Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice (with Dairy-Free option)

Instant Pot Easy Butter Chicken with Saffron Rice by Spice Cravings. Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice! This 'Easy Butter Chicken' is a quick & easy "weeknight" recipe. I simplified the butter chicken recipe, cut down cooking time, and still retained that amazing delicious flavor. #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie

Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice. This recipe for Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice in the instant pot is the super-easy adaptation of my recipe for Authentic Butter Chicken. Butter Chicken is one of my kids’ favorite Indian curries. With this recipe, I simplified the cooking process to be less than 30 minutes, without losing any of that amazing rich flavor.

In my original recipe, I marinate the chicken overnight, grill it and then simmer it in the sauce. In this easier and time saving recipe, I skip the marination, add extra Garam Masala to the sauce, use diced boneless skinless chicken and pressure cook it. As a result, the flavors seep into the chicken and it tastes phenomenal. This recipe is my weeknight-friendly variation that’ll leave you amazed. Try it and enjoy a restaurant style Indian treat, right in the comfort of your home, even on a weeknight!

Instant Pot Easy Butter Chicken with Saffron Rice by Spice Cravings. Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice! This 'Easy Butter Chicken' is a quick & easy "weeknight" recipe. I simplified the butter chicken recipe, cut down cooking time, and still retained that amazing delicious flavor. #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie

Traditional Recipe

In my original recipe for Authentic Butter Chicken, I follow the traditional method and marinate the chicken overnight in yogurt and toasted ground Garam Masala. I then grill it and simmer it in a tomato-cream sauce for a few minutes.   Marinating the chicken makes the chicken moist, juicy, and flavorful.  Grilling it adds a delicious char-broiled smoky flavor to it.  Believe me, all that effort is worth the time it takes to make it. But I was looking to simplify this recipe, so I would be able to make it more often since my kids enjoy it so much. After a few attempts, I finally succeeded, as in, it was approved by the “butter chicken connoisseurs”, aka, my kids 🙂

I skipped the marination step, boosted the flavor of the sauce by adding more garam masala, added smoked paprika to add a subtle smoky flavor, and pressure cooked the chicken so it would take all of those wonderful flavors.

The Origin of Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani, literally means ‘chicken cooked in a buttery rich sauce’. It is an authentic Punjabi dish (North-Indian) that was created in the 1950s, in a super popular restaurant in New Delhi called ‘Moti Mahal Delux’. The founder and chef of the restaurant decided to use left-over Tandoori Chicken (Indian-Spiced Grilled Chicken) in a rich and buttery tomato gravy. Little did he know, that he was creating one of the most popular curry dishes from the Indian subcontinent.

Instant Pot Easy Butter-Chicken by Spice Cravings. Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice! This 'Easy Butter Chicken' is a quick & easy "weeknight" recipe. I simplified the butter chicken recipe, cut down cooking time, and still retained that amazing delicious flavor. #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie

Click here to see some of my other ONE-POT recipes.

Dairy-Free/Lactose-free & Gluten Free:

This recipe can be made dairy-free by substituting the heavy cream with full-fat coconut milk. It’s as easy as that. There is no other substitution required. And, this recipe is Gluten-free, which makes it perfect for entertaining as well.

Make it Vegetarian

The base sauce that I make this recipe is vegetarian. So, you can easily switch the protein in this dish and make it vegetarian. You can add Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese), extra-firm Tofu, mushrooms, or, a medley of veggies as well. Check out the recipe for a vegetarian favorite that I make with this sauce,  Paneer Butter Masala, or, Paneer Makhani.

Instant pot paneer butter masala, instant pot paneer makhani

Pairing Suggestions for Easy Butter Chicken


I love pairing Easy Butter Chicken with Saffron Rice! Both these dishes are aromatic and have intense flavor, as a result of which, they compliment each other so well. Basmati rice is cooked in a Saffron infused broth to make Saffron Rice.  Saffron compliments the aromatic and nutty basmati rice and elevates it to an elegant side dish. Click here for the step-by-step recipe of Saffron Rice.

Another popular pairing with Butter Chicken is Cumin Rice (Zeera Rice).

Jeera rice , basmati rice flavored with fried cumin seeds
Cumin Rice (Zeera Rice)

A side of Cucumber Raita really completes this meal. Since this recipe uses warm Indian spices, yogurt balances that warmth and adds a cooling freshness to this Easy Butter Chicken meal.
Cucumber Yoghurt Dip / Cucumber Raita
Cucumber Yoghurt Dip / Cucumber Raita

POT-in-POT: Cooking Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice in the same pot

In this recipe, I cooked everything in one-pot, using the pot-in-pot technique in my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot. Since chicken and basmati rice have the same cook time (6 minutes on high pressure), it is a great combination to make in one-pot. Watch the video above to see how easy this process is. 

If you have more time, here is my recipe for authentic and traditional BUTTER CHICKEN.    With an extra sauting step, it adds a whole new dimension of flavor.   Give it a shot, I promise you, it’ll be worth your time!

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Instant Pot Easy Butter Chicken with Saffron Rice by Spice Cravings. Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice! This 'Easy Butter Chicken' is a quick & easy "weeknight" recipe. I simplified the butter chicken recipe, cut down cooking time, and still retained that amazing delicious flavor. #cooking #food #recipe #recipes #foodphotography #foodblogger #yummy #delicious #foodie
Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice (with Dairy-Free option)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
25 mins
 

Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with saffron flavored basmati rice. This recipe for Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice is the super-easy adaptation of my recipe for Authentic Butter Chicken. With this recipe, I simplified the cooking process to be less than 30 minutes, without losing any of that amazing rich flavor.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 371 kcal
Author: Spice Cravings
Ingredients
Butter Chicken
Add after cooking
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream OR, Full-Fat Coconut milk for dairy Free option
  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar optional
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Saffron Rice
Instructions
  1. Rice: Rinse basmati rice 2-3 times, till the water runs clear. In an oven safe bowl, add rice, water, saffron, that has been microwaved for 20 seconds in water, oil, salt and slivered almonds. Keep aside.

  2. Sauce: Turn Instant pot on SAUTE. Turning saute will warm everything through while we assemble the recipe, thereby reducing the pressure building time. Add oil, ginger garlic paste, tomato sauce and spices. I puree diced tomatoes, but you can also use ripe tomatoes and puree them. Add chicken pieces and stir.
  3. Place trivet and put the rice bowl on top of that. Close the lid. Cancel SAUTE. Pressure cook for 6 minutes on Manual/pressure Cook. Vent set to Sealing position.
  4. Wait 10 minutes and release all the pressure by turning the valve from Sealing to Venting position (NPR 10). Open lid after pin drops. Remove rice and fluff with a fork. Turn on SAUTE. Add heavy cream or Coconut milk and saute for 2-3 minutes, till the sauce thickens a bit. Optionally, add sugar and stir. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with Saffron rice and Naan!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

If you are new to the Instant Pot, please read my FAQ on Instant Pot Terminology and Accessories to learn more.

 

Note: The nutrition facts below are my estimates.  If you are following any diet plan, I recommend cross-checking with your preferred nutrition calculator.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice (with Dairy-Free option)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 371 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 22g 34%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 202mg 67%
Sodium 892mg 37%
Potassium 670mg 19%
Total Carbohydrates 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 3g
Protein 34g 68%
Vitamin A 23.3%
Vitamin C 14.6%
Calcium 7.2%
Iron 15.8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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Instant Pot Easy Butter Chicken with Saffron Rice by Spice Cravings. Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice! This 'Easy Butter Chicken' is a quick & easy

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