This Instant Pot honey lemon chicken is luscious and succulent, smothered with perfectly sweet and sour glaze. Serve with rice or a side of veggies for a perfect family dinner!
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 and lemon honey broth in the pot and let it cook perfectly while you can relax and focus on other things. Pressure cooking cooks 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.
In my the step-by-step pictures, you will see that I used four chicken thighs and one chicken breast with 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.
Make ahead tip: 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.
Other variations: 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.
For the chicken
- 6–8 chicken thighs, with or without the skin (we did ours with the skin on)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper (black pepper is also okay)
- 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)
- Pinch of pepper
- 1 garlic clove, minced or finely grated
- For garnish (optional but looks gorgeous)
- 1 teaspoon butter
- 4–5 slices of lemon
- Chopped scallions (green 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.
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