Instant Pot Tikka Masala – Vegan Tikka Masala Sauce Recipe. Easy Tikka masala sauce, made in a Pressure Cooker. Saucepan option. Add veggies, tofu, chickpeas, vegan chickin subs. Freezer Friendly. Glutenfree Soyfree Nutfree Jump to Recipe
This Tikka Masala Sauce is ridiculously delicious, super easy and freezer friendly. Cook the sauce in a pressure cooker. Then use or freeze for later!
If you are new to the Indian Tikka Masala Sauce, it is a tomato based, tangy spicy flavorful sauce often found in Indian restaurants, served with veggies, paneer, meats. Many of the restaurant sauces have similar base or flavor components with variations here and there. They vary slightly in flavor and texture (creamy, chunky etc). Make this fabulous sauce, adjust after pressure cooking to your preference and use with veggies, beans, tofu, vegan chikin/meat subs or however! Freeze in serving portions, so you can use the sauce to whip up a meal in 10 mins!
See Saucepan and oilfree options in the Recipe notes. Also see Tips section below.
With Cauliflower above for Cauliflower Tikka Masala. Add chickpeas for chickpea tikka masala, some crisped tofu, soycurls for chickin tikka masala! How do you tikka masala?
Like with all my Indian Recipes, I try to keep the flavors as authentic as possible while making it simpler. You can change up other things based on availability and preference (non dairy yogurt can easily be subbed with non dairy cream or milk). It doesn’t affect the amazing flavor, the sauce is flavorful enough and some changes here and there dont affect the deliciousness. It might affect the traditional flavor profile, which may or may not be detectable :).
More Instant Pot Recipes
- IP Red Lentil Chili. GF
- Instant Pot Vegan Butter Chickin(soycurls). GF – Creamy, Delicious
- Japanese Veggie Curry. GF
- Potato Chickpea Spinach Soup. GF
- Instant Pot Lasagna Soup with Red lentils. – So Easy
- More Instant Pot Recipes!
Step by Step Photos
Uncooked Sauce below
Sauce just opened after cooking
Tips for a fabulous Instant Pot Tikka Masala Sauce
- As with all Indian food or spiced up food, the flavors tend to get stronger as the sauce or dish sits for a while. I generally adjust the spices later when ready to serve rather than right after cooking.
- Indian sauces/base are always overcooked for the best flavor. The onions caramelized, tomatoes well roasted. Pressure cooking helps with the roasting if you cook it long enough. If the sauce flavor feels less complex, just pressure cook the sauce, without the added veggies/beans,for longer.
- Since I eat Indian food at home often, I tend to use much less garam masala and let the other flavors and components shine. If you don’t cook it often or want more flavor playoff, use more garam masala and more of the other spices and flavors in general. This also depends on the flavor payoff of the spices. Old spices and garam masala will have significantly less flavor, so just add more as needed. Mine is pretty potent and a 1/4 tsp is usually enough for me. 🙂
- The right garam masala also is essential for some of these spice heavy restaurant style sauces. Some brands have an imbalance of flavors which make the dishes one dimensional. Get garam masala from Indian stores or make your own using my recipe from Indian kitchen or just omit and add some ground cumin, coriander.
- Salt, spices and heat to your preference will make the dish. Esp the right amount of salt, which immediately helps the flavors and spices bloom on your taste palette. The sauce also thickens on cooling, or you can thicken by simmering for a few mins for more concentrated flavor.
- For Burn errors: Make sure to stir the tomato really well to pick up scorched or browned onion and spices. Those scorched bits on stove top would dislodge with the bubbling and lower heat, but in a pressure cooker, they are under pressure and at higher heat, so they will continue to burn. Mix really well before closing the lid.
Instant Pot Tikka Masala - Vegan Tikka Masala Sauce Recipe.
- 1 tsp oil
- 1 small onion chopped (I usually just process the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli to chop in a processor or a chopper)
- 6 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1 inch of ginger finely chopped
- 1 hot green chili such as serrano or bird's eye
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp paprika (combination of sweet and smoked)
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/3 to 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 to 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves ,plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup chopped red or green bell pepper
- 28 oz diced tomatoes(including juices) or 15 oz diced + 2 ripe tomato chopped
- 1/2 cup non dairy yogurt , plain unsweetened, plain lightly sweetened also works
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup non dairy cream such as cashew, soy or coconut (optional)
- smoked paprika or cayenne for garnish
- Press saute on Instant Pot. When hot, add the oil then add finely chopped onion, ginger, garlic, and chili. Add good pinch of salt, mix well and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir occasionally
- Add the spices and mix well. Add bell pepper and mix well. Add tomatoes and non dairy yogurt and salt and mix well. (stir well for a few seconds to pick up the scorched onion bits, else they tend to scorch more and cause burn errors in some sensitive instant pots)
- Cancel saute. Close the lid. Pressure cook for 11-12 mins (manual high pressure)
- Let the pressure release naturally. Open the lid. mix, taste and adjust salt, flavor, heat. Add some sugar or maple syrup if needed. (I add 1/2 tsp if using plain unsweetened yogurt). Add some more fenugreek leaves or cilantro, some fresh smoked paprika or cayenne and garam masala for garnish.
- At this point you can freeze the tikka masala sauce for upto 2 months, and refrigerate for upto 4 days. Add some non dairy dream for creamier and use or store(refrigerated or freeze). You can also blend half of the sauce for smoother.
To use the sauce with veggies, chickpeas, tofu etc:
- Add the 4 cups vegetables, 3 cups chickpeas or 21 oz baked tofu or seitan/vegan chiken subs, and some non dairy cream like cashew/soy cream to the cooked sauce(after pressure cooking), and simmer for 10 minutes. Soycurls: Add 2 to 2.5 cups soy curls and 1/2 cup water to the sauce, Pressure cook for 6 mins and natural release. You can also add the soy curls earlier with the uncooked sauce.
Thank yu for your help. I did find my answer on your website.
I am not sure when to add the cauliflower. After the sauce is made and then I put it in the ain’t pot to simmer? That doesn’t seem right to me.
Thank you for posting these wonderful meals and for taking the time to answer my question.
I hope you are staying healthy and safe during this pandemic!
I split up the recipe when I posted for clearer instructions. Here the cauliflower tikka masala https://www.veganricha.com/vegan-cauliflower-tikka-masala/
I made this and it just ended up tasting like a spicy Italian tomato sauce – I don’t understand what I did wrong?
Did you use any Italian herbed tomato ingredients?
Love the recipe!!! But Ms Richa…I’ve done everything you said to prevent the burn error but it’s happened twice now😩. Can you give any other suggestions? I have the Duo Evo Plus model. I’ll take anybody’s suggestion!!! Maybe put to low pressure or add veggie broth? Please help!!
Vegan Richa Support
hmmmm. Make sure to stir the tomato really well to pick up scorched or browned onion and spices. Those scorched bits on stove top would dislodge with the bubbling and lower heat, but in a pressure cooker, they are under pressure and at higher heat, so they will continue to burn. Mix really well before closing the lid. If this doesn’t do the trick cook on low for longer or try the saucepan option in the recipe. I hope this solves it!!
Sometimes it’s just the pot. The heater element might be heating unevenly or heating more, the inner part might not be the right quality. People get multiple instant pots and some recipes don’t work in some while work just fine in others. People have had luck buying a different inner pot
I want to use packed chopped tomatoes instead of in a can but the high quality I found is 26 oz and not 28 oz. Certainly that 2 oz won’t matter or do I need to add something additional you think to make up for it?
^ I meant packaged, not packed, like a milk carton instead of canned.
What do you use as a non-dairy cream mentioned in the tikka Masala sauce and the cauliflower tikka masala recipes ? Do you make the cashew cream with the cashews from scratch for both or do you use a purchased cream like coconut cream? Also, what non-dairy yogurt do you use as an example?
Yes I make my own cashew cream most of the time. You can put the cashews in a steamer basket above the sauce and they get steamed and soft. Remove
From steamer and blend into smooth cream.
I don’t have fenugreek & no stores near me carry it. What are some subs I could use instead?
Vegan Richa Support
Hi Tina, sometimes it’s a tricky one to source. You could order it online here: . Fenugreek leaves add a bitter sweet flavor to the sauce. To substitute, use 1/4 tsp ground mustard and 1 tsp maple syrup(omit the sugar).
This recipe is a hit with my family. Thanks!
Vegan Richa Support
Glad you all enjoyed it.
Thanks for this recipe! This is my first time making curry. If it tastes a little tomato heavy what would you suggest to adjust? I may not have added enough spices either since I made a larger batch, just tasted tomatoes mostly haha
add more of the spice, cook a little longer (add 5 mins when you double) and more cashew cream or yogurt. Canned tomatoes can get a bit strong tasting, the flavor mellows when cooked long enough
My pot kept on saying food burn even though I put water in there to cook it.
Make sure to scrape everything off the bottom before you close the lid. Sometimes onion or tomato can scorch the bottom and certain pots are sensitive. Just make sure that you add cold water and mix well before closing to start.
Hi – can’t wait to make this. Can you use Coconut milk instead of the yogurt? Thank you!
yes, it will be thinner and taste coconutyy
Sandra J Scarborough
I only have ground fenugeek- how much should I use to sub for the dried leaves? Mahalo!
ground fenugreek is from fenugreek seeds that have a stronger flavor, so use a 1/4th of the amountt listedd for leavs
Sandra J Scarborough
Thank you so much. Making tonight!
Hi! I’m so excited to make this but I can’t find any fenugreek leaves… will the dish be ruined if I omit this? Thanks!
No, it will still taste great. Wont taste as authentic.
I recently gave up meat (except for fish). Indian vegetarian cuisine is essential for me to maintain this diet as other vegetarian plates seldom satiate my appetite. This tikka masala recipe is the most authentic tasting sauce I have been able to prepare at home. I will be trying your other recipes soon -thank you!
As a non-vegan, I sautéd the onion with a mix of olive oil and butter and used dairy yogurt and cream. Used fenugreek powder instead of leaves. Followed the saucepan directions. Was delicious with chick peas and fried paneer.
We loved this! I made it stove top in the time the rice took to cook in the rice cooker. Roasted cauliflower/roasted tofu. I’ll be back for more!
This doesn’t taste anything like the tikka masala I’m used to.
I am not sure which tikka masala you are used to. If you are basing it on a restaurant, many restaurants have their own recipes, which might not neccessarily be authentic, they also use a ton of cream, butter and dairy. so there is bound to be a lot of variation in flavor. If you can explain which one you like, I can help you with some changes that would make this more like that one
Hi Richa- get recipe! Could I used tinned tomatoes? thanks for sharing
just a clarification on the stove instructions which are the ones I am gonna use, you say to follow step 1 to 2 , simmer for 30-35 minutes and then add yogurt. But in the instanpot recipe you add the yogurt with the tomatoes so I am a bit confused, should I add the yogurt after I simmered for 30 minutes or all at the beginning like you instruct in the instanpot?
Thank you very much!
Add it after
The sauce is delicious! I plan to reheat some tomorrow with veggies. Thanks for giving a delicious recipe.
I don’t have an Instant pot, and I didn’t feel the flavours mixed well in the saucepan. Would whipping this up in a saucepan then putting it into a slowcooker work better, do you think?
it probably just needed some more cooking time. Stoves and pans vary and the sauce needs to cook so the tomatoes get somewhat roasted(slow roasted on stove, quick roasted under pressure). so cook another 10-15 mins and see. You can also slow cook it for additional roasting and flavor.
Hi Richa! I’m SO excited to try this recipe. I’ve got an instant pot so would love to make chickpea tikka masala (using soaked chickpeas). How would you adapt the recipe and timing to cook the chickpeas in the instant pot as well? Thanks so much!
You can add 1 cup dried chickpeas, soak for a few hours. and pressure cook with the sauce for 30 mins
Thank you for all your lovely recipes.
It’s unclear when you should add yogurt if using saucepan. It’s in step 2, but also after step 2 in the saucepan instructions.
ah ill update that.Dont add the yogurt with the tomatoes, Add only once later.
Hi Richa- get recipe! Could I used tinned tomatoes? thanks!
Sorry typos! I meant GREAT recipe – could I use tinned tomatoes?
I have tried 3 of your recipes: tofu egg salad, spinach palak tofu paneer aND tikka masala with cauliflower and spinach and we have loved them all!!! Indian food is so wonderful and complex and you guide me nicely through the process. Thank you!
thats awesome! so glad you loved them!
I used almond yogurt and added a few cashews as well along with honey to sweeten a bit.
The tikka masala recipe is really nice i will try it at home. Thanks
Goodness me, such wonderful (comfort)food.
It came out really well. I added walnuts when grinding to add more flavor and like coconut milk a lot with these dishes. BTW I used tofu.
Spot on phenomenal! I will definitely prepare this recipe again
We loved this recipe! I added chick peas, cauliflower, broccoli and potato. Thank you so much for sharing!
is there a good substitute for fenugreek? thank you!
add a 1/4 tsp ground mustard and 1/4 tsp dried oregano
Thank you so much! 🙂 I cannot wait to try this!
Great Recipe, thanks for the info.
Hi Richa. Are fenugreek leaves easy to get?
Can you find fried leaves and what amount would you use?
do you mean fresh or fried ? Dried ones are easy to find online or in stores. Fresh ones you will only find in Indian stores.
I only found fenugreek seeds. Can I use those Instead or no? Just omit?
Yes, powder them in a spice grinder and use the powder, a 1/4 tsp
I absolutely love your recipes, they are super yummy and you make them super easily with your detailed instructions.
I wanted to try the above recipe however i stay in a small place where vegan yogurt is not available(Shillong, India) and wanted to know if there is any substitute for it like lemon juice.
Use cashew cream + some lemon juice. Make cashew cream with1/2 cup cashews and 1/2 cup water. Add half before pressuring and half after when pressure cooked.
Thank you 🙂
I did the same, because making the vegan yogurt was time consuming, so cashew cream and lemon juice did it 🙂
Just made this. Yum yum can’t wait to cook some veggies with it tomorrow.
Your makhani recipe is my all time favorite and this one will be right beside it. I kind of want to eat it as a soup – so tasty. I love your recipes very much. These sauces are such wonderful staples – you can add them to anything and everything. Thrilled to freeze it though not sure it will last that long 😉
5 stars! The only thing that would have made this better is if I already had the sauce pre made because it was time consuming for a week night meal but I didn’t get a chance to make it last night. I doubled it so I could freeze the other portion But I wish I would have tripled it! My family absolutely loved this, too! My son actually asked for more cauliflower which has never happened! I cannot put into words when my family will not only eat my vegan dinner, but they love it too. I blended it because my family refuses to eat anything with chunks of anything 😂😂😂 thank you so much!!
Great tips! I am new to pressure cookers so this is all good info for me. Thanks!
I liked the flavors but my instant pot kept giving me the burn signal, so I finally just switched it over to slow cooker and let it cook for a couple hours. Turned out fine but next time will probably just try it on the stove. I used half the sauce for your cauliflower tikka recipe. The other half I’m going to add a can of coconut milk to later in the week to make soup. 🙂
hmm what size is your instant pot? i havent had a burn problem in the 6 qt
I have the smaller size (so maybe 6 qt?). Every time I use sauté function it happens. I think I need to either sauté on stove then add to pot, or let pot totally cool down before switching to pressure cook.
I liked the tip to roast the cauliflower first. Was surprised how well this kept it from falling apart in sauce, no matter how long I simmered it.
I have the 6 qt. The pictures and videos are in the 6 qt.maybe you have a mini 3 qt?
even the 6 qt newer modelsare more sensitive than the older models. You will have to do trial and error to see what helps reduce the burn chances and then apply that process to most IP recipes for thicker dishes or with tomatoey dishes. Maybe some extra broth overall or extra oil at the bottom, less saute time or something. Its quite frustrating that they are not maintaining the technology over models.
Okay yes I just looked it up and it’s 3 qt which sounds very small (!) but is just right for my 3-person family. I’ll pay more attention to recipes from now on to see which size instantpot they were tested for. Thanks for the tips. 🙂
You might also want to stir the tomato really well to pick up scorched or browned onion and spices. Those scorched bits on stove top would dislodge with the bubbling and lower heat, but in a pressure cooker, they are under pressure and at higher heat, so they will continue to burn. So mix really well before closing the lid.
I just bought the IP and this will be my first recipe. Hope I can find the leaves & chili. It seems there’s a local |Indian grocery store so I will be checking it out.
Question..what does Let the pressure release naturally mean?
Doubling the recipe and freezing half..excited is an understatement!
Yes you shoudl find them at the indian store.
Once the cooking is complete. It takes the pot about 10 mins to release pressure naturally. You can also push the pressure knob slowly to venting to remove it manually (some recipes need manual).But for natural, look at the pot after 10-15 mins and see if the presure knob(the silver knob near the vent) has dropped. If it has, then you can open the lid. There might be instant pot official videos on youtube about it,let me find a link
Thank you so much! I was able to find the leaves and chilis. I made my chick peas and black beans tonight and I am obsessed with it! Making the masala tomorrow along with the cauliflower. I’ll report back with a rating after I try it!
Two more question. The coconut milk is optional if you want it more creamier, is that correct? Also, I read somewhere you’re supposed to peel the chili peppers, do you do this? Do you think I can freeze the chili peppers? They gave me a ton of them lol (the little skinny ones)
Wow! The flavor in this dish is amazing! The cashew cream added just the right feeling in my mouth. Everyone loved it. I made it with cauliflower and chickpeas. Definitely in my favorites file, and on the list for when company comes over! Thank you!
Jenné @ SweetPotatoSoul
Hi Richa! I made this last night with cauliflower and sweet potato (because you know me), and it was delicious. Can’t wait to dig into the leftovers today!!
awesome! yes of course add sweet potatoes! the sauce works really well with sweet potato. Thank you Jenné
sheenam | thetwincookingproject.net
Love tikka masala! This is such a great recipe Richa.
Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try this out! Definitely saving this recipe for later. My instinct is to load it up with veggies galore, eggplant, cauliflower, peas, tofu, chickpeas… but maybe I should be a little more minimal 🙂 Start with cauliflower, see how I go 🙂
yes definitely. Most veggies go! Add them aftter the sauce is cooked so you can adjust the time based on the veggie.
Made this last night with the baked cauliflower and it was amazing!! Thank you!! I am going to make a large amount for meal prep next! If I triple it, are there any adjustments I should make besides tripling the quantity? For example, should I scale back the garlic or just put 18 cloves in?
awesome! you can do 13 or 14cloves. also add a bit less salt.You can add more after tasting later. triple everything else. Pressure cook for 15 mins.
Great! Thank you SO much!
Richa, this sauce is delicious! I plan to reheat some tomorrow with veggies. Thanks for another winning recipe Richa!!!
I can’t tell When to put in the vegetables. Do I put in the vegetables when it’s going to pressure cook or do I put in cooked vegetables to Semer after its pressure cooked. Help!!in the Insta pot right now
after the sauce is cooked. i’ll add more details to the instructions. I mention it in the write up above the sauce cooks by itself before you add anything
Cassie Autumn Tran
Tikka masala sauce is the best on EVERYTHING–salads, stir-fries, in curries (obviously), as a dipping sauce, and so much more. Thank you so much for this incredibly easy recipe!
k l grenon
I’d like to make this, but I don’t want to buy another gadget for my space limited kitchen. Is a pressure cooker the same as an instant pot? Can this be cooked in a regular pot on the stove?
Yes and yes. See saucepan instructions right below the recipe in the Notes section. Or use a regular pressure cooker and pressure cook for the same amount of time(time starts when the cooker reaches pressure, which might be an indicator on the cooker)
k l grenon
Love tikka sauce. Printing this one to keep.
Do we use dried beans or precooked/canned?
cooked or canned beans
It can be either?
yes, either will work.See notes. You would simmer about 3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas or beans in the full tikka masala sauce. Use 1.5 cups or 1 can for half the sauce recipe
When using sauce pan, should I add yogurt on step 2 or after?
you can add it later
This looks delicious and I look forward to making it soon! Question, do you have a favorite brand or type of non dairy yogurt you recommend for this recipe? Thanks!
Vegan Richa Support
I prefer almond over soy or coconut and love the ones from So Delicious. So Delicious now has plain (not greek) cultured Almond Milk yogurts too and they are all carrageenan free. There are a lot of other flavors as well and they all taste fabulous! The biggest problem I had with plain unflavored non dairy coconut milk yogurt was the taste. It tasted coconutty, was a bit too thick and had some after taste from the additives. The soy milk versions from other brands I tried also had a lot of soy after taste.
Now the almond milk version is much fresher, not thickened too much and tastes great when eaten as is. Yes, even the plain ones. I used to love eating fresh plain yogurt between meals and these new yogurts by So Delicious solve that problem!