Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Dairy-free)

The following guest post is by Megan Gilmore, a certified nutritionist consultant (CNC) and the creator of As a self-proclaimed “lazy cook,” Megan shares quick recipes using easy-to-find real food ingredients to help naturally support your body. For fast weeknight meals, check out her latest book, The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook.

This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala is a good-for-you and convenient one-pot meal. I love how a bowl of rice cooks at the same time as the main dish, all in the same Instant Pot.

(If you don’t have a pressure cooker—check out the stove top & slow cooker options listed for you down below the recipe.)

chicken tikka masala with pot in pot rice

This recipe comes from my brand new The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook, which is loaded with fast weeknight recipes, all made with easy-to-find real food ingredients. There is a photo as well as nutrition information for every recipe, and I love how nearly every sauce is naturally dairy-free and vegan to help accommodate a number of special diets.

While everything in the Instant Pot isn’t always ready in an “instant,” I love how it makes the cooking process more hands-off. Instead of watching the stove to make sure something doesn’t burn or boil-over, you can simply add the ingredients to the pot, press a button, and walk away.

You don’t have to worry about your dinner again until the cooking cycle is over, so you can finish up tasks around your house, or play with your kids, or simply relax until dinner is ready. It makes you the ultimate multitasker!

When compared to other cooking methods, pressure cooking has been shown to preserve more nutrients in your food. This could be due to the fact that food cooks so quickly under pressure, or that it is rarely cooked above 250ºF in the pressurized pot. So, you’ll be getting more nutritional bang for your buck every time you use your Instant Pot.

Instant Pot on 10 Days of Real Food

Using Your Instant Pot

When it comes to using your Instant Pot, there is definitely a learning curve at first. I hope this new healthy Instant Pot cookbook will make it as easy as possible for you.

Each recipe walks you through the exact steps you need to take, the timing to expect, and the buttons you need to push so that you’ll get fool-proof results every time.

The front of the book is full of photo tutorials, commonly asked questions, and troubleshooting tips for your Instant Pot so that you’ll get comfortable with your pressure cooker a lot faster than I did!

(If your electric pressure cooker happens to be another brand, don’t worry; I intentionally avoided using specialty buttons so that these recipes could easily work for any machine.)

I hope you’ll enjoy this comforting recipe soon!

Chicken Tikki Masala on 100 Days of Real Food
Chicken Tikki Masala on 100 Days of Real Food

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Dairy-free)

This healthy Chicken Tikka Masala recipe is dairy-free and comes together quickly in your Instant Pot. I’ve added cauliflower and carrots for extra nutrition, and you can conveniently cook a bowl of rice in the pressure cooker to save time.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Pressurize Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 33 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Method: Slow Cooker
Print Recipe
Servings: 6


  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger ground
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless & skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt fine
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice (like jasmine or basmati)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/2 head cauliflower chopped (about 1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups carrots peeled & chopped (about 3 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk full-fat, canned


  • Combine the onion, tomatoes with their juices, garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, and maple syrup in the Instant Pot and use an immersion blender to blend until smooth. (Alternatively, place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, then pour the sauce into the pot.) Place the chicken on top of the sauce and season it with the salt.
  • Arrange a 2.5-inch trivet (like this one) over the chicken and place a 7-inch oven-safe bowl on top. Add the rice and water to the bowl. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
  • When the cooking cycle is complete, immediately move the steam release valve to Venting to quickly release the steam pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid. Use oven mitts to lift the trivet and the bowl of cooked rice out of the pot.
  • Fluff the rice with a fork. Use tongs to transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board. Add the cauliflower and carrots to the sauce. Secure the lid and move the steam release valve to Sealing. Select Manual/Pressure Cook to cook on high pressure for 1 minute. When the cooking cycle is complete, immediately move the steam release valve to Venting to quickly release the steam pressure. When the floating valve drops, remove the lid.
  • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and stir them into the sauce. Stir in the coconut milk, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve warm over the rice. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 or 4 days.


There’s a tested vegan option for every recipe that calls for meat in this book, so no one will have to miss out on these delicious recipes. Check out the vegan option below if you want to give it a shot! Even if you do eat meat, trying some vegetarian options every now and then adds variety to your diet and can help lower your weekly grocery bills at the same time.
Make it Vegan: Omit the chicken and instead add 3 cups cooked chickpeas or two 15-ounce cans rinsed and drained chickpeas. Decrease the salt to 1 teaspoon and cook on high pressure for only 4 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes to finish cooking the rice, then add the cauliflower and carrots as instructed.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Don’t have an Instant Pot? Try a variation below!

Slow Cooker Method:

  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, saute the onion in a tablespoon of olive oil until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add in the garam masala, cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne and stir for one more minute, just until fragrant. Transfer the onion and spices to the bowl of your slow cooker.
  3. Drain the can of tomatoes and blend them in a blender (or mini chopper) with the maple syrup to create a smooth tomato sauce. Pour the blended mixture into the slow cooker and add the chicken thighs on top. Season with the salt, then add the cauliflower and carrots on top of that, so it can all cook at once.
  4. Cover with the lid and set your slow cooker to cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 8 hours.
  5. When the time is up, use tongs to transfer the cooked chicken thighs to a cutting board and use two forks to shred them. Add the shredded chicken back to the sauce, stir in the coconut milk, and adjust any seasoning to taste. Serve over cooked rice or quinoa.

Stove Top Method:

  1. Saute the onion and spices as directed above in the slow cooker method, using a large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Blend the tomatoes (with their juices) and maple syrup and add them to the cooked onions and spices, then place the chicken thighs, cauliflower and carrots on top. Season with salt and bring the pot to a boil. Cover the pot and lower the heat to a simmer, cooking until the chicken is tender and thoroughly cooked, about 25 minutes.
  3. Use tongs to remove the cooked chicken and shred them with two forks on a cutting board. Add the shredded chicken back to the sauce on the pot, and stir in the coconut milk. Adjust any seasoning to taste then serve with cooked rice or quinoa.


Giveaway is no longer accepting entries – Congratulations to Dorothy on being the winner!

Want to win your very own Instant Pot and a copy of Megan Gilmore’s new book, The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook? Comment below with your favorite Instant Pot recipe by 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, to be entered! One lucky winner will be chosen and notified by October 18, 2018, via email (so make sure you include a good email address in your comment). See full giveaway terms below.*

Find more healthy Instant Pot recipes on, or in The Fresh & Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook.

*Giveaway details:
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Leave a comment on this blog post with your favorite Instant Pot recipe to enter. Limit one (1) entry per person, email address, and household for the duration of the giveaway period. Chances of winning depend on the number of entries. Entries will be chosen at random. Giveaway ends at 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday, October 16, 2018. Winner will be contacted by October 18th, 2018, via email. The winner will have 3 days to respond before they are disqualified and a new winner is chosen. We may share your first name, last initial, and comment publicly but will not share any other information with anyone except to facilitate the shipment of your prize(s), which will be shipped directly from the respective vendor. 100 Days of Real Food will not use your email address for anything other than contacting you about this giveaway. Giveaway open to US residents only, aged 18 or over, residing within any of the 48 US continental United States. We are not liable for errors stemming from lost/delayed e-mail, posting or typographical errors, technical failures, etc. Void where prohibited by law. This giveaway is being held by Leake, LLC doing business as 100 Days of Real Food. We may be reached at info{at}100daysofrealfood{dot}com.

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58 thoughts on “Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Dairy-free)”

  1. While I love Detoxinista (seriously every recipe I’ve tried of hers has been a winner!!) I’m struggling a little with her portion sizes, our boys are big eaters and there is no way even with lots of veggies and rice that 1.5# of thighs would feed 4 of us, let alone 6. I think part of eating clean, whole foods is recognizing you may have to eat more to feel full. Mind over much mentions this on her you tube channel and it was such a relief to hear a pro echoing what my husband and I notice in our house. Friends of mine with growing kids have the same issue. If anyone is reading this and taking suggestions, bigger recipes and meal prep would be great!! :) Thank you!! P.s. one of our faves is her Instant pot wild rice and mushroom soup but again I have to cook extra sides to feed us for dinner.

  2. WOW! I just received an email from you that I won the Instant Pot and the Cookbook. I tried to reply to you from the email but it didn’t work. I am hoping this will get to you. Please contact me so I can give you my address. Thank you sooo much. Dorothy

  3. This looks yummy! I don’t have an instant pot, but would love to win one to try this recipe! My friend made buffalo chicken dip in an instant pot and it was delicious – so I would have to say that is my favorite recipe (so far).

  4. my favorite IP recipe is stuffed green pepper soup, but I also make hard boiled eggs, various chicken recipes, and I love to try new recipes. I am a bit of a recipe hoarder, but I do actually use them!

  5. Can you make the vegan version with chickpeas in the slow cooker? I am behind the times and don’t have an instant pot.

  6. I made this recipe a few weeks ago because it was in the preorder bonus of Megan’s book. It’s amazing! It’s my favorite instapot recipe so far because of the taste, but also because it made it super easy to cook rice and chickpeas at the same time. Totally recommend. Pot in pot is like magic!

  7. This looks delicious, and I’ll have to try it soon! My favorite instant pot recipe so far is broccoli beef! So yummy!

  8. My favorite Instant Pot recipes are the Kalua Pork from NomNomPaleo and the Lentil soup from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. I’m looking forward to trying this!

  9. I’ve only just begun to use my Instant Pot – have had a couple of successes and a couple of failures. Made a lasagna soup that came out pretty well. Thanks for the chance.

  10. My friend has an Instant Pot and loves it. She makes a beef stew in “minutes”. I would love to have an Instant Pot and especially your cookbook. I like the way you give alternative methods for cooking the same recipe.

  11. We’ve come a long way from the old stovetop pressure cookers that I learned to cook in! Can’t wait to get started with an Instant Pot.

  12. I would love to tell you my favorite recipe, but I do not have an I staple yet. I have been eyeing one and this book. Maybe I’ll get lucky.

  13. I am so excited about this new cookbook! My favorite recipe is a vegan Mushroom, Lentil and Wild Rice Soup. It’s perfect for Fall!

    Sauté 1 diced onion until soft. Add in 1 cup shredded carrots and sauté 1 note minute. Then add all the following:
    1 cup lentils (sprouted is ok)
    16 oz diced mushrooms
    3/4 cup wild rice (sprouted is ok)
    6 cups broth or water
    1.5 tsp dried thyme
    1.5 tsp garlic powder
    1 tsp onion powder
    1/2 tsp pepper
    1.5 tsp salt
    Cook on “soup” setting for 20 minutes. Natural Release. Stir in 1 cup of coconut cream.

  14. I really want to get in on the instapot craze! I’ve never used one but the fact thatst thing i would make is Carribean Chicken and Rice!

  15. I just ordered her book yesterday but I don’t have an instant pot yet. I loved her other two books so I am sure I will find a few new favorites in the new book too. I would love to try vegan mac n cheese but this chicken tikka masala looks delicious too!

  16. There are two picky eaters in our family, so I try to sneak in as many veggies as possible in their diet. My favorite recipe is for thick Butternut squash soup (carrots, onion, parsnip, celery and garlic with cubed squash and some chicken for perfect taste). We serve it with avocado. New whole wheat nan bread would go great with it!

  17. I don’t own an Instant Pot – so I could not be a more perfect person for this giveaway!!! And the first recipe I would make is the one listed right here – Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala. Then I would keep right on burning through that there cookbook to make more recipes!!!

  18. My favorite instant pot recipe is one for a beef stew. I love how the meat comes out so tender without that much effort or time!

  19. I’m excited to see that the rice can be cooked at the same time! I just bought one of the stackable 2-in-1 pan sets for the Instant Pot to allow for this very thing, but that set doesn’t have a bowl as deep as the 7″ one you mentioned (and I don’t have one that would fit otherwise). Is this something that can be done in the stackable set?

    Also, is it possible to use brown rice instead? Or due to the need to have the same cooking time is only white rice advised?

    Finally, my favorite Instant Pot recipe is the Super Healthy Kids 10 minute frozen salmon one. A life saver for those nights when we end up not having something ready when we get home!

    1. You can definitely use one of the bowls from your stackable set to do the rice, but you might want to put that on a trivet that is above the chicken tikka masala filling at the bottom of the pot. I bought one of those stackable sets and I found that when I tried to cook things in it directly (setting the set on the bottom of the pot filled with a cup of water to bring it to pressure) that the food inside the stackable set didn’t cook properly with the times given compared to using a pan set on a trivet. It almost doubled the cooking time to use the stacked set, so I wasn’t thrilled with that.

      Regarding the type of rice, brown rice cooks in 22 minutes in the Instant Pot, so you’d need to increase the cooking time on this recipe to that. Since I used chicken thighs here, they should be able to stand up to that amount of time.

  20. My favorite instant pot recipe is Vegan Mushroom Bourguignon from Vegan Heaven. It’s fantastic and very comforting.

  21. I love Nom Nom Paleo’s Instant Pot ground beef chili– the flavors are so good that I make it w/ground chicken and ground turkey w/great success as well.

  22. Not so much of a recipe, but I love making hard boiled eggs in the Instant Pot. So much easier than stovetop method!

  23. My favorite instant pot recipe thus far is the Skinnytaste chicken enchilada soup. It’s so easy to just throw everything into the instant pot and have a delicious meal!

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