Peanut Butter Chicken Curry (Instant Pot)

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry - One ornate bowl containing dark red curry with chicken, onions, red chili pepper, peanuts, and cilantro.

Look no further, Peanut Butter Chicken Curry is the perfect weeknight Instant Pot chicken curry in a hurry. This creamy curry is easily tailored to your family’s spice tolerance levels and is ready in only 30 minutes.  

This Peanut Butter Chicken Curry recipe was originally posted on Noshing with the Nolands where I am a contributor. I even brought her a batch to try out…I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry

Tired of searching for dinner inspiration? Haven’t found that ‘ultimate’ chicken curry recipe yet? Stop searching around because you’ve found it! When the five o’clock rush hits you’ll be ready for them with this luxurious flavour-filled Peanut Butter Chicken Curry. It’s guaranteed to become a new family favourite. 

When the weather turns cold, curries are one of my favorite dishes to warm up with. There’s a whole world of curries to explore, from Japanese Chicken Curry to Thai Massaman Beef Coconut Curry. Red curries, green, Indian, and more!

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry - Two ornate bowls containing dark red curry with chicken, onions, red chili pepper, peanuts, and cilantro.

The Ultimate Instant Pot Chicken Curry

Believe me when I say it, this Chicken Curry recipe is one of those recipes that you make once, then crave over and over again. It’s a flavour mashup between a peanutty Thai Massaman Curry and a traditional Indian style curry. The creamy sauce is super comforting and the flavour is everything that you look for in a Chicken Curry. 

Additionally, the ingredients in this dish are simple pantry essentials found easily in most grocery stores. A mix of spices, a can of coconut milk, some aromatics, etc. and you’re well on your way to a ‘sure fire’ Peanut Butter Chicken Curry Instant Pot recipe.

I’m so excited to be sharing another great Instant Pot recipe with you. It’s such a handy appliance and really worth having around to make quick versions of classics such as my Beef and Bourbon Stew, or Spaghetti and Meatballs

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry - Side view of an ornate bowl containing dark red curry with chicken, onions, red chili pepper, peanuts, and cilantro.

What is Peanut Butter Chicken Curry?

Remember when I said this dish was a mash up between a peanutty Massaman Curry and an Indian style curry? That was a pretty generalized statement. I was referring to the nutty flavour meeting up with the acidity of tomatoes.

This rich, mildly spiced curry is slightly more similar to the Northern Indian Pasanda Curry in that it contains coconut and nuts. Since it also contains tomatoes, it cannot be mistaken for the popular white curry.

Instead of a tomato-free rich sauce made of coconut and almonds (it’s a white curry), I have used coconut, peanut butter, and tomato sauce. 

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry - Two ornate bowls containing dark red curry with chicken, onions, red chili pepper, peanuts, and cilantro.

What Are the Ingredients in Peanut Butter Chicken Curry?

The ingredients in this recipe are quite simple. Let’s start with the major flavor enhancers; spices and aromatics. The spices in this recipe are very basic. All you’ll need is cinnamon and a few tablespoons of garam masala.

Garam masala is a spice blend made of a few common spices most often used in curries. It usually includes black pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, and coriander in varying amounts. You can buy it pre-mixed or blend the spices on your own using this recipe

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry - Close up of an ornate bowl containing dark red curry with chicken, onions, red chili pepper, peanuts, and cilantro.

After the spices, the next most important ingredients are the aromatics. These include onions, garlic, ginger, and sometimes chilis. The body of the curry is then made, next add chicken, coconut milk, stock, peanut butter and lastly add tomato passata which is tomato sauce. 

Lastly, let’s not forget the ‘finishing’ flavors! Fresh roasted peanuts, cilantro, sliced green onion, a twist of lime juice or a splash of fish sauce are all delicious ways to finish this dish. This is often where personal preference comes into play….go ahead and make this curry yours!

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry - Two ornate bowls containing dark red curry with chicken, onions, red chili pepper, peanuts, and cilantro.

How to Adjust the Heat of a Peanut Butter Chicken Curry

As is, this Indian staple can be best described as a ‘beginner curry’. It’s slightly sweet with just a tiny amount of heat from the cayenne pepper and whole Thai red chilis. If you’d like to spice this dish up a bit, start by slicing up the chilis. Want more? Leave the chili seeds in too. How about MORE? Add dried chili flakes, up the amount of cayenne pepper, or just add in some Sriracha. That’ll do it. 

Of course, if you prefer no heat at all, you are welcome to omit the original amount of cayenne pepper and the Thai red chilis. 

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry - Side view of an ornate bowl containing dark red curry with chicken, onions, red chili pepper, peanuts, and cilantro.

How to Cook Peanut Butter Chicken Curry in the Instant Pot

The beauty of this recipe is that once the aromatics and spices are sautéed, the rest is just ‘dump and go’. Use the manual function on your Instant Pot to set the pressure to ‘high’ and then set the timer to ten minutes. Don’t forget to set the valve to ‘seal’ or it won’t come to pressure.

Once the chicken and peanut butter sauce have been cooking at high pressure for ten minutes, allow it to naturally depressurize for another ten minutes before opening the lid. 

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry - One ornate bowl containing dark red curry with chicken, onions, red chili pepper, peanuts, and cilantro.

Serve with rice and you will love this delicious dish, garnish with fresh cilantro and roasted peanuts.

Pin Peanut Butter Chicken Curry (Instant Pot) Recipe HERE.

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry - Pinterest image of an ornate bowl containing dark red curry with chicken, onions, red chili pepper, peanuts, and cilantro.

Yield: 4 servings

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry (Instant Pot)

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry - Two ornate bowls containing dark red curry with chicken, onions, red chili pepper, peanuts, and cilantro.

Tired of searching for dinner inspiration? Haven't found that 'ultimate' chicken curry recipe yet? Stop searching around because you've found it! When the five o'clock rush hits you'll be ready for them with this luxurious flavour-filled Peanut Butter Chicken Curry. It's guaranteed to become a new family favourite.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 skinless boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 onion; slivered 
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger; minced or grated
  • 2 cloves garlic; minced
  • 2 red chillies; sliced lengthwise (de-seed to reduce heat level)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper; optional 
  • 200ml (1/2 can) coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 250 ml tomato passata
  • 1/2 cup water or chicken stock
  • 1/2 small bunch cilantro; leaves picked
  • roasted peanuts; as garnish
  • cooked basmati rice; to serve
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

    1. Stir fry the onion and ginger for one minute in the Instant Pot using sauté function. Add garlic, chilli and sauté for another minute. Scraping constantly.
    2. Add the garam masala, cinnamon, and cayenne (if using) sauté for 1 min more.
    3. Stir in the coconut cream and scrape the bottom of the pot as the cream melts. Add in peanut butter, tomato passata, and water (or stock). Bring to a simmer.
    4. Add the chicken to the Instant Pot and secure the lid.
    5. Cook for 10 minutes on high pressure until the sauce thickens and the chicken is cooked through. Allow to de pressurize naturally for another 10 minutes.
    6. Serve over basmati rice, garnished with the roasted peanuts and cilantro.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 758Total Fat: 44gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 30gCholesterol: 284mgSodium: 649mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 66g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

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28 comments

  1. Elaine

    I love that this butter chicken can be ready in under 30 minutes and that you can adjust the spice level. This is definitely the recipe I would be excited to try over the weekend!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Great to hear, hope you enjoy it Elaine.

      Reply

  2. Tara Noland

    This was the best curry ever and I so appreciated the care package that we received. It was gobbled down by everyone and I can’t wait to make it again!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thanks for the inspiration, so glad you enjoyed it Tara.

      Reply

  3. Chef Dennis

    This Peanut Butter Chicken Curry is making my tummy growl! I am definitely hungry right now! Can’t wait to go to my kitchen.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thanks for stopping by Dennis…better go get a snack!

      Reply

  4. LaKita

    This recipe is amazing and I love that it uses chicken thighs and is made in the Instant Pot. So delicious and convenient!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I rarely use chicken breasts…just really prefer the flavour of thighs in this house.

      Reply

  5. Kacey Perez

    I love the unique flavors in this recipe. Such an amazing dinner for a chilly weeknight I cannot wait to try it!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It really is! Thanks for stopping by Kacey.

      Reply

  6. [email protected]

    AWESOME recipe Bernice! I absolutely love cooking with peanuts and peanut butter, and I think it needs to find its way into more savoury recipes. Fantastic mix of spices here, and I love that it’s Instant Pot friendly (and therefore weeknight friendly). Cheers!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Agree. I love cooking with peanut butter. This is a very easy beginner curry, very kid friendly.

      Reply

  7. Tammy

    I love peanut butter in savory dishes and it sounds wonderful here with the coconut cream too…what a truly comforting meal!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Mmm and together they’re a perfect combination!

      Reply

  8. Veronika

    My hubby will love this recipe! Anything with peanut butter for him! Saving the recipe!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Great! I really hope he enjoys it Veronika.

      Reply

  9. Denise

    This peanut butter chicken curry looks amazing and delicious! This is a recipe I have to try soon.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Denise, it’s a new family favourite around here.

      Reply

  10. Kushigalu

    Love the ingredients used in this chicken curry. How flavorful and ready in 30 minutes. Must try

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It’s crazy how quick Instant Pots are…they’re a real life saver!

      Reply

  11. Lori | The Kitchen Whisperer

    You had me at peanut butter! This looks just so packed with flavor and I’m LOVING the flavors in the recipe! And the fact that it only takes 30 minutes to make?! BONUS!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thanks Lori, it’s definitely a life saver. We’ve had it several times since it was first posted.

      Reply

  12. Terri

    I soo love chicken and peanut butter – can’t wait to try this! Now I just need and instant pot haha!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I think it could be made relatively easily on a stove top, however, you’d have to be fairly careful the bottom doesn’t scorch.

      Reply

  13. Mary Bostow

    What an amazing recipe, and you’ve captured all it’s deliciousness in the beautiful pictures.

    Reply

  14. Aline

    Looks so very tasty!! I never tried peanut butter chicken curry before, but since this is an instant pot recipe, looks like I’ll be trying it this week!! Yass!!

    Reply

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