Easy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Easy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs recipe, with gravy! How to cook perfectly moist and juicy chicken thighs in your Instant Pot pressure cooker. With tips for how to cook from fresh or frozen; use bone-in or boneless chicken thighs.
In an effort to bring you more quick and easy dinner ideas and also more easy Instant Pot recipes, I’m excited to share this Instant Pot chicken thighs recipe with you! Judging by the popularity of my Baked Chicken Thighs and Grilled Chicken Thighs, many of you love flavorful chicken thigh recipes as much as I do.
You can cook these perfect juicy, seasoned chicken thighs in your Instant Pot in just 30 minutes, start to finish. Cooking chicken in your Instant Pot frees up all of your oven space so you can roast a pan of veggies to serve alongside the chicken.
The spice rub on these chicken thighs is similar to the rub that I use on my baked chicken thighs, and it is so good! It adds so much flavor to the meat.
To make this easy recipe, you’ll use the sauté function on your Instant Pot to first brown the chicken on both sides. This step adds flavor and is a real benefit to using the Instant Pot. The convenience of sautéing and pressure cooking all in one pot is a busy cook’s dream! After the chicken thighs pressure cook, you can make a simple gravy from the juices left in the pot. It takes just minutes to make the gravy, right in the Instant Pot.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
If you are new to Instant Pot cooking, I recommend reading my guide on how to use an Instant Pot. It will tell you everything you need to know to get started.
To cook chicken thighs in the Instant Pot, you’ll start by seasoning your chicken. You can use either boneless, skinless chicken thighs or bone-in chicken thighs in this recipe. The seasoning is a simple mixture of spices. Rub the spice rub over both sides of the chicken thighs. If you’re using skin-on thighs, try to rub some of the seasoning on the meat under the skin.
Next, you’ll heat a tablespoon of olive oil in your Instant Pot inner pot using the sauté function. Brown the chicken pieces for about 4 minutes per side. Try not to move the chicken around too much. The meat should release from the bottom of the pot easily once it has a good sear.
Remove the chicken to a clean plate. Pour 1 cup of chicken broth into the inner pot and use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. This step will ensure you don’t get a burn message during the pressure cooking process. You’ll leave the chicken broth in the Instant Pot, as it will create the steam that is needed for pressure cooking.
Set the metal trivet that came with your Instant Pot inside the inner pot and put the chicken on top of the trivet. This keeps the chicken out of the liquid during the cooking process. Close the Instant Pot lid, set the steam release valve to the sealing position, and pressure cook according to the cook times below. When it’s done cooking, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then quick release any remaining pressure in the pot.
Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card below.
How Long to Cook Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot
For fresh boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pressure cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Once the cooking cycle ends, let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes by leaving the Instant Pot alone. The chicken will continue to cook during this time. The natural release ensures that the chicken comes out tender and juicy. Then quick release any remaining pressure.
Fresh bone in chicken thighs are also perfect for cooking in your Instant Pot! Follow the same method as for boneless chicken thighs but increase the pressure cook time to 10 minutes at high pressure. Let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes after cooking.
For food safety, chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F. The best way to check that the chicken is cooked through is to use an instant read thermometer. If it’s not done, you can turn on sauté to bring the broth to a boil, then turn off the pot and put the lid back on for a few minutes to finish cooking the thighs from the residual heat.
How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot
- To cook frozen chicken thighs in your Instant Pot, first make sure that the chicken thigh pieces are separate and not frozen together. This will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly.
- Skip the step of browning the chicken. Add the chicken broth to the inner pot and place the metal trivet in the inner pot. Put the chicken thighs on top of the trivet.
- Since the spice rub won’t stick well to frozen chicken, I recommend sprinkling half of it on the top of the chicken thighs after you place them on the trivet. After cooking you can add a little more seasoning and then brown the meat if you wish.
- Cook frozen bone-in chicken thighs on high pressure for 15 minutes and then do 5 minutes of natural pressure release. Frozen boneless thighs will take 13 minutes to cook. You may want to brown the cooked chicken thighs under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes. Or, you can remove the liquid from the Instant Pot and brown the cooked chicken thighs on sauté mode for a few minutes.
To Make Gravy
You can make a simple gravy from the liquid in the Instant Pot after cooking the chicken. It’s so good served with the chicken and makes it especially moist and flavorful. To make gravy, first stir a tablespoon of butter into the cooking liquid in the Instant Pot. Then stir in a cornstarch slurry and bring the gravy to a simmer using the sauté function, cooking until the gravy thickens.
You might also enjoy my Instant Pot mashed potatoes recipe.
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
- Easy Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings
- Or try one of these 28+ Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- 4 bone-in skin on chicken thighs, or boneless skinless chicken thighs, see note for frozen
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth, or water, use 1.5 cups for 8 quart pot, use broth if you plan to make gravy
To Make Gravy (Optional)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 ½ tablespoons water
- In a small bowl, combine the dried oregano, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Rub the spice mixture over all sides of the chicken thighs, trying to get some under the skin if using skin-on thighs.
- Pour the olive oil into the Instant Pot inner pot and press the "Sauté" button to turn on sauté mode. Once the oil is hot, spread it over the bottom of the pot. Carefully place the seasoned chicken thighs in the pot, skin side down. Cook about 4 minutes per side, until both sides are browned. Remove chicken to a clean plate.
- Turn off the Instant Pot and pour the chicken broth into the inner pot. Use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. This will ensure that you do not get a burn warning during the pressure cooking process.
- Place the metal trivet in the Instant Pot. Put the chicken thighs on top of the trivet, skin side up.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position.
- Pressure cook at high pressure:Bone-In Thighs: Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 5 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down. When the cook time has finished, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes (just leave the Instant Pot alone).Boneless, Skinless Thighs: Cook at high pressure for 8 minutes. The Instant Pot will take about 5 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down. When the cook time has finished, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes (just leave the Instant Pot alone).Frozen Thighs: See note below.
- Then carefully turn the steam release valve to the venting position to release any remaining pressure. When the float valve drops down carefully open the Instant Pot lid. Use an instant-read thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165° F. (If not done, you can turn on sauté to bring the broth to a boil, then turn off the pot and put the lid back on for a few minutes to finish cooking the thighs from the residual heat.)
To Make Gravy (Optional):
- Remove chicken and trivet from pot. If desired, pour the liquid from the pot through a strainer to strain out any solids and then return the liquid to the pot. Turn on sauté. Add the butter to the broth in the pot.
- In a small bowl, stir together the 1 ½ tablespoons each of cornstarch and water. Stir this cornstarch slurry into the liquid in the pot. Bring to a boil and cook at a simmer, stirring occasionally, until the gravy thickens. Remove from the heat and serve with the chicken.
- To cook frozen chicken thighs, skip the step of browning the chicken. Pour the broth into the bottom of the Instant Pot. Place trivet in the pot and put frozen thighs on top of the trivet. Since the spice rub won’t stick well to frozen chicken, I recommend sprinkling half of it on the top of the chicken thighs after you place them on the trivet. After cooking you can add a little more seasoning and then brown the meat if you wish. Cook frozen bone-in thighs for 15 minutes at high pressure plus 5 minutes natural pressure release. Cook frozen boneless thighs for 13 minutes at high pressure plus 5 minutes natural pressure release.