Instant Pot Chicken Madras Recipe

If you love chicken and a little bit of spice, then we have the perfect recipe for you. The great part about this chicken dish is that it's full of flavor, thanks to the fact that it is filled to the brim with a melody of spices. Another great part about this recipe is that you use an Instant Pot to make it, making your job a lot easier. Recipe developer Ting Dalton is known for creating flavorful dishes, and this one is no exception. "I love the spices and the heat of this madras," Dalton raves. "But while the flavor packs a punch, this is such a quick and simple recipe." We must admit that we love a recipe that is easy but still has plenty of flavor. 

This recipe would be great for a family dinner but there are also so many other occasions that you could use as an excuse to serve it. Dalton says that it would be "great for [a] get-together with friends — put a big pot in the middle and let everyone help themselves." 

Keep reading to find out how to make this wonderful dish.

Gather the ingredients

First, it's time for a trip to the grocery store to get some ingredients. You will need to make a stop in the produce section for an onion, garlic, and fresh ginger for starters. In addition, grab a red chili pepper for a little bit of spice. You will also need some vegetable oil, which you likely have at home.

The longest stop will be in the spice section. Luckily, if you cook a lot, you may have a lot of these already. You will need turmeric, garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, white pepper, and hot chili powder. The primary source of protein in this is chicken, and you will need at least four breasts. The last few things you need are a lemon, a can of chopped tomatoes, and fresh chopped cilantro.

Mix the paste and prep the Instant Pot

For this first step, you will need a blender and some spices. Open the lid to the blender and toss in the chopped onion, red chili pepper, ginger, and garlic and blend until it becomes a paste.

Now, grab your trusty kitchen helper, aka the Instant Pot, and put in your oil. Set the pot to Sauté mode and heat the oil. Once the oil gets hot, add in the paste and fry for 4 to 5 minutes until it softens. "This is one of my husband's favorite curries, and while you can make it on the stove, the Instant Pot is so much quicker," Dalton shares.

Add the spices and chicken

Once your oil and paste have softened together, add in all of your spices. Yes, all of them. This includes turmeric, cumin, garam masala, ground coriander, and chili powder. Sauté well for a few minutes, as this will help the spices to release their wonderful flavor. "Madras curries are on the spicier side. If you want less heat, leave out the fresh chili [pepper] and [use] only 1 teaspoon of chili powder," Dalton shares.

Dice your chicken breasts and add them to the Instant Pot. Be sure to coat each piece in the spices and paste. If something sticks to the bottom of the pot, add a splash of water to help deglaze. If you want to add a few veggies, Dalton says that "spinach would work well, as would green peas or even lentils or potatoes." 

Add the tomatoes and pressure cook

Now, add in the can of tomatoes and combine them well with everything else already in the Instant Pot. You don't need to strain the tomatoes; simply open the can and pour them in. Then, sprinkle salt and pepper over the top to taste. 

Place the lid back on the Instant Pot and set to Pressure Cook mode on high for five minutes. When it's done, be sure to let the pressure release naturally for five minutes. That's why we love the Instant Pot ... because it literally does the work for you. 

Stir in lemon and serve

The last thing you need to add is juice from half your lemon. Add it in and give everything a few good stirs. Now, you can put the chicken madras into individual bowls and top each with chopped cilantro. As Dalton mentioned before, you could also serve it in a big bowl instead and let your guests serve themselves. Really, the possibilities are endless. Dalton recommends serving with yogurt, rice, poppadoms, or naan bread

As far as leftovers go? We don't think you will have any but if you do, Dalton recommends storing them "in a suitable container for up to three days but heat through [before eating]. Freeze for up to three months." Now, all that's left for you to do is enjoy! 

Instant Pot Chicken Madras Recipe
5 from 53 ratings
This spicy, flavorful Indian dish is ready in under 30 minutes with your Instant Pot -- perfect for a weeknight meal or dinner with friends.
Prep Time
Cook Time
chicken madras in a bowl
Total time: 20 minutes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red chili pepper, chopped
  • 1 (1-inch) piece of ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons hot chili powder
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1 (14-ounce) can chopped tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • A handful of chopped cilantro, for serving
  1. In a blender, blitz the onion, red chili pepper, ginger, and garlic together until it becomes a paste.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and heat the oil.
  3. Add the paste and fry for 4 to 5 minutes until it softens.
  4. Then add the turmeric, cumin, garam masala, coriander, and chili powder. Sauté well for a few minutes so the spices release their flavor.
  5. Add the chicken and make sure each piece is coated in all the spices and paste. If anything is sticking to the bottom, add a splash of water to deglaze the bottom.
  6. Add the tomatoes and combine well.
  7. Stir in the salt and pepper.
  8. Place the lid on top of the Instant Pot, and set to Pressure Cook mode on high for 5 minutes. Once done, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
  9. Stir in the lemon juice.
  10. Sprinkle chopped cilantro on top and serve immediately.
Calories per Serving 393
Total Fat 20.5 g
Saturated Fat 5.0 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 111.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 13.9 g
Dietary Fiber 4.2 g
Total Sugars 5.0 g
Sodium 811.0 mg
Protein 38.6 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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