This 21 Day Fix Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala is an easy and insanely delicious (and healthy!) make-your-own-take-out dinner! It’s perfect for meal prep and gluten-free!
Hi! This was originally posted on January 4, 2019, but I’ve updated it to include stovetop instructions for those of you without Instant Pots!
Hey guys!! So I’m crazy excited today because this 21 Day Fix Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (say that 3 times fast!) is my first official recipe of the year and I just KNOW that you’re going to fall head over heals for it.
If you’re trying to eat healthier but don’t want to eat plain baked chicken, I’ve totally got you with this one. Well, and this one, and this one, and this one… you get it. But seriously with this Chicken Tikka Masala, you guys. You NEED to make it asap.
Anyway, I tested this one a zillion times because I wanted it to be perfect. I tested different spice combos, different tomato products, the whole nine. I never tired of it though. I’m convinced that you just can’t tire of this dish. Like maybe this is one of those “if you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life what would it be” kind of things. I could totally do that.
Indian food is life, people. And chicken tikka masala has always been one of my favorite Indian dishes what with all of it’s spicy, aromatic, creamy deliciousness and all.
Oh, and can we talk thighs for a minute? Because I just can’t do chicken breasts in the Instant Pot unless they’re shredded. I don’t know what it is, but I’ve tried every trick in the book and the texture is just freaking weird. Is it just me?
Are Chicken Thighs 21 Day Fix approved?
While chicken thighs aren’t in the 21 Day Fix book, or on any 21DF food list that you’ll find, after doing some research (which you can read in my Instant Pot Chicken Teriyaki post if you’re interested), I came to the conclusion that there’s really no reason why we can’t have chicken thighs on the 21 Day Fix, stats wise.
I think thighs just get a bad rap, honestly. If you do a good job trimming the fat off of them, they’re perfectly fine to have. Which, btw, is why I always buy boneless, they’re SO much easier to trim!
Some quick notes about this 21 Day Fix Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala:
- This recipe calls for the thick cream at the top of a can of full fat coconut milk. When I’m shopping for coconut milk, what I like to do is give the can I’m looking at a little shake, if I can feel/hear the coconut milk sloshing around, I keep looking until I find one that doesn’t do that. Then I don’t have to worry about trying to remember to stick it in the fridge the night before to get the cream to set.
- This recipe calls for fresh ginger. Fresh ginger is SO amazing and a key component to this dish. What I usually do is buy a large one, peel it and throw it in the freezer. Then when I need it, all I have to do is pull it out of the freezer and grate the amount that I need using the small side of my box grater. It lasts forever that way!
- This recipe also calls for fresh garlic. I just wanted to share with you my favorite garlic-mincing gadget, because it saves me SO much time and I think you’ll like it. The Garlic Twister (affiliate link).
- You can serve this with some brown rice, or you can do what I prefer and serve it with my Garlic-Cilantro Cauliflower Rice so you can have some whole wheat naan or pita bread with it. SO GOOD!
- Lastly, please don’t let the long ingredient list discourage you. Many of the ingredients are just spices, and many of them are listed twice (because they’re used in both the marinade and the sauce) to avoid confusion. This really is such an easy, delicious meal!
Want to add some other tasty, Indian-inspired dishes to your meal plan? Check out my quick and easy Skinny Saag Chicken, this delish Indian-spiced grilled chicken, and this Cardamom Chia Seed Pudding with Mango. That chia seed pudding makes a great snack OR dessert! And if you’re looking for more Instant Pot meal prep recipes, I’ve got you covered, click here!
I really hope you guys get obsessed with this one like I have!! And I hope you’re having the best start to the new year ever!
Save this 21 Day Fix Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala to Pinterest! ↓↓
Just FYI – this recipe has only been tested in the Instant Pot 6-quart duo (which you can check out here! <- affiliate link) – If you have an 8 qt, you may need to add more liquid.
If you make this 21 Day Fix Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala recipe be sure to snap a pic and tag me @thefoodieandthefix or use #thefoodieandthefix on Instagram so I can check it out! I love watching your stories! It makes me ridiculously happy to see what you guys are making 🙂
- 2 - 3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2 lbs for 4-5 servings, 3 lbs for about 7 servings**), trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (0%, 1% or 2%) - or dairy-free yogurt if you're DF (just be sure to adjust 21 Day Fix counts if necessary)
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp of grated fresh ginger
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 1/2 cups of chopped onion (1 medium onion)
- 1 Tbs tomato paste
- 1 can (14.5 oz) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
- 2 Tbs water (1/2 cup for stovetop version)
- 6 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 Tbs garam masala
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp salt (only 1/4 tsp for stovetop version)
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- the thick cream from the top of 1 can of full-fat coconut milk (should be about 2/3 cup)
- 1/2 Tbs garam masala
- chopped cilantro (as much as you like!)
- cayenne, to taste (my fam can't take the heat, so I leave this out but it still has a kick from the garlic and ginger!)
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the chicken and coat with yogurt mixture. Put in a gallon-size ziploc bag (or any lidded container) and refrigerate an hour or more (just fyi, I've forgotten to do this ahead before and it only sat in the fridge for about 20 minutes while I prepped the rest of this dish and it still came out great!).
- Spray the liner of your Instant Pot with olive oil cooking spray and turn on your saute function. Saute the onions for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally (these don't have to completely soften as they'll finish cooking under pressure). Stir in remaining sauce ingredients. Put the chicken with the yogurt mixture on top of the sauce, don't stir. This helps prevent burning. Cook on manual (or pressure cook) for 8 minutes with a quick release after cooking.
- Remove lid, then remove the chicken and put into your serving dish and cover with foil, leaving as much of the tomatoes and onions in the pot as possible. Pour everything left in the pot into a blender* with 1/2 Tbs garam masala and blend until smooth. Give it a taste, if you want more heat, add cayenne to taste. Add the coconut cream and blend again. Pour the sauce over your chicken, stir and serve with the chopped cilantro!
- Mix together all of the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add the chicken and coat with yogurt mixture. Put in a gallon-size ziploc bag (or any lidded container) and refrigerate an hour or more (just FYI, I've forgotten to do this ahead before and it only sat in the fridge for about 20 minutes while I prepped the rest of this dish and it still came out great!).
- Spray a large saute pan with olive oil cooking spray and heat to medium. Saute the onions until softened. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute, then stir in the remaining sauce ingredients. Bring to a bubble, then stir in the chicken with the yogurt mixture. Bring to a bubble again, put the lid on (turning the heat down to medium-low and cook for about 10 minutes).
- Remove the lid, turn the heat back up to medium, stir and let simmer until chicken has fully cooked and sauce has thickened, another 5-10 minutes. Add the finishing ingredients and serve! (FYI, I don't blend the sauce for the stovetop version because it doesn't need thickened as much the way the IP version does. However, you can if you like)!
- *I don't like to use an immersion blender for this because occasionally some of the sauce will stick to the bottom of the pot and you don't want to bring up any burnt sauce with the immersion blender.
- **I've found that once trimmed and cooked, 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs ends up being between 2 and 2 1/2 Red (3/4 cup each) servings of protein.
- *** If using 3 lbs of chicken instead of two, this does create a little extra liquid and you may need to cook the liquid down a bit and/or add extra seasonings.
21 Day Fix Container counts per serving: 1 Red, 1/2 Green, 1/4 Blue
Weight Watchers Freestyle Points: 7
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 7 Serving Size: 3/4 cup of chicken, 1/2 cup of sauce
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 305Total Fat: 13g