Chinese-Inspired Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe

The Instant Pot is one of the most highly-used kitchen appliances, and there's a good reason for it. Not only does this magical machine perform various functions, but it also does the cooking in a shorter time than other methods. That means you can whip up chicken thighs in no time; all it takes is clicking a button. This Chinese-inspired Instant Pot recipe yields the most tender chicken thighs in minutes and it also comes complete with the perfect sweet and salty sauce. 

Recipe developer Ting Dalton came up with this simple yet flavorful recipe that you can make with the help of the Instant Pot. "Chicken thighs are my favorite piece of meat. Why? The meat is always much more tender and juicier than breast meat, and it's my go-to for all dishes," Dalton shares. "I particularly love eating them on the bone. And this Instant Pot recipe means you can just add all the ingredients into the pot, and let it cook on high. Tender meat in no time."

Gather the ingredients for this Chinese-inspired Instant Pot chicken thighs recipe

The first thing you will need to do is head to the grocery store. This dish requires a few items, including minced garlic, honey, ketchup, oyster sauce, soy sauce, chicken thighs with the skin on, and vegetable oil.

Once you have those items, you can get started on this Chinese-inspired Instant Pot chicken thighs recipe.

Mix the sauce

For the first step, you will need to select a small bowl to mix up the sauce. Toss in the minced garlic, honey, soy sauce, ketchup, and oyster sauce. Use a spoon or whisk to mix everything together and set the sauce to the side for the time being since you don't need it immediately.

By the way, this sauce tastes incredible. "The sauce is salty and sweet, a great combination of classic Chinese flavors of soy, garlic, and oyster sauce. My kids love this, lots of sauce and lots of tender meat — it makes a great, nutritious family meal that can be made in no time," Dalton shares. "My special ingredient is ketchup. It just adds a little bit of color and also a tangy sweetness alongside the honey."

Sear the chicken

Grab your trusty Instant Pot and place it in a safe spot on your counter. Turn on the device's sauté setting and add the vegetable oil, followed by the chicken thighs. Sear both sides of the chicken thighs for 5 minutes — until they begin to brown on the outside.

Once brown, turn the sauté setting off.

Add sauce and pressure cook the chicken

Here's where your sauce comes into play. Pour it over the chicken and then close the Instant pot. Turn the valve to seal and cook the chicken thighs with the sauce on high pressure for about 8 minutes.

Once your timer beeps, leave to natural pressure release for 5 minutes.

Thicken the sauce

At this point, go ahead and remove the chicken thighs from the Instant Pot but make sure to keep the sauce in there. Turn the setting to sauté mode again and let it cook for five more minutes, so the sauce gets nice and thick.

"If you find the sauce isn't thickening up as much as you'd like, then you can make a cornstarch slurry paste and add it to the sauce," Dalton shares. "But I find whisking it up over a sauté heat does enough."

Serve and enjoy

Remove the sauce from the Instant Pot and pour it over your chicken thighs. Now, you can serve and enjoy this fantastic main course. "For serving, I like to sprinkle some sesame seeds and chopped green onions," Dalton notes.

The chicken is incredible by itself, but Dalton also shares that she likes "to serve it alongside green vegetables and boiled rice." If you have leftovers, don't toss them out! "Leftover chicken and sauce can be refrigerated for three days and reheated on high," Dalton notes. If you want to go more long-term, you can freeze for three months. Pretty impressive if you ask us! 

Chinese-Inspired Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe
5 from 21 ratings
If you want to make an easy Chinese-inspired recipe at home, try making these chicken thighs in your Instant Pot with the perfect sweet and salty sauce.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Chinese-Inspired Instant Pot Chicken Thighs on plate
Total time: 30 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs skin-on
  1. In a bowl, mix together minced garlic, honey, soy sauce, ketchup, and oyster sauce. Put to one side.
  2. Turn on the Instant Pot's sauté feature. Add vegetable oil and then sear both sides of the chicken thighs for 5 minutes until they begin to brown.
  3. Once done, turn off sauté mode.
  4. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Then close the Instant Pot and turn the valve to seal and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
  5. When the timer goes off, leave so the natural pressure releases for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and then remove the chicken thighs. Put sauté mode on again and let the sauce bubble up and whisk for around 5 minutes until the sauce thickens.
  7. Pour over the chicken and serve.
Calories per Serving 578
Total Fat 43.0 g
Saturated Fat 10.6 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 222.3 mg
Total Carbohydrates 7.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Total Sugars 5.3 g
Sodium 785.2 mg
Protein 38.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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