Instant Pot Lemon Butter Chicken Thighs

5 from 14 votes
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Tender chicken thighs cooked in the Instant Pot with sauce made from butter, lemon juice, plenty of garlic and herbs. This is an outrageously delicious chicken thighs recipe and one of my best Instant Pot recipes!

Close-up shot of chicken thighs cooked in the instant pot with lemon butter sauce.


Instant Pot Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce

If you’re searching for a chicken recipe that stands out from the rest, you’re in the right place. Thus, please say HI to your new favorite Instant Pot Chicken recipe! With the busy back-to-school season, I am always looking for something that can be made quickly and in one pan or in the pressure cooker. This lemon chicken recipe is one of my personal favorites because it fits the bill perfectly. It’s made in one pot (the Instant Pot), and it’s ready in under 30 minutes! It’s also low-carb and keto-friendly!

Why This Recipe Works

  • It’s quick: You can have a mouth-watering dish on your table in around 30 minutes.
  • It’s versatile: Suitable for both bone-in and boneless chicken thighs.
  • It’s keto-friendly: Perfect for those watching their carbs.
  • It pairs perfectly: Whether it’s a busy weeknight or a chill Saturday night, this chicken dish fits right in.
Overhead shot of six Chicken thighs cooked in the instant pot with lemon butter sauce.

How Long To Cook Chicken Thighs in the Instant Pot

While I typically opt for juicy, bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs for that added flavor and texture, don’t hesitate to use boneless, skinless thighs if that’s your preference. Here’s a quick guide on cooking times:

  • Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs need to pressure cook for 10 minutes. When done, allow a 10-minute natural pressure release, then do a quick release. If browning (sautéing) the chicken beforehand, I cut about 2 minutes from the natural pressure release time. Also, expect your Instant Pot to take several minutes to reach pressure and begin the cooking program.
  • To cook frozen chicken thighs in the Instant Pot, you will need to adjust the cooking time to 13 minutes at High Pressure with a 5 to 10-minute natural release pressure. Keep in mind that you can’t brown frozen chicken thighs.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs need to pressure cook for 8 minutes. Then, do 8 minutes of natural pressure release, and a quick release at the end.

How To Make Lemon Butter Chicken in the Instant Pot

This Instant Pot Lemon Butter Chicken is prepared with tender chicken thighs packed with incredible flavors from butter, garlic, and lemon juice.


  • 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, paprika, dried thyme, and dried basil
  • butter
  • garlic
  • lemon
  • chicken broth
  • heavy cream


Crispy and golden chicken on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside, simmered in a lemon sauce with garlic and butter. What could be better? Here’s a brief explanation about how to make it, but scroll down to the recipe card for complete information.

  1. Kick things off by seasoning the chicken with paprika, salt, and pepper. Using the Instant Pot’s sauté function, melt some butter and brown the chicken, three thighs at a time, for roughly 2 minutes on each side. Remove and set aside.
  2. Once all the chicken is browned and set aside, add a bit more butter and garlic to the pot. Cook it briefly, then add chicken broth, scraping up any flavorful bits from the bottom. The lemon juice goes in next, and then it’s time to return the chicken to the pot for pressure cooking. Seal the lid and cook for 10 minutes at High Pressure and allow 8 minutes of natural pressure release. Then, release the remaining pressure.
  3. When finished, remove the chicken from the pot and serve with the sauce.
Browned chicken thighs in the pressure cooker.

    Tips and Tricks for Instant Pot Lemon Butter Chicken

    • For a Crisp Finish: After cooking, set the chicken under a broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to crisp up the skin.
    • Creamy Sauce Variant: Want a richer sauce? Remove the chicken post-cooking, stir in 1/3 cup of heavy cream, and continue to stir until creamy.
    • Thicker Creamy Sauce: Mix 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 2 teaspoons cold water, then add to the sauce and cook for a couple of minutes until thickened.
    • Avoid Overfilling: Even if you’re cooking for a crowd, don’t overstuff your Instant Pot with chicken. Make sure you don’t exceed the “max fill” line.
    • Natural vs. Quick Release: If you have a few extra minutes, letting the pot release pressure naturally (for at least 10 minutes) can result in juicier chicken.
    • Spice It Up: Even if you’re starting with frozen chicken, you can add your favorite herbs and spices to the pot for added flavor. Some garlic, rosemary, or even a splash of chicken broth can make a world of difference.
    • Safety Tip: Always use tongs or a fork to remove the chicken. It’ll be super hot right out of the Instant Pot.
    • Test Doneness: Invest in an instant-read meat thermometer. The internal temperature of the chicken breast should reach at least 165°F (74°C) to ensure it’s fully cooked and safe to eat.
    • Remove The Skin: If you want to cut down on calories, remove the skin before eating and save yourself about 40 calories.
    Overhead shot of chicken thighs cooked in the instant pot with lemon butter sauce and slices of lemon wedges.

    Side Dishes for Chicken Thighs

    More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

    More Lemon Chicken Recipes


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    5 from 14 votes

    Instant Pot Lemon Butter Chicken

    Tender Instant Pot chicken thighs cooked in an irresistible lemon butter sauce. A delicious chicken dinner that's low-carb and keto-friendly!
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Total Time: 25 minutes
    Servings: 6 servings


    • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
    • salt and fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
    • 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
    • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
    • ½ teaspoon dried basil
    • 3 tablespoons butter,, divided (if avoiding butter, you can use olive oil)
    • 4 cloves garlic,, minced
    • 1 whole lemon,, juiced
    • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
    • ¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
    • chopped fresh parsley,, for garnish
    • lemon wedges,, for serving
    • cup heavy cream,, optional
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    • Season the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, paprika, thyme, and basil; set aside.
    • Press the sauté function on the Instant Pot and add 2 tablespoons butter to melt.
    • Place chicken thighs skin-side down – I use three thighs at a time – in the Instant Pot and cook on each side for 2 minutes or until golden brown.
    • Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and set aside.
    • Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the Instant Pot and stir in the garlic.
    • Add chicken broth and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom; cook for 1 minute. Stir in lemon juice and lemon zest.
    • Return the chicken thighs to the Instant Pot. Press "Manual" and set the time to 10 minutes at HIGH PRESSURE; close the lid and set the valve to seal.
    • After the time is up, allow 8 minutes of natural pressure release. Then, release the remaining pressure.
    • Remove the lid and use a thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the chicken registers at 165˚F.
    • Transfer the chicken thighs to a serving platter, garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges, and serve with the lemon butter sauce. 

    To Make A Creamy Sauce

    • To make a creamy Lemon Butter Sauce, after removing the chicken, add heavy cream to the liquid in the Instant Pot, whisk, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until bubbly and slightly thickened.
    • If you like a thicker sauce, in a small bowl, mix 1 teaspoon cornstarch with 2 teaspoons cold water; whisk into the sauce and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened.


    • For Crispy Skin: Broil chicken for 1 to 2 minutes after cooking for a crispy skin.
    • To Make a Creamy Sauce: After cooking, add 1/3 cup heavy cream to the sauce for richness.
    • Avoid Overfilling: Don’t cram the Instant Pot with chicken; stay below the “max fill” line.
    • Natural vs. Quick Release: For juicier chicken, allow a natural pressure release for about 8 to 10 minutes.
    • Add Flavor: Boost flavor with herbs, spices, garlic, or a splash of broth, even if the chicken’s frozen.
    • Check Doneness: Use a meat thermometer; cooked chicken should register at 165°F (74°C).


    Serving: 1chicken thigh with sauce | Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 171mg | Potassium: 362mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 450IU | Vitamin C: 10.1mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1.4mg

    Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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    1. D says:

      This recipe, especially the sauce, is absolutely amazing! I have also used pork and still just as wonderful! I’ve even added quartered gold potatoes. Every time there are compliments! Definitely my “go to” recipe! Thank you and God bless!

      1. Katerina says:

        Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m thrilled to hear that the recipe has become a favorite in your kitchen. Using pork and adding gold potatoes sounds like a fantastic variation. I’m glad it’s been such a hit! Thank YOU! 🙂

    2. Joan says:

      Delicious. The only thing I did differently was to add a big bunch of baby spinach at the end.

      1. Katerina says:

        Great addition! Baby spinach makes it healthier and adds a fresh taste. I’m very glad you enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂

    3. Tessa says:

      I just made this for dinner tonight and followed the tips for a creamy, thicker sauce. Served over cauliflower rice and it was fantastic! The family voted and this is definitely one we will be making more regularly!

      1. Katerina Petrovska says:

        That’s great! I’m very glad you and your family enjoyed it! Thank YOU! 🙂