Honey Sesame Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are super easy, tender, and flavorful making for one of the best instant pot chicken recipes ever!  This chicken is smothered in a sweet and savory honey sesame garlic sauce that is out of this world and perfect over rice!

honey sesame instant pot chicken thighs served over rice

You guys, I’m in love with this chicken!  This recipe came about for several reasons, but, the first is that we absolutely adore chicken thighs and I had been wanting to give them a try in my Instant Pot!

Second, I was craving some really good sesame chicken.  Takeout sesame chicken is good, don’t get me wrong.  But, I knew I could do better.  I’m happy to report that the honey sesame garlic sauce on this chicken is the perfect combination of savory and sweet.  Addicting to say the least!

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs:

Cooking chicken thighs in your instant pot is a super simple process, and there are a few things to know that will ensure perfectly tender and juicy chicken.

Before we get into what kind of chicken to use, and the different cooking times, let’s talk about searing the chicken.  You will sear the chicken in olive oil in saute mode.  This is best done on “more” or “high” saute mode to get the chicken nicely browned.

After searing, you will remove the chicken from the pot.  Then, you will need to deglaze.  Deglazing is something I get asked about all the time!  This step ensures that you don’t end up with the “burn” warning while the pot is under pressure.  To deglaze, you simply will pour in 1/4 cup of chicken broth to the pot.  You gently scrape all of the browned chicken bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.  After this step, you will simply turn the pot off, and move forward with cooking!

deglaze instant pot with chicken broth

What kind of chicken thighs to cook in the instant pot:

For this recipe, as you can see in the pictures I used boneless chicken thighs.  You can also use bone in and skin on if that is what you prefer.  I have tested the recipe both ways, and there is a small difference in cooking time.

Searing the chicken first gives the chicken amazing flavor, and it also cuts down on the pressure cooking time by a couple of minutes.  The biggest factor when considering how long you will need to cook your chicken thighs is how thick they are.

For boneless chicken thighs, I found that eight minutes was perfect.  When using thicker, bone-in chicken thighs, ten minutes cooked the chicken perfectly.

chicken thighs cooked in the instant pot

Make sure to allow about 5 minutes or so for this recipe to come to pressure.  Also good to remember is that chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees before consuming.

You will want to quick release this chicken for best results.  Typically with meat, I say that natural release is best.  But, with instant pot chicken thighs, quick release ensures that the chicken won’t continue to cook for too long and dry out.

Once your chicken is cooked, remove it from the pot to a plate and cover with foil if desired to keep warm.  Then, you will turn your pot on saute mode again and add the cornstarch and water slurry.  You will want to wait until the liquid is simmering before adding the slurry.

Thickening the sauce is very quick, it only takes a couple of minutes for it to thicken up.  Then, simply turn off your pot and pour your delicious sesame garlic sauce over your chicken.  It’s great served with sesame seeds and green onions.  Perfect by itself, or over rice, noodles, or veggies!

Honey Sesame chicken thighs in the instant pot

Enjoy!

~Nichole

4.99 from 80 votes

Honey Sesame Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

Honey Sesame Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are super easy, tender, and flavorful making for one of the best instant pot chicken recipes ever!  This chicken is smothered in a sweet and savory honey sesame garlic sauce that is out of this world and perfect over rice!
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 10 minutes
Total 15 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients 

  • 2 Pounds Chicken Thighs
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth
  • 2 Teaspoons Sesame Oil Divided
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
  • 1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/3 Cup Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons Ketchup
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes optional
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons Cold Water
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Green Onion, Chopped
  • Rice, For Serving

Instructions 

  • Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the olive oil and 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil to the instant pot and turn to saute.
  • When the oil is hot, add the seasoned chicken thighs and sear for 2-3 minutes until golden brown on each side.
  • Remove the chicken thighs from the pot to a plate.  Pour the chicken broth into the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Turn the instant pot to off.
  • In a medium bowl whisk together the remaining teaspoon of sesame oil, minced garlic, soy sauce, honey, ketchup, red pepper flakes, and water.
  • Return the chicken thighs to the pot.  Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs.
  • Seal the pot and cook on manual for 8 minutes for boneless chicken thighs or 10 minutes for bone-in chicken thighs. Once the cook time is up, do a quick pressure release.
  • Remove chicken from the pot to a plate and cover with foil if desired to keep warm.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the cornstarch and water.
  • Turn the instant pot to saute and add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce with a whisk.  When the sauce is thick, turn off the pot and serve the sauce over the chicken.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
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Hey! Nice to meet you! I'm Nichole!

Welcome to The Salty Marshmallow! I'm a mom, animal lover, photographer, & kitchen mess-maker. Here you will find the result of my decades-long passion for chasing the best flavors in the kitchen, all meant to be cooked by regular people with busy lives just like you and me.

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83 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing. My family absolutely loved it and it was so fast and easy. This will definitely be one of my go-to recipes when I’m in a rush and short on time.

  2. 4 stars
    Hi all,
    I tried this recipe tonight per my daughter’s pick. Solo parenting this week and needed an easy meal. I followed the directions right up til sealing it. On top of the chicken, I put my trivet and a round casserole dish.1 cup of rice and 1-1/3 cup broth. Sealed and cooked for 12 minutes (rice setting). Yum. The chicken sauce boiled up into the rice a bit, but after being stirred was totally fine. I might suggest covering with foil and some steam holes. Thanks!

  3. 5 stars
    This was the first recipe that popped up when I searched “instant pot chicken thighs”. I had everything on hand, so I decided to give it a shot and was not disappointed! Thank you!

  4. 5 stars
    I got a deal on some chicken thighs yesterday and was processing them for the freezer. I kept thinking….eh maybe take out for dinner. I’ve only ever used my Instant Pot a few times (MISTAKE!). I happened upon this recipe. Better than take out any day!!!CU

    Its time to put that appliance to better use. Its only me in the house right now and I’ll admit I haven’t been cooking much because its such a hassle for one. I’ve used an old school pressure cooker many times….time to upgrade!

    Thankyousoverymuch!!

  5. In the text above the recipe, you talk about browning the chicken, then deglazing the pot with 1/4 cup of chicken stock. The ingredients for the recipe don’t list chicken stock, and the recipe directions, don’t mention removing the chicken and deglazing. Do you deglaze with the soy sauce honey mixture?

    This recipe sounds fabulous, and I don’t want a burn error from not deglazing, or soupy sauce from adding 1/4 cup of chicken stock that doesn’t belong.

    Please clarify the deglazing issue. Thanks.

    1. Hi! I am seeing 1/4 cup of chicken broth listed in the ingredients, as well as deglazing the pot listed in step 4.

  6. 5 stars
    There are a lot of similar recipes, but this is a good one. Next time I will add more honey (1/2 cup) because my family likes it a little sweeter. I also added a tablespoon of sriracha instead of the pepper flakes, and it was a little spicy, but the spice lovers in my house still added more sriracha! Other recipes call for ginger, and I may add that too. But it was good without ginger. I also realized too late that my chicken thighs were still frozen. I tried to defrost, but I didn’t that lovely browning and the flavor because I was impatient. I think using frozen thighs adds more water back into the recipe, so my sauce was a little soupier than the pics. But you can make this with frozen thighs in a pinch. It will just take longer for the IP to come to pressure. I added a couple minutes to the cook time since there wasn’t much sauteing going on. One more suggestion, I cooked a bag of frozen extra fine green beans to a lightly cooked state (could use broccoli too) and dumped that in after thickening the sauce with corn starch and before adding the chicken back. I have to make my family eat their greens somehow. Thanks for sharing this recipe. This will be my go-to for this dish from now on!

    1. Oh, I dream of having spice lovers in my house LOL! I love sriracha and I am glad you tried it with this recipe, I may have to add some to mine next ime! Yes, what is so great about the IP is being able to cook from frozen, but, it can make the sauce more watery for sure. I actually hadn’t tried from frozen, so, I am glad that you did and reported back to us! Thanks for your feedback and I’m happy you ultimately enjoyed my recipe! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Just gave this recipe a try and it was out of this world! Thank you for sharing it — I can’t wait to make it again!

  8. Is this recipe done on “Low” or “High” pressure in a 6 Qt?
    Thanks, Look forward to making this tonight.

      1. Thanks. I have a hard time discerning the rationale of when and why to use High vs Low pressure. So thanks for the quick reply.

  9. 5 stars
    This recipe was absolutely perfect and delicious! Wow! So impressed. I had a package of chicken thighs, and this popped up in a search… score! 5 star.

    1. Same here – Agreed, 5 STARS! This was our first or second IP meal so the bar is set real high right now. Thanks for the detailed recipe. Was easy and delicious!

  10. 5 stars
    Had company coming over and decided to try a new recipe, risky move. Nichole delivered again. My friends wouldn’t stop talking about how delicious this meal was.

    Not sure if you have some massive instant pot Nichole but when cooking this, I browned each piece of chicken and then took them out and set aside in order to brown the rest. Once all browned I placed them all back into the instant pot and poured the sauce over. Now, I’ve cooked chicken in the instant pot before and it almost always is over cooked. Due to that, I cut the cooking time short to 5 minutes total (boneless thighs) and did a quick release. After opening up I checked the temp of the chicken and it was still already cooked to 190 degrees. Tasted incredible though. Probably could have set the instant pot to only 3 minutes.

    Thanks Nichole, I’ll be making this one regularly. Keep them coming!

    1. LOL well, I do have an 8 quart and a 6 quart. This recipe was tested in both. I think I will go ahead and note that on my IP recipes from now on so that anyone can adjust accordingly. Thanks for letting me know you and your company really enjoyed this, I appreciate that! 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        Too cool…
        Love that Pot Size does come into play on many many IP recipes … !
        surely wish all the good writters like you would put in the pot size for their recipes.
        I’ve been annoyed so many times when there’s that variable question or thought of Gee pretty sure they used a 6-quart cuz they didn’t say. … ????
        thanks again for taking all this stuff into consideration I love all your other recipes.

      2. I just got an 8 qt IP and was wondering how to get the liquid volume up to the required 18 ounces using this recipe?