This Instant Pot Beef Curry with coconut milk is rich and delicious with fork tender meat. With minimal prep it's ideal for a busy weeknight. Instructions for stove top, oven and slow cooker beef curry are also included.
My family love Indian cooking and this is honestly the easiest recipe! As with all my curries this instant pot beef curry recipe is a pared back version, which is realistic to achieve for weeknight dinner.
With the instant pot, flavorful and really aromatic curry has never been easier. You can use simple ingredients to create complex flavors in much less time. Of course the best thing about making curries at home means you have total control over what you put in the sauce which means no artificial colors or flavors.
In this Indian recipe I use an Indian curry powder, good quality beef broth, and add an extra layer of flavor and texture with creamy coconut milk. All this results in a delicious beef curry the whole family will enjoy.
When making this curry for the kids I use a mild-medium curry powder. Then add some fresh chopped red chili peppers in a bowl alongside for anyone who wants to add an extra kick of chili heat.
Why You'll Love This Beef Curry with Coconut Milk
- The Instant Pot makes quick work of beef curry and the result is fork tender beef in a flavorful curry sauce.
- Cooking Indian food at home is a lot healthier than the local takeaway. There's no excess salt, sugar or oil in this sauce.
- This curry is easily adapted to suit your taste, if you like your curry milder, use a mild curry powder. Or for spicier, use a hot curry powder.
- Use gluten free beef broth for a delicious gluten free beef curry.
- Try some of my favorite curry recipes:
Pressure Cooker Curry Ingredients
Find the full list and quantities in the recipe below.
Beef - I used cubed beef stew meat, which is ideal for braising in an Instant Pot or cooking low and slow on the stove top or slow cooker. But you can use any cut of beef which is suitable for slow cooking.
Curry Powder - I use a medium strength curry powder, something like a Madras curry powder. However, you can use your favorite curry powder blend and go as mild or as hot as you like.
Broth - I've used beef broth to amplify the beef flavor in this curry. Vegetable or chicken broth could also be used.
Coconut Milk - I use full fat coconut milk as it has the best flavor and results in a rich and creamy curry sauce. You can use light coconut milk if you prefer.
How to Make this Pressure Cooker Beef Curry Recipe - Step-By-Step
Find the full printable recipe card below.
TO PRESSURE COOK
Heat the olive oil in the Instant Pot using the sauté setting.
Season the cubed beef and add to the pot. Sear on sauté mode until golden brown. You will need to do this in batches to not overcrowd the pot. Remove the beef to a large plate.
Sauté the onion in the pot for around 5 minutes until it starts to soften, then stir in the minced garlic and ginger.
Add the curry powder and tomato paste and stir well to combine then add the browned beef back to the pan along with the beef broth and water. Make sure to mix in all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot, since that is where the flavor is.
Season again and close the lid then cook on manual high pressure for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the beef to become fork tender.
Once it has finished cooking let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes then release the remaining pressure via manual release.
Stir in the coconut milk and if you like your meat pulled, shred the tender meat with two forks (it's fine to skip this step too.)
Simmer the curry for a little longer on sauté mode if you like your sauce a little thicker. If not it's fine to serve!
Garnish with cilantro and thinly sliced red chili if you like.
TO OVEN COOK
Use a Dutch oven or any large lidded oven-proof pot to complete all the browning and sautéing steps.
Once the broth and water have been added, cover with the lid and place in the oven at 300ºF/150ºC for 2-3 hours or until the beef completely tender.
Finish the dish with the coconut milk and simmer on the stove to reduce the sauce if needed.
TO SLOW COOK
Follow the instant pot recipe using the browning setting on your slow cooker or start the process in a heavy based pan on the stove then transfer to the crockpot.
Cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 7-8 hours, until the beef is completely tender.
Add the coconut milk and allow to cook with the lid off until the sauce is the desired thickness. Or move the curry to a pot on the stovetop if needed.
TO COOK ON THE STOVETOP
Follow the Instant Pot recipe but brown and sauté the meat and vegetables using a large heavy based pan on the stove top.
Once the water and broth are added, bring the curry to a boil then turn the temperature to low. Add the lid and simmer for 2-3 hours until the beef is tender.
Add the coconut milk as normal and simmer until the curry is the right thickness and serve.
Frequently Asked Questions
What type of beef is best for a curry?
You will need a good stewing beef cut for this easy beef curry. Braising steak comes from the areas of the cow that do a lot of work, so they tend to be tougher and lend themselves really well to being cooked low and slow, unless you are using a pressure cooker.
You can often buy diced stewing or braising steak. However for a good braising cut I would suggest chuck steak, skirt, flatiron steak (also know as blade), flank steak, round steak, or brisket.
How do I make sure my beef is tender in a curry?
The trick to fork tender pieces of beef is to ensure you cook it long enough. It will cook faster in an Instant Pot than it will on the stove top, oven or slow cooker. However, you still need to cook it for a good 30 minutes on high pressure to get pull apart pieces of meat.
Variations & Substitutions for this Easy Beef Curry Recipe
I've used beef, but this recipe would also work well with lamb shoulder. You can also make it into a ground beef curry if you don't have stew meat.
Swap beef for bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or chicken drumsticks, just make sure you adjust the cooking times.
If you like your curry extra spicy, add some chili powder or red pepper flakes to the curry sauce.
Add extra vegetables to the curry, try potato, sweet potato, butternut squash, cauliflower, bell peppers, eggplant or zucchini.
Stir through some leafy greens like kale, spinach or chard and allow to wilt in the heat of the curry sauce.
Tips & Tricks For Making Instant Pot Beef Curry
- As with all curry, this tastes better the next day when all the flavors have had a chance to intensify.
- Searing the meat and onion first builds flavor but if you're in a hurry it's fine to skip this step and put everything into the instant pot at the same time.
- A great way to 'refresh' reheated or frozen curry is to add fresh herbs. So remember to add some fresh cilantro to the curry when you re-heat it.
- If you're in a real hurry it's fine to use ready chopped onion and ready minced garlic and ginger (either fresh or frozen) to cut down even more on prep time.
How To Serve Easy Beef Curry
White or brown steamed basmati rice and naan bread are both classic accompaniments to this dish. I always like to serve bread which helps mop up the curry sauce.
For something a little different try my Coconut Rice with Lime. Cauliflower rice is a great light and low carb option.
I like to add a bowl of freshly sliced red chilies to the table. That way those who like their curry on the hotter side can add it to taste.
How To Reheat Indian Beef Curry?
Curry is a great make ahead dish and is perfect for weekly meal prep. Prepare it the day before and leave to cool before storing in the fridge.
In fact curry always tastes better the second day as the flavors intensify when left to sit overnight. Next time you're ready to eat it, just put the curry back on the stove and warm up gently until piping hot.
How to Freeze Instant Pot Beef Curry?
As with most curries, this homemade curry can be easily frozen. Cook the curry then allow it to cool completely before placing in an airtight container with a tight fitting lid.
It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, defrost thoroughly before heating gently until hot all the way through.
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More Easy Recipe Ideas
Instant Pot Beef Curry with Coconut Milk
- 2 lb Beef Stew Meat - cubed
- 2 tbsp Olive Oil - or other vegetable oil or ghee
- 1 Onion - finely chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic - minced
- 1 tbsp Fresh Ginger - grated
- 2 tbsp Curry Powder
- 2 tbsp Tomato Paste - or puree
- 1 cup Beef Broth - or vegetable stock/broth
- 1 cup Water
- 14 oz Coconut Milk
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
- Fresh Cilantro (Coriander)
- Red Chili - thinly sliced
To Pressure Cook
- Switch on the Instant Pot and select the sauté setting.
- Add the olive oil to the pot to heat as the pot heats.
- Season the cubed beef generously with sea salt and pepper.
- Add the seasoned beef and sear until the outside of the meat is golden brown. You may need to do this in 2 batches so you don't crowd the pan.
- Once browned, transfer the beef to a plate and reserve.
- Add the diced onion into the pan. Sauté until the onion starts to soften, around 5 minutes.
- Stir in the minced garlic and ginger.
- Add the curry powder and tomato paste. Stir well to combine.
- Add the beef back to the pan along with the beef broth and water.
- Season again and close the lid.
- Cook on manual high pressure for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld and the beef to become fork tender.
- Once it has finished cooking let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes then release the remaining pressure via manual release.
- Stir in the coconut milk and if you like your meat pulled shred the beef with two forks (it's fine to skip this step too.)
- Simmer the curry for a little longer on saute mode if you like your sauce a little thicker. If not it's fine to serve!
- Garnish with cilantro and thinly sliced red chili if you like.
To Oven Cook
- Use a Dutch oven or any large lidded oven-proof pot to complete all the browning and sautéing steps.
- Once the broth and water have been added, cover with the lid and place in the oven at 300ºF/150ºC for 2-3 hours or until the beef completely tender.
- Finish the dish with the coconut milk and simmer on the stove to reduce the sauce if needed.
To Slow Cook
- Follow the instant pot recipe using the browning setting on your slow cooker or start the process in a heavy based pan on the stove then transfer to the crockpot.
- Cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 4-5 hours or LOW for 7-8 hours, until the beef is completely tender.
- Add the coconut milk and allow to cook with the lid off until the sauce is the desired thickness. Or move the curry to a pot on the stovetop if needed.
To Cook On The Stovetop
- Follow the Instant Pot recipe but brown and sauté the meat and vegetables using a large heavy based pan on the stove top.
- Once the water and broth are added, bring the curry to a boil then turn the temperature to low. Add the lid and simmer for 2-3 hours until the beef is tender.
- Add the coconut milk as normal and simmer until the curry is the right thickness and serve.