Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken is one of our easy pressure cooker chicken recipes. Tender bite-size chunks of chicken coated in a sweet, sticky sauce. Make this Asian carry-out favorite a quick, easy-to-make meal that the whole family will love.
Scott from Houston emailed me asking for help converting one of his family’s favorite slow cooker recipe to a pressure cooker recipe.
The chicken recipe looked like one my family and my readers would like, so I decided to share it here as well.
Update: Since I first posted this recipe, it’s become one of the most popular recipes on Pressure Cooking Today. I’ve updated the post with new photos, pot-in-pot directions, and a few tips from commenters.
The designer who worked on my Instant Pot cookbook loved this meal so much it became our cookbook cover!
How to Make Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
This is a nice straightforward pressure cooker recipe. All you need to do is sauté your vegetables (onion and garlic), brown the chicken, and dump in your sauce ingredients.
The Honey Sesame sauce is made with pantry staples that you probably already have at home: ketchup, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and a simple slurry of cornstarch and water added at the end to thicken.
Set the cook time for just 3 minutes at High Pressure. After a quick pressure release, stir in your finishing ingredients and slurry and there you have it: perfectly moist chicken coated in sticky honey-sesame sauce.
⏲️ Note: It’s important to bring the sauce back to a simmer after adding the slurry. That extra minute or two ensures that the cornstarch is fully cooked and that thickening agents activate to make a nice sauce for your dish.
How to Cook Rice and Honey Sesame Chicken at the Same Time in the Instant Pot
The magic of an Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker is that you can cook fluffy white rice at the same time as Honey Sesame Chicken—no stovetop required!
To cook rice in the Instant Pot while you make the chicken, use the white rice recipe at the bottom of our pot-in-pot post for your ingredient ratios. Add the rice and water to a 7×3-inch round cake pan or similar dish.
Skip sautéeing the chicken in the first step of the chicken recipe. Instead, just sauté onion and garlic. Then add the raw diced chicken with the sauce ingredients in step 2.
Place a tall rack on top of the chicken and sauteed onion and garlic in the pressure cooking pot, and use a sling to carefully place the pan holding the rice on top of the rack.
When the cook time ends, use a 10-minute natural pressure release rather than a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid, then remove the cake pan from the pressure cooking pot.
Finish the Honey Sesame Chicken as described in steps 3 and 4.
More Easy Pressure Cooker Chicken Recipes to Try
If you love replacing Chinese take-out with healthier homemade recipes, I bet you’ll also devour these other quick and easy Instant Pot dishes:
- Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli is another one of my most popular recipes that is better tasting than take-out.
- Instant Pot Chinese Lemon Chicken features a light, slightly sweet lemon sauce with a hint of ginger, garlic, and red pepper for spice.
- Pressure Cooker Orange Chicken replaces the heavy, deep-fried dish with a lightened up at-home version that packs just as much zesty orange flavor.
- Instant Pot Low-Carb Chicken Vindaloo from Two Sleevers is an easier Pressure Cooker adaptation of the delicious Indian chicken dish.
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- 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced (about 2 lbs.)
- Freshly ground pepper and salt
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1/2 cup honey*
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 green onions, chopped
- Cooked rice, for serving
- Toasted sesame seeds, for garnish, optional
- Seasons chicken with freshly ground pepper. Preheat pressure cooking pot using the saute setting. Add oil, onion, garlic, and chicken to the pot and saute stirring occasionally until onion is softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add soy sauce, ketchup, and red pepper flakes to the pressure cooking pot and stir to combine. Pressure cook on high for 3 minutes. When timer beeps, turn pressure cooker off and do a quick pressure release.
- Add sesame oil and honey to the pot and stir to combine. In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in water and add to the pot. Select Saute and simmer until sauce thickens. Stir in green onions. Add salt to taste.
- Serve over rice sprinkled with sesame seeds.
** The original slow cooker recipe calls for 1 cup of honey. However, I've reduced it to 1/2 cup based on feedback, but feel free to adjust the sweetness level to your family's taste.
To cook rice pot-in-pot while you make the chicken, Add the rice and water to a 7×3-inch round cake pan. Skip sautéeing the chicken and just sauté the onion and garlic. Add the raw diced chicken with the sauce ingredients to the pressure cooking pot. Place a tall rack on top of the chicken and vegetables in the pressure cooking pot, and use a sling to carefully place the pan holding the rice on top of the rack. When the cook time ends, use a 10-minute natural pressure release rather than a quick pressure release. Continue with the recipe as written
Recipe adapted from this Honey Sesame Chicken slow cooker recipe.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 323Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 839mgCarbohydrates: 34gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 28g
Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.
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