Made entirely in the instant pot in under an hour, these butter chicken meatballs are perfectly tender and covered in the most flavorful curry sauce! Serve them hot over basmati rice with lots of cilantro and naan.
Butter chicken is meeting meatballs today and I’m pretty sure you may never want anything else on your dinner menu for the foreseeable future.
Not only that, but we’re pulling off this deal ENTIRELY in the instant pot and holy cow does it make one mean meatball.
We’re talking picture-perfect tender chicken meatballs, a gingery, flavorful curry sauce, and all the basmati rice, fresh cilantro, and naan you can fit in your bowl.
If there was ever a bowl of meatballs you needed in your life asap, it’s this goodness right here. Our go-to Indian takeout place has got nothing on this!
These Butter Chicken Meatballs feature…
- Perfectly tender chicken meatballs
- An incredibly flavorful butter curry sauce
- Less than an hour to make and only a handful of ingredients
Making the Butter Chicken Meatballs
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Ground chicken
- Panko breadcrumbs
- Unsalted butter
- Vegetable oil
- Yellow onion
- Garam masala
- Tomato paste
- Chicken broth
- Heavy whipping cream
Storing and Freezing Meatballs
These meatballs are incredible for meal prepping! We love to make a double batch of these and freeze half of it for later.
For storing meatballs in fridge, allow to cool completely, then store in containers alongside rice with cilantro and naan for about to 6 days. It reheats beautifully in the microwave in about 2-3 minutes on high.
For freezing meatballs, allow to cool completely, then store in freezer-safe containers and freeze up to 2 months. To cook from frozen, microwave meatballs on high 3-5 minutes, stirring at 1-minute increments. Serve with rice, cilantro, and naan per recipe instructions.
Tips for Perfect Butter Chicken Meatballs
- Sear meatballs in instant pot – use the BROWN/SAUTE function on your instant pot to get a good sear on all sides of the meatballs.
- Use fresh garlic and ginger – fresh makes a HUGE different flavor-wise when it comes to curry.
- Sauté aromatics – this is the base to all the incredible curry flavor! Sauté onions until tender, then add garlic, ginger, spices, and tomato paste cooking until just fragrant.
- Cook meatballs on high pressure – 8 minutes on high pressure and then 10 minutes to naturally release pressure cooks these meatballs to perfection.
- Fold heavy cream into sauce – this final step is what gives the sauce it’s rich creaminess! You can also use coconut milk for a dairy-free alternative.
- Serve meatballs with lots of basmati rice, cilantro and naan – basmati rice is traditionally served with Indian food along with a good amount of fresh cilantro and naan for dipping!
Try these ideas for a different twist on this recipe!
- Kick up the heat – add 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper or your favorite hot sauce to kick up the level of heat in the sauce.
- Use a different ground meat – ground pork, beef, or turkey will all work in place of the chicken.
- Serve meatballs with veggies – sauteed mushrooms, zucchini, or snow peas would be a great veggie pairing.
Don’t have an instant pot? You can easily convert this recipe to a stovetop version with a few minor changes!
In steps 2 and 3, rather than using the BROWN/SAUTE function in the instant pot, sear the meatballs and build the sauce in a large skillet set over medium-high heat instead.
In step 4, instead of using the pressure setting in instant pot, bring the meatballs and sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and allow to cook 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until meatballs register 165F.
These bowls just taste like all the best parts about butter chicken but BETTER since it’s in tender, juicy meatball form.
Indian food at home doesn’t have to be complicated and these meatballs are living proof of that. This is about to be a staple on your dinner rotation!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
Watch these meatballs made step-by-step on Google web stories.
More instant pot favorites you have to try next!
Instant Pot Butter Chicken Meatballs
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- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 5 medium cloves garlic, minced (divided)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
- 2-1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Steamed basmati rice, fresh cilantro, and naan for serving
- In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, 2 cloves minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Scoop mixture into 1-in meatballs and place on a plate.
- Heat an instant pot using BROWN/SAUTE function. Melt butter and oil and swirl to coat bottom of instant pot. Place meatballs in instant pot and sear on all sides until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Keep instant pot on. Sauté onion in instant pot drippings until tender. Add garlic, ginger, garam masala, coriander, turmeric, and tomato paste to instant pot and cook 2-3 minutes until fragrant.
- Stir chicken broth into tomato paste until smooth. Add meatballs to instant pot, lock lid into place, and close vent. Cook meatballs on high pressure 8 minutes, then allow to release steam naturally 10 minutes.
- Release any remaining steam from instant pot and unlock lid. Fold heavy cream into sauce until smooth and season sauce with salt and pepper to taste if needed. Serve meatballs and sauce warm over rice with fresh cilantro and naan.