Ready for the most delicious Instant Pot Chicken Thighs recipe on the internet? Say hello to these sticky, sweet Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs.
These Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are seared to perfection, slathered with honey garlic sauce, and then pressure cooked in your Instant Pot to make them juicy as can be.
Think takeout meets chicken thighs meets Instant Pot! We’ve started to get ultra-creative with our Instant Pot Chicken thigh recipes and that’s because the world is our oyster.
Cooking chicken thighs in Instant Pot is rather simple and creates juicy, tender meat in no time.
What Kind of Chicken Thighs should I use for Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
The good news for you is that we tested this recipe many times and with all different kinds of chicken thighs! Love skin-on chicken thighs? Or boneless chicken thighs? Both work! So feel free to use around 2 lbs. of the following:
If you’re wondering what kind of thighs we prefer, it’s hands-down bone-in with the skin on. However, boneless skinless chicken thighs are also pretty dang delish.
How to Flavor Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
There are two ways that you can flavor chicken thighs Instant Pot – a dry rub or a marinade. Dry rubs are going to leave you with a crunchy, crusty skin and need to be cooked on the trivet. A chicken marinade will leave your thighs moist and perfect for shredding and don’t need to the trivet.
Use around 1-2 tablespoons of dry rub per lb. of chicken.
- Chicken Dry Rub
- Chicken Seasoning
- Everything Bagel Seasoning
- Homemade Fajita Seasoning
- Moroccan Spice Mix
Use around 1/2 cup of marinade per lb. of chicken
- Honey Garlic Sauce (see recipe card)
- Teriyaki Chicken Marinade
- Lemon Chicken Marinade
- Balsamic Chicken Marinade
#1 Tip for Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
Our #1 tip for perfect IP Chicken Thighs is to sear BEFORE you pressure cook! This will give your chicken thighs gorgeous color and the texture of seared chicken thighs without having to use your stovetop.
Plus, it will actually help preheat your Instant Pot, cutting the pressurizing time almost in half. Whatever you do, do not skip this step.
Best Honey Garlic Sauce
If you’ve ever had our Crock Pot Honey Garlic Chicken, you know how delicious our honey garlic sauce is. This is a slightly modified version of that sauce, but equally as delicious. Here’s what you need to make literally the best Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken:
- Honey – you can always sub maple syrup instead of honey, but it is HONEY garlic chicken, after all.
- Minced garlic – use pre-minced or freshly minced. Either works.
- Soy Sauce – feel free to sub tamari for a gluten-free option
- Chili Garlic Sauce – adds a little kick of heat! Feel free to use sriracha instead.
- Cornstarch – Cornstarch is used as a sauce thickener.
Is honey garlic sauce spicy? Our honey garlic sauce is about a 4/10 spice-wise. If you like it super spicy, feel free to add more chili garlic sauce.
do I have to use cornstarch?
The sauce is then thickened with a little bit of cornstarch, but you always have the option to skip that step. If you don’t have cornstarch, feel free to use tapioca starch instead.
How long to cook chicken thighs in Instant Pot
From frozen: cook frozen chicken thighs and sauce (or water) for 15 minutes on high pressure with a quick release.
From thawed: sear chicken thighs for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Then, cook chicken thighs with sauce in your pressure cooker on high for 5 minutes.
Here’s a tip: The goal is to get the internal temperature of the chicken to be 165ºF.
How to Thicken Sauce in the Instant Pot
Most of the time when thickening any kind of sauce, you need a thickening agent such as cornstarch. This is exactly what we used in this recipe.
The easiest way to thicken a sauce in the Instant Pot is to use the handy dandy saute feature. You can either sprinkle the cornstarch right into the sauce in your Instant Pot and whisk it until thick OR create a cornstarch slurry.
How to create a slurry
To create a cornstarch slurry, remove around 1/4 cup of sauce and then whisk the cornstarch into that small amount of sauce. Then, pour the slurry back into the Instant Pot and whisk over the saute feature until thickened.
Both options work, so do whatever you’re most comfortable with.
IP Chicken Thighs Q&A
Can you stack chicken thighs in an Instant Pot?
You can absolutely stack chicken thighs in your Instant Pot, however, we only recommend doing this if you plan to shred the chicken. Stacking your thighs is going to reduce the crunchiness of the skin, which makes it perfect for shredding. However, if you want each thigh to have an amazing texture, make sure you do NOT stack them.
What setting do you cook chicken on in an Instant Pot?
To get the most perfect Instant Pot chicken thighs with sauce, first, saute your thighs in olive oil on both sides for about 2-3 minutes. Then, add your sauce and close the Instant Pot. Turn the valve to seal and cook on high for 5 minutes. Once the timer goes off, do a quick release.
How do you cook frozen thighs in an Instant Pot?
Cooking frozen thighs in the Instant Pot is rather easy. Add frozen thighs to the Instant Pot and then add in your sauce (or you can sub with water). Then, cook on high for around 15 minutes.
Note: You’ll notice that this is about 10 minutes longer than thawed things.
Do you have to use a trivet in Instant Pot?
Technically, you do not HAVE to use the trivet when cooking chicken thighs in the Instant Pot. However, it is helpful for preventing the burn notice from appearing.
Can I make this recipe with chicken breasts?
Yes! We suggest doing a shredded honey garlic chicken breast with this recipe. Instead of sauteing the chicken, just add it to your pressure cooker and then top it with the sauce. Mix to combine. Seal the Instant Pot and cook on high for 8 minutes. Do a quick release and then shred the chicken breasts. Thicken the sauce as directed.
Make your honey garlic chicken Instant Pot recipe a complete meal by serving it with a grain and your favorite veggie. Here are some ideas:
Fried Rice: Whip up our Instant Pot Fried Rice for a veggie-packed side.
Coconut Rice: Coconut rice is sweet and sticky and would be a perfect grain for this chicken.
Quinoa: Keep things basic with Instant Pot Quinoa so that you get all the flavors from the honey garlic chicken!
Veggies: Serve these honey garlic chicken thighs next to your favorite steamed or sauteed veggies such as broccoli, green beans, peppers, onions, etc.
Store honey garlic chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
- 2 lbs. chicken thighs, skin-on*
- 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari)
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds (optional)
- First, use a few pieces of paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible from your chicken thighs.
- Next, turn on the Instant Pot’s sauté feature. Sear both sides of each chicken thigh for 2-3 minutes to give them a nice brown.
- While the chicken thighs are sauteing, prepare the honey garlic sauce. Mix together minced garlic, honey, soy sauce, and chili garlic sauce.
- Once the chicken thighs are done browning, turn off the sauté function and then pour on the honey garlic sauce.
- Close your Instant Pot and turn the valve to seal. Turn your Instant Pot to manual > high pressure > and set the timer for 5 minutes. It will take around 10 minutes for the pressure to build before it starts counting down from 5 minutes.
- When the timer goes off, quick release your Instant Pot by opening the valve.
- Remove the lid and then remove chicken thighs.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs or you have the option to thicken your sauce with cornstarch. To thicken turn on the Instant Pot’s saute feature (you need the heat to ignite the thickening agent) and then sprinkle in cornstarch. Whisk until the sauce thickens.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken and serve with sesame seeds and your favorite grain and veggies.
Tips & Notes
- We tested bone-in with skin AND boneless, skinless and they both work!
- Nutrition was calculated using boneless chicken thighs and includes only the chicken.
Serving Size: 1/6 Calories: 284 Sugar: 16 Fat: 9 Carbohydrates: 17 Fiber: 0 Protein: 30
Author: Lee FunkeCategory: Main MealMethod: Instant PotCuisine: AsianDiet: Gluten Free
Keywords: instant pot chicken thighs