Best instant chicken thighs recipe

Will Dickey

The Instant Pot does a quick job of chopping and cooking chicken thighs off the bone, for a tender, boneless dinner! This instant chicken thigh recipe starts with a delicious rub of dried spices: Mix them together in a bowl first to save time (and keep chicken hands away from spice jars while seasoning). The chicken thighs are then roasted directly in the Instant Pot, before pressure-cooked to perfection with chicken broth and aromatics like lemon and garlic. Once done, the flavorful chicken broth left in the pot is thickened and turned into broth to cover the thighs when served.

How many chicken thighs can I put in the Instant Pot?

This Instant Pot recipe was developed in a 6-quart appliance, in which six chicken thighs were conveniently browned in two batches. If you have an 8-quart Instant Pot, you should be able to increase the amount of chicken to 8 pieces (about 3 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin on thighs). You may also want to increase the salt in the seasoning mixture by 1/2 teaspoon (and some other seasoning, if you like), as well as the chicken broth in the recipe to 1 1/2 cups.

How long should chicken thighs be cooked in a quick pot?

The chicken thighs will gain a lot of flavor when the chicken thighs are seared skin-side down in the instant pot before cooking. We recommend letting it burn for 5 to 7 minutes, untouched, to get a golden brown taste. Then flip the thighs and nest them in the base of the pot filled with chicken broth. Pressure cook for 15 minutes. Letting the pressure release naturally allows the chicken thighs to continue cooking at a lower intensity, resulting in tender, juicy meat.

What happens when chicken is cooked for too long in a quick pot?

Similar to instant pot chicken breasts, cooking lean chicken for a long time in a quick pot results in a tough, chewy piece of meat. The bone-in chicken thighs used in this recipe are dark meat that’s high in fat, and they’re more forgiving. If you cook the chicken for an additional 2 minutes, the chicken will continue to cook more. However, if it is cooked for a long time (eg 30 minutes under pressure), your end result will be dry and stringy in texture.

Can I make instant chicken thighs?

yes! The Instant Pot is very versatile and offers a “keep warm” function as part of its controls. Once the sauce has thickened, you can put the chicken thighs back into the sauce, cover and turn “keep warm” to firm for up to an hour. All that’s left is to serve it with a side dish like a broccoli wild rice casserole, buttery pasta, or any potato recipe for a complete family meal.

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Preparation time:





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2 1/2 lbs.

Bones in the skin of chicken thighs (about 4 to 6 drumsticks, depending on size)

1 tsp.

Salt, plus more to taste

1/2 tsp.

Ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1/2 tsp.

Italian seasoning


Garlic cloves peeled and crushed

Fresh chopped herbs for serving, such as parsley, dill or thyme

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  1. Trim off any excess skin that extends past the top of the chicken thighs.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle on both sides of the chicken thighs.
  3. Set the Instant Pot to the stir fry setting and let it heat through (it takes 2-3 minutes to heat up). Add olive oil to the base of the saucepan, then add half of the chicken thighs, skin-side down. Cook until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the thighs to a plate. Repeat the process with the remaining chicken thighs, then transfer to a plate. Turn off instant pot.
  4. Add garlic, lemon slices and chicken broth to the pot. Scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Place the chicken thighs, skin-side up, in the pot (you may have to peel them slightly).
  5. Cover the instant pot with the lid and lock it in place. Close the steam release knob. Select high pressure and set the timer for 15 minutes. When the timer ends, let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure. Remove the lid and transfer the thighs to a plate. Cover with foil to keep warm.
  6. Discard the lemon slices and garlic and return the Instant Pot to sauté mode. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of water and cornstarch. Add this to the saucepan and cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture boils. Let it simmer, whisking frequently, for 1 minute, until it thickens. Turn off instant pot. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Serve the chicken with a little sauce topped with chopped fresh herbs.

For crunchy skin, remove thighs from Instant Pot and place skin side up on a tray lined with aluminum foil. Roast on high heat for 3 minutes.

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