Instant Pot Sticky Chicken Thighs Recipe

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This easy Instant Pot Sticky Chicken Thighs recipe makes tender, deliciously juicy, fall-off-the-bone chicken thighs. Prepared in the Instant Pot with a sweet and savory sticky sauce, it’s a delicious chicken recipe that tastes amazing!

Close-up image of cooked chicken thighs topped with sesame seeds and chopped cilantro.


 

Instant Pot Sticky Chicken Thighs Recipe

Everyone loves a delicious dish that combines convenience with unforgettable flavor. That’s precisely where the Instant Pot shines, transforming time-consuming recipes into quick, fuss-free meals. Our Sticky Chicken Thighs recipe is a prime example. With minimal prep and even less cleanup, you can serve a dish that’s dripping in a rich, tangy sauce in under an hour. Whether you’re racing against a busy schedule or just want to simplify your dinner routine, this recipe is your ticket to a mouthwatering meal with none of the hassle.

This Instant Pot sticky chicken thighs recipe epitomizes culinary perfection, producing tender meat complemented by crispy, succulent skin. Each piece is generously drizzled with an extra layer of sauce, achieving that perfect blend of sweet and savory. With a hint of spice from the hot sauce, these chicken thighs are not only an easy weeknight dinner choice but also a crowd-pleaser. Whether served atop a vegetable stir-fry, fluffy rice, or a combination of both, this dish promises a finger-licking experience!

Cooking Sticky Chicken Thighs in the instant pot.

Why You’ll Love This Chicken Recipe

  • Effortless & Quick: This meal is all about ‘set it and forget it’. Perfect for those post-soccer or recital nights.
  • Flavorful: Every bite offers a combo of sweet, spicy, and savory notes.
  • Versatile: Serve over a vegetable stir fry, fluffy rice, or both. Your plate, your rules!

Ingredients For Sticky Chicken Thighs

  • Chicken thighs
  • Paprika & Black Pepper
  • Olive oil: Used for sautéing.
  • White vinegar: Contributes a tangy bite, balancing the sweetness in the sauce.
  • Brown sugar & honey: Together they add sweet and a sticky consistency to the sauce.
  • Soy sauce, hot chili sauce, and Worcestershire sauce
  • Garlic
  • Ground ginger: Provides a warm, spicy zing to the mix.
  • Toasted sesame seeds: Used for garnishing; they add a slight nuttiness and crunch.
  • Cilantro: Optional garnish that offers a fresh, herbal contrast.
Searing bone-in skin-on chicken thighs in the Instant Pot.

How To Make Instant Pot Sticky Chicken

Savor every bite of these tantalizingly tender chicken thighs. Easy to whip up and even easier to devour, it’s a dish your family will repeatedly request. For the full recipe, scroll down the page to the recipe card.

  1. We start by seasoning the chicken thighs with sweet paprika and fresh ground pepper. Since we are using soy sauce and worcestershire sauce in this recipe, I advise to omit the salt.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and add olive oil; heat it up and arrange 3 chicken thighs, skin side down, in the Instant Pot. Cook for 2 minutes on all sides. All 6 chicken thighs will not fit at once – use 3 to 4 at a time.
  3. Prepare the sticky sauce: In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, minced garlic, and ground ginger.
  4. Add all browned chicken pieces to the Instant Pot; pour the prepared sauce over the chicken pieces and stir them around so they are coated on all sides.
  5. Lock the lid and pressure cook on HIGH (OR Poultry Mode) for 20 minutes. Turn off the pot and allow to release the pressure, about 5 minutes.
  6. To thicken the sauce, scoop out about 1/4 cup of the liquid and whisk a tablespoon of cornstarch in it.
  7. Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and stir the cornstarch mixture into the pot; cook for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  8. Transfer the chicken thighs to a serving plate and serve the sauce separately or pour it over the chicken.
  9. Sprinkle some toasted sesame seeds and chopped cilantro over the chicken and serve.
Close-up photo of cooked chicken thighs topped with a sticky sauce, sesame seeds, and a garnish of chopped cilantro.

Tips And Variations For Sticky Chicken Thighs

  • Chicken Breast Alternative: Prefer breasts over thighs? Use the same steps, but pressure cook for just 10 minutes.
  • Calorie Conscious? Cook the chicken with the skin on and then remove it post-cooking. You’ll save on calories without compromising on taste! One medium chicken thigh without the skin is 90 calories. One medium chicken thigh with skin is 140 calories. This is all before adding the sauce and cooking.
  • Browning is Essential: Make sure to brown the chicken thighs adequately. This step not only seals in the juices but also adds a deeper flavor to the final dish.
  • Sauce Consistency: If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can increase the amount of cornstarch. Conversely, for a thinner sauce, add some chicken broth or water.
  • Orange Sticky Chicken: Add the zest and juice of one orange to the sauce mixture for a citrusy twist.
  • Teriyaki Style: Replace brown sugar with mirin (a sweet rice wine) and add a splash of sake to bring a teriyaki flair to the dish.
  • Spice Levels: Adjust the amount of hot chili sauce based on your heat preference. You can also add crushed red pepper flakes for extra heat.
Overhead close-up image of four Instant Pot Sticky Chicken Thighs.

Side Dishes To Serve With Chicken Thighs

How To Store Leftovers

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Close-up image of Sticky Chicken Thighs.

More Great Chicken Recipes

ENJOY!

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4.86 from 63 votes

Instant Pot Sticky Chicken Thighs

Tender, deliciously juicy, fall-off-the-bone Instant Pot Sticky Chicken Thighs prepared with a sweet and savory sticky sauce.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Pressure Release: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 thighs

Ingredients 

For The Chicken Thighs

  • 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • fresh ground black pepper,, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil,, divided

For The Sticky Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot chili sauce,, like Sriracha, use less or more to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic,, minced
  • teaspoon ground ginger,, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds,, for garnish
  • chopped fresh cilantro,, optional, use for garnish
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Instructions 

  • Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  • Season the chicken thighs with paprika and ground black pepper, and add the chicken, about 3 chicken thighs at a time, skin side down, to the Instant Pot. Brown the thighs on all sides, about 2 minutes on each side, or until browned. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs.
  • In the meantime, prepare the sauce by whisking together 1 tablespoon of olive oil, vinegar, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, minced garlic, and ground ginger.
  • Arrange all the browned chicken thighs on the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • Pour the prepared sticky sauce over the chicken thighs. Stir the chicken around so they are coated on all sides with the sauce.
  • Lock the lid and pressure cook on HIGH (or Poultry Mode) for 20 minutes. Then, turn off the pot and allow it to release the pressure; about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the chicken thighs to a serving plate. Set aside.
  • To thicken the sauce (optional), scoop out 1/4 cup of the liquid and whisk a tablespoon of cornstarch in it. Set the Instant Pot to sauté mode and stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce inside the instant pot; cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened.
  • Serve the sauce separately or pour it over the chicken.
  • Sprinkle chicken with sesame seeds and chopped cilantro; serve.

Notes

  • Chicken: This recipe uses bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. However, if you want to use chicken breasts instead of thighs, follow the same method, but cook on the poultry setting (or on manual HIGH) for 10 minutes. 
  • For a lighter meal, remove the skin: One medium chicken thigh without the skin is 90 calories. One medium chicken thigh with skin is 140 calories. This is all before adding the sauce.
  • Browning is Essential: Make sure to brown the chicken thighs adequately. This step not only seals in the juices but also adds a deeper flavor to the final dish.
  • Natural Pressure Release: After cooking, allow the Instant Pot to release pressure naturally for a few minutes before quick releasing. This helps in keeping the chicken juicy.
  • Vegetable Addition: Before pressure cooking, add veggies like bell peppers, onions, or snap peas. They’ll cook along with the chicken and absorb the flavorful sauce.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1chicken thigh | Calories: 433kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 633mg | Potassium: 389mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 704IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 2mg

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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124 Comments

  1. Nick says:

    Made this a few times, always double the sauce part but that’s because I prefer more sauce then most, also I make the sauce a few hours before and throw it in the refrigerator seems to have a more rounded flavor. I thicken the sauce always and I pair it with mashed potatoes (where the sauce becomes a ” Gravy “)

    1. Katerina says:

      That sounds absolutely delicious! Doubling the sauce and letting it chill for a more rounded flavor is a great tip, and pairing it with mashed potatoes makes it even better. Thanks for sharing your approach! 🙂

  2. Kelly says:

    I really wanted to like this, but there are some big problems with the recipe. The sauce is on the bland side. The Sriracha is totally lost in the sauce. The worcestershire and paprika fight with the soy sauce giving a slightly unpleasant flavor. Nothing is sticky about the sauce – and there is A LOT of it. The most disappointing aspect is you take the time to crisp the skin and then undo that effort by drowning it in liquid.

    1. Katerina says:

      Thank you for your feedback! It sounds like a couple of tweaks could make it better next time. For instance, in step #8 of the recipe, there’s a suggestion to thicken the sauce using a slurry, which might address the consistency issue you mentioned. Also, seasoning the chicken with salt, especially if you used low sodium soy sauce, can really help to bring out its flavors. This recipe has received a lot of positive reviews, so I hope with these adjustments, it might better suit your taste.

  3. Britt says:

    This sauce is so delicious! I don’t ever cook with thighs, but this has changed me! I definitely recommend broiling the chicken after to crisp it up and thickening the sauce after made it perfect! I had extra sauce, so I can’t wait to use that on something! Great recipe!

    1. Katerina says:

      It’s wonderful to hear the sauce was a hit and that it’s opened you up to cooking with thighs! Your tip to broil the chicken for crispiness and to thicken the sauce sounds like a fantastic finishing touch. Enjoy using the extra sauce, and I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank YOU! 🙂

  4. Heather says:

    Very good! I was shocked I didnt get the burn notice – although I did add a half cup of chicken broth because it goes against everything I know about IP’s. I also deglazed the pan (it’s a must with the IP). I did end up putting the chicken under the broiler to crisp it up. I also only cooked them for 12 minutes and did a 12-minute natural release and they were cooked perfectly.

  5. D says:

    This recipe has become one of my favorites! The sauce can be versatile for other dishes; I’ve also used it with pork loin chops and it was amazing as well! Thank you for sharing!

  6. Cindy says:

    How long do I cook in instant pot if the chicken is boneless skinless chicken thighs?

    1. Katerina says:

      Hi! Boneless chicken thighs should pressure cook at high pressure for 10 minutes (“Manual” or “Pressure cook” mode on an Instant Pot), then allow for natural pressure release.

  7. Darla says:

    One of my favorite goto recipes! The sauce is amazing and can be used with a variety of meats! Kudos to you and thank you!

  8. AJ Bushey says:

    I just made this recipe and it is sooo delicious. I used what I had on hand, boneless chicken thigh and it still turned out perfect. Thank you for this amazing delicious easy recipe.

  9. Pam says:

    My teenage girls ask for this meal frequently, and any meal they can agree on is a hit in my book. The chicken thighs are so tender, spice level is perfect, and they are super easy to make. Thanks!