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Instant Pot Chicken Curry

This Instant Pot Chicken Curry needs only 5 minutes of cook time in the pressure cooker. Tender, flavorful, and healthy. Happens to be gluten free and dairy free.

instant pot chicken curry

How to make incredible Instant Pot Chicken Curry

When you’re looking to kick up the flavors while keeping dinner quick ‘n easy, look no further than this Instant Pot Chicken Curry. It requires only 5 minutes of pressure cook time and is teeming with ingredients you feel great about.

Curry is a broad term that refers to a diverse collection of dishes, many of which originate in Indian and Asian cultures. Curry can be in the form of pastes with unique colors, depending on the specific chilies used. We adore this Thai Green Curry Chicken, which showcases the beauty of green chilies. Red curry paste is scrumptious in this Red Thai Curry Mussles dish, a standout appetizer (I pile my plate so high, mine is more like a meal.)

For an incredibly easy way to amp up the flavors of an easy weeknight stew, we turn to madras curry powder, which is an Indian-British based aromatic spice mix that includes tumeric, cardamom, coriander, and cumin. It has a similar flavor profile to the spices used in our popular Sweet Potato Chicken Curry.

Today’s Instant Pot Chicken Curry is a delicious, nutritious answer to “what’s for dinner?” even on a busy weeknight. You can keep everyone’s taste buds happy while feeling great about the ingredients, all in about 30 minutes.

instant pot chicken curry ingredients

What spices go into chicken curry

  • Rather than measuring out 5 to 6 individual spices, we use madras curry powder and plenty of it. Madras curry powder tends to be milder than others, so feel free to kick up the heat with 1 tsp chili powder if you like.
  • Ginger powder provides glorious aromatics and is way easier than chopping/mincing/grating fresh ginger on busy weeknights.
  • Fresh onions and garlic are a must. Tip: I often buy pre-peeled packages of fresh garlic cloves – a total time saver.
  • Dried bay leaves help to infuse an earthy, aromatic layer to your curry. Be sure your bay leaves aren’t old, or they won’t have much flavor to them.

Variations and options

  • We add 1/4 cup dry lentils to our Instant Pot Chicken Curry, which provides extra nutrition, heartiness, and texture. Feel free to sub with other legumes, beans, or potatoes.
  • We use fire roasted canned tomatoes, as it imparts a special roasted flavor to the stew. If you prefer to use another style of canned tomatoes, you can certainly do that. Just be sure to include all the juices.
  • For kicked-up heat, add 1 tsp chili powder to the stew.
  • Feel free to swap out the chicken for any firm white fish fillet; if doing so, reduce pressure cook time to 21/2 minutes.
  • Try adding any variety of extra veggies: diced or sliced bell peppers, cauliflower, and thinly sliced carrots are all good options.
instant pot chicken curry

what to serve with chicken curry

We adore warm pita bread of all kinds; even gluten-free varieties are now available. Jasmine rice or perfectly cooked brown rice are amazing with this pressure cooker chicken curry as well.

This naan bread is simply divine with any slurp-worthy stew. On that note, keep in mind that this particular Instant Pot Chicken Curry recipe is meant to be served over rice or with pita or naan bread to sop up the broth. If you’re opting to serve the curry by itself, then decrease kosher salt to 1/2 tsp and just add a bit more to taste at the end.

Most importantly, enjoy more time at the table and less time in the kitchen. Curry on.

You may love this thai basil chicken, too:

instant pot chicken curry

Instant Pot Chicken Curry

4.79 from 23 ratings
This Instant Pot Chicken Curry needs only 5 minutes of cook time in the pressure cooker. Tender, flavorful, and healthy. Happens to be gluten free and dairy free.
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients  

  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-size pieces, excess moisture removed with paper towels
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 TB curry powder
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 14.5oz can fire-roasted tomatoes, with juices
  • 2 cups about 1 can unsweetened whole coconut milk (the kind that's found in Asian aisle of most major grocery stores.)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup dry lentils
  • Optional: freshly chopped cilantro and lemon slices for garnish

Instructions

  • Set Instant Pot to sauté mode and add oil into inner pot. Once oil is hot add onion and stir fry for 1-2 minutes or until aromatic. Add garlic, stirring another minute. Add chicken, kosher salt, curry powder, and ginger. Stir 2 minutes until aromatic and chicken turns opaque on exterior. 
  • Add fire-roasted tomatoes with juices, coconut milk (be sure to shake can well before opening,) and stir to combine well. Once mixture is smooth, add the bay leaves and lentils. Seal lid closed and set on pressure cook for 5 minutes. Keep in mind it will take pressure cooker a bit of time to reach high pressure status, before it automatically starts its 5 minute countdown, 
  • Do Quick Release once timer goes off. If needed, add kosher salt or about 1 tsp chili pepper, to taste. If desired, serve with slices of fresh lemon and chopped cilantro. Serve warm, with pita bread, naan bread, or over Jasmine rice. 

Notes

This Instant Pot Chicken Curry recipe is meant to be served over rice or with pita or naan bread to sop up the broth. If you're opting to serve the curry by itself, then decrease kosher salt to 1/2 tsp and just add a bit more to taste at the end. 
Add chili powder to taste at end, if you prefer more heat. 
Be sure to use canned whole coconut milk, usually found in Asian sections of major grocery stores. (It's very different from the trendy cartons of coconut milk used for beverages.)
If you enjoyed this recipe, please come back and give it a rating 🙂 

Nutrition

Calories: 250kcal | Carbohydrates: 15.2g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 11.8g | Saturated Fat: 3.5g | Cholesterol: 59mg | Sodium: 565.2mg | Fiber: 2.7g | Sugar: 6.2g
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Method: pressure cooker

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Recipe Rating




37 comments

    • Hilo Rob
    • 4 stars

    I enjoyed this with some minor adjustments. I skipped lentils and added some peas at the very end. I did feel something was lacking so I added some black pepper and that was an improvement. I also added two carrots, sliced, for additional veggies. Finally although the result tasted good it was a bit meaty for my taste. Next time I’ll reduce the chicken by 1/4 to 1/3 and I’m sure there will still be plenty of meat.

    • Shorty Mac
    • 5 stars

    went down a treat with the family. Very accurate, very tasty 🙂

    • Maureen
    • 5 stars

    We love Indian food and I have prepared many dishes, but none in my Instant Pot. This curry was absolutely delicious and both my husband and myself enjoyed it immensely. The fire roasted tomatoes are a must. I used a good quality Madras curry powder and red lentils.
    I added some Cayenne for heat. It was such a great change from other curries not having so many competing spices that taste like garam masala. The variations sound delicious too. This will definitely be a regular on our curry menu. I’ve already shared it with friends. Positively outstanding!!

    • Nao
    • 5 stars

    This is my favorite chicken curry recipe and have recommended it to so many people as the go-to Instant Pot recipe. So easy yet so good! Sometimes I add in some frozen peas at the end for a little extra veg, but otherwise love the flavors.

      • Amy Dong

      Aww, thank you, Nao! That is awesome 🙂

    • Danita Hickson

    I had a burn error. I followed it to a T. Any idea what I did wrong?

      • chewoutloud

      Danita, the Instant Pot typically will show burn error if there’s not enough liquid at the bottom by the end of cooking; did you do a Quick Release? That should help. Otherwise, you can also go ahead and add 1/2 cup more liquid (choose from coconut milk, tomato juice, or chicken broth.) Hope that solves it for you! 🙂

    • Cookin’ in Seattle
    • 5 stars

    Like others, I’ve been looking for compelling reasons/recipes to pull out my Instant Pot and this looks like a good reason to! Question though, what type of fire-roasted tomatos did you use? I only see diced and crushed on Amazon Fresh, which is where I buy most of groceries in pandemic land. I’m guessing crushed but if you could chime in that would be awesome, thanks for this awesome looking recipe!

      • chewoutloud

      I use diced fire-roasted, but either will work just fine… enjoy!

    • Erin
    • 4 stars

    My first time making this! Wasn’t sure what kind of tomatoes to use as far as whole, diced etc so I used diced but not fire roasted since we wanted to cut down the heat. I made a few minor adjustments. And this was good but I feel like it was missing something. Not sure what!

      • chewoutloud

      Erin, so glad you all enjoyed this curry! Tip: the fire roasted tomatoes are not hot/spicy…they are amped up in flavor, though! Think of seasoned grilled tomatoes (no heat)…that would be kind of like the fire-roasted tomatoes. Hope you can try again using those…it will elevate the flavors 🙂

    • Valerie Glover

    What kind of lentils do you use in this dish?

      • chewoutloud

      I used brown lentils here, but any kind will work – red or green are great, too.

    • Ramona
    • 5 stars

    Love this recipe – wow, I am starving for a chicken curry right now. Lovely pictures too!

      • chewoutloud

      Thank you, Ramona!

    • Emily
    • 5 stars

    This curry is so delicious and I love that you can make it in the instant pot! Also, love that you added lentils into it- I’m loving lentils lately.

      • chewoutloud

      So so happy you love this dish, Emily! 🙂 🙂

        • Mimi G.

        I’m wondering if it’s possible to make this curry recipe without the lentils all together or if you have a suggestion for something to replace the lentils in this recipe? Honestly I cannot stand lentils and they actually make me kinda sick any time I try them, even in small amounts…but this recipe looks so good otherwise so I’d love to know if I can just skip the lentils or replace them with something else and if so (to either option) what/how/should/do I adjust the recipe to make a lentil omission or replacement work well with the rest of this chicken curry recipe?
        Thanks.

          • chewoutloud

          Mimi, yes, you can substitute the lentils with your favorite type of beans or legumes. Black beans, white beans, chickpeas, and even green peas can be used instead (same amounts.)

    • Jacque Hastert
    • 5 stars

    Flavorful, healthy, and ready in only 5 minutes. Sign me up! I have added this to my menu for next week.

    • Renu
    • 5 stars

    The curry looks very inviting. I am a new Instant pot user and your recipe will help me to use it more. Thanks for sharing

    • Cathleen @ A Taste of Madness
    • 5 stars

    What CAN’T the instant pot do?? This looks perfect!
    I haven’t been using my Instant Pot enough, so I am bookmarking this to make later!!

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, Cathleen! So happy to hear it 🙂

    • Jenni LeBaron
    • 5 stars

    This instant pot chicken curry looks perfectly savory! I can’t wait to devour this while the days are still cold, and plan to serve it with a bit piece of roti or pita bread! So tasty!

      • chewoutloud

      That bread sounds perfect!

    • Joycelyn

    I’ve had an instant pot for ages, but, like many others I’ve found via reading online, I was scared to use the darn thing for fear of the lid blowing off like my mothers old pressure cooker used to do.
    Your chicken curry recipe which I might add looks yummy as well as quick to put together, could very well get me to drag my instant pot up from the basement and give your recipe a go. Only thing I’d change, is omit the bay laurel leaves you have depicted and use Indian Bay leaves as the flavour between the two are so different.

      • chewoutloud

      Indian bay leaves sound fantastic! Have fun using your IP! 🙂

    • Jere Cassidy
    • 5 stars

    I finally just got an IP and loving it so I am looking for new recipes to try. My family loves curry so can’t wait to try this.

      • chewoutloud

      Can’t wait for you to taste this, Jere! 🙂

    • Mikayla
    • 5 stars

    This was full of flavor and so easy to prepare, totally perfect for my busy nights. We did like the fire-roasted tomatoes, we will make again!

      • chewoutloud

      Yay, so happy you guys loved this recipe 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Jacqui Debono
    • 5 stars

    I love roti with my curry, and I love curry of any sort! Usually, it’s a bit of a process, so great to find a delicious but quick recipe.

      • chewoutloud

      Same here…adore all kinds of curry! 🙂

    • Lesli Schwartz
    • 5 stars

    Easy and delicious! LOVE this IP chicken curry dish! Your images are stunning!

      • chewoutloud

      Thanks so much, Lesli! 🙂

    • Stine Mari
    • 5 stars

    Wow, so much flavor in less than half an hour! I think this looks absolutely delicious and really easy too.

      • chewoutloud

      So glad you like this recipe!

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