Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

How to cook perfect, juicy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs from fresh or frozen, bone-in or boneless. Serve as a main dish with simple homemade gravy using the extra liquid in the pot!

I’m convinced the Instant Pot is the easiest way to cook chicken breasts and thighs, especially when you can add them from frozen, and with the touch of a button they will cook perfectly!

You can add basic seasonings to the chicken and use it in meal prep or recipes that call for cooked chicken, or serve as a main dish with gravy made from the sauce leftover in the pot.

How to cook Chicken Thighs in the Instant Pot (Fresh or Frozen):

Set instant pot to saute setting. (Skip this step if using frozen thighs.) Add oil. Season chicken with desired seasonings. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until skin is crispy brown. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.

Add 1 cup of liquid (water, chicken broth, pineapple or apple juice) to the bottom of the instant pot, scraping up any browned bites that have stuck from searing the skin.

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

Place trivet inside and add chicken thighs on top. Place lid on the instant pot and make sure the vent is set to “sealed”.

Pressure cooking times for fresh and frozen thighs:

  • Boneless Thighs: Pressure cook on high for 8 minutes for fresh or 12 minutes for frozen thighs.
  • Bone-in Thighs: Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes for fresh, or 15 minutes for frozen thighs.

Allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, then turn the valve to “venting” to release any remaining steam.

If desired, test chicken with a thermometer; it should reach 165 degrees. (If it’s just shy, place the lid back no and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. If the chicken is not cooked to at least 160 degrees, secure the instant pot lid and cook for 1-3 minutes longer, on high pressure.) Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Store leftover cooked chicken in the fridge for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tips and Tricks:

  1. Save the extra liquid at the bottom of your instant pot after cooking for a simple and flavorful homemade chicken broth. You could even add piece of carrot, onion and celery to the liquid at the bottom of the pot to further flavor the broth while the chicken cooks.
  2. Make gravy with the extra liquid. It’s easy and a delicious way to serve the thighs as a main dish, with a side of mashed potatoes! Whisk together 3 Tablespoons water with 3 Tablespoons flour, until smooth. Stir the flour slurry into the hot broth at the bottom of the instant pot and turn the instant pot on to sauté setting. Cook, stirring until your gravy is thickened. Taste and season with chicken bouillon and additional salt and pepper, as needed.

Do I need to sauté chicken thighs before cooking them?

It’s not required, but definitely recommended for best flavor, especially if serving them as a main dish. If using frozen thighs with the skin on, the skin will be limp after cooking so you can remove it, or broil the chicken for a few minutes to make the skin crispy before serving.

Should I use the poultry setting on the Instant Pot?

Be wary of the poultry setting on the instant pot. This setting is based on an average chicken thigh, and doesn’t take into account whether the thighs are boneless or bone-in. It is best to set the manual pressure on the instant pot yourself.

Do I need to use a trivet?

If you have the trivet that the instant pot comes with it is best to cook the thighs in a layer on top of it. This will ensure the chicken is steamed and kept juicy instead of boiling in the liquid. If you are without a trivet, putting the chicken breasts directly into the liquid will work fine. You could also roll up a piece of aluminum foil and snake it around the bottom of the pot to create your own “rack” for the chicken to rest on.

How to season chicken thighs:

Chicken thighs are very flavorful and can benefit from a variety of different seasonings. Basic salt and pepper work great if you are doing meal prep to add chicken to salads or other meals. Add a sprinkle of paprika, garlic, and thyme if you are planning to serve your chicken thighs as a main dish.

What size of instant pot should I use?

You can cook chicken breasts in whatever size instant pot you have. Just make sure you add at least 1 cup of liquid, and ideally try to cook the chicken in a single layer, for even cooking. If you have a smaller instant pot you may want to cook the chicken in batches.

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

Serve chicken thighs with:

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Easy Rice Pilaf
  • Roasted Vegetables

Use leftover cooked chicken thighs to make:

  • Baked Chicken Taquitos
  • Chicken Alfredo Pizza
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip
  • Chicken Casserole
  • Gumbo

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Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

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Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

How to cook perfect, juicy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs from fresh or frozen, bone-in or boneless.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 5
Calories 410kcal
Author Lauren Allen

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs chicken thighs* , skin on, fresh or frozen
  • 2 Tablespoons oil , canola or vegetable
  • 1 cup liquid (water, chicken broth, apple, or pineapple juice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  • (Skip this step if using frozen thighs). Set instant pot to saute setting. Add oil. Season chicken with desired seasonings. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, until skin is crispy brown. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  • Add 1 cup of liquid (water, chicken broth, pineapple or apple juice) to the bottom of the instant pot, scraping up any browned bites that have stuck from searing the skin.
  • Place trivet inside and add chicken thighs on top. Secure lid on the instant pot and make sure the vent is set to “sealed”.
  • For Boneless Thighs: Pressure cook on high for 8 minutes for fresh or 12 minutes for frozen thighs.
  • For Bone-in Thighs: Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes for fresh, or 15 minutes for frozen thighs.
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, then turn the valve to “venting” to release any remaining steam.
  • If desired, test chicken with a thermometer; it should reach 165 degrees. (If it’s just shy, place the lid back on and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. If the chicken is still not cooked secure the instant pot lid and cook for 1-3 minutes longer, on high pressure.)
  • Allow the chicken to rest 5 minutes before serving.
  • Store leftover cooked chicken in the fridge for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

Frozen skin-on thighs: You wont be able to sear the chicken skin when frozen, so just remove and discard it after the chicken has cooked.
Skinless thighs: Use same cooking time.

Nutrition

Calories: 410kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 172mg | Sodium: 629mg | Potassium: 469mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 39g | Vitamin A: 44IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 19mg | Iron: 2mg
HAVE YOU TRIED THIS RECIPE?!

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Photography by Nikole from The Travel Palate.

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