Meg Makes | Making our mark on Instant Pot butter chicken

Meg Makes | Making our mark on Instant Pot butter chicken

I'm in love with a kitchen appliance.

The Instant Pot is an electronic pressure cooker, and for a year and a half now, I've been using it for everything from making gallons of homemade yogurt to sterilizing baby-bottle parts.

I'm not the only one — the Instant Pot has a cult following online, and "The Indian Instant Pot Cookbook" by Urvashi Pitre is a best-seller.

I bought the cookbook for my husband's birthday. While we were excited to try butter chicken (Pitre is known as the "Butter Chicken Lady"), we of course had to tinker with the recipe a bit.

We added more tomatoes and introduced lentils, which are more substantial than rice.

I've also translated the recipe to work on a stovetop. Because you're making a sauce and simmering chicken in it, it's not terribly different.

The resulting dish landed squarely in you-can-make-this-again territory. You could also change up the protein in this one — there's a good probability that butter sauce will be delicious on nearly anything.


1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and drained

3 cups water

1 tablespoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon ground paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes

1 diced red onion

2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

handful fresh cilantro

Combine lentils and water in large saucepan. Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook about 15 to 20 minutes, or until lentils are cooked through. Set aside. (If you're using an electronic pressure cooker, cook on rice setting.)

In your pan, combine spices and onion and cook over medium-high heat. Add chicken to pot and simmer until cooked through, about 30 minutes. (Or mix sauce while on saute setting on your electronic pressure cooker, then add chicken and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Let pressure release naturally.)

Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Add cilantro to sauce and use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. (Or pour into your blender, then back into your pot.) Cut butter into chunks and melt into sauce, mixing well. Add chicken back to sauce, then fold in lentils.

Meg Dickinson is a communications professional who spends many waking hours daydreaming about food. To submit a recipe, email

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