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Asian-Inspired Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

Asian-Inspired Instant Pot Chicken Thighs, including instructions from frozen. These tender, flavorful juicy thighs turn out perfectly in the Instant Pot! This recipe has instructions for boneless skinless chicken thighs, bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, and cooking thighs from frozen.

Instant Pot full of chicken thighs and sauce, sprinkled with green onion

Looking for a simple chicken recipe you can marinate in advance and toss together after work on any busy weeknight?

These Asian-Inspired Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are exactly that!

Marinating the chicken requires only a few minutes of time. Once the thighs are in the pressure cooker, you’re looking at about 15 minutes until you’re ready to eat. 

I recommend whipping up some steamed white rice or brown rice and/or sauteing some vegetables for the ultimate meal. 

Plate of Asian-inspired chicken thighs, sprinkled with green onion with limes to the side.

If you’ve been around this site for a while, you know chicken thighs are a big deal around these parts.

Inspired by my Asian Baked Boneless Chicken Thighs, these easy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are ideal for my friends who absolutely love using their pressure cooker to make meals. 

Some of my other personal favorites are my Lemon Garlic Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs, Baked Honey Lime Chicken Thighs, Honey Garlic Baked Chicken Thighs, and my Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Thighs

Let’s discuss the simple ingredients for these delicious thighs.

Ingredients for Asian-Inspired Chicken Thighs:

Chicken: Boneless chicken thighs are what I use for this recipe, but bone-in chicken thighs, chicken breasts, and frozen thighs or frozen breasts work too. I have included cooking instructions for all of these cuts of chicken.

Marinade: Chicken broth (or water), coconut aminos (or soy sauce), fish sauce, rice vinegar, fresh garlic, sriracha, pure maple syrup, and sesame oil.

This combination of ingredients yields that sweet and sour sauce with plenty of rich umami flavor. The chicken doesn’t turn out spicy, but you can increase the spice level by adding more sriracha or some cayenne pepper. 

Tapioca Flour: Used to thicken the sauce at the end of pressure cooking to spoon over the chicken, we need some form of thickening agent.

I like using tapioca flour, but you can also use a cornstarch slurry, gluten-free all-purpose flour, or regular all-purpose flour. 

If you aren’t concerned about the sauce being thick, skip this ingredient altogether.

Recipe Adaptations:

  • If you don’t like sesame oil, replace it with olive oil or avocado oil.
  • Replace the fresh garlic with 2 teaspoons of garlic powder.
  • Add black pepper to your personal taste.
  • Use brown sugar instead of pure maple syrup.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of onion powder to the marinade if you have it on hand.
  • If you love herby chicken, add 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning to the marinade.

Now that we’re familiar with the simple ingredients, let’s make chicken thighs in the Instant Pot!

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Thighs:

Combine the ingredients for the marinade (chicken broth/water, coconut aminos/soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, maple syrup, sriracha, sesame oil, and minced garlic) in a measuring cup or small bowl and stir well to combine.

Marinade for air fryer chicken bites stirred up in a measuring cup.

Transfer the raw chicken thighs to a zip lock bag (or airtight container) and pour in the marinade. Seal the zip lock bag and marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes (ideally 1 hour to 24 hours).

Chicken marinating in a marinade in a zip lock bag.

Plug in your Instant Pot and transfer the marinated chicken, including all of the marinade, to the bottom of the pot. The chicken does not need to be in a single layer.

Raw marinated chicken thighs in an instant pot, ready to be cooked.

Pressure cook on High for 8 minutes with the pressure release valve closed (turned to the sealing position).

For bone-in chicken thighs, pressure cook for 10 minutes, and for frozen chicken thighs, pressure cook on high pressure for 14 minutes. 

The pressure cooker will take about 5 to 10 minutes to come to full pressure, and after it has built up pressure, it will go through its 8 minute pressure cook course. Once the 8 minutes it up, use the quick release valve to release all of the pressure. Remove the Instant Pot lid.

Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the largest thigh (or pick several thighs to check) to ensure the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F. 

Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the juices behind.

Horizontal image of a plate of Asian Instant Pot Chicken Thighs.

Add in the tapioca flour (or cornstarch or all-purpose flour) and press the Sauté button on the Instant Pot to make a delicious gravy. Stir well and allow the mixture to come to a full boil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.

Pressure cooker with sauce boiling in it to make delicious gravy.

Either transfer the cooked chicken thighs back into the pot to smother them with sauce, or spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

Horizontal image of an Instant Pot full of cooked chicken thighs

Serve these Asian-inspired boneless thighs with your choice of side dishes such as steamed rice, sauteed vegetables, green beans, or roasted vegetables. I like having fresh lemons or limes around to give the chicken a drizzle of fresh lemon juice or lime juice just before eating.

Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

How Long to Cook Chicken Thighs in the Instant Pot:

The exact cook time of chicken thighs and chicken breasts depends on the temperature of the meat going into the pot (whether it is fresh or frozen) and the amount. For the sake of simplicity, the following cooking time is based off of about 3 pounds of chicken.

For 6 to 8 boneless chicken thighs, pressure cook on high heat for 8 minutes. For 6-8 bone-in chicken thighs, pressure cook for 10 minutes. 

If you’re cooking boneless chicken thighs from frozen, there is no need to thaw the chicken first. You can simply transfer them directly to the pressure cooker (with the marinade) and pressure cook on high for 14 minutes. For bone-in frozen chicken thighs, cook for 15-20 minutes (depending on the size and amount of thighs).

In all instances, immediately release the pressure after the time is up. There is no need to allow the chicken to naturally release.

For shredded chicken, however, I do recommend allowing the Instant Pot at least a 30 minute natural release to naturally release in order to get the best, tender, easy to shred chicken. Once the 30 minute natural pressure release is up, release any remaining pressure.

If you’d like to apply this recipe to large boneless skinless chicken breasts, pressure cook on High for 10 minutes for four large breasts (about 3 lbs of chicken breasts). If you’re cooking chicken breasts from frozen, pressure cook on High pressure for 15 minutes (assuming you’re still using 4 large breasts).

If You Get a Burn Notice:

Some pressure cookers are much more finicky than others and will give a burn notice fairly easily. If this sounds like your Instant Pot, I recommend Pressing the Sauté function 2-3 minutes before you want to make this Instant Pot chicken thighs recipe to allow the pot to heat up. Once it’s hot, carefully add everything to the pot and continue as normal.

Note: If you like to brown chicken before cooking it, you can certainly do so by cooking each thigh for a few minutes per side until golden brown prior to adding the sauce and marinade.

Top down white plate of cooked chicken thighs sprinkled with green onions and slices of limes all around.

And that’s it!

Everything you need to know about cooking chicken in the Instant Pot! These juicy chicken thighs have so much flavor and will surely become a staple that the whole family will love. Make it for easy meal prep to enjoy throughout the week as your main dish.

This easy recipe is a lovely weeknight dinner!

For my fellow rotisserie chicken lovers, if you haven’t tried my Instant Pot Whole Chicken, I highly recommend it! It turns out just like rotisserie chicken.

If you love cooking simple meals in the pressure cooker, also try these healthy recipes.

More Instant Pot Recipes:

The next time you’re craving chicken thighs or that iconic sweet, tangy, umami flavor we love so much in Asian cuisine, make this simple recipe!

Instant Pot full of chicken thighs and sauce, sprinkled with green onion

Asian-Inspired Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 23 minutes

Perfectly tender, juicy chicken thighs with an amazing Asian-inspired sauce that is sweet, tangy, with a slight kick. This easy Instant Pot chicken thighs recipe is perfect for meal prep! Serve the chicken with your choice of steamed rice and sauteed vegetables or steamed vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 to 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (8 thighs)
  • ⅓ cup broth or water
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp sriracha, optional
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp tapioca flour or cornstarch, optional

Instructions

    1. Combine the ingredients for the marinade (chicken broth/water, coconut aminos/soy sauce, rice vinegar, fish sauce, maple syrup, sriracha, sesame oil, and minced garlic) in a measuring cup or small bowl and stir well to combine.

    Marinade for air fryer chicken bites stirred up in a measuring cup.

    2. Transfer the raw chicken thighs to a zip lock bag (or airtight container) and pour in the marinade. Seal the zip lock bag and marinate the chicken for at least 15 minutes (ideally 1 hour to 24 hours).

    Chicken marinating in a marinade in a zip lock bag.

    3. Plug in your Instant Pot and transfer the marinated chicken, including all of the marinade, to the bottom of the pot. The chicken does not need to be in a single layer.

    Raw marinated chicken thighs in an instant pot, ready to be cooked.

    4. Pressure cook on High for 8 minutes with the pressure release valve closed (turned to the sealing position). For bone-in chicken thighs, pressure cook for 10 minutes, and for frozen chicken thighs, pressure cook on high pressure for 14 minutes. 

    The pressure cooker will take about 5 to 10 minutes to come to full pressure, and after it has built up pressure, it will go through its 8 minute pressure cook course. Once the 8 minutes it up, use the quick release valve to release all of the pressure. Remove the Instant Pot lid.

    5. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the largest thigh (or pick several thighs to check) to ensure the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees F. 

    Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the juices behind.

    Horizontal image of a plate of Asian Instant Pot Chicken Thighs.

    6. Add in the tapioca flour (or cornstarch or all-purpose flour) and press the Sauté setting on the Instant Pot to make a delicious gravy. Stir well and allow the mixture to come to a full boil. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened.

    Pressure cooker with sauce boiling in it to make delicious gravy.

    7. Either transfer the cooked chicken thighs back into the pot to smother them with sauce, or spoon the sauce over the chicken and serve.

    Horizontal image of an Instant Pot full of cooked chicken thighs

    8. Serve these Asian-inspired boneless thighs with your choice of side dishes such as steamed rice, sauteed vegetables, green beans, or roasted vegetables. I like having fresh lemons or limes around to give the chicken a drizzle of fresh lemon juice or lime juice just before eating.

Notes

Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Nutrition Information
Serving Size 1 Thigh (of 8)
Amount Per Serving Calories 285Total Fat 15gCarbohydrates 5gSugar 2gProtein 30g

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Anne

Wednesday 18th of January 2023

I unfortunately don’t have an instapot. How can I adapt this recipe for my slow cooker/crock pot? Thank you!

Julia

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Hi Anne! You can follow my recipe for baked Asian chicken thighs here: https://www.theroastedroot.net/asian-baked-boneless-chicken-thighs/ . If you're set on using your crock pot, you can add everything to the crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 5 to 7. Hope this helps!

Arlenny Govea

Wednesday 18th of January 2023

What can I use instead of the fish sauce? Or can I leave it out?

Julia

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Hi there! You can leave out the fish sauce or replace it with oyster sauce or some soy sauce. xo

Tina

Wednesday 11th of January 2023

What if you don't have an instant pot or pressure cooker. About how long and at what level of heat would you cook it?

Julia

Thursday 12th of January 2023

Hi Tina! I linked to the baked version in the post. You can make the chicken thighs in the oven by following this recipe if you'd like: https://www.theroastedroot.net/asian-baked-boneless-chicken-thighs/

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