Instant pot chicken thigh recipe is an easy and delicious one that you need to learn how to make as it will soon become one of your family’s favorite meals.
You can brown them up and cook them all in one pot making them super easy. They come out so tender and juicy and are cooked in just a few minutes with enough delicious gravy to pour over the thighs if you so desire.
We bought an instant pot about a year ago and have made some pretty delicious foods in it since. This is one of my favorites because when you come home from work and are really hungry, this chicken can go from the pot and onto your plate in less than 30 minutes.
The best thing is that it tastes so good that your family will think that you slaved over it for a lot longer.
When the pressure cooker chicken thighs are done cooking there is some yummy juice at the bottom of the pot that you can just pour right over the top of the chicken the way it is or use a little cornstarch to thicken it into a yummy gravy and then pour it over the top.
Why Make Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot?
The reason to make instant pot chicken thighs is that it’s a quick way to cook them and at the same time they come out so tender and juicy, which is the perfect combo.
You are able to take such a versatile dinner like chicken thighs and make it in new and exciting ways.
What Ingredients are in Instant Pot Chicken Thighs?
- Chicken Thighs – Dark meat, the upper, more meaty part of the leg, with the skin.
- Garlic Powder – A delicious spice that gives chicken thighs good flavor.
- Onion Powder – Onions are another favorite flavor for chicken.
- Paprika – Regular paprika, or smoked paprika if you like a smokey taste.
- Salt – This spice enhances the flavor of the thighs.
- Pepper – Black pepper which will give the instant pot chicken thighs a slight kick.
- Italian Seasoning – A combo of several spices that are not just for” Italian” foods
- Chicken Stock or Broth – By adding this it will make good gravy to pour over the instant pot chicken thighs.
Boneless vs Bone-In Chicken Thighs
There are 2 ways that you can buy chicken thighs, either bone-in or boneless. Here is a quick comparison between the two of them:
Bone-In Chicken Thighs:
- Comes with bones and skin
- Stays juicier because of the skin on top.
- The skin gets crispy and tasty.
Boneless Chicken Thighs:
- Comes without bones or skin
- Cooks faster.
- Can remove the bones yourself and leave the skin on so you can still enjoy the crispy skin.
When making instapot chicken thighs there are so many flavors that go well with them and you can really mix it up according to your taste buds.
Here are a few ideas:
- Chili Powder
- Lemon Garlic
- Lemon Pepper
- Honey Garlic
How Long to Cook Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot?
You are most likely wondering how long to cook chicken thighs in an instant pot. I made a little chart to give you some guidelines to help. These are just guidelines depending on the type of chicken thighs you use.
- Instant pot bone-in, skin on: 10-13 minutes high pressure, and 5 minutes natural release
- Instant pot bone-in skinless: 10-13 minutes high pressure, and 5 minutes natural release
- Instant pot boneless, skinless: 8-10 minutes high pressure, and 5 minutes natural release
- Instant pot frozen chicken thighs: 15 minutes high pressure, and 10 minutes natural release.
What Setting Do You Cook Chicken on in an Instant Pot?
Sometimes a new tool like an Instant Pot might seem complicated with all the many buttons. For this recipe, the first setting is to use the saute function in order to brown up the skin.
Then for the balance of the cooking process, we use the pressure cooker setting.
This instant pot chicken thighs recipe is no different than any other chicken recipe and it always has to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
The only sure way to make sure that is achieved is to use a thermometer inside the thighs.
How to Cook Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
You may have never used an instant pot before, so we are going to show you how to cook chicken thighs in this amazing tool step-by-step.
STEP 1: The first step in preparing the chicken is to get a small bowl and add all of your spices, and thoroughly blend them together.
STEP 2: The next step is to lay out your chicken thighs on a piece of parchment paper and with a paper towel pat them dry on all sides because if the chicken is dry it will help in making the skin crispy.
STEP 3: Take your spice mixture and spread it evenly on all sides of the chicken pieces.
STEP 1: Make sure the stainless steel insert is in your instant pot. Press the saute function. Wait for 2-3 minutes and add the olive oil to the insert.
STEP 2: Now add the chicken thighs to the instant pot skin side down. Brown them for 2-3 minutes. The longer you let it brown, brown bits will form on the bottom of the pot, and the more flavor the chicken and the gravy will have.
STEP 3: Flip the chicken pieces onto the other side and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Press the cancel/off button. Remove chicken thighs and set them aside on a plate.
STEP 4: Add the chicken broth or water to the instant pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the insert. Don’t skip this important step.
STEP 5: Place the trivet in the instant pot and arrange the chicken thighs on top, skin side up.
STEP 6: Close the lid, set the valve to the sealing position, and press the pressure cooker button. Set the timer to 13 minutes. The instant pot will beep and start coming to pressure. It is already hot so it won’t take too long.
Once the timer has ended, let the pressure release naturally for at least 5 minutes.
STEP 7: After the 5 minutes have passed, release any remaining pressure by hitting the vent knob from sealed to venting. Do this in an open space, not right underneath your cabinet, and stand back from the pot so that the hot steam does not burn you.
Carefully open the lid away from your face. Place the chicken on a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove the trivet. Now you can make the gravy.
Making a Gravy
Once you remove the pressure-cooked chicken thighs, it’s time to make some delicious gravy.
- In a small bowl whisk 1 Tbsp cornstarch with ¼ cup cold water. Make sure you stir it until it is smooth and there are no lumps.
- Add the cornstarch mix to the instant pot. Stir well until the liquid starts to thicken.
- Pour it out of the pot onto your chicken or put it in a gravy dish and spoon it on your individual pieces while eating.
Cooking Frozen Chicken Thighs In an Instant Pot
You can certainly make frozen bone-in chicken thighs, or boneless chicken thighs in the instant pot which helps if you have forgotten to take them out of the freezer in the morning. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Follow the original instructions above starting at #10.
- There is no special reason to make sure to dry off the thighs because you won’t be able to get the browning step accomplished. Plus when they are still frozen they will remain wet. But you can still follow the instructions for seasoning them on all sides.
- Skip over the browning steps above since those will not apply here with frozen thighs. Make sure that your chicken pieces are separated and not in one big clump, otherwise, they will not cook evenly.
- Cook for 15 minutes instead of 13. Also, let the pressure release for 10 minutes instead of 5 because the chicken will continue to cook at this point.
- Even though there won’t be any browned-up bits to use in gravy, you can still make gravy for these previously frozen chicken thighs.
How Do You Steam Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot?
Steaming your pressure cooker chicken thighs is basically the same as the original instructions, minus the browning steps. The idea is to just cook them, not brown or crisp them up.
When you put the chicken thighs in the instant pot, use anywhere from 1-2 cups of water and pressure cook them.
Can I Bake Them In the Oven Without the Instant Pot?
You can definitely bake your thighs in the oven instead of making instapot chicken thighs. Just prepare and season them the same way and bake them in the oven at 425 degrees for about 30 minutes.
For complete instructions, see our baked chicken thighs recipe.
Tips & FAQs
- By searing the bone-in chicken thighs ahead of time, it not only gives you crispy skin but also gives you the brown bits that when scraped up they make the chicken broth/ and gravy taste yummy.
- When it comes time to release any remaining pressure in the pot, be sure to do this in an open spot on your counter, not underneath the cabinets.
- When releasing extra steam be sure to stand back away from the instant pot so that you avoid getting burned from the hot steam.
- After the pressure cooker chicken thighs are done, be careful when you open the lid, slowly open it away from your face.
- You can cook bone-in frozen thighs in the instant pot but since you won’t be able to crisp up the skin, just discard it before eating because it will be limp.
Can You Stack Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot?
You can stack the chicken thighs on top of each other if you choose to, but if you want them to be crispy, stacking them is not a good idea.
How Much Water Do You Put in an Instant Pot for Chicken Thighs?
The usual amount of liquid to add to many instant pot recipes is 1 cup. You don’t want to add too little or too much.
For this instant pot chicken thigh recipe, you need to add 1 cup of water to the instant pot. It is just enough to make pressure cooker chicken thighs and then also to make some yummy gravy to pour over it.
How to Get Crispy Chicken in a Pressure Cooker?
The way to get crispy Instapot chicken thighs is to sear or brown the thighs on both sides first.
Do I Have to Use a Trivet?
You do not HAVE to use the trivet while cooking the instant pot chicken thighs but it is recommended because it lifts the chicken up off the bottom preventing the burn notice from appearing on the chicken.
Another benefit of using a trivet is it will keep the chicken from boiling in the liquid, instead, it will steam like it is supposed to.
Can You Cook Vegetables with Chicken in the Instant Pot?
You can cook some veggies with the chicken in the instant pot if you like. Put your vegetables in a bowl and toss them with 2 Tbsp of olive oil, and some spices of choice. Place them on top of the trivet underneath the chicken, (step 10) and follow the rest of the steps.
Do I HAVE to Use Chicken Thighs?
You do not have to use chicken thighs if you prefer another cut. Drumsticks work just as well as thighs, and white meat works well too.
In fact, white meat can tend to be dryer than dark meat, and cooking it in an instant pot will make it more tender than just baking it in the oven.
Should I Use the Poultry Setting on the Instant Pot?
In my experience, it is not recommended to use the poultry setting on the instant pot because this setting is based on an average chicken thigh but doesn’t take into consideration whether your chicken thighs are bone-in or boneless.
Therefore, setting the manual pressure yourself is the best course of action to make IP chicken thighs.
What to Serve with This Recipe?
There are so many things that you can eat with instant pot chicken thighs. Here are a few suggestions:
- Fresh-tossed Green Salad
- Roasted Veggies – (Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Green Beans…etc.)
- Creamed Spinach
- Onion Rings
- Fried Zucchini
- Mashed Potatoes
- Roasted Potatoes
- Cauliflower Rice
- Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
- Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
- Spaghetti Squash
Diets This Recipe is Good For?
- Gluten-free – No gluten in this instant pot chicken thigh recipe.
- Sugar-free – There is no sugar in or on these instant pot bone-in chicken thighs.
- Paleo – Chicken is good food for paleo.
- Nut-free – No nuts or nut flour in IP chicken thighs.
- Dairy-free – There is no cheese or any other dairy.
How to Make Ahead
If you want to save time, you can prepare the chicken thighs ahead of time before cooking. Season them up to a day ahead of time, so that way the next day when you get ready to make them in the instant pot it will only take a few minutes to do so.
Store them in the refrigerator until ready to cook. While they are cooking then whip up some roasted veggies, a green salad, or whatever side dish that you like.
Leftover instant pot chicken thighs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days when kept in an airtight plastic container.
How to Reheat
In the Microwave: One way to heat up leftover instant pot chicken is to pour some of that yummy chicken gravy over it and stick it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes. It’s the quickest way and the gravy will keep the chicken very moist.
If you don’t want any gravy, that’s ok, just heat up the chicken thighs by themselves with a paper towel draped over the top to keep them from drying out and splattering all over your microwave.
In the Oven: You can also use your oven or toaster oven to heat up leftover instapot chicken thighs. Just place them on an oven-safe dish or tray and cover them with foil and heat for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
Under the Broiler: You can also heat up the previously baked thighs under the broiler. Make sure not to put the thighs too close to the heat otherwise they will burn on the outside and still be cold on the inside. If you broil them slowly they will heat on the inside and the outside.
Can You Freeze Instant Pot Chicken Thighs?
Freezing is a great way to keep your chicken thighs fresh, whether they are raw or cooked. Just be sure to wrap them properly and then write the date on the package so that you can eat them before they spoil.
Before Cooked: Wrap your raw chicken thighs in freezer paper and then double protect them by putting them into a Ziploc freezer bag. They will stay fresh for at least 6 months or even longer.
After Cooked: Leftover instant pot chicken thighs can also be stored in the freezer as long as you wrap them properly to keep the air out.
Wrap them in the freezer paper and then double up the protection by putting them in a Ziploc bag. Or you could put them in an airtight plastic container and then in a Ziploc bag. They will stay fresh for 3 months.
Tools to Use
- Instant Pot – The main tool for this recipe.
- Tongs – To remove the chicken pieces out of the pot.
- Measuring Cup – To measure water or chicken broth to add to the pot.
- Wooden Spoon – For stirring and scraping up drippings on the bottom of the instant pot.
What Size Instant Pot Should I Use?
You can use whatever size instant pot that you have. The idea is that you do not want to crowd the chicken in there so if you have a bunch of pieces to make you may have to make it in batches instead of stacking them on top of each other.
More Easy Chicken Recipes
- Oven-baked Chicken Thighs
- Oven-baked Chicken Legs
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Wings
- Everything Bagel Seasoning Chicken Tenders
All of them are easy to make and will have your friends and family raving!
This Instant pot chicken thighs recipe is easy-to-make and delicious to-eat which you need to look into because it will become one of your favorites to make and also to eat. You can brown them up and cook them all in one pot. They come out so tender and juicy, and it only takes a few minutes but tastes as you slaved over them for a lot longer.
- 4 bone-in chicken thighs with skin
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ onion powder
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 cup water or chicken stock
Preparing the Chicken:
- Season both sides of the chicken thighs with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.
- Lay your chicken pieces out on a piece of parchment paper or plate and with some paper towels, dry the thighs thoroughly.
Cooking the Chicken:
- Make sure the stainless steel insert is in your Instant Pot. Press the “saute” function. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes and add oil to the insert.
- Add chicken thighs to IP skin side down. Brown for 2-3 minutes. The longer you let it brown and make brown bits on the bottom of the pot, the more flavor the chicken and gravy will have.
- Flip the chicken onto the other side and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Press the “cancel/off” button. Remove chicken thighs onto a plate and set aside.
- Add chicken broth to the IP and use a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the insert.
- Place trivet in the IP and arrange the chicken thighs on top, skin side up.
- Close the lid, set the valve to “sealing” position, and press the “pressure cooker” button. Set the timer to 13 minutes. The IP will beep and start coming to pressure. It is already hot, so it won’t take too long.
- Once the cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for at least 5 minutes. Once 5 minutes has passed, release any remaining pressure by hitting the vent knob from sealed to venting (be sure to do this in an open space and stand back from the Instant Pot.)
- Carefully open the lid away from your face. Place the chicken on a plate and let rest. Remove trivet from the IP.
Making the Gravy
- In a small bowl, whisk 1 tbsp cornstarch with 1/4 cup of cold water. Make sure there are no clumps.
- Add liquid at the bottom of the IP. Stir until thickened.
- Press the “saute” function to simmer it for a few minutes to help thicken the gravy. Serve the IP chicken thighs with gravy.
Be sure to brown up the chicken in the instant pot and reserve the brown bits to be used when making gravy.
Make sure when you let the steam out of the instant pot, do not do it underneath the cabinets.
Also when letting the steam out stand back from it so that you won’t get burned from the hot steam.
When opening up the instant pot be careful of your face.
Instead of making a gravy, you can also keep the liquid without thickening it and use it for soups
1 NET CARB PER SERVING
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 23 minutes (Searing Time 5 minutes, Pressure Time 13 minutes + 5 minutes to release)
- Category: Main Courses
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
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