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Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs

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Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken is an easy, kid-friendly dinner that is full of flavor. It’s a healthier alternative to Chinese takeout and just as tasty. If you’re looking for Instant Pot chicken recipes that aren’t boring or bland, you’re going to love this one!

a collage of chicken on a white plate on a red and white polka dot cloth with title text reading Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

My kids’ favorite dish at Chinese restaurants is Sweet & Sour Chicken. I wanted to create something at home that they would enjoy just as much without the breading and sugar.

I figured a honey garlic chicken would deliver the sweetness my kids loved with some added flavors to keep the dish interesting for the adults.

chicken on a white plate on a red and white polka dot cloth

With two teenage boys in the house, I also wanted to come up with a good recipe using chicken thighs since they are much less expensive than chicken breasts.

I decided to make it in my Instant Pot to free me up to do other things without heating up the whole house by using the oven.


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How to Make Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

The time that I make dinner is the busiest time in our house. Everyone is home or just getting home and there’s lots of chatter and many distractions.

That’s why all of my dinner recipes are super easy and very quick. This recipe for Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken is no different.

Step 1 – Make the Sauce

Combine soy sauce, ketchup, honey and garlic in a liquid measuring cup.

overhead view of soy sauce, ketchup, honey and garlic in a glass liquid measuring cup with a spoon in it on a white background

Step 2 – Brown the Chicken Thighs

I like a crisp coat on the chicken so I saute them first. This is an optional step though.

If you prefer, you can simply place the chicken thighs to your Instant Pot uncooked.

raw chicken thighs in an instant pot

Step 3 – Coat Thighs with Sauce

Next, you’ll add the sauce and turn each thigh over to make sure they are all coated in the sauce. Add 1/2 cup of broth or water (this is a change from the original recipe since many readers have incorporated extra liquid for fear the dish wouldn’t come to pressure).

chicken and sauce in an instant pot

Step 4 – Pressure Cook

Now you just have to secure your Instant Pot lid and cook on “Manual” for 15 minutes.

chicken and sauce in an instant pot

I like to sprinkle the thighs with sesame seeds before serving.

a close up of honey garlic chicken on a white plate

Ready to make it? Here’s the complete recipe with measurements:


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📋 Recipe

Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

Corinne Schmitt
Love this instant pot honey garlic chicken recipe!
4.34 from 74 votes
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
3 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Servings 4 -6 servings
Calories 352 kcal


  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil or butter
  • 4-6 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup broth or water (added per reader comments)
  • Sesame seeds optional for serving

To Thicken Sauce


  • Combine the soy sauce, ketchup, honey and garlic.
  • If you want a crispy skin on the chicken thighs, set the IP to saute and add 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil to the bottom of the pot. Allow to get hot before adding the chicken thighs.
  • Cook until they release easily from the bottom, about 4-5 minutes, then turn off the IP.
  • Turn over the chicken thighs and pour the honey garlic sauce all over.
  • Place the lid on the IP, select “manual” and increase time to 15 minutes.
  • Quick release. Remove lid. Set IP to saute.
  • In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water to form a slurry. Stir briskly into the honey garlic chicken mixture to thicken the sauce.
  • When sauce reaches desired consistency, turn IP off and serve. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.


Weight Watchers Freestyle = 6 Points per serving if you switch to chicken breast instead of chicken thighs with 3 servings for total recipe.


Calories: 352kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 20gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 126mgSodium: 711mgPotassium: 313mgFiber: 1gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 302IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
chicken on a white plate on a red and white polka dot cloth with title text reading Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken

Slow Cooker Adaptation

No Instant Pot? No problem. You can easily adapt this recipe for a crockpot. Just add the chicken thighs to the bottom of your slow cooker, top with the sauce, and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

chicken on a white plate on a red and white polka dot cloth

If you have the time, these Fried Chicken Spring Rolls are the perfect side dish for the Honey Garlic Chicken.

fried chicken spring rolls on lettuce next to tomato slices and chopsticks on a bamboo mat next to a white bowl of soy sauce

Love Asian food? You might like these Thai Chicken Rice Bowls too! It’s one of my most popular recipes.

thai chicken rice bowls in tow white bowls next to black chopsticks on a white counter with a lime and garnish in the background

More Instant Pot Resources

Love your Instant Pot? Find more Instant Pot Recipes here. And check out my favorite Instant Pot Hacks.

36 thoughts on “Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs”

    • Possibly, but the results won’t be the same. The sauce will be thinner because the frozen chicken will release extra liquid when cooking. You might be able to offset this result by adding more of the other sauce ingredients. Also, you’ll probably need to reduce the time since bone-in chicken takes longer to cook. I’d do 12 minutes. The pot will take longer to come to pressure since the breasts are frozen so you’ll be picking up the extra cooking time to cook those through there. I have not tried the recipe with these adjustments so I can’t vouch for the results.

    • Unfortunately no. Brown rice takes longer to cook than the chicken so you would either end up with undercooked rice or overcooked chicken.

  1. 5 stars
    Hi. This recipe sounds wonderful and I plan on trying it tonight. One question, does the crisped skin stay crispy with the broth in the pot and all the steam from the pressure cooking? I would think that would undo the crisping! If not, I shall take the extra effort as who doesn’t love crispy skin?! 🙂

    • Great question! The pressure cooking does affect the skin’s crispiness so it isn’t the same as if you cooked it in a skillet or oven, but it still has a little crunch to it.

      • 5 stars
        I ended up skipping the sautéing steps and just dumped everything in the pot with about 1/3 cup broth. It cooked up nicely and we at it all like a stew with rice and broccoli. The sweet broth complimented all the pieces and the dish was fabulous. My 5yo daughter said ““dinner was delicious mommy. Thanks for finding the recipe” So this one is going in my recipe book! Thanks Corinne!

  2. 3 stars
    I made this recipe yesterday and even though the chicken tasted great, there was so much liquid in the pot I didn’t get the thick glaze I was expecting. I added the additional water you suggested, but would it be better to avoid adding it? I used boneless chicken thighs and they seemed to produce some extra liquid as well.

    • Hi Terri, yes I suspect the added liquid is the problem. I don’t include it when I make it because I like a thicker glaze, but so many people have commented about being worried about the lack of liquid, I added a cautionary note for others to incorporate that feedback. I’m sorry yours didn’t turn out. One possible solution, if you make it again, is to keep the extra liquid but after the dish is done, thicken the sauce with a cornstarch water mix. I’ll add instructions for that now to the recipe.

      • Newbie IP user. I’m hoping to make this tonight. I also want to add some extra liquid. I’m just wondering since we’re coating the pieces in the sauce, could we avoid this problem by using the supplied rack to keep the chicken out of the extra broth? Also, I would like to cook more chicken. From the posts above, I believe I don’t have to add more liquid, but should make more sauce to coat?

        • Yes, you’ll definitely want more sauce to make sure all the pieces are coated well if you make a larger batch. You’re correct that you shouldn’t need to add more liquid though since the liquid in the recipe is mostly to allow the pot to come to pressure. Using the rack is a smart idea to avoid the trouble some people have been running into. If you use it when you make the dish tonight, I’d love for you to come back and let me know if it helped! Making a note for myself to try it next time I make it too.

          • 5 stars
            I did this tonight and it was amazing! I seared the thighs in 3’s (had 6),, took them out of the insert and added the broth and rack. Mixed the sauce in a cereal bowl and dipped both sides of the chicken in it and laid the pieces on the rack. I then poured the rest of the sauce into the insert. The rack was high enough to keep the chicken out of the juices. I read the comments before doing it and one person said there wasn’t enough sauce. I had 6 big thighs (thought I had more) so I added a tsp of each sauce ingredient. I had so much left over, no extra was needed. Someone else said they couldn’t get the sauce with the broth to thicken but mine did. I just let it sautee for a min or two after it started to boil. If I put the chicken back in the insert, I’m sure mine would have looked coated like yours. I decided to just spoon it over the chicken and eat it like that. I swear the sauce is addictive. LOL The leftover sauce is going to be reserved as a dipping sauce for wings and I bet it would be great on udon or Japanese noodles. This is now on my fav list. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Hi Susan, thanks for your comment. I’ve added a note in the recipe that some readers prefer to make it with additional liquid. I’ve made this several times myself following the original recipe and don’t have trouble. Since you are not the first person concerned about the amount of liquid, I wanted to address it in the recipe for others who have similar concerns.

  3. 5 stars
    I’m trying this right now! I bought too much chicken at Costco. If I understand correctly, that shouldn’t matter right? I put 8 bone in chicken thighs in. I still cooked it on manual for 15 min. Hoping they’re cooked all the way!
    The house smells amazing 🙂

    • Hi Carolyn, sorry I’m not seeing this until the next morning. Every once in awhile I make good on my promise to my family to take the weekends off from work. 😉 Yes, it shouldn’t have mattered that you had more chicken unless you somehow overfilled the pot (which seems highly unlikely). I’d love to know how it turned out!

      • it was great-very tender & cooked perfectly! I would probably increase the sauce, though, as not all the pieces were coated as much as I wanted. Thanks!!

  4. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I made it exactly as the recipe stated with just two adjustments: my pressure cooker requires a little liquid to come to pressure – so I added 1/2 c. water to the bottom of the pot. The chicken was fully cooked and super tender and the water created a sauce in the 15 minutes cooking time stated in the recipe. I gave it a 4 min. natural release before releasing the remaining pressure as I read in one of the pressure cooker bibles that it’s best to do that with all proteins. I’ll definitely be making this recipe again!

    • Hi Judy, thanks so much for your feedback! I’m going to incorporate your notes into the post to help others.

      • I see this note added to your recipe (re: 1/2 c water); but it doesn’t clarify to place the water in the pot prior to coming to pressure. It only indicates to mix the water & cornstarch later on as a thickener. I think the recipe might be revised to allow adding water prior to brining to pressure to avoid any burning.

    • As long as you don’t fill your pot past the max fill line, you should be fine. No need to adjust the time. Because the pot will be fuller, it will take longer to come to pressure though so overall cooking time will be longer.

  5. 5 stars
    Interesting and easy recipe, but I’d prefer chicken breasts over thighs. Not sure if it’ll taste as good with the less juicy breasts but there’s only one way to find out 🙂

    • You can (and I have) but you’ll have to reduce the cooking time to 8 to 10 minutes (instead of 15). For fewer or smaller chicken breasts, go closer to 8 minutes. If you’re using 4-5 breasts or they are large and thick, go closer to 10.

      • What about using boneless skinless chicken thighs? Would you use the same cooking time mentioned above for boneless skinless chicken breasts?

        Also, should you brown the skinless chicken thighs or just skip that step?


    • Hi Judy,

      Yes, although it seems like insufficient liquid, the pot will come to pressure and the chicken comes out very tender and practically falls off the bone.

      • I just tried it and it gave me a burn warning before coming to pressure. I added some broth and hope that works.

        • Hi Krissy, thanks for letting me know. If you don’t mind, can you tell me what (if any) variations you made to the recipe before adding the broth that way I can troubleshoot or add notes to the recipe directions if necessary?

          • Thanks for the message, Corrine! I just added a bit of broth to unstick the chicken a bit (if I had to guess, maybe like half cup)? It turned out great! Loved the flavor!

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