Chicken thighs are an affordable and flavorful cut of meat that are perfect for cooking in the Instant Pot. With the press of a button, you can have fall-off-the-bone tender and juicy chicken thighs in less than an hour. Keep reading to learn tips, tricks and recipes for making the most delicious Instant Pot chicken thighs.

Why Pick Chicken Thighs for the Instant Pot?

Chicken thighs have many advantages that make them a smart choice for Instant Pot meals:

Chicken thighs have advantages that make them perfect for Instant Pot cooking:

Juicy Dark Meat

Thighs contain fat and collagen for moist, rich flavor when cooked. The dark meat absorbs spices well.

Affordable Cost

Thighs are far less expensive than chicken breasts. Save money while enjoying delicious chicken dishes.

Fast Cook Time

The Instant Pot cooks chicken thighs rapidly. You can get dinner on the table in under 30 minutes!

Adaptable Chicken

Shredded thighs work for soups, tacos, casseroles, salads, and more.

Tips for Instant Pot Chicken Thigh Success

Follow these tips for flawless chicken thighs from your Instant Pot:

Choose Skin-On, Bone-In Thighs

The skin and bones prevent drying and add moisture. Discard skin after cooking if desired.

Generously Season the Thigh Meat

Chicken thighs can handle all kinds of seasonings. Use salt, garlic, herbs, spices, etc.

Add Flavorful Liquid to the Pot

Use broth, wine, or sauce to pressure cook thighs. The liquid infuses the chicken with flavor.

Arrange Thighs in Single Layer

Stack thighs evenly for uniform cooking.

Use Natural Pressure Release Method

Letting pressure drop naturally results in more tender, fall-off-the-bone chicken.

Crisp the Skin

For crispy skin, broil or sear thighs after pressure cooking.

Fast Pressure Cook Times

Here are the basic Instant Pot settings to use for perfect chicken thighs:

Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Pressure: High Pressure (or Manual/Pressure Cook setting)
Release Method: Natural release for at least 10-15 minutes

The 15 minute cook time works for boneless or bone-in chicken thighs. Increase cook time to 20 minutes if thighs are still frozen. Always allow the natural release for best results.

Delicious Instant Pot Chicken Thigh Recipe Ideas

These Instant Pot chicken thigh recipes are must-try weeknight meal ideas:

1. Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Cook chicken thighs in a sweet and sticky barbecue sauce – they come out incredibly juicy. Serve on buns for pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches.

2. Instant Pot Chicken and Potatoes

Chicken thighs cooked with potatoes, carrots and garlic in a savory broth is a one-pot meal with perfectly cooked vegetables.

3. Instant Pot Hawaiian Chicken

With pineapple juice and soy sauce, this recipe creates a salty-sweet chicken that’s perfect over rice.

4. Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup

Shredded Instant Pot chicken thighs are simmered in a seasoned tomato broth with corn, black beans and tortilla strips.

5. Instant Pot Coconut Curry Chicken

Cook chicken in a Thai red curry coconut sauce for a delicious meal ready in under 30 minutes.

6. Instant Pot Lemon Rosemary Chicken

Infuse chicken thighs with bright lemon and herb flavors – perfect with roasted potatoes and veggies.

7. Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore

Cook chicken thighs in a tomato sauce along with bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, garlic, oregano and red wine.

8. Instant Pot Chicken Mole

Smother chicken thighs in a rich and flavorful Mexican mole sauce made with spices, chocolate, peanut butter and more.

9. Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala is an Indian takeout favorite, and it’s easy to make at home in the Instant Pot.

10. Instant Pot Chicken and Mushroom Gravy

Cook chicken thighs in a savory gravy sauce along with mushrooms for a comforting, homestyle meal.

Common Questions

Still have questions about making Instant Pot chicken thighs? Here are some common FAQs:

How long does it take to cook chicken thighs in an Instant Pot?

Chicken thighs take only 15 minutes to cook when using high pressure in an Instant Pot. The natural release time afterwards adds another 10-15 minutes.

Should the chicken thighs be skinned before cooking?

You can leave the skin on while cooking chicken thighs in the Instant Pot – the skin helps keep the meat moist and juicy. Remove skin before eating if desired.

What liquid should be used to cook chicken thighs?

Use 1 cup broth, wine, salsa, barbecue sauce or other cooking liquid. Water can be used but results in less flavor infusion.

How many chicken thighs fit in a 6-qt Instant Pot?

You can cook 6 bone-in or up to 8 boneless chicken thighs in a 6-qt Instant Pot. Stack the thighs evenly on top of each other.

Should Instant Pot chicken thighs have bones?

Chicken thighs are best cooked bone-in and skin-on to keep the meat moist and juicy in the Instant Pot. The bones easily separate after cooking.

Can frozen chicken thighs be cooked in an Instant Pot?

Yes, frozen chicken thighs can go straight into the Instant Pot. Add 5 extra minutes to the cook time and allow for extra natural release time.


With their great flavor, low cost and quick cook time, chicken thighs are a weekday warrior’s best friend when it comes to making Instant Pot meals. The recipes and tips above will have your family devouring juicy, flavor-packed chicken thighs night after night. Experiment with different seasonings and sauce flavors for delicious variety. Enjoy easy clean up with just one pot to wash at dinner time. Dinnertime can’t get much easier than pressing a few buttons to make a mouthwatering chicken thigh meal in your Instant Pot!

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