These Instant Pot chicken thighs taste like they’ve been slow-baked in the oven. From prep to table, they only take 30 minutes to make and are fall-off-the-bone juicy.

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs on a plate with rice.

Instant Pot chicken thighs are so simple, versatile, and perfect for meal prep. You can enjoy them as a main dish with a side of white rice, in salads, or shredded for a Mexican Taco night. The possibilities are endless…

When you feel like you’re tugged in a million directions on a busy weeknight, it’s time to pull out a tried-and-true recipe that’s both easy and delicious. These Instant Pot chicken thighs are as no-fuss as it gets. Soon enough, you’ll find yourself making them a couple of times a week.

Note: This recipe calls for fresh, boneless chicken thighs, but you use bone-in chicken thighs if you prefer. All you need to do is tack on 2-5 minutes of extra cooking time to compensate.

How to Make Fresh Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot

Cooking perfect Instant Pot chicken thighs is a no-brainer. Check out the recipe overview below:

  • Trim and Season Chicken: Trim any excess fat and skin from your chicken thighs. Massage the seasoning all over the thighs until they are completely coated.
  • Brown the Chicken and Onions: On the sauté setting, brown the outside of the chicken thighs. Remove the chicken. Cut onion into half rings and sauté in the brown bits leftover from browning the chicken.
  • Pressure Cook Chicken: Return the chicken to the Instant Pot, nestling the thighs on top of the onions. Seal and cook for 10 minutes on high pressure. Allow the chamber to have a natural release for an additional 10 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot

Cooking frozen chicken thighs in the Instant Pot requires no defrosting at all. Follow the simple steps below to take your chicken from frozen to phenomenal.

  • Brown the Onions: Use the sauté option on the Instant Pot to brown the onion rings until they turn golden brown.
  • Pop the Frozen Chicken In: Place the frozen chicken thighs on top of the onion. Season each thigh generously on both sides.
  • Seal and Cook: Seal the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Let the pressure do a natural release for an additional 15 minutes. Once the pressure pin drops, open the pot. Serve and enjoy!

Invest in a meat thermometer. Take the guesswork out of making chicken in the Instant Pot by investing in a meat thermometer. Chicken is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.

What to Serve Alongside Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

These Instant Pot chicken thighs are super versatile and neutral. This means they can be served with a variety of different side dishes and the leftovers can be repurposed into many different dishes. Serve them with a roasted beet salad with goat cheese for a healthy lunch. Or, make a classic, well-rounded American meal of green beans and mashed potatoes. If you happen to have any leftovers, shred the chicken for tacos, quesadillas, or burritos.


How long does it take to cook chicken thighs in an Instant Pot?

It takes about 20 minutes to cook chicken thighs in the Instant Pot. Tack on 2-5 more minutes if you are using frozen thighs.

How much water do you put in an Instant Pot for chicken thighs?

For this recipe, no water is required. The juice released from the onions and chicken provides more than enough moisture. However, if you want to air on the safe side, feel free to add 1/2 cup of water into the pot.

Can you layer chicken in Instant Pot?

Layering chicken in the Instant Pot is perfectly fine. Just make certain that each thigh is coated evenly with seasoning before you start stacking.

How should I adjust the cooking time if I wanted to swap boneless thighs for boneless chicken breast?

Go 2-3 minutes shorter on cooking time if you use chicken breasts. However, if you are using thicker breasts, you may need to go 2-3 minutes longer. Use a meat thermometer to take the guesswork out. Note: Chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature reads 165°F.

Do you still try to brown the chicken even if it’s frozen?

If you’re using frozen chicken thighs, you will not be able to brown them. Just ensure that the onions are browned to bring in that caramelized flavor.

Can I leave the skin on the chicken thighs?

You can absolutely leave the skin on your chicken thighs. This will add more flavor to the mix.

Storing Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

  • Refrigerating: Store Instant Pot chicken thighs in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for 3-5 days.
  • Freezing: Freeze Instant Pot chicken thighs by placing them in a freezer-safe plastic storage bag. You can keep them on hand for up to 3 months. If you have a vacuum sealer, they will last for up to a year.

Reheating Tip: Reheat frozen Instant Pot chicken thighs by popping them back in the Instant Pot. If you are reheating refrigerated thighs, microwave them or reheat them in an air fryer f you want them extra crispy.

Other Chicken Thighs Recipe to Try

About Author

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Natalya Drozhzhin

Natalya founded Momsdish to demonstrate that placing a homemade meal on the table is not hard at all. Natalya makes cooking easier and approachable, by simplifying the ingredients, while still producing the same great taste.