Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

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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.

A horizontal close-up of Honey Sesame Chicken in a dark black bowl against a dark black background, with chopsticks tucked under the bowl

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! 

The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook is available at your favorite local bookstore.

New here? See why my cookbook has over SIX HUNDRED ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ reviews.

How to Make Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

This Honey Sesame Chicken recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

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. 

Close up on two bowls filled with Pressure Cooker white rice and Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken garnished with freshly cut green onions, white sesame seeds, and a sticky honey soy sauce.

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. 

Pot-in-Pot (PIP) method for making rice in your Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot

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. 

Close up on a black bowl filled with Instant Pot fluffy white rice and pressure cooker Honey Sesame Chicken garnished with sliced fresh scallions, white sesame seeds and sticky soy honey sauce with an Instant Pot in the background.

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:

A close-up of Honey Sesame Chicken in a dark black bowl against a dark black background

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A horizontal close-up of Honey Sesame Chicken in a dark black bowl against a dark black background, with chopsticks tucked under the bowl
Yield: 6 servings

Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 minutes
Additional Time 17 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Make this quick, easy to make Instant Pot dinner that tastes like one of your family's favorite Asian carry-out meals! This Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken features tender, bite-size chunks of chicken in a sweet, sticky sauce.

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Serve over rice sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Notes

** 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.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

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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