Instant Pot chicken thighs are made for busy weeknights! Tender, juicy, and rubbed with a smoky-and-savory seasoning blend, this chicken thigh recipe comes together in a snap. Make the optional gravy, add mashed potatoes, and say hello to a supremely satisfying dinner!
Why you’ll love it: A simple and delicious dinner option that can be ready in no time: juicy, perfectly seasoned chicken thighs ready to pair with your favorite sides!
How long it takes: about 30 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: Instant Pot, whisk
Servings: 4 (one chicken thigh each)
- 1 Recipe Overview
- 2 About this Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe
- 3 Ingredients You’ll need
- 4 How to make Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- 5 When Are Chicken Thighs Done?
- 6 FAQs
- 7 What to Serve With Chicken Thighs
- 8 Changes You Can Make
- 9 Make Ahead Ideas
- 10 Storage & Reheating Tips
- 11 Leftover Love
- 12 More Instant Pot Recipes
- 13 Get the Recipe: Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe
Whether it’s Instant Pot shredded chicken for all your meal prep needs, Instant Pot chicken noodle soup for when your whole family has come down with a cold at the same time, or Instant Pot chicken marsala when you’re looking for something a little upscale, the Instant Pot practically guarantees perfect chicken.
These Instant Pot chicken thighs are another example of how the Instant Pot makes it a cinch to cook tender, juicy, flavorful chicken. (Okay, the blend of seasonings do a lot of work too. But the Instant Pot does the heavy lifting!)
Chicken thighs have a little extra fat in them, which makes them far more forgiving than chicken breasts. The pressure cooking method also helps ensure that the moisture doesn’t bake off like it does in the oven.
Using skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs promises maximum flavor but if you prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs, I have instructions for that too!
About this Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe
- Quick and simple. No fussy techniques, no fancy tools other than your Instant Pot. Dinner’s done in just 30 minutes, making this recipe ideal for those busy weeknights when you barely have time to catch your breath!
- Juicy and flavorful. If you’re tired of chicken that turns out dry and bland, these Instant Pot chicken thighs are the perfect antidote! Both the cut of chicken and the cooking method mean your chicken will be moist, tender, and full of flavor.
- Highly adaptable. Make these chicken thighs to use for meal prep or for other chicken recipes (hello, BBQ chicken salad), or serve them as a main dish alongside mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. The seasoning blend is smoky and savory, so it works with all kinds of flavors and cuisines.
Ingredients You’ll need
- Seasoning – Smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, salt, and black pepper make for an irresistible dry rub.
- Bone-In, Skin-On Chicken Thighs – The skin and the bone both help chicken thighs cook up juicy and delicious. If you prefer, the skin can be removed before cooking. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are another good option – see recipe for details.
- Olive Oil – Olive oil helps you get a nice sear on the chicken thighs before you pressure cook them.
- Chicken Broth – Use homemade chicken broth or a high-quality store-bought variety.
For optional gravy:
- Butter – I recommend unsalted butter, as this gives you more control over the flavor of the gravy.
- All-purpose Flour – The flour is added to thicken the gravy. Make this gravy gluten-free by using a measure-for-measure gluten-free flour substitute.
How to make Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
Combine the spices in a small bowl and rub the mixture into both sides of the chicken thighs.
Select the Sauté function on the Instant Pot and add a tablespoon of oil.
Place the chicken thighs in the pot skin-side down; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Flip and cook the other side for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, then transfer the seared chicken thighs to a plate. You might have to brown the chicken in 2 batches.
Press Cancel on the Instant Pot and pour in the chicken broth. Scrape the bottom of the pot to remove the browned bits. Position the trivet in the Instant Pot and set the chicken thighs on top.
Secure the lid and set the valve to the Sealing position. Select the Manual or Pressure Cook function and set the cooking time to 10 minutes.
Once the cooking time is complete, allow for a natural release of pressure for 5 minutes. Then, carefully perform a quick release of any remaining pressure by moving the valve to Venting. The temperature of the chicken should read 165ºF on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh.
If the chicken isn’t quite done but close, simply cover the Instant Pot for a few minutes. The residual heat will continue to cook the chicken. If necessary, continue cooking for 1 to 3 minutes on high pressure (with a quick release) until the chicken is fully cooked.
Remove the chicken thighs and let them rest on a plate for a few minutes before serving.
When Are Chicken Thighs Done?
Instead of focusing on how long to cook Instant Pot chicken thighs, it’s better to use an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness. A temperature of 165ºF ensures that your chicken is safe to eat and perfectly cooked every time.
To make the optional gravy:
Pour the liquids from the Instant Pot through a fine-mesh strainer into a measuring cup to remove any solids. Skim off the fat if desired and measure one cup of the liquid.
Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté and melt the butter in the pot, then whisk in the flour for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is bubbly.
Slowly pour in the reserved liquid, whisking constantly. Continue to cook, whisking, until the gravy has thickened to the desired consistency.
If your chicken is tough, it was likely over-cooked. Chicken thighs are very forgiving and harder to overcook than breasts but if you leave them in the Instant Pot too long, they’re still likely to become dry and tough.
You don’t need to brown chicken before pressure cooking it, but I like to get a nice sear on it for extra flavor. It also looks more appealing.
What to Serve With Chicken Thighs
Potatoes and rice are classic pairings with chicken. Try my Instant Pot brown rice, crispy roasted potatoes, air fryer potato wedges or make crockpot mashed potatoes if you plan on making the optional gravy. Mashed red potatoes are great, too.
Changes You Can Make
- Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. If you have boneless, skinless thighs on hand or prefer them to skin-on, bone-in, you can adjust the recipe to use them. When I tested boneless, skinless chicken thighs, I used 6 pieces (about 1 pound) and cooked them for 6 minutes with 5 minutes of natural release.
- Use frozen chicken thighs. Yes, you can cook frozen chicken thighs in the Instant Pot! Cooking instructions are on the recipe card below.
- Make the skin crispy. For crispier skin, set the cooked chicken thighs on a sheet pan and broil them for a minute or two. Broiling will brown the skin, too.
- Air Fryer: If you don’t have an Instant Pot, no worries! Try my easy air fryer chicken thighs. It’s easy and fast, just 25 minutes.
Make Ahead Ideas
This Instant Pot chicken thighs recipe works great for meal prep. Cut the chicken into pieces, shred it, or leave it as is and store it in an airtight container for lunches and dinners throughout the week.
Storage & Reheating Tips
Refrigerate/Freeze: Leftover Instant Pot chicken thighs can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months; remove the skin and bones before freezing.
Reheat: Place the chicken thighs in a baking dish and add a splash of water or chicken broth. Cover the dish and bake until warmed, then continue to bake uncovered until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF. Individual portions can be microwaved; try not to overheat the chicken which can make it tough and dry.
Use leftovers as an add-on to salads or to make chicken salad. I love chicken thighs in my healthy curried chicken salad! If you have a lot of leftovers, use them to make a half pan of chicken enchiladas verde or shred the chicken and add it to quesadillas for an effortless, kid-friendly meal.
For optional gravy:
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
For the Chicken Thighs
- Combine smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl. Rub the seasoning onto both sides of the chicken thighs.
- Select the Sauté function on your Instant Pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pot.
- Once the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs skin-side down and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crispy. Flip the chicken thighs and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. It won’t be fully cooked at this point. You may need to do this in batches. Remove chicken from Instant Pot and place on plate.
- Press Cancel on the Instant Pot. Pour chicken broth into the Instant Pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot to remove all browned bits. Place trivet in Instant Pot and place chicken thighs on top of the trivet.
- Secure the lid of the Instant Pot and set the valve to the sealing position (depending on your model, you may not have to turn valve to seal). Select the Manual or Pressure Cook function and set the cooking time to 10 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is complete, allow for a natural release of pressure for 5 minutes (don’t press any buttons or release pressure). Afterward, carefully perform a quick release of any remaining pressure by moving the valve to Venting. Test chicken with instant read thermometer; it should read 165ºF in the thickest part of the thigh. If it’s not quite done, continue cooking for 1 to 3 minutes on high pressure (with a quick release) or until fully cooked.
- Carefully remove the chicken thighs from the Instant Pot and let them rest on a clean plate for a few minutes before serving.
For the Optional Gravy:
- To make gravy, pour cooking liquids from the Instant Pot through a fine-mesh strainer into a measuring cup and discard solids. If desired, skim off fat. You’ll need one cup of this liquid.
- Turn Instant Pot to Sauté and add butter to the pot. When the butter has melted, whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes, or until bubbly, whisking constantly. Stir in the reserved liquid, whisking constantly. Continue to cook, whisking, until gravy has thickened slightly. Season to taste.
- For extra crispy skin, after removing from the Instant Pot, place the chicken thighs on a baking sheet and broil them in the oven on high for 1 to 2 minutes, watching closely.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs: (1 pound, about 6 thighs) Cook for 6 minutes plus 5 minutes natural release.
- Frozen bone-in skin-on chicken thighs: Cook for 15 minutes at high pressure plus 5 minutes natural pressure release.
- Frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs: Cook for 13 minutes at high pressure plus 5 minutes natural pressure release.
- Serve chicken with gravy and your favorite side dishes, such as roasted vegetables, mashed potatoes, or rice.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.