This Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe is the best and easy way to cook bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs in your pressure cooker. Bonus: you can also make delicious gravy!
I like to serve this chicken with mashed potatoes or rice. If you like a lemon and garlic combo, my Instant Pot Lemon Chicken is made with boneless skinless thighs.
Why This Recipe Works
I am so excited to share my recipe and tips on how to cook chicken thighs in the Instant Pot! It's my favorite way to cook this cut of chicken in my pressure cooker. They are juicy and flavorful with golden brown buttery skin. Perfect served for a main dish or meal prep chicken cooked ahead of time for other dishes.
These Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are so easy to make and budget-friendly. I use the thighs as a main dish or remove the meat off the bones and use it in other recipes, as it is very flavorful because it's dark meat. I save the liquid from cooking for soups or making gravy to serve over the chicken. Gravy is always a good idea, just like in my Instant Pot Turkey Breast recipe!
Since my goal is to always make the recipe easy without sacrificing the flavors, I am sharing my go-to easy poultry seasoning. I season the chicken thighs on the skin side first. All you need is salt, black pepper, paprika, and dried oregano. Just sprinkle it over the chicken and cook. That's it!
- chicken thighs: I used skin-on and bone-in thighs; I recommend counting one thigh per person;
- olive oil and butter: my favorite combo for browning chicken;
- garlic: I prefer fresh but garlic powder can be used as well;
- seasoning: paprika, dried oregano, salt, and pepper;
- cornstarch: mixed with water, it will make a thickener to make the gravy with the liquid left after cooking the chicken.
How to cook chicken thighs in the Instant Pot?
- The skin side is the first one to be browned in the pot so place the thighs skin side down in a heated pot with oil and butter.
- Let it brown for 2 to 3 minutes. The addition of butter will give you crispy, golden-brown skin. The more browned the chicken is, the more flavor it and the gravy will have but watch it so it won't burn.
- Next, flip it to the other side and let it cook for just a minute.
- Press the "cancel/off" button. Remove the chicken onto a plate and add water to the Instant Pot. Scrape all the brown bits from the bottom of the IP insert.
- Place the trivet in the insert and arrange chicken thighs on the trivet. Now all you need to do is set the IP to cook for 12 minutes.
Always check the internal temperature of the cooked meat. For chicken, it's at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. I checked my chicken thighs and they all were around 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use chicken thighs that are roughly the same size for even cooking. I also like to trim any excess fat and skin from the thighs.
- Use a combination of olive oil and butter for beautifully golden brown skin. That also means lots of flavors!
- Brown the skin side first. Let it brown until you see a good amount of brown bits on the bottom of the IP insert. Again, we are working on flavor here. It will also make for a very flavorful gravy!
- Twelve minutes was perfect for 4 good size chicken thighs. They came out absolutely perfect! If you want them more falling off the bone style, add 3 more minutes to the cooking time.
- Letting the pressure release naturally is the best here, because it will prevent the chicken from drying out and make the thighs super juicy! I recommend the same in my Instant Pot Turkey Breast recipe.
- Let the chicken thighs rest for 10 minutes before serving. It will prevent the juices from escaping the meat.
How to make the gravy?
Making gravy is as easy as just thickening the liquid remaining in the IP insert after cooking the chicken thighs. You can use flour but I always recommend cornstarch because it makes the smoothest sauces and gravy.
When your Instant Pot is done, let it release the pressure naturally. It won't take long and you can set the table in the meantime. Remove the chicken thighs and the trivet from the insert. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water and add to the liquid at the bottom of the insert. You can press "saute" button and let it cook until it thickens. The liquid might just be hot enough so you won't need to do that.
What to serve with this dish?
My favorite side dish to serve with these chicken thighs is a classic: mashed potatoes! We also love my Garlic Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts on the side. Perfect dinner for Sunday or even a special occasion. You can also make my Sweet Potato Casserole (it's not only for the holidays!), German Potato Salad with Bacon, Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole or my Instant Pot Scalloped Potatoes. There are so many options!
For more recipes using the digital pressure cooker, feel free to browse our Instant Pot Category. Also, check out my Instant Pot Guide for Beginners, filled with all the info you need to get started with your new appliance! Seeing BURN message on your IP? Read my Instant Pot Burn Message post to learn why and how to save your dish.
More Instant Pot recipes:
If you like this recipe and make it, let me know in the comments below! Don't forget to rate it if you enjoyed it!
Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe
- 4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Trim excess skin and fat from chicken thighs.4 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
- Season with salt, pepper, paprika and oregano on the skin side.1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Make sure the stainless steel insert is in your Instant Pot.
- Press the "saute" function. Wait for 2 to 3 minutes and add oil and butter to the insert.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon butter
- When the butter is melted and sizzling, add garlic and stir in. Add chicken thighs to IP skin side down.1 teaspoon minced garlic
- Brown for 2 to 3 minutes. The longer you let it brown and make brown bits on the bottom of the pot, the more flavor the chicken and gravy will have. Just make sure the chicken doesn't burn!
- Flip the chicken onto the other side and cook for 1 minutes.
- Press "cancel/off" button.
- Remove chicken onto a plate and set aside.
- Add water to Instant Pot and use wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the insert.1 cup water
- Place trivet in the IP and arrange the chicken thighs on top.
- Close lid, set the valve to "sealing" position and press "manual" button. Set the timer to 12 minutes. The IP will beep and start coming to pressure. Since it is already hot, it won't take long.
- Once the IP is done cooking, press "cancel/off" button. Do not release the pressure but let it release naturally. If you are in a hurry, let it release naturally for at least 5 minutes.
- When done, carefully open the lid away from your face. Place chicken on a plate and let rest.
- Remove trivet from the IP.
- In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch with ¼ cup of water. Make sure there are no clumps. Add to liquid at the bottom of the IP. Stir until thickened. You can press the "saute" function to simmer it for a few minutes to help thicken the gravy. Serve chicken with gravy. You can also keep the liquid without thickening it and use for soups.1 tablespoon cornstarch
- The chicken thighs are delicious served right away with classic side dishes like mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables OR you can let them cool until easy to handle and pull the meat off the bones. Use in salads and main dishes.
- Twelve minutes was perfect for 4 good size chicken thighs. They came out absolutely perfect! If you want them more falling off the bone style, add 3 more minutes to cooking time.
- Let the chicken thighs rest for 10 minutes before serving. It will prevent the juices from escaping the meat.
- Please note, that the nutrition value can vary depending on what product you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use calorie counter you are familiar with.
Ingredients on hand and an easy to follow recipe. The gravy was great, we served it over rice w a nice side salad. Def will be making again. Thank you!
I have made this so many times my husband is Very picky and he loves this recipe I just want to say thanks for sharing.
Haven’t made yet but will be making tonight. Can you tell me how long the natural release takes cos never used IP before. Just so I can time my potatoes and veg to serve with them
Also, if add mushrooms will they be better sautéed first and added back in with water or sauté separately and add to juices just before thickening.
Mark Ruiz says
How can I cook this without a pressure cooker
This was easy, quick, and delicious. Even my 12 year old loved it and she is not a big fan of chicken. Thanks for sharing!
This was pretty good. I also threw in some gnocchi, on sauté, when I took the chicken out to rest (and before adding cornstarch for gravy). Gnocchi are so quick and I like putting the IP to full use in cooking the whole meal. Another quick cooking veg could’ve been added at that stage too.
Hi Sue! Thank you for making my recipe! I love that you added gnocchi! You can really play with this recipe and add more ingredients.
Maria Mariaa says
Chicken was really good! I added garlic and onion powder and a little Lemon pepper zest. Instead of water I used chicken broth. I also let it natural release all the way. Actual awesome. Well done!
The recipe looked great and I tried to follow the instructions, but either operator error and machine error, the results were great but way under cooked after 4 times the recommended time.
5 stars for the quick and simple recipe as the IP never going from ON to Counting down the time is not related to the good information here.
Hi Chris, you may not have put the IP valve on “sealing” (turn toward the back; clockwise til it stops). Without that step, the pressure never builds up. Hope this helps
Lauren Camp says
Absolutely delicious! Such a simple and quick recipe to follow, the whole family loved it! Thank you!
This recipe was super easy and the chicken came out perfectly! I didn’t use the spices because I was using a marinade for a different recipe but it still worked really well. I’m an instant pot novice but the instructions were super clear and easy to understand.
Thank you so much, Emily! I am so glad you enjoyed the chicken!
Wow, a lot of great reviews I can't wait to try it! 🙂 Question: do i need the trivet or can I cook it directly in the pot? I hope I can I'd like to try it tonight. Trivet is in other home. 🙁
I highly suggest using a trivet.
Chris Bear says
If you dont have the trivot, just add more fluid, half a cup to a cup. Beer and butter is fabulous... Then slow it down to the 'normal' setting - and add 4 to 5 minutes.... Wonderful outcome...
Bonnie Frank says
If you don't have a trivet, take foil and bunch up in balls 3 or 4 and place chicken on top of it.
Susan Daluga says
I'm excited to try this tonight. You don't need to set a temperature right? Just pressure cook and the time? I'm new to the IP. I have only done the Air Fryer lid.
Hi Susan! My Instant Pot does not set the temperature, just make sure it is set to cook at high pressure. I hope this helps!
Incredible for chicken salad - tender like pulled pork when shredding!
Beyond amazing! My family loved this so much. Thank you for such a great recipe. I used chicken broth for the water and it made the gravy delicious. My chicken was frozen so I used someone else's suggestion and cooked it for 30 min, got impatient and released after 12 min. I broiled the chicken to crisp up the skin as I made the gravy. Wow, just wow!
Amazing! I'm not the greatest cook and even with instant pot receipes I get a little intimidated. But this one is simple and delicious! Chicken was juicy and gravy was great!
Thank you, Chas! I am so glad you like it!
Kathy Stanford says
Instead of water, I added white wine & with the garlic, I added 2 shallots, and sauteed them a bit. At the end, I reduced the sauce down w/o the cornstarch. It was very good and so quick!
I never, seriously, never, comment on recipes since I think tastes can be subjective. That being said, I HAD to leave a comment regarding this recipe. I was looking for an easy chicken thigh recipe on a night when dinner would have been a toss up between cereal or sandwiches. I
This was the ticket! I cannot believe how tasty this was. Easy to make the chicken, easy to make the gravy and utterly delicious. Even my husband, who is like a picky toddler, loved this. I used smoked paprika since that was handy in my pantry and served the chicken with butter noodles and a green salad. This will be added to our routine dinner rotation for sure.
Made this ahead of time on Sunday . Then made rice and green beans to go with On Monday ... (my husband likes green beans with every thing ) when I got home from wk . Reheated the chicken and gravy while the Rice was cooking .. perfect quick meal for coming home from work
D Fadler says
Awesome and simple recipe!! Thank you it was my first ever in my Instant Pot! Thank you!!
Nancy Siegal says
How much time do you need if your thighs are frozen and can I do 16 thighs in an a quart pot?
Made this for dinner and we loved it. The chicken was so tender and I didn't have to heat up the house. I will definitely be making this again and telling family members.
Thank you so much, Heather!
Omigosh, where has this recipe been all my life?! We all took one bite of this incredibly easy to make chicken, and it was immediately apparent : this one is a KEEPER! I had a large package of chicken thighs that needed to be cooked before they went bad, and this recipe literally took less than 5 minutes to prep - I even used jarred garlic, and I only used water no broth. I ended up cooking all 8 for the same 12 minutes, NR for about 9 minutes, and they were falling off the bone. Looked exactly like your picture (which isn't always the case with the internet, LOL). Defatted the juices, added cornstarch, and the gravy was delicious and healthy, too! Thank you, thank you for this recipe!
Cinnamon A Flowers says
Follow the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly. We had a last-minute need for a quick meal because our schedule went out of whack and the dinner meat was not thawed completely this save the night!! Delicious and quick!!!
This was soooo good! However, 4 pieces was not enough! Lol how do I double this recipe? I'm new to the IP. Do I brown them in batches but put all in at same time to pressure cook? I'm hoping to make 8. Does time stay the same for 8 pieces? Thank you in advance!
I made it with a package of 6. And browned it in two batches .. I did use some bacon grease though
The recipe is scalable. Put your cursor on the number 4 beside servings, then slide the bar. I love it when recipes have this!
Carl W says
Thanks for pointing this out!
Yum loved this recipe, it’s fast and easy! Made some pan roasted veggies a side of Cous Cous while the instant pot was going. Dinner came together quick!
MG W says
I made this last night! IT was AMAYYYZING! Thank you.
Kim White says
I wanted to make this recipe but my IP does not have a manual button. How do I set it to cook the 12 minutes on my version? Thanks!
Hi Kim! Do you have a "pressure cook" button? The "manual" and "pressure cook" button are the same. Let me know!
I made exactly as directed and the burn indicator came on. I will make it again but next time add more fluid and extra spices would make it tastier.
Hi Wendy! It is very important to scrape any cooked-on bits from the bottom of the pot right after you brown the chicken. If you leave any, you will get the burn message. Hope this helps!
Excellent. Followed the recipe exactly except added a tsp of “better than chicken“ bullion to the cup of water.
Served with sticky jasmine rice and side salad w/sweet onion vinaigrette. Delicious & light summer meal.
Thank you so much, Sara! I am glad you enjoyed the chicken!
WOW. I just made this for my husband, my 2-YO and myself for dinner tonight. We all LOVED it! It was very easy to make and it didn't require a whole lot of ingredients and seasonings. The dish turned out super tasty, especially the chicken gravy! The amount was just right for us too. Thank you for sharing your recipe!
Simply Yumilisious! I used smoked hot paprika and it gave everything a 'glow'. finished 20 min, ago and still have a beautiful taste and glow. Thank you!
Christina Morris says
Very good recipe. I followed the directions and it turned out beautifully. It was easy and fast. Thank you. I will definitely be making this again!
Thank you so much, Christina! I am so glad it was a hit!
Can I add carrots to cook at the same time? If so where do I put them? Thx!
I am a newbie to Instant Pot cooking. I want to try this recipe, but I have chicken leg quarters. Can I substitute these for just thighs? Do I have to separate the leg from the thigh and just use the thigh? I'd like to use the whole leg quarter if possible. What adjustments might this require ? Thanks.
Hey, Dar! On May 15th, 2019, Whalefreak said they used chicken legs quarters. I hope this helps!
Just made this I added Sliced button mushrooms in the gravy because we like them.
The recipe is a keeper
Thank you, Kimball!
Just curious if you cooked the mushrooms in with the liquid during pressure cooking? Or did you sauté them in at the end? Thanks 🙂
OMG. Just made this. I used chicken broth instead of water and threw a bay leaf into the gravy. Delicious!!
Cindy J says
This turned out great! My family loved it. Easy instructions but I let my pot heat up too much and when I added the butter I had to quickly put the lid on. Butter and oil pops all over. Things went well after that though 😉. Very tasty!
Hubby and I both loved your recipe! I made it exactly as written and we were both just blown away at how good this was. I will certainly make the recipe again! Thank you 🙏.
P.S. I just got a pricey, new induction/convection stove too but now I’m thinking of using my instant pot more! What have you done to me!😁
Hi Janene! Haha! I love that! Always happy to see Instant Pot fans over here. I am so glad the chicken was a hit! Thank you for trying my recipe!
Leigh Lopez says
Was AMAZING. The gravy is amazing! I'll be making this again and again. Thank you!
I made this with 10 chicken thighs in my 6 quart instant pot.
I doubled the spices and sauteed 3 to 4 chicken pieces at a time.
I used(1cup) chicken stock instead of water and piled all the pieces on top of the trivet. I set it on high pressure for 13 minutes and it came out absolutely perfect!! And the gravy was delicious!! Served it with some mashed potatoes and it was an absolute hit!!!
Did you let do NR after 13 minutes or QR? Need to do about 10 thighs as well.
Curious which option you chose re: NR and QR?
I’m leaning towards a 15-20
Min NR. Or longer I’m case hubby is not home in 20
I grilled the chicken over the stove first to give it those lines the hubby likes to see then followed the recipe (minus the gravy- we aren't gravy lovers) and it was oh so VERY GOOD. Best part, besides flavor, was how EASY this is.
Hi Ruth! Thank you so much for trying my recipe! I love that you grilled them first! Thank you for sharing!
Hi Anna! I made this recipe last nite, using Frozen Chicken Quarters & my Favorite BBQ seasoning Rub! I did 4 Frozen Chicken Quarters, plus 4 Frozen Chicken legs.. Increased the Pressure to 30 minutes to compensate for the Chicken being Frozen.. Did everything else the same & when it was done with the Natural release, it was falling Off the bones!! 😁 I'm soo Excited, as I've only had my IP since Easter! Yer a Genius! Btw, my IP is a 6qt. 😉
That's fantastic! I am so glad it was a hit! Thank you for sharing your variation, I know it will be useful to a lot of people.
What if I don’t have a trivet for my pressure cooker?
Hi Luna! Each Instant Pot comes with a trivet, if you didn't get it I suggest contacting the brand. In the meantime, you can make balls of aluminum foil but I've never used foil in the IP so I am not sure if it will give the ham a metallic taste.
Can i put the chicken into the water? I dont have a trivet and dont want to use foil
Hi Sherri! If you don't have a trivet, you can place the chicken in the water but the bottom of each piece will be boiled. You may need to flip them during crisping up in the oven after pressure cooking. I hope this helps!
Dennis Lowery says
If you don't have a trivet you can cut a potato into four quarters and set the chicken on top of the potato wedges, problem solved.
Cooked it on normal on accident. Still has 7 min. To go but should I pop em in the oven a bit? Oops.
Hi Darla! Check the thighs with a meat thermometer and cook for a few more minutes at high pressure or in the oven.
This looks amazing! I'm hoping to make it tomorrow for my mom's birthday. Do you think it would be possible to cook more thighs? Maybe around 10-12. And do you know what the cooking times would be if I were to up the amount. I don't know much about Instant Pots. This will be my first time using one.
Hi Mack! I did not test this recipe with 12 thighs so I can't guarantee the result, but it should be fine. The time stays the same, it may just take longer for the IP to come to pressure. Let me know how it goes!
When is the garlic added?
Hi Clay! It's in step 5.
I made this recipe last night. Added potatoes and it was PERFECT! The gravy is such a delicious bonus. Thank you for the recipe!
I haven't tried making chicken thighs in my Instant Pot, yet. These look amazing -- definitely making them!
I've got to get with the instant pot program, these chicken thighs look super good.
Mallory Lanz says
My husband loves the basic flavors on this chicken. It makes a great addition to our weeknight meal rotation.
My new favorite way to prepare chicken thighs!
Those chicken thighs look tender & juicy!! I am so excited for new, yummy recipes to try in the instant pot.
Aimee Shugarman says
This turned out perfectly. SO GOOD, thank you!
Can I use rolled aluminum foil in a round shape if I don't have the trivet?
I am not sure. I would be worried it would affect the taste of the gravy. What happened to your trivet? It didn't come with your IP?
New to IP. ... How should I modify the time on this recipe if I use reg size wings (not small wings) and drumsticks?
Nice simple tasty recipe but the gravy didn't come out for some reason
I made these for dinner tonight and everyone loved them! Best recipe for chicken thighs in the Instant Pot!
I have boneless, skinless chicken things. Would I still brown them first?
Yep, I would still brown them. Hope this helps!
do you spray insert with cooking spray so they don't stick? just got my IP yesterday and can't wait to use it!!
Hi Kathie! I never spray the inner pot. If you use the oil and butter, as directed in the recipe, you won't need to spray it. Hope this helps!
Hello! I am cooking for a family of 5, and have to use about 8 to 9 thighs. Should I double the entire recipe (liquid and time too)? Thanks!
I cooked 7 thighs and left all the measurements and times the same and it came out great.
Thank you, Trisha!
So did you stack them up to cook them for 12 minutes? I assume that they had to be cooked a few at a time to sauté them, correct?
Ok my skin was not crispy, on the new cookers is it high or low pressure?
Hi Dianna! Your Instant Pot should be set to high pressure. If you want crispy skin, place the cooked chicken thighs under a broiler for 2 minutes.
Carol zinter says
I made this tonight. The flavors were delicious, however, my skin didn't stay crispy during the pressure cook stage. How did you get yours to stay crispy?
Hi Carol! You can pop the chicken thighs under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes to crisp them up!
I made this tonight for dinner and it turned out great! I did add chicken stock instead of water for added flavor. Placed the trivet in the bottom of the pot, added serveral small red potatoes, topped with chicken so everything sits above the liquid, set it for 11 min. The juice/gravy was nice on top the small potatoes once I smashed them with a fork. Nice flavor and thank you for the recipe! My husband really enjoyed it and will definitely be making this again.
Hi Susan! Yay! That's wonderful! I love that you added potatoes. I need to try that! Thank you so much for making my recipe!
Mike S says
Awesome recipe , the only thing I did different is add chicken stock instead of water. Wow so much more flavor. I also took the chicken off the bones and added the meat to the gravy add severed it over rice. Wife love it and so did I . Thank you Mike
Hi Mike! Thank you so much for making my recipe! I am so glad you love it! I need to try your idea of taking it off the bones to mix with gravy. That sounds amazing!
Can I do this with frozen thighs? If so how long?
Hi Alyssa! If you will use frozen thighs, you won't be able to get the sear on the skin. I will have a new recipe for frozen thighs soon!
I have a newer IP, and it doesn’t have a manual setting. What setting should I use?
For newer models, use "Pressure Cook" button. Hope this helps!
Does the calorie count include the gravy?
I make this often. Cheap, easy, great meal. My spices are Adobo and smoked paprika. I make the gravy and serve with mashed potatoes (made in my other instant pot) and a vegetable from our garden. Thanks for sharing!
Hi Laurie! That's fantastic! Thank you so much! PS: I have two IPs too and love it! 😀
I made this today for my fiance and he loved it! I added some ginger in with the garlic for an added zing and it was amazing!
I made these tonight with your Garlic Parmesan Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
Both were delicious!!!! Thank you so much for sharing these recipes!! The gravy made from the chicken juices is fantastic!!!!
Hi Carla! Yay! That's fantastic! I am so happy you made both. Thank you so much!!
Best chicken ever! I’ve made this many times and it never disappoints! Thanks for sharing this failproof delicious recipe!!! 😍
Hi Becky! YAY! That's fantastic! I am so happy to know you love it! Thank you!!
Can do boneless skinless chicken breast the same way?
Yes! Let me know if you make it, Brittany!
Thank you for sharing your recipe! This has restaurant quality flavor. Everyone loved it and it was pretty easy (and I can't follow a recipe - even forgot the garlic.)
I need to make at least 10 to 12. Is it okay to make more than 4 at a time?
Hi Gayle! I wouldn't go past 6. I think 10 or 12 is definitely too much. I recommend cooking in two batches. Let me know how it goes!
Is that for a 6 qt or 8 qt?
Hi Carolyn! I have the 6qt but it will work just fine in the 8qt IP. Hope this helps!
question the recipe calls for garlic (minced) when is it added?
Gayle Stine says
I have boneless Chicken Thighs. What would the difference in time be?
Hi Gayle! If you brown them first the same way first, the cooking time will be 7 minutes. I hope this helps!
Is this for chicken thighs thawed? How long if frozen?
Made this tonight, so easy, so tender, so delish!!! I will definitely be making these again!!!
Yay! Thank you so much, Lisa!
These look so juicy! They are cooked perfectly!
Wow, they look amazing! I can't believe you can make that in an instant pot!
Right? They look roasted in the oven but are cooked in the IP. Gotta love that pressure cooker!
These are mouth watering!
The color on your these chicken thighs is spectacular!
Thank you, Renee!
These look so crispy and juicy!
They really are! Thanks, Jamielyn!
This is such a great dinner!
Isn't the Instant Pot the best?! This chicken looks like it's cooked perfectly!
I am obsessed with it! 😀 Thanks, Brandy!