Make this Instant Pot Lemon Chicken for dinner tonight – everyone will love it. Even better: It’s SO quick and easy to make – and you can even cook the chicken from frozen!
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My instant pot has been my saving grace on those nights I completely forgot to defrost any meat…
… which has really been most nights since having baby #3. Ahem.
This version with a tangy and creamy lemon sauce is one of our favorites, because it’s so easy and flavorful!
How to Make Instant Pot Lemon Chicken:
Read on for the detailed step-by-step instructions, or scroll down for tips and the printable recipe card.
Watch the Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Video Tutorial:
Key Steps to make Lemon Chicken in the Instant Pot:
- Brown the chicken: Set the instant pot to “sauté”, add oil and brown the chicken thighs until golden and crispy. Remove from the pot and set aside.
- Start the sauce: Sauté the aromatics, then stir in the liquids to scrape any browned bits off the bottom (do this well, or you may get a “burn” warning later).
- Pressure cook: Place the chicken back in the pot, close the lid, set the valve to “sealing” and pressure cook on high for 12 minutes.
- Natural release: Do a natural pressure release (just switch it off and then leave the instant pot alone) – this is important for tender meat.
- Thicken sauce: Open the pot and remove the chicken thighs, then set to “sauté”, stir a cornstarch slurry into the sauce and simmer until thickened.
Tips for the Perfect Instant Pot Chicken Thighs:
How do you cook frozen chicken thighs in the instant pot?
Simply skip browning the chicken and only sauté the onion and garlic, then follow the recipe as written.
Pressure cook for 15 minutes instead of 12. Check the meat for doneness, if it’s still raw in the middle close the lid again and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Can you stack the chicken in the instant pot? How do you double the recipe?
If you’re using defrosted thighs and want to double the recipe, you can stack the chicken thighs.
Double the sauce ingredients too, but the cooking time should stay the same.
Please note: Do not stack the chicken if frozen/make sure the thighs are separated. If that’s not possible/they’re totally stuck together, your thighs may need longer to cook.
Can you use water instead of chicken broth?
Yes, you can.
It will still be delicious, but you may need to add more seasoning.
What do you serve with Lemon Chicken?
We love this Instant Pot Lemon Chicken over rice with a side of broccoli!
And if I’m extra lazy and want to be very hands-off with dinner prep…
I just throw some baby potatoes on a sheet pan with the broccoli and roast that while the chicken cooks. The perfect busy night hack 😉
Get the printable recipe here:
Instant Pot Lemon Chicken
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 pound chicken thighs I used bone-in, skin-on
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 lemon juice only
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cream OR milk OR water
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Brown meat: Set instant pot to sauté. Add oil to pot and add thighs skin-side down. Cook, in batches if needed, until golden and crisp. Flip and cook until browned on the other side. Remove chicken from pot.
- Start sauce: Add onion and garlic to pot and cook until starting to soften, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, herbs and seasoning. Stir, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
- Pressure cook: Place chicken thighs back in the instant pot. Secure lid and set the pressure valve to "sealing". Choose "pressure cook" (or "manual") and "high" for 12 minutes. Naturally release pressure after cooking time is up (just switch off the instant pot and leave it alone until pressure is gone).
- Finish sauce: Carefully remove thighs. Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Pour cornstarch slurry into pot, stir well and simmer until sauce has thickened. Stir in butter until melted and serve sauce over chicken.
Nutrition (this is an estimate)
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P.S: For more easy chicken dinners, check out our collection here: Easy Chicken Recipes