Chicken Tikka Masala {with Slow Cooker & Pressure Cooker Variations}
Recipe type: Main, Chicken, Gluten-Free
Cuisine: Indian
Makes: 4 servings
This recipe (and the variations) comes from The Kitchn. I love making it in my Instant Pot for a quick and flavourful meal, with roasted cauliflower and brown basmati rice or homemade naan.
  • 1-1½ lb (454-680 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup (125 mL) plain yogurt (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch (2.5 cm) piece of ginger, peeled and minced or grated
  • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) tomato paste
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 mL) garam masala
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) turmeric
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp (1 mL) cayenne pepper
  • 1 can (28 fl oz/796 mL) diced or crushed tomatoes, preferably no salt added
  • ½-¾ cup (125-185 mL) coconut milk, plain yogurt or cream
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  1. [Optional] Mix chicken thighs and plain yogurt together in a large bowl. Cover and marinate for up to 6 hours.
  2. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring, until browned. Add onions and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent. Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Stir in tomato paste and spices, until all ingredients are well-coated.
  3. Deglaze the pan with a bit of tomato juice from the canned tomatoes. Add in the canned tomatoes. Bring the mixture to a boil and lower heat. Simmer until sauce is slightly thickened and chicken is cooked through, about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Stir in coconut milk, yogurt or cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.
Slow Cooker Variation
  1. Follow steps 1-2, using a skillet instead of a large pot. Pour the contents of the skillet into the slow cooker, along with canned tomatoes.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on High, or 8 hours on Low. Stir in coconut milk, plain yogurt or cream during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.
Pressure Cooker Variation
  1. Follow steps 1-3, using the pot of the pressure cooker instead of a large pot, and omitting the tomato paste. Add in only ½ can diced or crushed tomatoes, and add ½ cup (125 mL) of chicken broth or water.
  2. Close and lock lid. Pressure cook for 10 minutes using HIGH pressure. Release pressure immediately after cooking time has ended. Stir in coconut milk, plain yogurt or cream. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving.
Recipe by Vincci Tsui, RD | Calgary Registered Dietitian at