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Instant Pot Chicken Thighs | Cookies and Cups

Tender and juicy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are ready in 30 minutes! These flavorful, perfectly seasoned, fall-off-the-bone chicken thighs are one of my favorite recipes to make for an easy dinner.

Four instant pot chicken thighs on a plate smothered with gravy.

Juicy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

I don’t think I’ve ever met a dish as versatile as these Instant Pot chicken thighs! As if I needed an excuse to fuel my love affair with my Instant Pot. This chicken thighs recipe is truly an all-rounder, whether I’m stumped for family dinner on a busy weeknight, or planning a menu for entertaining friends.

A good chicken recipe is basically my cure for the full-time mom/blogger/chef’s realtime “writer’s block.” It does happen! Just me, staring into the fridge, wondering how I’m going to pull together something delicious. Luckily, I’ll always have recipes like this simple, flavor-packed Instant Pot chicken to turn to. 

This chicken thighs recipe is extra quick, ready in under an hour and always a win at the dinner table. It comes out mouthwateringly tender and tasty, with zero fuss thanks to the pressure cooker. The perfect easy main to build a meal around!

The ingredients for instant pot chicken thighs.

Recipe Ingredients

Just three ingredients, plus a handful of spices for seasoning is all you need to make these chicken thighs in the Instant Pot. Check out a rundown of what you’ll need below, with the full ingredients list and amounts available in the recipe card:

  • Chicken Thighs: I made this recipe with skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. Alternatively, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs if you prefer. Keep in mind you’ll need to adjust the cooking time accordingly, see below for more details.
  • Seasoning: Most of the ingredients in this super simple, super tasty recipe make up the seasoning blend! I use a combination of paprika, salt and pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder.
  • Olive Oil: Get your hands on a good quality extra virgin olive oil for the best flavor when cooking.
  • Chicken Broth: Low sodium chicken broth or stock is best, as you’ll be able to adjust the saltiness to taste. Vegetable broth will also work.

Can I Use Other Cuts of Chicken?

This chicken recipe works great with bone-in chicken thighs, or you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead. Depending on the type of chicken you prefer, you’ll need to adapt the cooking time:

  • For Bone-In Thighs: Cook the chicken as directed, for 10 minutes on high pressure with 7 minutes natural release.
  • For Boneless Thighs: Set the chicken to pressure cook for 8 minutes on high pressure, then 7 minutes natural release.

If you’re looking for a crazy-easy, super flavorful Instant Pot chicken breasts recipe to try, check out my Easy Instant Pot Chicken Piccata.

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

This pressure cooker chicken recipe is on the table in a half hour. It’s so simple, you’re going to want to make it on the regular! Here’s how to cook chicken thighs in the Instant Pot:

Top view of seasoned uncooked chicken thighs on a white plate.

Mix the Seasoning: Whisk together the paprika, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder, then rub the blend over both sides of the chicken thighs.

Brown the Chicken: Using the sauté setting on your Instant Pot, sear the chicken skin-side-down in a bit of olive oil. Once browned, flip the chicken to sear the other side.

Add the Broth: Next, remove the browned chicken thighs from the pot. Pour in the chicken broth to deglaze the bottom of the Instant Pot, using a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any stuck on bits. 

Chicken breasts on a trivet inside the instant pot, overtop of the broth.

Cook: Place the trivet that comes with your Instant Pot into the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken on top, then seal the lid and set the IP to cook on high for 10 minutes. Once the cooking time is up, naturally release the pressure for about 7 minutes before venting the rest. Finally, remove your juicy chicken thighs from the pot and serve! Refer to the recipe card for more cooking guidance, and check out additional tips for cooking and serving below.

Top view of instant pot chicken thighs on a plate smothered with gravy.

Tips for Success

I’ve made this recipe loads of times, and I can say with confidence it’s next to foolproof. No one’s ever said no to a few handy tips, though:

  • Don’t Overload the Instant Pot: This recipe uses 1 ½ pounds of chicken thighs to serve four. You should be able to easily arrange this amount of chicken in a single layer inside your pot. Technically, you can fit up to 2 pounds of chicken thighs in a 6-quart Instant Pot, just be sure you don’t overcrowd or layer-up the chicken when placing it inside the pot.
  • Use Frozen Chicken Thighs: Yes, you can make this recipe using frozen chicken thighs. In this case you don’t need to sear them, instead just rub the chicken with the seasoning and cook them directly from frozen. See the recipe card notes for more details and adapted cooking times.
  • Crisp Up the Skin: Crispy chicken skin fans, I see you. An easy way to get the skin on the thighs golden and crispy again once they’re out of the pressure cooker is to broil the chicken skin-side-up in the oven for a few minutes.
Four instant pot chicken thighs on a plate smothered with gravy.

What to Serve with Chicken Thighs

One of my favorite things about this recipe is what lingers at the bottom of the Instant Pot once the chicken is cooked. See all that steamy, flavorful chicken broth mingling with the seared bits? Don’t let it go to waste! I’m sure you’re thinking what I’m thinking: Gravy.

The leftover sauce makes a great gravy base to whisk together with a quick slurry of cornstarch and water (see the recipe notes). Once thickened, it’s a perfect side to serve with your chicken thighs. Hello, quick and easy weeknight dinner! 

Then, make it a meal with these other effortless serving suggestions:

Close up of instant pot chicken thighs on a plate smothered with gravy.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Once the chicken is cooled, store any leftovers in an airtight container. This recipe is actually great for meal prep, as the chicken thighs will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat the chicken in the microwave or in the oven until it’s warmed through. You can also easily chop up cold leftover chicken to toss over salads and into sandwiches.

Yes! Cooked chicken thighs freeze like a champ. Wait until they’re fully cool, then transfer the chicken to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Defrost frozen chicken thighs overnight in the fridge, or in the microwave on the “defrost” setting in a pinch. Then simply reheat until the chicken is nice and hot.

More Instant Pot Recipes:

Print

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Description

Juicy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are ready in 30 minutes, perfect to make for an easy dinner. Bone-in or boneless chicken is flavorfully seasoned and pressure cooked until tender. Serve with your favorite sides!


  • 1 ½ pounds Chicken Thighs
  • ½ teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth

  1. Combine paprika, salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder in a small bowl. Apply to the chicken coating both sides.
  2. Set the instant pot to sauté. Add the olive oil.
  3. Place the chicken skin side down in the heated oil. Cook for 3 minutes until the chicken begins to brown. Use tongs to flip the chicken and cook the second side for another 3 minutes.
  4. Remove the partially cooked chicken from the instant pot. Add the chicken broth and use a spatula to scrape any stuck on bits from the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the trivet to the instant pot and place the chicken on top. Set to seal and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Naturally release for 7 minutes before opening the vent.
  6. Remove from the instant pot and serve. See notes below.

Notes

  • Up to 2 pounds of chicken thighs will fit in a single layer in a 6-quart instant pot.
  • You can use bone in chicken thighs with skin or boneless skinless chicken thighs – adjust the cooking time accordingly:
    Bone in thighs – cook for 10 min high pressure with 7 min natural release
    Boneless thighs – cook for 8 min high pressure with 7 min natural release
  • If you prefer to use frozen chicken thighs, skip the searing of the chicken thighs. Simply coat the frozen chicken with the seasoning and place into the instant pot, on top of the trivet. Add the broth and cook for 14 minutes high pressure with 7 min natural release.
  • If you’re using chicken with skin, you may wish to crisp the skin after removing it from the instant pot. Place cooked chicken on a baking tray and cook under a broiler for 5 minutes or until it is crispy and golden brown.
  • The sauce that is leftover after cooking makes a great base for gravy. After removing the cooked chicken, remove the trivet and turn the instant pot back to the saute setting. Make a slurry of 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Whisk the slurry into the chicken broth until it thickens slightly. Ladle over the cooked chicken.
  • Storage: Allow the chicken to cool. Place in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Keywords: instant pot chicken recipes, easy chicken dinner ideas, pressure cooker chicken thighs

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