Best Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe

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Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

The meat falls right off the bone!


the pioneer woman's instant pot chicken thighs recipe

The Instant Pot makes quick work of searing and cooking bone-in chicken thighs, for a tender, meat-falling-off-the-bone kind of dinner! This Instant Pot chicken thigh recipe starts with a flavorful rub of dried spices: Mix them together in a bowl first to save time (and keep your chicken-y hands off of your spice jars while seasoning). The chicken thighs are then seared right in the Instant Pot, before being pressure cooked to perfection with chicken stock and aromatics like lemon and garlic. Once finished, the flavorful chicken stock that remains in the pot is thickened into a gravy to coat the thighs when served.

How many chicken thighs can I fit in my Instant Pot?

This Instant Pot recipe was developed in a 6-quart appliance, which comfortably seared six chicken thighs 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 of bone-in, skin-on thighs). You may also want to increase the salt in your spice mixture by 1/2 teaspoon (and some of the other spices, if you like), as well as the chicken stock in the recipe to 1 1/2 cups.

How long should you cook chicken thighs in an Instant Pot?

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The chicken thighs will develop a lot of flavor when seared skin-side down in the Instant Pot before cooking. We recommend letting them sear for 5 to 7 minutes, untouched, for golden brown deliciousness. Then, flip the thighs and nestle them into the base of the pot filled with chicken stock. Pressure cook these on high for 15 minutes. Letting the pressure release naturally allows for the chicken thighs to continue cooking with less intensity, resulting in tender, juicy meat.

What happens when you cook chicken for too long in an Instant Pot?

Similar Instant Pot chicken breast, cooking lean chicken for too long in an Instant Pot will yield a rubbery, tough piece of meat. The bone-in chicken thighs used in this recipe are dark meat with a higher fat content, and are a bit more forgiving. Should you cook the chicken for an extra couple of minutes, the chicken will continue to tenderize further. However, if cooked for too long (say 30 minutes under pressure), your end result will be dried out and stringy in texture.

Can I make Instant Pot chicken thighs ahead?

Yes! The Instant Pot is very versatile and offers a “keep warm” function as part of its controls. Once you’ve finished thickening your sauce, you can nestle the chicken thighs back into the sauce, cover and turn it on “keep warm” to hold for up to 1 hour. All that’s left is to serve them with a side dish like broccoli wild rice casserole, buttered noodles, or any potato recipe for a well-rounded family meal.

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3 – 4 serving(s)
Prep Time:
5 mins
Total Time:
45 mins


  • 2 1/2 lb.

    bone-in, skin on chicken thighs (about 4 to 6 thighs, depending on the size)

  • 1 tsp.

    salt, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 tsp.

    ground black pepper, plus more to taste

  • 1/2 tsp.


  • 1/2 tsp.

    Italian seasoning

  • 1 1/2 tbsp.

    olive oil

  • 3

    cloves garlic, peeled and smashed

  • 3

    lemon slices

  • 1 c.

    chicken stock

  • 1 tbsp.


  • Chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, dill or thyme, for serving


    1. Step 1Trim any excess skin that stretches beyond the top of the chicken thighs.
    2. Step 2In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, paprika and Italian seasoning. Sprinkle all over both sides of the chicken thighs.
    3. Step 3Set your Instant Pot to the sauté setting and let the insert heat until very hot (it takes 2 to 3 minutes to heat up). Add the olive oil to the base of the pot, then 1/2 of the chicken thighs, skin-side down. Cook until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the thighs to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs, then transfer to a plate. Turn off the Instant Pot.
    4. Step 4Add the garlic, lemon slices, and chicken stock to the pot. Scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Nestle the chicken thighs skin-side up in the pot (you may have to shingle them slightly).
    5. Step 5Cover the Instant Pot with the lid and lock into place. Seal the steam release handle. Select high pressure and set the timer for 15 minutes. When timer is up, 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 loosely with foil to keep warm.
    6. Step 6Discard the lemon slices and garlic and return the Instant pot to the sauté setting. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons of water and the cornstarch. Add this to the pot and cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture comes to a boil. Let simmer, whisking frequently, for 1 minute, until thickened. Turn off the Instant Pot. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.
    7. Step 7Serve the chicken with a drizzle of the sauce, topped with chopped fresh herbs.
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For crispy skin, remove the thighs from the Instant Pot and place skin side up on a foil-lined sheet tray. Broil on high for 3 minutes.

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