This recipe is all about insanely delicious Instant Pot Chicken Vindaloo made with chicken thighs and toasted spices. All the warm, smokey spices combine to create a silky smooth sauce packed full of flavor. To top it off, spicy vindaloo is served with fluffy jasmine rice and warm naan bread to make it a complete meal. In just a few simple steps and the help of your Instant Pot, you’ll have dinner on the table in no time. Just set it and forget about it!
About the Recipe
The toasted curry spice mixture in this Instant Pot Chicken Vindaloo will really knock your socks off, and even though it’s a few extra steps, it’s completely worth it. Black peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, whole cloves and a cinnamon stick are toasted until fragrant, then blended with paprika, turmeric, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger and dried chilies.
Once you toast the spices, you saute the onion in the Instant Pot, then add the chicken thighs, diced tomatoes, coconut milk, pumpkin, the curry vindaloo sauce mixture and some salt into the Instant Pot and let it do its thing. In just 12 minutes, it’ll turn into an easy comfort meal scooped into a bowl.
Serve chicken vindaloo with some extra sauce over a bed of fluffy Jasmine rice with a heaping handful of cilantro and a few pieces of toasted naan. This fragrant Indian-inspired dish will transport you right to flavor heaven.
A note about each component of this dish
- Whole black peppercorns, whole mustard seeds, whole coriander seeds, whole cloves, and a cinnamon stick: Buying these spices whole helps when toasting them. Toasting, as well as blending, brings out their flavors and makes them a lot more robust. This step is very important for a more authentic chicken vindaloo.
- Paprika, turmeric, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger, and dried chilies: These spices lend their own unique flavors from smokiness to sweet and acidic. The balance of each one combines with the toasted spices and lends itself to a flavorful homemade curry paste that becomes the base of this spicy vindaloo recipe.
- Yellow onion, diced tomatoes, fire-roasted diced tomatoes, coconut milk and salt: These ingredients help to build the body of the sauce. Combined they become thick, silky, and spicy, while also tenderizing the chicken.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs: Chicken thighs are juicier than other parts of chicken. They also have a bit more flavor and get more tender than the white meat parts. Traditional chicken vindaloo recipes are made with chicken thighs, but you can substitute for white meat chicken if you prefer.
- Cooked jasmine rice, naan, and fresh cilantro: These are great options for serving. Scoop the spicy chicken into a bowl alongside rice, naan, and a garnish of cilantro.
- Heat a medium nonstick skillet to medium heat. Add cinnamon stick, peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and cloves to the hot pan. Toast the spices for about 60-90 seconds, until fragrant and slightly toasted. Let the spices cool, then place in a small food processor. To the food processor, add paprika, turmeric, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger and chilies. Process the mixture until it forms a paste. If too thick to form a paste, add a tablespoon of water at a time until paste forms.
- Place onions, chicken, diced tomatoes (with juice), coconut milk, pumpkin puree, salt, pepper and spice mixture into the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low.
- Serve with rice, naan and fresh cilantro.
Substitutions and Alternatives
Instead of chicken: Use chickpeas, potatoes, or tofu. You can also substitute the chicken for lamb or beef.
For more vegetables: Add greens, like spinach or kale and wilt them in the vindaloo sauce. Or, you can leave them fresh and scoop the chicken on top.
Instead of using Thai chilies or Indian chilies: These are used in authentic vindaloo, but can be difficult to find in a traditional supermarket. Use crushed red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or jalapeño for spice. You can also adjust the amount of chilies you use depending on you “vindaloo” you want it!
Chicken Vindaloo Fun Facts
Vindaloo is a heavily “spiced” dish with the use of a large combination of spices. It is also traditionally “spicy” from the use of chilies. For this recipe, you can omit the red Thai or Indian chilies for a less spicy, toned down dish.
Vindaloo is made with robust spices, like black peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander, cloves, paprika, turmeric, and cinnamon, but what truly brings the heat is the use of crushed red pepper flakes or red chilies. For a more subtler spice, use red pepper flakes or jalapeños instead. If you can’t find fresh red chilies, use crushed red pepper flakes or jalapeños.
Vindaloo sauce is spicy and savory. It’s flavored with warm and comforting spices and offers a blend of bright and acidic flavors. It is rich, but not overpowering and it pairs extremely well with plain white rice.
To make extra delicious Instant Pot Chicken Vindaloo, toast and grind your own spices for a deeper, bolder flavor. Simply purchase whole spices, such as whole coriander pods, and toast them in a hot, dry skillet for 60 to 90 seconds, shaking the pan frequently to keep them from burning. Toast the spices until they become fragrant and the pods have a lightly toasted appearance. You can do this with any spices that are available “whole”. Once they’re toasted, let them slightly cool then place them in a spice grinder until coarsely ground. If you don’t have a spice grinder, place them in a sealed Ziploc bag and use a rolling pin to lightly pound the spices until they’re crushed to a fine powder.
More Delicious Recipes:
- Curry Cauliflower Soup
- Chickpea Coconut Curry
- Curry Chicken Meatball Bowls
- Peanut Chicken Curry
- Curry Chicken Salad
- Indian Butter Chicken
- Instant Pot Indian Coconut Chicken
Instant Pot Chicken Vindaloo
Insanely delicious chicken vindaloo made right in the Instant Pot – with chicken thighs and toasted spices served with fluffy Jasmine rice and warm naan bread.
- Prep Time: 15-20 mins
- Cook Time: 15-20 mins
- Total Time: 30-40 mins
- Yield: Serves 8 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Stove-Top, Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: Indian-Style
- 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon whole mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon whole coriander seeds
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons paprika
- 1 tablespoon turmeric
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 5–6 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3-inch piece ginger, peeled
- 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes (or 2 Thai or Indian chilies, seeded and minced)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2 (15-ounce) cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juice
- 1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons coarse salt
- Cooked jasmine rice and fresh cilantro, for serving
- Heat a medium nonstick skillet to medium heat. Add cinnamon stick, peppercorns, mustard seeds, coriander seeds and cloves to the hot pan. Toast the spices for about 60-90 seconds, until fragrant and slightly toasted. Let the spices cool, then place in a small food processor. To the food processor, add paprika, turmeric, honey, apple cider vinegar, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper flakes. Process the mixture until it forms a paste. If too thick to form a paste, add a tablespoon of water at a time until paste forms.
- Set the Instant Pot to saute. Add the oil, then add the onion and saute 3-4 minutes or until slightly soft. Add the chicken, diced tomatoes (with juice), coconut milk, salt, pepper and spice mixture into the Instant Pot and stir to combine. Set the toggle on the Instant Pot to seeling, then set on manual high pressure for 12 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to switch the toggle to release the steam. Carefully remove the lid. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.
- Shred the chicken with 2 forks or tongs, then scoop the chicken and sauce over Jasmine rice and top with fresh cilantro.
Cooking Tip: To make in the slow cooker, follow step 1, then for step 2, stir together all ingredients (minus the olive oil) to the bowl of a slow cooker. Cook 2-3 hours on how or 4-6 hours on low.
- Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
- Calories: 242
- Sugar: 11g
- Sodium: 398mg
- Fat: 8g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 20g
- Fiber: 4g
- Protein: 22g
- Cholesterol: 75mg
Keywords: spiced, simple, Crock Pot, healthy, from scratch, homemade