by Olena

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs (Fresh or Frozen + Video)

by Olena

Very easy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe with garlic, salt and pepper. Dark meat, simple spices and pressure cooking for 5 minutes produces the juiciest chicken ever!

Instant Pot 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. Inspired by my Ukrainian heritage, I have tested this recipe a few times to result in browned, flavorful and juicy chicken.

I am not a fan of “boiled” chicken and yet it is not that easy to make chicken thighs in a healthy sauce. For that we have Instant Pot butter chicken. I was looking for more of a baked chicken thighs recipe in Instant Pot though. And here it is.

I have to say though, that baking chicken thighs is as equally easy because you let oven do all the work without having to saute the meat.

But it is always good to have a few options.

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs garnished with dill

Ingredients You Will Need

  • 2 lbs of skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup water

Are you new to Instant Pot? Check out my Instant Pot guide. Don’t have one yet? See which one I recommend to buy based on your lifestyle and family size.

How to Cook Chicken Thighs in Instant Pot

Things to keep in mind about browning chicken thighs in Instant Pot because Saute function is not the same like your stove – it is slower and the process is more “sticky”:

  • I highly recommend to use skinless thighs – skin really sticks, then peels off resulting in pale thighs and lots of fat.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Fresh Boneless Chicken Thighs

  • 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.
  • Cook fresh boneless chicken for 5 minutes on high pressure by stacking it on a trivet. Release pressure using Quick Release.

Fresh Bone In Chicken Thighs

To cook fresh skinless and bone in chicken thighs, do everything like with boneless but cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.

Frozen Chicken Thighs

To cook frozen bone in or boneless chicken thighs, you have to 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.
  • 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.

instant pot chicken thighs served over brown rice

What to Serve Chicken Thighs With?

There will be a lot flavorful juices at the bottom of the pot. That is basically the sauce for your chicken thighs.

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.

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.

Enjoy and be healthy!

More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? My goal is to help you become confident with your Instant Pot by demonstrating each delicious foolproof recipe in step-by-step videos.

pressure cooker chicken thighs

Print

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs (Fresh or Frozen)

Very easy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe with garlic, salt and pepper. Dark meat, simple spices and pressure cooking for 5 minutes produces the juiciest chicken ever!

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Ukrainian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 12 large garlic cloves, grated
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, add chicken thighs, olive oil, grated garlic, salt, pepper and stir with tongs.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Add water and deglaze the bottom to avoid Burn.
  6. Add trivet and place chicken thighs in layers with browned sides up.
  7. 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.
  8. Wait for 5 minutes and release remaining pressure using Quick Release method.
  9. 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.

Notes

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs

To cook frozen bone in or boneless chicken thighs, you have to 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.
  • 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.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

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