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Instant Pot Chicken Korma is a super-fast way to enjoy this spicy, rich Pakistani-style curry. It’s quick to make, but the recipe doesn’t sacrifice flavor for speed. Serve it with Butter Garlic Naan to mop up the tasty sauce.
What is Chicken Korma?
Chicken Korma is a popular South Asian dish with roots in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Tender chunks of chicken are simmered in a sauce that is at once creamy, sweet, and spicy.
To make traditional Chicken Korma, chicken marinates in yogurt, which tenderizes the meat and helps to infuse it with the flavors of the marinade, including ginger, garlic, coriander, garam masala, and chiles.
Coconut milk or cream gives this sauce a rich, creamy backdrop to balance the intensity of the spices.
Why you’ll love this Instant Pot Chicken Korma
This Instant Pot Chicken Korma is a comforting, creamy, hearty, and delicious chicken curry. It is full of flavor from garlic, ginger, coriander, and other seasonings.
The chicken in this Chicken Korma recipe turns out super tender because it is marinated in yogurt. The enzymes in the yogurt tenderize the meat.
Those enzymes also make the meat more receptive to soaking up the flavors of the marinade. Chicken marinated in yogurt and seasonings bursts with flavor. In this case, the chicken is infused with ginger, garlic, coriander, and more.
The best thing is that this Instant Pot Chicken Korma recipe provides all the flavor of an authentic Chicken Korma, but in significantly less time. You can make this totally delicious and easy chicken korma recipe in an less than an hour, and that includes 30 minutes of marinating time.
Ingredients you need
Layering of spices is such an integral part of many South Asian cuisines that often ingredient lists for South Asian recipes are super long. This one is made a bit shorter by using a spice mixture, garam masala, rather than using all of the individual spices. Here’s what you need to make Instant Pot Chicken Korma:
- Yogurt—You can use regular or Greek yogurt, just be sure to use the full-fat variety.
- Ground turmeric—Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that provides both flavor and color to the savory sauce.
- Ground red chile powder—Chili powder adds heat to the dish. I like to use Kashmiri chile powder if I have it, but you can substitute cayenne pepper or any hot ground red chile you like or have on hand (don’t use Mexican-style “Chili Powder,” though, as that is usually mild and contains other spices like cumin and oregano that don’t necessarily fit here.)
- Chicken—Skinless, boneless chicken thighs are the best choice here, but you can substitute chicken breasts or bone-in chicken pieces if you like.
- Neutral oil—You can use any neutral-flavored oil here. Safflower, coconut, avocado, peanut, canola, sunflower seed, or corn oil are all good choices.
- Onion—Use white or yellow/brown onion here. You can substitute shallots if that’s what you have on hand.
- Ginger-garlic paste—I usually mince or grate my own garlic and ginger, but the store-bought ginger garlic paste is a nice shortcut. If you make your own, use equal parts garlic and ginger.
- Ground coriander—Coriander is one of the key flavors of a classic Chicken Korma sauce, so don’t be tempted to leave this out.
- Garam masala—This spice mixture is a common ingredient in any authentic chicken korma recipe. It usually contains cardamom, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, peppercorns, fennel, and mace. You can buy garam masala in many supermarkets, Indian markets, or online.
- Coconut milk—Look for canned, unsweetened coconut milk that has no or very few additives (most have thickeners like xanthan gum, and that’s okay). You can substitute heavy cream in your Instant Pot Chicken Korma if you like.
- Green chile peppers—You can use any fresh green chile peppers you like. Jalapeno, serrano, or other spicy peppers. If you prefer a milder dish, you can substitute 1 small green bell pepper.
- Chopped cilantro—A garnish of cilantro adds color and a nice bright, fresh, herby flavor.
How to make it
This Instant Pot Chicken Korma recipe is quick and easy to make. Here’s how to make chicken korma in your Instant Pot:
- Stir together the yogurt, salt, turmeric, and chile powder. Add the chicken, stir to coat, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Heat the oil in the Instant Pot using the sauté function. When the oil is hot, add the onion and cook, stirring, until it begins to brown. Add the ginger garlic paste, garam masala, and coriander.
- Add in the marinated chicken pieces to the Instant Pot and cook for a few more minutes to sear the outside.
- Stir in the coconut milk and fresh chilies and cancel the sauté function.
- Seal the lid of the Instant Pot and pressure cook pressure cook for 7 minutes.
- Once the pressure-cooking cycle is over, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes and then quick release any remaining pressure.
- Using the sauté function again, simmer the curry for a few more minutes to thicken up the sauce a bit.
- Serve the chicken korma hot, garnished with cilantro and any other toppings or condiments you like.
What to Serve with Chicken Korma
This saucy Chicken Korma curry dish is best served with steamed basmati rice or naan bread, like Butter Garlic Naan. The rice or bread soaks up all the delicious korma sauce so you don’t miss a drop.
Chicken Pakora, Paneer Pakora, Samosas, and Air Fryer Samosas make great starters, too! Add a quick Kachumber Salad, Cucumber Raita, and an assortment of chutneys like Cilantro Mint Chutney, Tamarind Chutney, Cucumber Raita, or Mango Chutney, too, for variety.
More Indian Instant Pot recipes you’ll love
Instant Pot Chicken Korma
- 1 cup full-fat plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 teaspoons ground red chile like Kashmiri chili powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken thighs, chicken cut into 2-inch pieces (or substitute chicken breasts or skinless, bone-in chicken pieces)
- 1 tablespoon oil any neutral oil
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste or substitute 1 tablespoon grated ginger and 1 tablespoon grated garlic
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
- 2 green chilies halved
- Chopped cilantro
- In a bowl, combine the yogurt, 1 teaspoon of the salt, turmeric, and chili powder. Add the chicken, stir to coat, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Put the oil in the Instant Pot and heat it using the sauté function. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the onion and cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion begins to brown. Add the ginger and garlic paste and cook, stirring, for about 15 seconds, until it becomes fragrant, and then stir in the remaining teaspoon of salt, garam masala, and coriander. Add in the marinated chicken pieces and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Then stir in the coconut milk and green chilies. Press the cancel button to turn off the sauté function.
- Seal the lid of the Instant Pot and then pressure cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.
- Once the pressure-cooking cycle is over, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes.
- Quick release any remaining pressure and then unseal the lid.
- Select the sauté function again and cook the curry, stirring, another 3 to 4 minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit.
- Serve hot, garnished with the cilantro.