Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Whole30 Paleo Keto)

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Whole30 Paleo Keto) – A comforting, flavorful Whole30 compliant dish cooked in the Instant Pot or slow cooker!

First of all, let me say that I am in love with my new Instant Pot!  After many months of debating if I really needed another kitchen appliance (let alone a pressure cooker!), I broke down and bought one back in early December and have zero regrets.  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.  I even cooked a partially frozen roast and it was perfect!  All in a fraction of the time of slow cooker.  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 Paleo 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. We are following the Whole30 plan in January, so I made it a meal by serving over cauliflower rice.  The leftovers were fabulous!

Variations on Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

  • 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.
  • Make this for Meal Prep and pack individual servings for lunches.
  • Play around with the spices depending on your preference.  There is a lot of room for upping the spice/heat in this recipe.

Are you 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!


Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Whole30 Paleo)



This Chicken Tikka Masala is also great for meal prep!  Make ahead and package individual servings for lunch all week long.  I love these glass meal prep containers for my lunches.
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka MAsala (Whole30 Paleo)

Did you make this recipe and love it too?  Please leave your rating and review below!

4.91 from 11 votes
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Whole30 Paleo) - A comforting, flavorful Whole30 compliant dish cooked in the Instant Pot or slow cooker! 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 280 kcal
  1. Set your Instant Pot to Saute.  Add butter, onion, and yellow peppers and cook for 3-4 minutes until veggies start to soften.

  2. Add garlic, ginger, spices and salt and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. 

  3. 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).

  4. 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
  1. 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. 

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Amount Per Serving
Calories 280 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 13g 20%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 109mg 36%
Sodium 862mg 36%
Potassium 792mg 23%
Total Carbohydrates 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 33g 66%
Vitamin A 3.7%
Vitamin C 34.1%
Calcium 4.1%
Iron 12.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

*this post contains affiliate links

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  • Reply
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    • Reply
      Kiki adair
      March 30, 2018 at 11:42 am

      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!

  • Reply
    September 5, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      September 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      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!

  • Reply
    Beth Coombs
    November 26, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I’ve made this twice already!! Fantastic recipe. Thank you.

    • Reply
      November 26, 2017 at 3:37 pm

      Beth – awesome, so glad you enjoyed the recipe!!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      December 19, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      Karen, thank you! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Reply
    December 30, 2017 at 1:22 pm

    Do you think this could be made ahead and frozen and then reheated? Thanks

  • Reply
    January 4, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Is the Yellow Pepper a Yellow Bell pepper?

    • Reply
      January 5, 2018 at 11:28 am

      India, yes! I will make that correction on the recipe. thanks!!

  • Reply
    January 12, 2018 at 10:31 am

    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

    • Reply
      January 12, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      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.

    • Reply
      January 16, 2018 at 7:21 pm

      I made it with a hunk of Frozen chicken breasts tonight. I cooked for 25 mins and it was AMAZING!!

  • Reply
    January 14, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Is it best to use the natural release or quick release for this recipe?

    • Reply
      January 15, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Meg – I like to use natural release whenever cooking meat from its raw state.

      • Reply
        February 27, 2018 at 9:45 pm

        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!

  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 2:21 am


    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??

  • Reply
    January 18, 2018 at 9:05 pm

    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!!

  • Reply
    January 21, 2018 at 9:37 pm

    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!).

  • Reply
    January 25, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Wow, this was wonderfully tasty, rich and filling. A keeper recipe for us, even when not doing Whole30. Thanks!

    • Reply
      January 26, 2018 at 10:19 am

      Thank you!! Glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Reply
    January 28, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      January 29, 2018 at 9:13 am

      Thanks, Kelly! 🙂

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 10:35 am

    Good recipe! Thank you ?

  • Reply
    February 15, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    this was seriously so good! Thank you!

    • Reply
      February 16, 2018 at 9:31 am

      Thanks, Jen! Glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    Lisa Valerie Morgan
    February 23, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    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.


  • Reply
    Jen Lingeman
    March 4, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Is the cooking time the same if you Double the recipe?

    • Reply
      March 4, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Yes, the cooking time is the same…it will just take the pot longer to come to pressure if you double the ingredients. 🙂

      • Reply
        March 5, 2018 at 7:58 am

        Thank you!

  • Reply
    March 25, 2018 at 9:43 am

    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!

    • Reply
      March 25, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!!

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  • Reply
    June 6, 2018 at 9:34 am

    Would coconut oil work in place of the ghee/butter? We are dairy free due to my daughter having a dairy intolerance. Thanks!

    • Reply
      June 6, 2018 at 1:55 pm

      Yes, absolutely!

  • Reply
    June 7, 2018 at 1:04 am

    When it’s done cooking do you use NPR or QPR?

    • Reply
      June 7, 2018 at 11:04 am

      Either works just fine…I prefer NPR for poultry because QR can sometimes result in dry chicken.

  • Reply
    August 27, 2018 at 2:23 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      August 27, 2018 at 6:36 pm

      Hey Annie – no water is necessary if there are other liquids included in the recipe. Enjoy! 🙂

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