These easy Instant Pot chicken thighs are superbly tender, juicy, and moist each and every time you make them! They're perfect as a main dish of their own, tossed with pasta and sauce, cooled and cubed for salads, or shredded for sandwiches, and more!
Hearty, flavorful chicken that can be served with any main dish!
Sometimes, you just want a rich, savory classic. This recipe is exactly that. It’s an incredibly flavorful, no-nonsense chicken entree that the whole family will love.
You can make and eat it for a weeknight dinner, and pack it for lunch the rest of the week! Or, better yet, pull it apart and make salads, wraps, and more! Versatility is what makes these Instant Pot chicken thighs a perfect choice for any working professional, especially one with extra mouths to feed.
If you’re looking for a straight-forward crowd-pleaser for a dinner party or date night, look no further. I’m so not about extra steps, and this recipe eliminates everything that might come between you and a quick yet impressive dinner.
In 20 minutes, you can have a hearty meal ready to go. These chicken thighs are SUPER tender and moist! It’s really hard to miss the mark with this one.
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
Super Easy! Cooks of any skill level can make this main course! Just let your Instant Pot work its magic!
Complements everything! There are very few side dishes that wouldn’t be delicious served with this pressure cooker chicken recipe.
The chicken is crazy juicy! Get perfectly tender and juicy chicken EVERY TIME!
These are all pantry staples at my house. With just four spices, chicken, and broth, this is a perfect example of simplicity at its best.
- Chicken Broth - Chicken stock or reduced sodium version of either broth or stock can also be used. If using a bouillon cube, dissolve 1 cube per each 1 cup of water.
- Chicken Thighs - Take your pick of frozen, bone-in, boneless, or skinless.
- Salt & Pepper - These base spices make everything taste better!
- Garlic Powder - An easy way to add a lot of flavor and that unique garlic taste.
- Paprika - One of my favorite spices! Not only does it add great color to all meat dishes, but it's a very flavorful spice to add!
The spices listed in the recipe are fantastic, but you’ll want to try out new combinations if you make this recipe as much as I do!
Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, Garlic Powder, and Salt. This is based on some Middle Eastern food I’ve had. I love the spicy and savory mix. If you haven’t had cumin outside of a typical ground beef taco meat, you’re missing out!
Herbs de Provence. Most of the world reveres French cooking. This is a spice mix that originates in the south from herbs typically grown in the area. It can contain thyme, lavender flowers, fennel seed, rosemary, tarragon, marjoram, mint, bay leaf, etc. Everyone has their own take on it. Mix your own if you want to try new blends!
Rosemary and Lemon Pepper. If you’re looking for more of a Mediterranean flavor, this is a great option. Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs. Combined with lemon, it packs a powerful punch. For presentation, garnish with sliced lemons, squeezing on a bit of juice before serving.
Barbecue Rub. For more of a traditional American–or more specifically, Texas–taste, pull out your favorite dry rub! These can contain any number of different spices including but not limited to mustard powder, brown sugar, chipotle, black pepper, smoked paprika, chili powder, and cinnamon. This is another chance to experiment.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
No complicated instructions necessary! All you need is an Instant Pot, chicken thighs and 20 minutes.
- Start by preparing the pot. Determine the size of your Instant Pot. If you’re using a 6-quart pot, add at least 1 cup water or chicken broth. If using an 8-quart pot, add at least 1 ½ cups water or chicken broth. Place the trivet inside.
- Next, season the chicken. Put 6-8 chicken thighs on the trivet. In a small bowl, combine 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, and ¼ teaspoon paprika. Use the mix to season the chicken thoroughly.
- Now let it cook. Secure the lid, ensuring the steam vent is fully closed. Your cook time will vary depending on your chicken. If using boneless thighs, set your manual cook function to 10 minutes. Set it to 12 minutes for bone-in chicken and 14 minutes for either boneless or bone-in chicken that is frozen.
- Make use of your pressure cooker’s functions. Wait for your Instant Pot to run the cooking cycle. After it’s finished, set a timer for 5 minutes and wait for your pot to run through the natural pressure release (NPR). When the timer goes off, manually vent any remaining steam until the pressure button drops. Be careful not to burn yourself. The steam is very hot!
- Remove and serve. Take off the lid and enjoy the results.
Instant Pot chicken thighs are a lunch or dinner staple that goes very well with Microwave Carrots, Sauteed Broccolini, or roasted green beans. While it’s flavorful on its own, if you decide to create pulled chicken, add some honey mustard or barbecue sauce on the side for happy diners.
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
Add extra paprika for color!
- Chicken thighs will come out of your pressure cooker fairly white and colorless. Sprinkling on a dash of paprika adds a pop of appetizing color.
Sear your cooked chicken thighs for color or crisped skin!
- You can (optionally) use the saute function of your Instant Pot to sear the chicken thighs before cooking. Sear your thighs for 2-3 minutes, then remove and follow the instructions in the recipe card below. This is great for adding color, but you still won't get a delightfully crispy skin. See options in the next two bullets to add color and crisp your chicken skin.
- Another way to add some oomph is by putting them in the oven under the broiler to brown. Cook under high heat for 2-3 minutes before serving.
- A quick high-heat pan sear to brown the thighs is also an easy way to give the thighs some color. Use a standard non-stick frying pan, or a grill pan to give your thighs that just-grilled look.
Make amazing chicken broth!
- The extra liquid will become flavored during cooking and result in a tasty chicken stock you can use in another meal or as an addition to mashed potatoes for the side. It’s a great way to turn water into stock, or enhance the chicken flavor of store bought broth.
Leftovers make great pulled chicken.
- Another way to serve this chicken is to pull it apart and use it on sandwiches or salads. You can also add it to chicken noodle soup, in a chicken spaghetti casserole, or on top of pasta with some basil pesto sauce. While it is full of flavor, these tender chicken thighs have a neutral taste that goes well with many different things. Be creative!
⏲️ Cooking Times for Chicken Thighs in Instant Pot
Here's an easy cooking times chart to reference for cooking up your chicken thighs in an Instant pot!
|Chicken Thighs||Cooking Time||NPR (pressure release)|
|Boneless, skinless||8 minutes||5 minutes|
|Bone-in, skinless||10 minutes||5 minutes|
|Bone-in, with skin||10 minutes||5 minutes|
|Frozen (bone-in or boneless)||14 minutes||5 minutes|
The USDA food safety guidelines recommend that all chicken be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C). Use a digital meat thermometer to probe the thickest sections of your instant pot chicken thighs for doneness.
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Enjoy your leftovers for up to 3-4 days after you make this recipe. Cool leftovers completely and store within two hours of cooking.
Just remember to keep the instant pot chicken thighs wrapped tightly in foil or plastic wrap. Or store them in an airtight container in the fridge once cooled.
If you decide to freeze extra chicken, your best bet is to eat it within 4 months. However, cooked chicken can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months.
To store chicken properly, wrap tightly in foil or place in a freezer storage bag. You can also store chicken in an airtight freezer storage container.
Thaw frozen chicken in the fridge overnight. Place a low wire rack on a baking sheet, and place the chicken on the wire rack. Bake at 400℉ (205℃) for 15 minutes or until the chicken thighs are warmed to your satisfaction.
😋 More Great Instant Pot Recipes
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Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- 1 cup water or chicken broth (use 1 ½ cups for an 8 quart InstaPot)
- 6-8 chicken thighs (frozen, bone-in, or boneless)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Pour water or chicken broth into the bottom of your inner pot of the Instant Pot and place trivet inside next. *Use at least 1 cup for a 6-quart Instant Pot, or 1 ½ cups for an 8-quart Instant Pot.1 cup water or chicken broth
- Add the chicken pieces on the trivet, then combine spices and season chicken thighs generously. *The chicken can overlap a bit, but should be in a single layer when placed on the trivet.6-8 chicken thighs, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon paprika
- Close the Instant Pot and securely seal the lid and close the steam vent. Set the manual cook function to 10 minutes for boneless chicken thighs, 12 minutes for bone-in chicken thighs, or 14 minutes for frozen chicken thighs (bone-in or boneless).
- Allow the pressure cooker to run the cooking cycle, then allow 5 minutes for the natural pressure release (NPR). Once the 5 minutes has passed, carefully manually vent the remaining steam until the pressure button drops.
- Remove the lid and serve the cooked chicken.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!