Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are so easy to make, tender, and full of flavor. I used bone in chicken thighs, but this method would work with boneless skinless chicken thighs and frozen chicken thighs as well.
These chicken thighs in the instant pot are ready in a flash, full of flavor, and they are so easy to make!
Hands down, my favorite piece of chicken is the chicken thigh. It has so much flavor, and can handle cooking without drying out. One of my favorite ways to cook chicken thighs is with my Instant Pot Pressure Cooker!
I love to use chicken thighs in my recipes! I have a delicious recipe for Crispy Baked Chicken Thighs that you will not want to miss.
I do have room in my menu for chicken breast, though. I like to use Instant Pot chicken breast for tacos and casseroles. I also like to use my recipe for Slow cooker chicken tacos...that is the best taco meat!
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for this instant pot chicken thigh recipe, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For the printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
6-8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed - This recipe can also be used with boneless skinless chicken thighs and frozen chicken thighs.
Kosher salt and pepper to taste - Enough salt and pepper to season each side of the chicken generously.
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons avocado oil - We need the oil to brown the chicken thighs in the Instant Pot before pressure cook them. I like to use avocado oil for it's high heat tolerance but olive oil will work.
1 cup water or chicken broth - Instant pot recipes require some kind of liquid in the pot. Be sure to follow your pressure cookers instructions because some pots require more liquid than others.
How to make instant pot chicken thighs
This section explains how to make these chicken thighs in the instant pot step by step. For a full printable recipe, see the recipe card below.
I started these instant pot chicken thighs by purchasing bone in and skin on chicken thighs. I then removed the skin. There is absolutely no way that skin will get crispy in an instant pot! The skin will just stay flabby and all of your seasonings would be lost if you seasoned your chicken thighs, cooked them, and then removed the skin.
After removing the skin, I seasoned them with salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and garlic powder.
Then I added some avocado oil to my Instant Pot, set it to the sauté setting, and let it get hot. I browned the chicken thighs (in batches) to give them the most flavor possible.
After I had them all browned, I added water to the pot and scraped the bottom to make sure there wasn't any stuck on bits.
I then added the trivet into the Instant pot. We want to use a trivet so the chicken thighs aren't sitting in water and losing all of their flavor.
Now we put all of the chicken thighs back in the instant pot, placed the lid, made sure it was set to sealing, and set the instant pot to pressure cook the chicken thighs for 10 minutes under high pressure.
When the timer was up, I let the pot do a 10 minute natural pressure release, then I flipped the valve to release the rest of the pressure.
Tips for the best instant pot chicken thighs
- be sure to scrape the browned bit from the bottom of the pot so you do not get a "burn" warning on your instant pot or your pot may not come up to pressure.
- Removing the chicken thighs skin does a couple of things. There is no way the chicken skin is going to stay crispy during pressure cooking. It will remain flabby so it's best to remove it. You could cook it separately and have chicken skin chips!
Frozen chicken thighs in the instant pot
You can definitely pressure cook frozen chicken thighs in the instant pot. The only downside is you probably will not be able to remove the skin before cooking. What I would do is skip the searing process, season the frozen chicken thighs generously, and then pressure cook them on high for 15 minutes.
How long does it take to cook chicken thighs in a pressure cooker?
These chicken thighs were bone in and they were perfectly cooked after a 10 minute cook time and a 10 minute natural pressure release. If you used boneless skinless chicken thighs, you would need to cook them for 5 minutes, followed by a 10 minute natural pressure release. Keep in mind that the Instant pot takes various times to come up to pressure...anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending the temperature of your instant pot and how full it is.
Tools to help make this recipe
- Instant Pot - of course you need a pressure cooker to make these chicken thighs! I really like my basic Instant Pot Duo. I've had it for many years and it still works great.
- Pairing knife - I like to use a little pairing knife to remove the chicken skin.
Instant Pot chicken thighs serving suggestions
These go perfectly with Cauliflower Mac and Cheese, Low Carb Broccoli Salad, or Parmesan Zucchini and Corn!
You could also chop them up and make Keto Chicken Salad or Cranberry Chicken Salad and then serve it on 90 second bread.
For simple dinners I just serve with vegetables like green beans, rice, or potatoes.
More Instant Pot recipes
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Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe
- 6-8 Bone in Chicken Thighs, skin removed
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil (Click here for my favorite brand on Amazon)
- 1 Cup water or both
- Electric Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot)
- Lay the chicken thighs out on a cutting board and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.
- Turn the Instant Pot on HI Sauté . When the display reads "hot" add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Brown the chicken thighs on both sides in batches adding additional oil as needed.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and add the water. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to remove any burned bits. Cancel sauté function.
- When the Instant Pot is finished cooking, do a 10 minute natural pressure release, then release the rest of the pressure with a quick release.
- Remove the chicken from the pot and serve.
- The browned bits must be scraped from the bottom to avoid the "burn" warning that is common with the Instant pot.
- The trivet is a metal insert that is designed to keep ingredients out of the water. While pressure cooking, it is necessary to use 1-2 cups of water for every recipe.
Nutrition per serving
Nutrition is provided as a courtesy only. Please re-calculate on your own with the ingredients and amounts you used for the most accurate data.
I used frozen chicken thighs, cooked for 10 minutes, which I then used in a low-carb chicken cordon bleu casserole. Wonderful recipe.
This is my family go to! Everyone loves it. Use the rest for a salad the next day.
Bob Forman says
I made mine with carrots and 1/2 sweet onion.
Loved it and making it again tonight.
Anne Brown says
Jennifer, thanks for all your great recipes!
We have had the crispy chicken thighs with the baking powder twice now . . . game changer! This Instant Pot recipe will be next. Thanks again. 😊
Tanya Lemma says
Added extra garlic, montreal seasoning, and red potatoes. Served with roasted veggies- broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, peppers, and onions.
If I’m using no less thighs should I still pressure cook kn high for 10 min?
It would still be the same time
OMG! It's amazing.
Beverly M Fitchet says
I have made these several times, using different herbs & spices and every time, they have come out perfect!
Dan Caperton says
Had a fun time making this recipe , better time eating! Did a couple of things different, first I added baby red potatoes on the bottom, then my trivet and chicken on top. Seasoned with salt and pepper and my go too creole spice. Cooked for seven minutes and then a N/R of ten minutes. So good, will prepare it again soon!
I’m new to the instant pot community. The chicken thighs was my 3rd meal in the pot. Turned out great! Recipe easy to follow!
Thanks so much for simple recipes!!
Carolyne S. says
Do you have any idea how much sugar and salt is in one chicken thigh?
I don't. It just depends on how much salt you use. There should be no sugar
Margie D says
Should you adjust the cooking or pressure release times for having either fewer or more chicken thighs? I have a 6 qt. and an 8 qt. cooker, so I could make more or less, depending on how many will be home to eat!
If you fill it up, I would add 5 minutes. I wouldn't reduce the cook time for fewer, though
Omar Perez says
Good recipe, but I would cook for more like 15-20 minutes. At 10 minutes cooking time the meat near the bone was still red. Otherwise, thank you!
these were soooo good! i'll definitely be making these again! I used boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Denise Herrick says
Thank you for the chicken recipe. Husband & three kids ( two are pretty picky eaters) , they loved it!
These were absolutely delicious! I used frozen chicken thighs from Trader Joe's. I didn't have the paprika on hand so I just used the garlic powder, salt and pepper. My kids complain every single time we have chicken. But they both were like, this is amazing, can we have more. This will be a weekly staple in my house. Thanks for sharing!!
Did you defrost the chicken first or just put them straight in the IP?
Scott McElhiney says
I had to look it up, it's the stand that allows you to put stuff in the pot, but not on the bottom. I'm using a Yedi pot and it came with two different height ones that allow you to cook a bunch of hard boiled eggs with them also. I did about 12 pieces of chicken and used both layers. It's pressure cooking now.
K Ann Guinn says
Thanks for this easy but delicious recipe. I had thawed a large package of boneless, skinless thighs and needed to cook them the other night, but had zero energy for complicated recipes. After a bit of a search, I came upon yours and it was perfect. I admit I was worried that they wouldn't cook completely so pressure cooked for 8 minutes (based on several other suggestions), but now I think the 5 minutes would have been perfect). They were still delicious and moist, but a tad stringy in places. I think the browning step started the cooking process, so next time I'll stick with your 5 minute suggestion. This will be a keeper recipe!
Sandra L says
I made these tonight with frozen bone in thighs. They were great. I sauteed, pressure cooked as directed. Then I broiled with a sauce about 8 minutes. I will be doing this one again!
Great recipe. Many thanks
We have made this recipe multiple times. The chicken does brown if you FOLLOW directions. My picky eater who says he hates chicken just gobbles this up. Great recipe, thank you.
My wife saw this last night and she and I made it together tonight. We really liked it and my 19 year old son really liked it as well. It will probably take close to 30 to 35 minutes to make. You have 20 minutes alone in the 10 minute cook and 10 minute pressure release.
The recipe doesn't call it out, and most people will realize this, but you do need to switch from "saute" after browning to "pressure cook" for the actual cook.
Very good and we will definitely make this again.
Glenn Brons says
Well you kind of have a point. I mean you have a 10 minute pressure cook, then you have a 10 minute natural release so there's 20 minutes. I would put the prep time at 10 minutes to do the seasoning, and browning before you cook, then deglazing with the water. Read the instructions though, it says to brown each piece using the oil before you pressure cook. That's how it gets the nice golden brown color.
Thank you so much for this great recipe! I left the skin on but followed the rest of the directions and browned first. This was important and a great suggestion! Then when I took it out I put them under the broiler in the oven to get a nice crispy top. It was delicious. I highly recommend this recipe! And like others have said, don't skip the paprika!
I made this for supper tonight and it was really good! I used drumsticks as that’s what I had on hand and olive oil. I sautéed the chicken first but didn’t want to drain the oil out of the pot because of all the flavor in there but also didn’t want the chicken sitting in the oil to cook. So I put the chicken on the stainless steel vegetable steamer basket and cooked them that way. I was worried they’d be dry because they weren’t sitting in any liquid but they were fall off the bone, juicy and tender. I also used chicken broth instead of water.
I made this the other day and it was easy and delicious! I'm new to low carb eating and I'm so glad I found your site.
This recipe was a huge success & a big hit. Definitely making again. We get Hello Fresh vegetarian meals which I often make a side meat/protein with to fill up the 18year old. This is a perfect one that will go great with many of them. Thanks!!
Yes you can. Same time. Bring your cooker to the correct pressure for your altitude, then start your timer once it reaches that point for 10minutes and let it cook. Turn the burner off when done, and let sit for 10min before releasing any remains pressure 🙂
Thank you for a delicious, simple recipe that comes together quickly for a healthy weeknight dinner. I added a bunch of fresh green beans on top (I have the 8 qt. Instant Pot), and the chicken and green beans all came out perfectly cooked!
Can you do pot in pot (rice over chicken or under chicken) at same time? Setting the same or different times?? Thank you.
Steve T says
I like this recipe because it is simple and turns out great. Like some other readers I substitute water with chicken broth and use cornstarch slurry to thicken up the drippings into a yummy gravy.
Super delicious! I used boneless/skinless and I did 6 mins just because I though 5 mins couldn't possible be enough! It would have been - they were coming apart after 6 mins! I didn't care - they were SO good! Don't skip the paprika - it does add a nice color. Served w/black beans I made the day before in the IP. I like the idea of using the liquid for making rice!
Awesome recipe and the chicken came out super tender. I used the leftover juices to make rice immediately after the chicken was done. Quick and easy to prep meal. Thanks for sharing.
Bonnie Moore says
I put the rice under the chicken and cooked them together on the rice setting. That way they are ready at the same time and the rice is flavored by the chicken. Yum.
Do you leave the pot on sauté mode when you close the lid and set the timer for 10 minutes?
Trish Brown says
Oh my goodness...literally GOODNESS! The chicken is delicious. The only change I made was to use chicken broth instead of water. Thickened it up a little at the end and served over rice - which I also made in an Instant Pot?
Just made these tonight with skinless and boneless chicken thighs! It was so tender once it came out of the pressure cooker. It also filled my house with a delicious paprika aroma! Will definitely make these again!
Tayler Ross says
I love how easy dinner is made in the Instant Pot! This chicken looks amazing!
Samantha Dawn says
Love chicken thighs and I can't wait to incorporate this IP recipe into our menu!