EPIC Instant Pot Chicken Thighs that are juicy, tender, flavorful and ready in 30 minutes. Not to mention it is 5 ingredient chicken recipe!
Browse all my healthy Instant Pot recipes, easy weeknight dinner savers!
Pressure Cooker Chicken Thighs
These Instant Pot chicken thighs is a version of my baked chicken thighs. It is such an easy recipe with simple ingredients, you can pull it off on a busy weeknight.
I am not a fan of “boiled” chicken. And it is not easy to make chicken thighs in a healthy sauce. I was looking for more of a baked chicken thighs recipe in Instant Pot though. And here it is.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- Chicken thighs: You can use skinless bone in or boneless, fresh of frozen. Please keep reading for difference in cooking.
- Oil: Any oil you use for sauteing. I used olive oil.
- Garlic, salt and pepper are very simple spices but flavorful. And fresh herbs at the end, if you wish.
How to Cook Chicken Thighs in Instant Pot
- Season chicken thighs by combining meat, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl and stir with tongs. While Instant Pot will be preheating on Saute, meat will have a chance to marinate. Olive oil will help chicken not to stick to the pot.
- Brown chicken by first preheating your electric pressure cooker on Saute. Takes 4-5 minutes until display says Hot. Be patient, it is important for well seared chicken. Add thighs with top side down in a tight single layer and cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes. It lets thighs get nice browned top.
- Remove chicken using flat and sturdy spatula. Lift chicken almost scraping from the bottom and transfer to a plate. Meat tends to stick to stainless steel pot. You just have to brown one side. Repeat with remaining thighs.
- Deglaze the pot by adding 1 cup water and scraping the browned bits off the bottom and mixing with water. Then press Cancel and add trivet.
- Cooking: Fresh boneless chicken – 5 minutes, bone in – 8 minutes. Release pressure using Quick Release.
Tips for Browning Chicken Thighs
Saute function on Instant Pot is not totally the same like on stove. So, a few tips:
- Skinless thighs: I highly recommend to use skinless thighs – skin really sticks, then peels off resulting in pale thighs and lots of fat.
- Sticky skin: Meat does stick to the stainless steel Instant Pot’s inner pot – “scrape off” browned meat with a spatula hard.
- Brown just one side: It is enough because it takes a while.
- Venting: Place Instant Pot under the hood fan to help extract cooking fumes – if you have a plug on the stove it helps (don’t turn on the stove though. :))
- Deglaze the pot after browning to avoid Burn.
How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs
- Skip the browning step. We can’t brown frozen meat. So, if you are OK with non-browned chicken thighs then you can cook them this way:
- Make sure chicken thighs are separated. Otherwise, meat won’t get cooked through.
- Rinse it. I would recommend to rinse meat under cold water to remove the frost and help seasonings stick better.
- Season. Coat them in oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl tossing with tongs.
- Cook. In Instant Pot, add 1 cup water, trivet, thighs and pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes – bone in or boneless.
- Optional broiling: Brown after under the oven’s broiler in the baking dish, if you wish.
How to Serve, Store and Make Ahead
- Sauce: There will be a lot flavorful juices at the bottom of the pot. That is basically the sauce for your chicken thighs.
- Side dish: I usually cook brown rice, quinoa or mashed potatoes and serve with lots of sauce over it and chicken thighs. That is one of the reasons I cook skinless thighs because otherwise it is just too much saturated fat in that sauce.
- Veggies: For the side, you can roast some veggies since your oven will be free – like cauliflower, asparagus or brussels sprouts. Or make a quick salad like cucumber and tomato salad or lettuce salad. Give your Instant Pot a quick rinse then steam vegetables!
Storing: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Freeze with juices for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight.
Make ahead: You can let chicken marinate for up to 2 days in the fridge.
Enjoy and be healthy!
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot chicken breast
- Instant Pot chicken and potatoes
- Instant Pot whole chicken
- Instant Pot shredded chicken
- Instant Pot chicken alfredo
- Browse all 15 healthy Instant Pot chicken recipes
Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- In a large bowl, add chicken thighs, olive oil, grated garlic, salt, pepper and stir with tongs.
- On any size Instant Pot, press Saute and wait until display says Hot (takes 4-5 minutes). During this time chicken will have a chance to marinate.
- Add thighs with top side down in a tight single layer and cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes. It lets thighs get nice browned top.
- Using flat and sturdy spatula, lift chicken almost scraping from the bottom and transfer to a plate. Meat tends to stick to stainless steel pot. You just have to brown one side. Repeat with remaining thighs.
- Add water and deglaze the bottom to avoid Burn.
- Add trivet and place chicken thighs in layers with browned sides up.
- Close the lid and turn pressure release valve to Sealing. Pressure cook on High pressure boneless thighs for 5 mins and bone-in for 8 minutes.
- Wait for 5 minutes and release remaining pressure using Quick Release method.
- Sprinkle chicken with fresh dill or parsley and serve warm with brown rice, quinoa, potatoes or salad.
- Store: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days in an airtight container.
- Freeze: For up to 3 months.
- Make ahead: You can let chicken marinate for up to 2 days in the fridge.
- Make sure chicken thighs are separated.
- Coat them in oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a large bowl tossing with tongs. I would recommend to rinse meat under cold water to remove the frost and help seasonings stick better.
- In Instant Pot, add 1 cup water and trivet.
- Add chicken thighs on top and pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes – bone in or boneless.
- Brown after under the oven’s broiler in the baking dish, if you wish.