In the early 1940s, Amonkar began to receive vocal lessons in Hindustani classical music from Anjanibai Malpekar (Bhendi Bazar Gharana) and her mother Mogubai Kurdikar and later received training from tutors of several gharanas. Amonkar became interested in film music and sang playback for the 1964 movie Geet Gaya Patharon Ne, but returned to classical music because of bad experiences in the movie industry. Amonkar lost her voice for two years in the late 1950s for unknown reasons. She sang for the 1990 Hindi film Drishti.
Amonkar's work in light music has informed her classical singing and she modified her Jaipur gharana performance style by applying features from other gharanas. She has created many compositions for a number of ragas. Amonkar's students include Manik Bhide, Meena Joshi, Suhasini Mulgaonkar, Raghunandan Panshikar, Arati Ankalikar-Tikekar, Devaki Pandit, Mira Panshikar, Shivraj Shitole, and her granddaughter Tejashree Amonkar.
Kishori Amonkar was married to Ravindra Amonkar, who passed away in early 1980s. The couple has two sons - Nihar and Bibhas. She is sometimes also described as "temperamental". Amonkar lives in Mumbai.