Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken and Chickpea Masala Recipe

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

What I know about you: You like fast. You love easy. You lurve chicken. You're pretty wild about recipes that taste awesome. You like gadgets. This recipe for a pseudo-Indian chicken channa masala hits every one of those points. It takes about half an hour, it's easy enough that a very large and particularly precocious child could make it, it features chicken, it tastes incredibly awesome with a creamy and tangy spiced tomato sauce (think: chicken tikka masala), and it's made in a pressure cooker to boot, delivering long-simmered flavor and tender chicken in a fraction of the time.

Recipe Facts



Active: 10 mins
Total: 40 mins
Serves: 4 servings

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  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 medium onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 teaspoons)

  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

  • 1 pound fresh spinach leaves, trimmed

  • 1/4 cup fresh juice from 2 to 3 lemons

  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves

  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks and thighs (4 to 6 of each)

  • 1/2 cup homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

  • Kosher salt


  1. Heat butter in a pressure cooker over medium-high heat ("sear" setting on an electric pressure cooker) until foaming subsides. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until pale brown, about 5 minutes. Add cumin, paprika, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and black pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add crushed tomatoes and spinach. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

  2. Add half of cilantro, chicken stock, and chicken pieces. Stir to combine. Seal pressure cooker and heat to high pressure. Once high pressure is reached, cook for 15 minutes.

  3. Allow to cool, release pressure, remove lid, add heavy cream, drained chickpeas, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened. Stir in remaining lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Serve immediately, garnished with remaining cilantro leaves.

Special equipment

Electric or stovetop pressure cooker (get our full review)

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Nutrition Facts (per serving)
582 Calories
27g Fat
57g Carbs
34g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 582
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 34%
Saturated Fat 13g 63%
Cholesterol 131mg 44%
Sodium 1063mg 46%
Total Carbohydrate 57g 21%
Dietary Fiber 16g 57%
Total Sugars 15g
Protein 34g
Vitamin C 33mg 167%
Calcium 326mg 25%
Iron 12mg 66%
Potassium 1638mg 35%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)