A Heavenly Delight: Air Fried and Instant Potted Butter Chicken!

Who wouldn’t drool over a plate of creamy and delicious butter chicken? Picture this: tandoori-flavored chicken cooked to perfection in an air fryer, and then smothered in a luscious, creamy sauce prepared in an Instant Pot. It’s the perfect harmony of convenience and taste!

Butter chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, has an interesting origin story. It was accidentally discovered in 1974 when leftover tandoori chicken was added to a tomato gravy, mixed with butter and cream, and voila! A treasure was born. This delightful dish has since traveled the world, capturing hearts with its rich and creamy texture. Marinated in warm spices and grilled in a Tandoor, the chicken acquires a delicious charred taste. Serve it with buttery Naan or fragrant Basmati rice for a truly exquisite experience.

Now, you might wonder why we chose to utilize the power of both an air fryer and an Instant Pot. Well, it’s simple—summertime in Seattle can be scorching hot, leaving us reluctant to switch on the stove or oven. That’s where the trusty Instant Pot, our reliable kitchen workhorse, comes to the rescue. Additionally, the air fryer works wonders, cooking the chicken to perfection while creating a beautiful char that mimics the flavors of a Tandoor. It’s not only healthier than deep frying but also produces a crispy layer that rivals any traditional oven-cooked dish. We recommend the Gourmia 5 Qt Air Fryer—it’s a true winner!

As for the Instant Pot, it’s a game-changer. If you don’t have one, you’re missing out! With this incredible appliance, there’s no need to babysit your cooking. Simply add all the ingredients, and while it works its magic, you can attend to other tasks. It’s nothing short of cool! The Instant Pot even has its own air fryer lid, which has received rave reviews. Imagine preparing everything in just one pot—convenience at its finest.

Further reading:  Frozen Pot Pie in Air Fryer

Now, let’s dive into the recipe, shall we?


To marinate the chicken:

  • 2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs
  • 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp ginger paste and 1/2 tsp garlic paste (or use ginger-garlic paste)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt

For the gravy:

  • 1/4 cup butter (half a stick)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • A few curry leaves (optional)
  • 2-3 green chilies, chopped in half
  • 1/4 cup cashews
  • 1 tsp ginger paste and 1/2 tsp garlic paste (or use ginger-garlic paste)
  • 3-4 medium-sized tomatoes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro/coriander leaves


  1. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and marinate them for an hour with all the ingredients listed in the marination section.
    Marinate the chicken

  2. Cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least an hour. For convenience, you can marinate it overnight.

  3. Transfer the marinated chicken to the air fryer. Spray it with avocado oil cooking spray and “fry” the chicken for 15 minutes at 400F, flipping it halfway through at 8 minutes. Depending on the size of your air fryer, fry the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding.
    Air fry the chicken

  4. While the chicken is air frying, turn on your Instant Pot’s Sauté mode on high heat. Add butter and once it’s melted, add the diced onion. Let the onion sauté for 5 minutes or until it’s soft.

  5. Add curry leaves, green chilies, and ginger-garlic paste. Sauté for a minute.

  6. Add cashews and tomatoes, and let them cook for an additional 5 minutes.

  7. Close the Instant Pot lid, cancel the sauté mode, and switch to Pressure Cook/Manual mode. Set the time to 10 minutes and ensure the sealing mode is activated.
    Pressure cook the tomato-onion mixture

  8. After the Instant Pot timer is done, let the pressure release naturally (NPR), and then carefully open the lid.

  9. Transfer the contents to a blender or use an immersion blender to blend the tomato-onion mixture.

  10. Return the blended mixture to the Instant Pot and turn on the Sauté mode on medium heat. Add salt, chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, crushed kasoori methi, and cumin powder.

  11. Saute the mixture for 5 minutes, then add the air-fried chicken. Let the whole thing come to a boil for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat. Adjust the consistency by adding water if needed.

  12. Finish off by adding the cream and sauté for a couple more minutes. Turn off the Instant Pot and garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve hot with butter or garlic naan, or rice.

Further reading:  A Flavorful Takeout-Style Dish: Fusia Asian Inspirations General Tso's Chicken

Important Notes:

  • When it comes to using chicken thighs or breasts, we recommend chicken thighs for their juicy tenderness. However, chicken breasts work great in a pinch.
  • If you don’t have garam masala readily available, feel free to use your own recipe or a store-bought version. Let us know in the comments if you’d like us to share our garam masala recipe.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have an air fryer or Instant Pot. This recipe can easily be made on the stovetop. Simply follow the same steps, shallow fry the chicken, and prepare the gravy in a saucepan.

That’s it! Now you have the perfect recipe to satisfy your cravings for heavenly butter chicken. We hope you’ll give it a try and share your feedback with us. We’d love to hear about your experience.

Pin it for later and get ready for a flavor-packed adventure!