These ultra-juicy Instant Pot chicken thighs are easy to cook in 30 minutes or less. Use bone-in and skin-on, boneless and skinless, fresh, or frozen chicken!
Are you still babysitting chicken thighs on the stove or in the oven? Learn how to make them in the pressure cooker instead! This Instant Pot chicken thighs recipe is fuss-free and always leaves you with a versatile protein that the whole family will love.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
- Hands off cooking. Our household is a busy one and sometimes, we can’t be bothered to babysit our dinner! Luckily, the pressure cooker does most of the work in this recipe for Instant Pot chicken thighs, making it a hassle-free and handy dinner for busy weeknights.
- Use fresh or frozen chicken. As a perfect family recipe, you can make this with the chicken you already have on hand, whether it’s fresh or frozen!
- Done in 30 minutes. This is one of my favorite weeknight dinners because it has minimal prep and cook times.
- Versatile. I like to serve these juicy chicken thighs with rice or mashed potatoes and veggies but there are so many other ways to enjoy them!
Chicken thighs are the obvious star of this Instant Pot recipe but a handful of simple ingredients are needed to give them their mouthwatering flavors. Here’s everything you need:
- Chicken thighs. I recommend using bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs but boneless and skinless chicken works, too. For the latter option, cook on high pressure for 8 minutes instead.
- Olive oil and butter. Searing the chicken thighs in olive oil AND butter gives them great flavor while keeping them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Chicken thigh dry rub. This is an easy spice rub made from salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, and Italian seasoning.
- Garlic cloves. For an irresistible savory flavor.
- Chicken broth. The broth makes the chicken thighs moist and juicy.
Find the printable recipe with measurements below.
How to cook chicken thighs in the Instant Pot
Step 1 – Season the chicken. Rub the chicken thighs with the spice rub.
Step 2 – Sear. Add the butter and olive oil to the Instant Pot on Saute mode, then add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Next, place the chicken thighs skin side down in the pot and cook until browned on both sides. Set aside.
Step 3 – Deglaze the pot. Pour the chicken broth into the pot and scrape up the brown bits stuck on the bottom. Add the chicken thighs back into the pot.
Step 4 – Pressure cook. Seal the lid and cook the thighs on high pressure. Afterward, perform a quick pressure release. Serve and enjoy!
Recipe tips and variations
- Use frozen chicken thighs. When I need to save time, I’ll cook the bone-in chicken thighs from frozen. You can skip the sear but they need to be cooked for slightly longer (15 minutes on high pressure).
- Deglaze the pot. I highly recommend taking the time to scrape up the stuck brown bits on the bottom of the Instant Pot as it keeps you from getting a burn notice.
- Check for doneness. I recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked through. You’ll know the chicken is done when its internal temperature reaches 165ºF.
- Use the leftover broth for gravy. Using Saute mode, simmer the leftover liquid in the Instant Pot and stir in a cornstarch slurry (1 tbsp cornstarch + 2 tbsp water) to help it thicken. Drizzle the gravy over top of the thighs and enjoy!
- Marinate the chicken. When I want extra flavor, I’ll marinate the thighs in my easy chicken thigh marinade before cooking.
- Toss with a sauce. Just like my honey garlic chicken thighs and huli huli chicken, you can finish the thighs with a glaze or sauce for exciting layers of flavor!
To store: Transfer the cooked and cooled chicken thighs to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days.
To freeze: The thighs also freeze well for up to 3 months. Let them thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
To reheat: Quickly reheat the thighs in the microwave or a 350ºF oven with a splash of chicken broth until heated through.
Frequently asked questions
I don’t cook the chicken thighs on a trivet and I still get great results from this recipe. Feel free to use a trivet if you have one or make a DIY trivet by placing a coiled “snake” made from aluminum foil on the bottom of the pot.
I love making the chicken thighs the star of the show by plating them with simple side dishes, like cauliflower mashed potatoes, rice, roasted root vegetables, and green beans. The leftovers are popular in our household, too! I sometimes shred the meat and use it in chicken tacos, Mexican soup, French onion chicken casserole, and salad wraps.
More ways to cook juicy chicken thighs
- Sous Vide Chicken Thighs – Extra juicy chicken thighs that are simple to make.
- Grilled Boneless Chicken Thighs – Smoky and zesty chicken grilled to perfection
- Air fryer chicken thighs– The FASTEST way to crispy and juicy thighs.
Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and Italian seasoning. Rub all sides of the chicken.
- Turn on your Instant Pot and select the "Saute" function. Once it's hot, add the olive oil and butter to the pot. Once the butter melts, add the minced garlic and sauté until it becomes fragrant.
- Place the seasoned chicken thighs in the Instant Pot, skin-side down. Cook them for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove and set aside.
- Deglaze the pot by pouring in the chicken broth and using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Return the chicken thighs to the Instant Pot, placing them on top of the liquid. Seal the Instant Pot with its lid, and set it to the "Pressure Cook". Cook the chicken thighs on high pressure for 10-12 minutes.
- Perform a quick pressure release by carefully opening the vent to release the pressure.
- Remove the chicken thighs from the pot and serve immediately.
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