Easy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe with Honey Garlic Sauce

If you’re new to pressure cooking, this Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe with Honey Garlic Sauce is the perfect recipe to try out!

A piece of Instant Pot Chicken Thigh with Honey Garlic Sauce on a white plate with a fork, salad, and red napkin.

Why this recipe works

This is just the dish you need when looking for easy dinners to feed the hungry hordes. Err, family.

You’ll love how much flavor you get from these awesome honey garlic chicken thighs, too!

How to make Instant Pot chicken thighs

The easy meal prep makes this one of the best instant pot chicken recipes for busy weeknights.

1. Trim excess fat from the chicken. Pat dry with paper towels.

Don't wash the chicken! According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, you shouldn't wash raw poultry before cooking.

Bacteria in raw poultry can be spread to other foods, utensils, and surfaces. Washing just splashes the bacteria around your kitchen. GROSS!

2. Season chicken thighs with salt and black pepper.

3. Turn Instant Pot to the sauté mode. Add oil to the inner pot.

4. While oil is heating, in a small bowl whisk together the sauce ingredients – honey, sesame seed oil, chili sauce, soy sauce, and garlic until well combined.

5. Add the chicken skin-side down. Brown chicken for 2-3 minutes.

6. Remove the browned chicken and place it on a clean plate.

7. Set the metal trivet that came with your Instant Pot inside the inner pot. Place the chicken on top of the trivet.

This keeps the chicken out of the liquid during the cooking process and lets the grease drip off into the bottom of the pot.

8. Pour honey garlic sauce over the top of the chicken.

9. Set Instant Pot to the Manual mode. Set timer for a cooking time of 12 minutes on High pressure.

10. When the timer goes off, carefully perform a Quick Release by opening the steam release handle valve to the venting position.

11. After the steam releases, carefully open the lid to release any remaining pressure. Then remove the chicken and place on a serving platter.

12. If desired when serving, add sesame seeds and green onions to your dish.

13. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Four pieces of Instant Pot Chicken Thigh with Honey Garlic Sauce on a white platter with a bowl of salad, bowl of Dijon mustard, red napkin, plates, and pressure cooker in the background.

What kind of chicken should I use in this instant pot chicken thighs recipe?

My pressure cooker chicken thighs recipe with honey garlic sauce calls for bone-in skin-on chicken thighs.

The good news is that you can also use other types of chicken in this delicious recipe.

For the dark meat fans, boneless skinless chicken thighs or skin-on boneless chicken thighs works. Since you're cooking chicken without bones, you can reduce cooking time by a couple of minutes.

You can also use skinless thighs (boneless thighs or ones with bones). Or if you prefer white meat, you can use skinless chicken breast meat. Again, you can reduce cook time by a few minutes if you're using boneless versions.

Since skin keeps the chicken nice and juicy, you may want to add 1/2 to 1 cup of chicken broth or chicken stock to the pot. Do this after you put in the trivet and before you add the chicken. This way you add moisture to the pot and give the chicken a nice steam.

When using skinless chicken, you can also add more honey garlic sauce to coat the meat to lock in moisture.

And yes, you should still brown skinless chicken. Just make sure you've added enough olive oil or vegetable oil to the pot so it doesn't stick.

Remember, we're going for juicy instant pot chicken thighs, not dried out chicken jerky. So add moisture with broth and sauce and don't overcook!

How do you know when the easy instant pot chicken thighs are done?

The chicken should be cooked after going through the cooking process (browning step plus pressure cooking).

Use an instant read thermometer or meat thermometer to check that the chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

If it's not, then cook the instant pot chicken thighs at High at a pressure cook time of 1-2 minutes.

Or remove the sauce and grease from the inner pot and cook the chicken in sauté mode until it’s done.

A piece of Instant Pot Chicken Thigh with Honey Garlic Sauce on a white plate with salad with red napkin.

More tips for making instant pot pressure cooker juicy chicken thighs

What do I do with the cooking liquid?

Maybe the best thing is to throw it out since it’s a bit greasy. But if you’re thrifty and want to use it as a sauce, here’s what you can do:

  • Add a 1/2 cup of water, chicken broth, or white wine to it.
  • To thicken, add a cornstarch slurry.
  • Use a wooden spoon as an easy way to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Put the Instant Pot on sauté and stir until the sauce thickens.
  • If you want, you can add a pinch of garlic powder, onion powder, or even a little Dijon mustard to the Honey Garlic Sauce.

What happens if I get a burn notice?

You might need to add a cup of liquid to the pot (like cold water or chicken stock).

Or you could have something on the rim of the pot, like a piece of food, preventing a good seal. It’s a good idea to take a wet paper towel and wipe both the pot and the inside of the lid before you start cooking.

Cooked chicken thighs on a white platter with red napkin, plates, and forks, a small bowl of mustard, a jar of vinegar, a bowl of salad, and an Instant Pot in the background.

How do I get crispy skin on the chicken?

You can brown the cooked chicken thighs under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes until crispy.

Is this gluten free?

As long as you use a gluten free soy sauce or tamari sauce, it’s GF.

Also, check the label on the chili sauce you use for any hidden gluten.

Is this keto or low carb?

No, because of the honey.

However, you could use a low carb, keto friendly, sugar free honey substitute like Organic Harmless Hunny by Pyure. I haven’t tried this yet, but it has great reviews.

The chili sauce should be OK. Most brands have zero carbs.

Plates of pressure cooker chicken thighs with salad, forks, and red napkins with an Instant Pot in the background.

What to serve with the best instant pot chicken thighs recipe

Along with this instant pot chicken thigh recipe as a main dish, you can serve:

While the chicken cooks, you can make white rice or brown rice in a rice cooker. Or steam some green beans in the microwave.

A great recipe to serve this with is Crockpot Mashed Potatoes Recipe made in your slow cooker. (Start it at lunchtime.)

Side salads like Awesome Garbanzo Bean Salad Recipe or Asian Watermelon Fruit Salad Recipe are tasty. Or try this easy recipe for Cucumber Onion Salad.

Plates of Instant Pot honey garlic chicken thighs with salad and red napkins with a pressure cooker in the background.

Love pressure cooking? Try these easy Instant Pot recipes!

Yield: 6 SERVINGS

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs with Honey Garlic Sauce

Four pieces of Instant Pot Chicken Thigh with Honey Garlic Sauce on a white platter with a bowl of salad, bowl of Dijon mustard, red napkin, plates, and pressure cooker in the background.

Make Instant Pot chicken thighs with honey garlic sauce for dinner. Serve this easy Instant Pot chicken thighs recipe with rice and vegetables.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Additional Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 2 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup honey or
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili sauce
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce or tamari sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced

Serving, optional

  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Green onions, sliced

Instructions

  1. Trim excess fat from the chicken. Pat dry with paper towels.
  2. Season with salt and black pepper.
  3. Turn Instant Pot to the sauté mode. Add oil to the inner pot.
  4. While oil is heating, in a small bowl whisk together the sauce ingredients – honey, sesame seed oil, chili sauce, soy sauce, and garlic until well combined.
  5. Add the chicken skin-side down. Brown chicken for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Remove the browned chicken and place it on a clean plate. 
  7. Set the metal trivet that came with your Instant Pot inside the inner pot. Place the chicken on top of the trivet.
  8. Pour honey garlic sauce over the top of the chicken.
  9. Set Instant Pot to the Manual mode. Set timer for a cooking time of 12 minutes on High pressure.
  10. When the timer goes off, carefully perform a quick release by opening the steam release valve to the venting position.
  11. After the steam releases, carefully open the lid to release any remaining pressure. Remove chicken to a serving platter.
  12. When serving, add sesame seeds and green onions if desired.
  13. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1 piece

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 609mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 7g

Nutritional information is automatically calculated per the ingredients list. Serving size may not be accurate. Please double-check with your preferred nutritional app for the most accurate information.

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