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Easy Butter Chicken Made 3 Ways (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stovetop)

January 16, 2017

By Kath Dedon

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Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani) is a very popular Indian dish that is said to have been developed by the Moti Mahal restaurant in Daryaganj Delhi, India. The original recipe is made with dairy cream and garnished with butter. Most recipes for Butter Chicken are made with cream. Most Butter Chicken recipes also call for marinating the chicken in yogurt with spices for 4 – 24 hours before completing the recipe.

This Butter Chicken is adapted from Ashley Thomas’ recipe on her My Heart Beets blog. Ashley decided to streamline the recipe for her Instant Pot version and eliminated the step of marinating the chicken in yogurt; she mentioned in the comments that she thought it was just as good. She substitutes coconut cream for the dairy cream. It is a fantastic adaptation that we all enjoyed.

I have made Ashley’s Instant Pot version a couple of times since getting my Instant Pot in November and just loved it. The chopping, mincing and measuring take a bit of time but, once you have everything ready to go, it cooks so quickly in the Instant Pot.

I decided I wanted to make it for Christmas Eve dinner because it’s delicious, but also because it would work for everyone’s food preferences and allergies. I needed to double the recipe to serve 9 people and thought that it might be too much for my Instant Pot, so I made a slow cooker version and it turned out great!

If you don’t have an Instant Pot or a slow cooker, or you just want to make a stovetop version, click here for Ashley’s stovetop version of Paleo Butter Chicken. (In her stovetop version she does give the chicken a quick marinade in coconut cream and spices.)

The recipe uses a rather long list of spices, but the spices plus the garlic and ginger make it so flavorfully seasoned without being spicy “hot”.

Ashley uses a green pepper and that’s what I used the first time I made Butter Chicken. I prefer red peppers so that’s what I’ve used since. Green pepper does add a nice contrasting color, so use that if you like green peppers.

You can use either canned coconut cream or canned coconut milk. Coconut milk may be easier to find and I find the recipe is just as tasty made with coconut milk.

I really can’t recommend this Butter Chicken enough. It is just so good! Just writing this blog post is making me crave it. Whether you make it in a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or in a pot on the stove, I think you will love it!

And do check out Ashley’s blog if you love Indian food. She calls her recipes “real food, gluten-free/Paleo-ish”, but I find they’re just plain delicious!

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Butter Chicken, served here with rice

butter-chicken

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Instant Pot Butter Chicken

(Adapted, barely, from Ashley Thomas’ recipe on myheartbeets.com)

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(print the Instant Pot version of the recipe)

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Generously serves 4

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1¾ pounds pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons butter (or ghee or oil)

½ large onion, diced (about 1½ cups)

5 garlic cloves, minced

1-inch knob ginger, minced

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 red bell pepper, chopped in large pieces (or green bell pepper)

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 cup canned coconut cream (or canned coconut milk)

½ teaspoon of dried fenugreek leaves (“kasoori methi” – I ordered it online. Ashley says it gives butter chicken its unique taste. There’s no substitute that I know of, so just omit it if you don’t have it.)

 

Cilantro for garnish, optional

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  1. Use the Saute button on the Instant Pot. Add the butter and onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions are starting to brown. (This will take 6 – 8 minutes.)
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the spices and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken. Stir so it is well coated with the spices. Then cook, stirring often, for about 4 – 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato sauce and red pepper. Stir and press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to stop the Saute function.
  6. Put the lid on in the locked position and turn the steam release handle to the sealing position. Press the Manual button and set the time for 15 minutes. (The Instant Pot will show ON until it is up to pressure and then it will display 15 minutes.)

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Steam release handle set to Sealing

steam-release-handle

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Instant Pot has reached pressure and will cook for 15 minutes.

instant-pot-15-minutes

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7. When it is done, press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn the pot off and let the pressure release naturally. After 10 minutes you can turn the steam release handle to Venting to quickly release the rest of the pressure.

8. When the pressure is fully released, the float valve will drop down. Open the pot and stir in the coconut cream and fenugreek leaves.

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The float valve has dropped down indicating that the pressure is released

valve-down

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9. Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro, if desired. (It’s great served with rice or naan.)

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Butter Chicken ingredients

(Clockwise from lower left-hand corner: fenugreek leaves, red pepper, tomato sauce, coconut cream, onions, chicken, cilantro, garlic and ginger, spices)

butter-chicken-ingredients

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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken for 8 – 10 People

(Adapted from Ashley Thomas’ Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe)

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(print the Slow Cooker version of the recipe)

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Serves 8 – 10

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Use a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.

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3½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

¼ cup butter (or ghee or oil)

1 large onion, diced (about 3 cups)

10 garlic cloves, minced

2-inch knob ginger, minced

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons paprika

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons turmeric

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

2 red bell peppers, chopped in large pieces (or green bell pepper)

2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce

2 cups canned coconut cream (or canned coconut milk)

1 teaspoon of dried fenugreek leaves (“kasoori methi” – I ordered it online. Ashley says it gives butter chicken its unique taste. There’s no substitute that I know of, so just omit it if you don’t have it.)

 

Cilantro for garnish, optional

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  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions are starting to brown. (This will take 6 – 8 minutes.)
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the spices and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken. Stir so it is well coated with the spices. Then cook, stirring often, for about 4 – 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken and spices to a 6-quart (or larger) slow cooker.
  6. Add the tomato sauce and red pepper to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  7. Set the slow cooker to cook on Low for 5 hours.
  8. Stir in the coconut cream (or milk) and fenugreek leaves.
  9. Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

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Butter Chicken in my slow cooker. It is FULL!

butter-chicken-in-the-crockpot

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Easy Stovetop Butter Chicken

(Adapted from Ashley Thomas’ Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe)

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(I have not actually tried this version, but I am confident that it will work well.)

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(print the stovetop version of Butter Chicken)

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Generously serves 4 (easily doubles)

 

1¾ pounds pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 tablespoons butter (or ghee or oil)

½ large onion, diced (about 1½ cups)

5 garlic cloves, minced

1-inch knob ginger, minced

1 teaspoon garam masala

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

¼ teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1 red bell pepper, chopped in large pieces (or green bell pepper)

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 cup canned coconut cream (or canned coconut milk)

½ teaspoon of dried fenugreek leaves (“kasoori methi” – I ordered it online. Ashley says it gives butter chicken its unique taste. There’s no substitute that I know of, so just omit it if you don’t have it.)

 

Cilantro for garnish, optional

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  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter and onions and cook, stirring often, until the onions are starting to brown. (This will take 6 – 8 minutes.)
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the spices and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the chicken. Stir so it is well coated with the spices. Then cook, stirring often, for about 4 – 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato sauce and red pepper. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil then cover. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the coconut cream and fenugreek leaves and simmer for another minute or so.
  7. Serve in a bowl and garnish with cilantro, if desired.

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butter-chicken-copy

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. lostinapot permalink
    January 17, 2017 5:15 am

    Kath,
    It looks lovely. It reminds me of a dish I used to get while traveling in India. I think they called it murgh makhni or something like that. However, it was always very spicy.
    I bet it smells wonderful.
    So which cooking method would you prefer to use. I’m betting you’d go to you Instant pot.
    I’m sure enjoying my instant pot.

    • January 17, 2017 5:53 am

      I love making it in the Instant Pot, BUT…the slow cooker worked great for doubling the recipe to serve more people. Yep, this is Murgh Makhani. To me, this is seasoned just right. 😉 Thanks for your comment, Ron!

  2. lostinapot permalink
    January 17, 2017 5:22 am

    Don’t I feel silly, just noticed you noted in the beginning that it is murgh makhni.
    Sorry I’m one of those guys who tends to reads post from the comments up. Weird Hun.

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