! we’re obsessed! followed and liked on insta and facebook<3
Aww, thanks so much, Lilly! So happy to hear that!
Absolutely delicious paleo meal with just the right amount of spice!
Fantastic recipe that can be adjusted for how spicy you can take it. My elderly father doesn’t fair well with spicy food anymore, ( he IS Indian!) he loved it. I made it with a full can of coconut milk ( couldn’t stand to throw out the rest).
I cut up the chicken when I added it to the pot, and didn’t shred it. Cooking this way I think that you could use 4 lbs of breasts because I ended up with a lot of the curry/gravy which is left over.
love it! easy to do and quick!
Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a rating and review! Glad you enjoyed it and your father approved! 🙂
Loved it. Making it for a second time in two weeks right now. And it is going to be a DOUBLE.
That’s a classic double-DOUBLE dip right there for ya folks.
Every time I make this recipe in the instant pot, I have to start multiple times as I get the “food burn” warning. Any tips on how to avoid this? We love the taste but the process makes us crazy! 🙂
I love this recipe!
I try to make it about once every 4-6 weeks so it doesn’t get old for the kids. I prep the spices ahead of time, it keeps quite well. I also typically use closer to 2.5 lbs of chicken.
OMG! Tried the recipe out and it turned out amazing! I will definitely be making it again soon.
I keep getting a “burn” error during cooking… how do I avoid this? This seems to happen when ever I try Indian cooking!
Oh my goodness!! This was incredible!!!! I doubled the salt (my preference) and also added a pinch of fenugreek powder and a few dried mint leaves before I blended everything.
I’m going to try to freeze tonight to see if it reheats well.
I haven’t had healthy and delicious Tikka Masala for a long time— thank you!!
Thank you so much! Love your suggestions for the recipe!
Super tasty dish! Even my dad who wrinkled his nose when I said I was making Indian food ate every last bite! I used my Instapot and got the same ‘food burning’ warning a couple minutes into the poultry setting, opened it up and it was fine. One note is the chicken was a little raw after the 15 minutes because when I laid it on top it was slightly layered. I’d suggest stirring it around a little before cooking. I used coconut oil instead of butter since I’m dairy free and it was great. Great recipe! Can’t wait to try your others!
This is an absolutely fantastic recipe that even my kids eat the last bites of. I’m so grateful for something so simple and healthy. We do make this once every few weeks, so I have a few hacks. To avoid the burn warning, I cook the chicken on top of the sauce using the insert provided with the instant pot. To make sure the chicken gets done, I cook it on the poultry setting for 20 minutes. With these adjustments, I never get the burn notice. Thanks again for an awesome recipe!
I have to say I was 200% impressed with this recipe! I love Indian food. I was tired. It woke me up! The flavour was fantastic! My next attempt I will probably add more cummin or something to make a heavier currie base. So good!!
Made this recipe it was easy and fabulous.
I love this recipe so much!!! I have made it so many times!
Love the recipe but the instant pot is confusing me. It cooked for 15 min , then it’s adding time back on to it . Does this mean that I am waiting for it to release steak naturally ? Also it seems very watery . I think I added tomatoes with juice and forgot to put the setting off venting .
Hey Tammy, after the cook time is up, the IP will automatically switch to warm mode as the pressure naturally releases – so the timer is just counting how long it has been in that mode. You can wait for the pressure to release naturally, which takes about 10 minutes, or manually release pressure by opening the vent. Hope that helps!
We love this recipe even my husband who does not always love paleo dishes. Putting this in pur rotation if regular meals.
I love this recipe so much! It’s so savory and satisfying.
Very pleasantly surprised! 100% will repeat this recipe!
This is one of my favorite Indian dishes and this recipe is delicious
Which recipe is better? Your new Cookbook has a different approach. One is Crockpot/insta pot and the one in the new cook book is not, but I worry about the chicken being over cooked. What’s your opinion?
I like the convenience of the Instant Pot because it’s done much quicker, but both methods are great!
So good. Tripled it and added a small can of cream of coconut to make it less spicy for the kids. Used precooked chicken from grocery to save time.