Instant Pot Cashew Chicken Curry

It is so much fun creating new recipes in my new kitchen toy, my Instant Pot. Back when I very first heard about these new-fangled electric pressure cookers, there were two things I longed to make when I finally got one  – cheesecake (yes, you can make a baked cheesecake in it!) and curry. The trouble with Indian food, in particular meat based curries, they most frequently benefit from a long slow cook that makes it impossible to cook after work, midweek. But with a pressure cooker, you can reduce the cooking time dramatically and have melt in the mouth Cashew Chicken Curry in under half an hour, tops!

Chicken thighs are so much more flavourful than chicken breast and the extra fat makes them very tender. You can’t, however, flash cook them as you can with breast meat as they are far too tough. Marinating overnight in a yogurt and curry paste mixture will begin to tenderise them and then cooking for a mere 10 minutes in the Instant Pot will have them yielding to your spoon and tender as you like.

All purpose curry paste suitable for Indian style curries made in a jiffy at home :D

Using my All Purpose Curry Paste is a good starting point for a homemade curry as there aren’t too many spices or too much heat – you can tweak it to your own tastes easily. I’ve added a couple of gnarly black cardamoms which are a very different animal to their spindly, pale jade coloured green relatives and they are a prominent flavour in this curry.

I use bay leaf which enhances the almost minty flavourful of the black cardamom and leaving the chillies whole gives a little warmth but certainly not heat if you like your curries milder. Almond milk adds to the nuttiness rather taking over the whole dish as coconut milk can.

Pressure cooking whole, blanched cashews make them so soft and buttery they are a real treat – little nuggets with more bite than the chicken but so much more pleasurable to eat than when they are dried and raw. I tend to have bags of cooked rice ready to blitz in the microwave (I will blog about that in due course) but for now, simply make some on the hob when the curry is cooking or try your hand at my delicious Garlic & Coriander Naan Bread for a real treat.

Instant Pot Cashew Chicken Curry
A flavourful but none too spicy chicken curry with melt in the mouth cashews, and made with almond milk for a light nutty sauce. Another winner dinner in the Instant Pot!
Servings: 2
: 8986 kcal
Author: Just Jo
For marinading
  • 6-7 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp curry paste I encourage you to try mine!
  • 3 tbsp Greek yogurt
  • For the curry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion finely sliced into half moons
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 whole black cardamoms
  • 3 green finger chillies
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 4 tbsp whole rounded, blanched cashews
  • 250 ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp cashew butter optional
To finish
  • 2-4 tbsp fresh coriander chopped
  • Salt to taste
  1. Mix the curry paste and yogurt together well then rub into the chicken. Refrigerate for at least an hour but most often, I leave them in the fridge overnight.
  2. Place the Instant Pot into sauté mode and add the oil. Fry the onions until they soften and start to colour then add in the bay leaf, black cardamoms and whole green finger chillies.

  3. Sprinkle over the garam masala then add the chicken thighs and all their marinade. Cook for a couple of minutes to colour the first side then flip over, add the whole cashews and almond milk.
  4. Place the lid on, ensure the nozzle is set to "sealing" and using manual mode, set 10 minutes.
  5. Do a quick release when finished cooking, take the lid off and place the IP into sauté once again.
  6. Break the chicken thighs up with a large slotted spoon then remove from the pot leaving the watery sauce behind. Stir frequently and reduce to your desired texture - at this point you can stir in the optional cashew butter and beat it well to help thicken the sauce.
  7. When reduced add the chicken back in and sprinkle with coriander before serving over rice*.
Recipe Notes

*= I batch cook brown basmati rice and freeze it, then just give it 4 minutes int he microwave on high. Or you can cook some rice on the hob as the curry cooks in the Instant Pot so they are ready at the same time. Or just serve it with naan! Recipe also on the blog 😉

Adapted from Get my All Purpose Curry Paste recipe here

This post contains affiliate links, meaning I will earn a little commission if you chose to buy items I’ve advertised, helping me to bring you all these recipes for free!

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  1. Maria @ Feisty Tapas 20th July 2016 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    It looks delicious Jo! Can’t wait to try it in my Instant Pot. Chicken thighs go so tender when pressure cooked, don’t they? Plus they are more economical 🙂

    • 20th July 2016 at 6:32 pm - Reply

      They really do Maria – I had to tinker a bit to get the timing just right but I find 10 minutes has them fall apart tender but not mushy at all. And they are sooo much more tasty than chicken breast (as well as better value!).

  2. Bintu - Recipes From A Pantry 20th July 2016 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    I love a good curry like this. Will have a look at your curry paste recipe now.

    • 20th July 2016 at 6:34 pm - Reply

      I hope you enjoy it Bintu – it’s a great basic paste to add flavours to and make a curry your own with ?

  3. peter @Feed Your Soul Too 20th July 2016 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    I love curry and I really like the creaminess you have in the dish. I need a ton of rice to soak up all the flavors.

  4. Dannii @ Hungry Healthy Happy 20th July 2016 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    I adore cashews in any form (mainly as cashew butter though I must admit) and this curry looks delicious. I definitely need to try it!

    • 21st July 2016 at 8:55 pm - Reply

      They are super moreish aren’t they? I think it’s how buttery they are that appeals to me. If you have never had them pressure cooked, I’d highly recommend it

  5. Jovita @ Yummy Addiction 20th July 2016 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Cashews and chicken always go well together. This curry looks really good!

  6. Cookilicious 20th July 2016 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Indian curry is similar to this..I substitute chicken with paneer..the cashew based curry tastes delicious.

    • 21st July 2016 at 8:54 pm - Reply

      Ooo paneer would be a fabulous sub in this curry sauce base, although maybe added at the end, not cooked in the pressure cooker itself lol!

  7. Kushi 20th July 2016 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    This curry looks so flavorful and delicious!

  8. Tamar @ A Feminist Cooks 13th September 2016 at 2:35 pm - Reply

    The way you describe your food is mouth-watering! I can’t wait to try this.

  9. Kit 3rd April 2017 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    I only have tenderloins, any idea how long to cook them for in the IP? Thanks!

    • Just Jo 4th April 2017 at 9:23 am - Reply

      Hi Kit! Do you mean pork tenderloin? You’re going to need to cook them for about 20 minutes to get them good and tender in this curry sauce on Manual High. Hope that helps x

  10. Laura Mitchler 3rd May 2017 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    Off to the grocery store to buy ingredient for this meal. But I’m wondering, what do you do with the 2 whole black cardamoms?

    • Just Jo 4th May 2017 at 6:52 am - Reply

      Hi Laura – thanks so much for your question. You add the cardamoms with the bay leaves and finger chillies – I’ve just amended the recipe to show this. Sorry about the confusion! Enjoy your curry 😀

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