These Instant Pot chicken thighs with honey lemon chicken are luscious and succulent, smothered with perfectly sweet and sour glaze. Serve with rice or a side of veggies for a perfect family dinner!
WHY MAKE INSTANT POT HONEY LEMON CHICKEN THIGHS
Honey lemon chicken is a family favourite so it was only a matter of time before we tried to make it using the Instant Pot. What’s nice about using the pressure cooker to make this dish is that you can throw in the chicken thighs and lemon honey broth in the pot and let it cook perfectly while you can relax and focus on other things.
Pressure cooking prepares the chicken fast while retaining a lot of moisture and tenderness, and it helps to infuse the meat with the flavours of the broth. Then you just throw the chicken pieces in a hot frying pan to crisp up and pour over the glaze to caramelise.
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT CHICKEN THIGHS
In my the step-by-step pictures, you will see that I used four chicken thighs and one chicken breast with the skin on, but the recipe says 6-8 chicken thighs. The amounts are suitable for either option, depending on which chicken pieces you have. You can also use 6-8 chicken drumsticks or a combination of drumsticks and chicken wings.
You will find the full recipe ingredients, instructions and nutrition breakdown below but here are the basic steps.
Step 1. Season the chicken thighs and add to the Instant Pot. Cover with honey lemon broth and garlic.
Step 2. Pressure cook on HIGH for 12 minutes with 3-4 minutes natural pressure release.
Step 3. Remove the chicken pieces and pan-fry in a little oil for 4-5 minutes skin side down and 1-2 minutes flesh side down.
Step 4. Add the honey lemon broth to the pan. Cook for a few minutes on high heat until thickened and caramelised (add a little butter to make the sauce glossy and thick).
you can precook the chicken in the Instant Pot and then store it in the fridge or freezer, and then do the final pan-frying and glazing step whenever you want to serve the dish, so it’s nice and fresh.
This recipe would also suite diced chicken, turkey meat, and pork loin or chops. Simply cook in the Instant Pot with the lemon honey broth, and then finish off in the frying pan with the glaze mixture.
MORE INSTANT POT CHICKEN RECIPES
Instant Pot Savory Chicken– dump and cook recipe that is great for meal prep.
Instant Pot Chicken Piccata with Lemons & Capers – learn how to cook the classic with frozen chicken thighs.
Instant Pot Chicken Potato Stew – because everyone needs a go-to chicken and potato recipe!
Instant Pot Japanese Chicken Curry – if you love a good curry, this one comes with a twist.
Instant Pot Thai Chicken & Brown Rice – a great recipe using chicken thighs and sweet chili sauce.
Italian Chicken Scarpariello – bursting with flavours of peppers, tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.Print
Instant Pot Chicken Thighs With Honey Lemon Glaze
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 4 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Mediterranean
This Instant Pot honey lemon chicken thighs are luscious and succulent, smothered with perfectly sweet and sour glaze. Serve with rice or a side of veggies for a perfect family dinner!
For the chicken
- 6–8 chicken thighs with skin (some with bone, about 800 g / 1.8 lb meat)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small lemon, sliced into 5–6 thin slices
- 1 garlic clove, roughly diced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil (for pan-frying later)
For honey lemon glaze
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Tamari (wheat-free version)
- A pinch of pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced or finely grated
For garnish (optional but looks gorgeous)
- 4–5 slices of lemon
- 1 teaspoon butter (to pan-fry the lemon)
- Chopped scallions (spring onions)
- Turn the Instant Pot on and press the Sauté button. Add the butter and let it melt. Then, press Cancel to stop the Sauté function.
- Add lemon slices on the bottom and sprinkle with garlic. Place the chicken over the top, skin side up. Drizzle with lemon juice and honey, and pour the water around the sides. Give the pot a little shake to spread the liquid under the chicken. Place and lock the lid, making sure the valve is set to Sealing. Set to Manual, HIGH, for 12 minutes. After 3 beeps, the Instant Pot will start to build the pressure.
- Once the timer goes off, allow 3 minutes for natural pressure release and then use the quick release method to let out the rest of the steam and pressure. Remove the chicken pieces and reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking broth.
- While the chicken is cooking, combine the honey lemon glaze ingredients in a bowl and whisk together. Set aside. Prepare any side dishes such as rice or vegetables.
- Heat a large skillet with a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Place the cooked chicken in the skillet, skin side down, and pan-fry for 4-5 minutes, until golden brown. Turn over and cook for 1-2 more minutes on the other side, then bring the heat up to high.
- Pour in the reserved cooking broth and the honey lemon glaze mixture over the chicken. Swirl around allowing the liquids to combine. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes, stirring and turning the pieces around, basting them in the glaze. The liquid will reduce and when it thickens and starts to caramelise, remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving plate and pour over the glaze liquid.
- For pan-fried lemon slices, place the pan back over high heat and melt in a teaspoon of butter or some oil. Pan-fry the lemon slices for a minute or so on each side, until golden brown.
You can use chicken thighs without skin if you’re watching calories or fat intake.
- Serving Size: 2 small chicken thighs
- Calories: 555
- Sugar: 13.5 g
- Sodium: 853.2 mg
- Fat: 39.5 g
- Saturated Fat: 13.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 15.6 g
- Fiber: 0.2 g
- Protein: 33.6 g
- Cholesterol: 203.6 mg
Keywords: Honey, Lemon, Chicken
SAVE INSTANT POT CHICKEN THIGHS TO PINTEREST
I have never been a chicken thigh person but this recipe has definitely converted me. This was so moist and so delicious and a perfect addition to a midweek meal. It came together so quickly in less than 20 minutes from start to finish.
Glad you gave this recipe a chance to convert you Ann.
Do yourself a favor and at least double the glaze amount. So delicious and I add extra garlic.
Delish! I may have over cooked the chicken a bit, as the thighs weren’t very thick, but I will definitely make this again!!
I made this exactly as written, but after 12 minutes on high and 4 minutes natural release (I added 1 minute), the chicken was undercooked and only around 125 degrees F. Internal temp. What did I do wrong?
Otherwise, very good!
Hey, Tina. That’s very strange, did the Instant Pot come to pressure? Sometimes, a seal ring can be a little out of place or loose, and the pot doesn’t come to pressure completely, so it kind of semi-cooks the food inside. That’s the only thing I can think of.
Think I would brown right in the IP and skip the pan frying. The glaze immediately burned, plus 4 mins of browning overcooked the chicken. And I had another pan to clean.
Maybe it was the type of pan you used? I use cast iron for almost everything I cook; I had the sauce to a rolling boil for a few minutes and never burned.
Killer recipe ! Reallly simple but make sure to reduce the sauce so it thickens .
Could I put it in a pan in the oven with sauce poured over and broil for a few mins instead of pan frying?
Yes, you could definitely do that.
Could I use boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of the thighs?
Yes you can. Generally speaking, skin and bones add more flavor when you cook any meat.
I was wondering if there was a reason you browned the chicken at the end. Most instant pot recipes use the sautée function at the beginning to brown before cooking? Is this a different technique? Thanks for the info
With a sauce, it’s better to brown after to seal in the flavour. Yes – you can saute at the beginning, but that won’t really serve the same purpose in a recipe like this if that makes sense. It would be like BBQ ribs or rotisserie chicken – you want to brown it after.
I’ve always avoided to cook with lemons because I thought it’d be too over powering. But I decided to try it out. I added twice as much garlic and a sprinkle of rosemary on top… my man and I really enjoyed it. It’s been added to my favorites!
Thanks Megan, happy you liked it. I think lemon is mellowed out by honey and other flavors here. It works well over chicken, doesn’t it?
Curious why you didn’t use the saute feature at the end and chose to just another pot(frying pan) instead??? I like the idea of only one pot to clean up.
Hey Hope, you could certainly use the Saute feature and in this case you would want to empty the pot of any sauce first and add a little bit of oil, heat it up on Saute until sizzling and then add the chicken. It can get a bit crowded in the IP pot for frying off and getting that nice crispy skin but it’s absolutely a second way to do it, especially if you want to minimise the dishes.
Thank You for sharing the Honey Lemon Chicken recipe. I made it for a
“special” lunch for me & my husband today and it was absolutely delicious!!
I doubled the sauce recipe and we could have used even more! Definitely
10 STAR RECIPE!!!
10 stars?! So generous – I’m glad you and your husband enjoyed it! Isn’t that sauce incredible?!