Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala

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Got 30 minutes? Make this Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala recipe. This delicious fish curry combines marinated bite-sized pieces of salmon in a creamy, spiced tikka masala sauce. Serve it with naan or Basmati rice and some onion raita to make it an extra-special weeknight dinner. 

A black rimmed bowl of salmon curry on a silver platter with naan, lime wedges, and a wooden handled fork.
Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala

What is Salmon Tikka Masala?

Traditionally, salmon tikka refers to small pieces of salmon marinated in a spice mixture. This spice marinated salmon is then cooked till it softens and absorbs all the flavor from the spicy curry, referred to as masala. Once the dish cooks together it is served over a warm bowl of rice or with naan. 

Ingredients in Fish Tikka Masala

The main ingredients in fish tikka masala include marinated fish, in this case, salmon, and a deliciously spiced curry sauce, also known as masala

Why choose wild-caught salmon

Because salmon is the main ingredient, it is important to use the best quality of salmon available. Wild-caught salmon provides the highest nutritional value because the salmon feed on krill and shrimp, which give the fish its distinctive pink color. Their diet also gives them a higher Omega-3 Fatty acid count. Wild-caught salmon also live in natural environments, giving them space to roam. 

Farm-raised salmon, on the other hand, live in contained spaces, making them highly susceptible to contamination. They do not find food naturally and are fed synthetic carotenoids in their fish food to dye the fish pink. 

Tikka Masala Sauce

This deliciously flavorful Indian Style Tikka Masala recipe uses a spiced creamy tomato curry to simmer the salmon to perfection.

Note: If you have a batch of tikka masala sauce handy, then making this dish becomes even faster. Here’s the recipe to make a large batch in about 30 minutes. 

Recipe Inspiration

This recipe has been inspired by the “The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook” by Archana Mundhe. Thanks to her book I attempted to make salmon in the Instant Pot and her instructions didn’t disappoint. The salmon was perfectly cooked in 4 minutes and came out absolutely delicious. I made a few changes to the sauce based on my cooking style but for the marinade, I followed her recipe. 

How to make Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala

A collage of images depicting how to make salmon tikka masala in Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala – Step by Step

Marinate the Salmon

  1. Rinse the salmon and then pat it dry with a paper towel.
  2. Next, chop the salmon into 2-inch sized pieces and set aside.
  3. In a steel bowl mix together oil, garlic, ginger, lime juice, chili powder, garam masala, and salt.
  4. Finally, add the salmon to the bowl, coating one piece at a time until they are all covered in the marinade. 

Prepare the curry sauce 

If you are making the tikka masala sauce during the cooking process follow these steps-

  1. Heat oil in an Instant Pot using the Sauté function set at ‘Normal’ mode. 
  2. Once the oil is hot, add black peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Let them sizzle for about 10-15 seconds until fragrant. 
  3. Next, add chopped onions, cashews, chopped ginger, and garlic. Sauté them for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Add tomatoes, salt, turmeric powder, and Kashmiri chili powder to the pot and mix well.
  5. Allow tomatoes to cook for about 2 minutes until softened.
  6. After allowing the tomatoes to cook, add 1/2 cup of water and mix well. Deglaze the pot by scraping down the bottom of the pot to make sure nothing sticks.
  7. Carefully place a trivet over the sauce. Then, place the steel bowl with the marinated salmon over the trivet.
  8. At this point, hit cancel on the Instant Pot and cover the lid. Move the vent to sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.
  9. When the cooking cycle is complete, release the pressure immediately by moving the steam valve to the venting position.
  10. Open the lid. Using tongs, carefully remove the steel bowl with salmon and the trivet as well.
  11. Stir the sauce, then use an immersion blender to puree the tikka masala sauce to a smooth paste. If you use a blender, instead of an immersion blender, allow the masala sauce to cool down for at least 10 minutes before blending it.
  12. Add garam masala and honey, if you are using it, to the pureed sauce.
  13. Garnish with diced fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) or cilantro and mix well.
  14. Then, set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and select the ‘Less’ setting.
  15. Fold the salmon into the curry until combined. Simmer the salmon with the curry for about 2 minutes to let the flavors meld in.
  16. Press cancel to turn off the Instant Pot. 
  17. When you are ready, serve over rice or with naan
Chunks of salmon tikka masala are served over a bed of rice with lime wedges on a black plate. This plate sits on a silver platter with naan, a cup of water, and a bowl of salmon tikka masala in the background.
Salmon Tikka Masala Recipe

How to use Tikka Masala Sauce in this recipe

If you plan to use premade tikka masala sauce in this recipe, replace the part where it calls for adding onions/ginger/garlic/cashews and tomatoes with the masala sauce. These are the steps to follow –  

  1. Heat oil in an Instant Pot using the Saute function set at ‘Normal’ mode. 
  2. Once the oil is hot, add black peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon stick to the pot – let them sizzle for about 10-15 seconds. 
  3. Add about 2 cups of tikka masala sauce and mix well. Let the mixture come to a boil. 
  4. Then, season with salt and Kashmiri chili powder, if required. 
  5. Next, put the marinated salmon directly to the sauce. Gently fold it in.  
  6. At this point, hit cancel and cover the lid. Move the vent to sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. 
  7. Once the cooking cycle is complete, release the pressure immediately by moving the steam valve to the venting position. 
  8. Stir in garam masala and honey (if using) until combined.  
  9. Finally, garnish with dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) or cilantro. 

Helpful cooking tips to make Fish Tikka Masala

  • If you do not want to use nuts, replace it with 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Make sure to add it in the end. 
  • You can use skinned salmon for this recipe but skinless salmon is preferred because it is easier to chop them.
  • Using other fish varieties – While I use salmon in this recipe, you can also try out different fishes to make this dish. Halibut, swordfish, and Mahi Mahi work well with this recipe.
  • If you have leftover Tandoori salmon and a batch of tikka masala sauce, combine the two to make this salmon tikka masala. All you need to do is get the sauce to come to a boil, add the cooked salmon pieces and mix well. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. 
A black bowl of salmon tikka masala on a silver platter with naan, masala sauce, and rice in the background.
Fish Tikka Masala

If you are looking for similar curry recipes that go well with rotis and basmati rice, here are my top favorites – 

  1. Chana masala –  Punjabi Chana Masala (Choley) popularly known as the Indian Chickpea Curry is a crowd-pleaser. This vegan one-pot curry can be made in an Instant Pot as well as a stovetop Pressure cooker. Get all the deets on how to make this delicious curry at home!
  2. Instant Pot Rajma masala – Use your pressure cooker or Instant Pot to make this quick & delicious Dhaba style Punjabi rajma masala. While you can serve it with rotis, the combination of rajma and chawal (rice) is what makes this dish truly special.
  3. Chettinad chicken curry – If you like spicy chicken curries then this fiery, aromatic Chicken Chettinad curry is right up your alley. It is so delicious that you’ll want to lick your plate off!
  4. Chicken Vindaloo – Learn how to make this tangy finger-licking chicken vindaloo curry in an Instant Pot or Stovetop. It is gluten and dairy-free and absolutely delicious! Serve it with warm pav (dinner rolls) for an authentic experience. 
  5. Prawns balchao – Prawns Balchao is a fiery dish that finds its origins in Goa. Prawns are stir-fried first and then added to a pickled curry sauce to create a dish that makes your taste buds tingle and leaves you asking for more.


Got a new Instant Pot? Check out the links below to make the most of your pressure cooker -  
A black bowl of salmon tikka masala on a silver platter with naan, masala sauce, and rice in the background.

Salmon Tikka Masala

4.41 from 5 votes
This quick and easy salmon tikka masala cooks up in 30 minutes for a perfect weeknight dinner. The creamy tikka masala sauce can be made in advance or at the time of cooking, either way, it packs the flavor!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Pressure building time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Diet : Gluten-free
Course : Main Course
Method: Instant Pot
Cuisine : Indian

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 lbs wild-caught salmon, skinless

For the Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons oil, olive/mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder, medium-hot [see note]
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the curry

Instructions
 

Marinating Salmon

  • Rinse the salmon and pat it dry with a paper towel.
  • Chop the salmon into 2-inch pieces.
  • Combine all the ingredients under the marinade section in a steel bowl.
  • Add the salmon pieces to the marinade and coat them one at a time so that each piece is evenly marinated.

Cooking the curry

  • Heat oil in an Instant Pot using the Saute function set at 'Normal' mode.
  • Once the oil is hot, add all the spices -black peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Let them sizzle for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Add chopped onions, cashews, chopped ginger, and garlic. Saute them for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes along with salt, turmeric powder, and Kashmiri chili powder. Mix well.
  • Let the tomatoes cook for about 2 minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and mix well. Deglaze the pot – scrape the bottom of the pot to make sure there is nothing stuck.
  • Place a trivet over the sauce. Carefully place the steel bowl with marinated salmon over the trivet.
  • Hit cancel and cover the lid. Move the steam valve to sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 4 minutes.
  • Once the cooking cycle is complete, release the pressure immediately by moving the steam valve to the venting position.
  • Open the lid and carefully remove the steel bowl with salmon using tongs. Remove the trivet as well.
  • Stir the sauce. Use an immersion blender and puree it to a smooth paste. If using a blender, allow the masala sauce to cool down for at least 10 minutes before pureeing it.
  • Add garam masala and honey (if using). 
  • Garnish it with dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) or cilantro. Mix well.
  • Set the Instant Pot on Saute mode. Select the 'Less' setting.
  • Add the salmon to the curry. Use a ladle to pour the sauce over it instead of mixing the salmon in. This is to prevent the salmon from falling apart.
  • Simmer for about 2 minutes to allow the flavors to meld in.
  • Press cancel to turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Serve with rice or naan.

Notes

  • You can use skinned salmon for this recipe but skinless salmon is preferred because it is easier to chop them.
  • Using other fish varieties – While I use salmon in this recipe, you can also try out different fishes to make this dish. Halibut, swordfish, and Mahi Mahi work well with this recipe. 
  • If you do not want to use nuts, replace it with 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Make sure to add it in the end. 
  • If you have leftover Tandoori salmon and a batch of tikka masala sauce, combine the two to make this salmon tikka masala. All you need to do is get the sauce to come to a boil, add the cooked salmon pieces and mix well. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. 

How to use Tikka Masala Sauce in this recipe

If you plan to use premade tikka masala sauce in this recipe, replace the part where it calls for adding onions/ginger/garlic/cashews and tomatoes with the masala sauce. These are the steps to follow –  
  1. Heat oil in an Instant Pot using the Saute function set at ‘Normal’ mode. 
  2. Once the oil is hot, add black peppercorns, cloves, and cinnamon stick to the pot – let them sizzle for about 10-15 seconds. 
  3. Add about 2 cups of tikka masala sauce and mix well. Let the mixture come to a boil. 
  4. Season it with salt and Kashmiri chili powder, if required. 
  5. Next, put the marinated salmon directly to the sauce. Gently fold it in.  
  6. At this point, hit cancel and cover the lid. Move the vent to sealing position. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. 
  7. Once the cooking cycle is complete, release the pressure immediately by moving the steam valve to the venting position. 
  8. Stir in garam masala and honey (if using) until combined.  
  9. Finally, garnish with dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) or cilantro. 

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Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links to products we love and recommend. As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition

Calories: 486.88kcalCarbohydrates: 20gProtein: 37.76gFat: 29.09gSaturated Fat: 9.46gCholesterol: 93.55mgSodium: 684.53mgPotassium: 1338.77mgFiber: 3.85gSugar: 10.62gVitamin A: 1605.71IUVitamin C: 26.14mgCalcium: 57mgIron: 2.71mg

Disclaimer: Approximate Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Very good! Made the sauce yesterday and added the salmon today – was a hit in my family! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

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