This Instant Pot Lamb Curry is a signature North Indian Kashmiri curry called rogan josh that can also be made with beef. Tender morsels of lamb are pressure cooked to perfection in a vibrant aromatic sauce. Stovetop instructions also included.
Table of Contents
What is rogan josh? Instant Pot rogan josh (pronounced row-gun joe-sh) is also known as rogan gosht. It consists of pieces of lamb or beef braised in a rich gravy. Fragrant whole spices such as cloves, cinnamon, and cardamom combine with ground Indian spices such as coriander, cumin, and chili powder to create a flavor-packed combination.
The name rogan josh itself means ‘red meat‘ and the dish originates from the North Indian region of Kashmir. Traditionally it’s cooked with goat or mutton. However lamb, beef and chicken versions have become popular.
Popular in Indian restaurants, rogan josh curry can now be made really easily at home in your Instant Pot. The list of ingredients might appear to be lengthy but upon closer glance you’ll see that you may already have them in your pantry. Regardless, they’re easily available at supermarkets or an Indian grocer.
Some recipes for rogan josh curry include tomatoes and that gives the curry a heavier tomato flavor and redder appearance. My version of this Indian lamb curry does not have tomatoes. But it does have yogurt which gives the curry a slight tart flavor. My lamb curry recipe gets its color from paprika.
Tips and Substitutions
Instead of sauteing the whole spices (cinnamon, cardamom, etc.) in oil, try substituting ghee. It will add extra flavor to this recipe. You can buy ghee at most grocery stores or you can make your own ghee with this Instant Pot Ghee recipe.
The lamb curry recipe, as written, is made by doing a minimal saute of the onions (to light golden brown) and it tastes great.
But as I’ve mentioned in other recipes, the longer you can saute the onions for Indian curries (without burning them!) the better, in my opinion. So if you have the time, go ahead and saute the onions to a deeper golden brown.
If the onions begin to stick to the bottom of the inner pot or begin to burn, add a tablespoon of water or broth to deglaze. Do this as needed until the onions are nicely browned but not burned!
I like this lamb pressure cooker recipe without tomatoes but if you would like to have tomato flavor, go ahead and add a tablespoon of tomato paste or 1/4 cup of tomato puree or tomato sauce (tomato passata) over the lamb and yogurt mixture, without stirring it in. Not stirring helps you avoid the Instant Pot Burn Message.
Lamb, Beef or Chicken
If you can find pre-cut lamb stew meat, lucky you! I find that one of the hardest parts about cooking with lamb is trimming the fat and cutting the meat up into stew-size pieces.
What I like to do is buy a large piece of lamb and trim the fat, cut it into cubes and freeze into portions for cooking it two or three times.
[Check out my Instant Pot Lamb Biryani for another delicious lamb recipe.]
I often substitute pre-cut beef stew meat in this recipe when I’m short on time and don’t have lamb meat in my freezer. It’s just as good. Pressure cooking time can stay the same.
Though not traditional, this recipe also works with chicken, preferably thighs. To make rogan josh chicken, cut the chicken into 1 1/2 inch pieces and change the pressure cooking time to 4 minutes.
If using lamb or beef, you can add some additional flavor by searing the meat in oil in batches before pressure cooking. Make sure the inner pot and oil are very hot and the meat has been patted dry. To be honest, I find that searing is easier when done in a large frying pan because I can control the heat and also fit more in the pan than the inner pot.
Searing is an optional step and I skip it if I don’t have the time. I’ve written the recipe without this browning step because it can be slightly time-consuming.
The whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves) are components of the Indian spice mix called garam masala. I frequently get asked by readers about what to do with the whole spices once cooking is complete.
You can either remove the spices as you see them before serving or each person can remove the whole spices and place them to the side of their plate while eating.
Feel free to sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of powdered garam masala and stir it into the finished dish before serving.
I generally don’t make my curries super spicy and I would say this one is less than medium spicy (how’s that for being safe?!) so if you like spicy foods add another teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder or substitute cayenne pepper to taste.
One of the frequent questions I get about recipes that contain yogurt is whether the yogurt curdles since you’re not supposed to pressure cook dairy products. I use yogurt in a few of my Instant Pot Indian recipes and don’t have any issues.
Even if it appears to be curdled initially, it becomes smooth upon stirring. However, please note that I use whole milk yogurt.
The quantity of liquid in this recipe is enough to bring my Instant Pot to pressure and I tested it on various 6 quart models. The meat usually releases some liquid too.
If you’re using an 8 quart, you may need to increase the yogurt and water or broth quantity by 50%. If your Instant Pot is prone to getting the Burn Message or having sealing issues, go ahead and increase the yogurt and broth to 1/3 cup each.
If you’re new to the Instant Pot and aren’t familiar with how to use it, you might find it helpful to first read one of the following guides and then come back here to learn how to make this recipe.
- Instant Pot DUO Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot ULTRA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO EVO PLUS Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO NOVA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO GOURMET Beginner’s Manual
Instant Pot Lamb Curry (Rogan Josh) Ingredients
- Chili powder
- Bay leaves
How to Make Instant Pot Lamb Curry (Step by Step Instructions for Rogan Josh)
- Turn on Saute Mode.
- Saute whole spices, onions, garlic, ginger.
- Saute ground spices and add the lamb.
- Stir in yogurt and broth.
- Pressure cook.
- Release pressure.
- Reduce to thicken.
Turn on Saute Mode
- Instant Pot DUO: Select the Saute function.
- Instant Pot ULTRA: Select the Saute function and press Start.
Saute Whole Spices, Onion, Garlic and Ginger
- Once the inner pot has heated up, add oil or ghee.
- When the oil is hot, add whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves) and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
- Add onion, garlic, and ginger.
- Saute the onion mixture until onions are golden brown, about 5 minutes to 7 minutes.
- Press Cancel. The spices in the next step will cook in the residual heat.
Saute Ground Spices, Add Lamb
- Stir in coriander, cumin, chili powder, paprika, black pepper, and salt.
- Saute the spices with the onion mixture for about 30 seconds. Deglaze as needed.
- Add in the lamb.
Stir in Yogurt and Broth
- Stir lamb and spices until combined.
- Add yogurt and broth and stir till combined.
- Make sure there’s nothing stuck to the bottom of the inner pot.
Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cook 22 minutes
- Close the lid and make sure the steam release handle is in the Sealing position.
- Press Manual (or Pressure Cook) and + or – until the display reads 22 (22 minutes).
Instant Pot Ultra Pressure Cook 22 minutes
- Close the lid.
- Select Pressure Cook mode and adjust the time to 22 minutes (00:22).
- Press Start.
Pressure Cooking Process (Duo and Ultra)
- Instant Pot display will change to On.
- Once the Instant Pot is pressurized, the float valve will go up.
- The display will count down to 0; it will then switch to Keep Warm mode and display L0:00 or 00 00 and begin to count up the number of minutes since pressure cooking completed.
How to Naturally Release Pressure (NPR) on the DUO and ULTRA
- Allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR). The float valve will be in the down position. This may take 15 to 30 minutes. [Find out more about the pressure release methods and how and when to use them. ]
- Press Cancel and open the Instant Pot.
Reduce to Thicken
- Select Saute mode, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until thickened and heated through, stirring frequently. Use a splatter screen to prevent splatter.
- Press Cancel and stir in chopped cilantro if desired.
- Serve with hot buttered naan or steamed Instant Pot basmati or jasmine rice.
Stovetop Directions for Rogan Josh Curry
To make this lamb curry on the stovetop:
- Heat the oil or ghee.
- Brown the meat in batches and set aside.
- Saute the whole spices.
- Saute the onion, garlic, ginger.
- Saute the powdered spices.
- Return lamb or beef to pan.
- Add yogurt in 1 tablespoon increments and saute 30 seconds each.
- Add 1 cup of broth or water.
- Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until meat is tender.
- Stir occasionally and add more water as needed.
See the recipe card below for detailed instructions.
Lamb Curry – Rogan Josh (Instant Pot and Stovetop)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil – or ghee
- 2 small bay leaves – or 1 large
- 1 cinnamon stick – 2 inches
- 5 cardamom pods
- 5 cloves
- 2 cups onion – chopped
- 2 Tbsp garlic – minced
- 2 Tbsp ginger – minced
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
- 1 Tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/4 tsp salt – or to taste!
- 2 lb lamb – cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes, trimmed of fat (or beef)
- 1/4 cup beef broth – or chicken broth or water
- 1/4 cup plain yogurt – whole milk
- 1/4 cup cilantro – chopped, to garnish
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Instructions
- Select Saute and allow the Instant Pot to heat up. Once the inner pot has heated up, add oil or ghee.
- Once the oil has heated up, add bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
- Stir in onion, garlic, and ginger and saute the onion mixture until onions are light golden brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. *
- Press Cancel. The spices in the next step will cook in the residual heat.
- Stir in coriander, cumin, chili powder, paprika, black pepper and salt.
- Stir the spices with the onion mixture for about 30 seconds. Deglaze with a small amount of water or broth if you find that the spices are burning.
- Add the lamb and stir to coat the lamb with the spices. Scrape the bottom of the inner pot to make sure there are no brown bits stuck to the bottom.
- Add broth and yogurt and stir till combined.
- Close the lid and pressure cook on High Pressure for 22 minutes.
- Do a Natural Pressure Release (NPR). If you're short on time, you can do a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release (NPR 15). [Read More: The Different Pressure Release Methods]
- Open the lid and select Saute mode.
- Heat through until thickened to your liking, stirring frequently, about 5 to 7 minutes. Use a splatter screen to prevent splatter.
- Press Cancel and stir in chopped cilantro.
- Serve with toasted naan or basmati rice.
- Heat the oil or ghee in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
- Brown the meat in batches, transfer to a separate container, and set aside.
- Add more oil or ghee if necessary. Saute the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves and stir until fragrant, about 15 seconds.
- Stir in onion, garlic, and ginger and saute the onion mixture until onions are light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Deglaze as needed.
- Stir in the spices and saute for 30 seconds or until fragrant, making sure they don't burn.
- Return the meat to the pot and stir to coat the meat with the spice mixture.
- Add yogurt, one tablespoon at a time and saute until incorporated into the sauce, about 30 seconds to 1 minute each time.
- Add a cup of broth or water and stir everything together. (Note that the stovetop recipe requires more liquid due to evaporation.)
- Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed.
- The final curry will be a thick gravy with tender meat.
- Garnish with cilantro.
- Serve with toasted naan or basmati rice.
- Prep time does not include steps that are already accounted for in the ingredient list, e.g. cut up lamb, chopped onion, etc.
- * If the onion starts to stick to the bottom or burn, add a tablespoon of broth to deglaze and continue sauteing. Do this as often as needed until the onions are cooked properly.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips. You don’t want to miss any!
I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
If you loved this recipe, please give it a five ⭐ rating in the comment section below and please share it on social media using the social media share buttons at the top and bottom of this post. Thank you so much!