Instant Pot Thai Chicken Thighs are fork-tender boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a Thai peanut sauce. You’ll love this 30-minute, one-pot weeknight pressure cooker dinner!
This popular recipe was adapted from the 365 Days of Slow-Cooking cookbook. Originally, the recipe had a 6 hour cook time, but with your Instant Pot, you can have it on your table in under 30 minutes!
Plus, since you saute the chicken in the pressure cooking pot, you get added flavor without dirtying an extra pan.
This has become one of my readers’ all-time favorite Instant Pot chicken recipes. I’ve updated the post with helpful how-to tips and photos for perfectly tender Thai peanut chicken every night.
Making Instant Pot Thai Chicken Thighs in a Pressure Cooker
This Thai Peanut Chicken Thigh recipe works in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Ninja Foodi and Instant Pot.
The first step in this recipe is to brown your chicken thighs using the Sauté function. This adds a delicious caramelized color and flavor to the dish. If you’re short on time, you can skip this step and continue with the recipe as written.
Next, you’ll make the Thai peanut sauce. You can mix everything together right in the pressure cooker pot, or you can give the ingredients a whirl in a blender. With a blender, you don’t have to chop the cilantro, just toss it in. You can also add the peanut butter to the blender if yours is high-powered enough to break everything down into a smooth sauce.
🛑 Note: This recipe is written for a 6-quart pressure cooker. If you have an 8-quart or larger pot, you will need more liquid to avoid a burn notice.
In 8-quart cookers or larger, I prefer to double all of the sauce ingredients, including the peanut butter, cornstarch, and water.
Should I Use Chicken Thighs or Chicken Breasts?
Basically, chicken breasts are white meat, while chicken thighs are dark meat. While this recipe was written for thighs, you can use whatever you have on hand.
Chicken thighs have a higher fat content, so they cook up juicy and flavorful in the pressure cooker. (But don’t worry too much about the fat—it’s monounsaturated, the same kind of healthy fats that are in avocados. )
Chicken thighs are also generally a little cheaper, so I like to use them when I can.
💡 Tip: For this recipe, don’t worry about trimming every bit of fat from the chicken thighs—just what you can cut away quickly. (During pressure cooking, the fat melts away from the chicken, leaving tender, juicy meat.)
For frozen chicken thighs: Simply skip the browning step and add two minutes to the cook time.
For bone-in chicken thighs: Follow the recipe as written and add 2 minutes to the cook time.
Chicken breasts will be a little drier than thighs, due to the lower fat content. However, if you want to use chicken breasts in this meal, you can.
Because chicken breasts cook faster than thighs, I’d cook the breasts whole, then cut them into pieces before serving. I also recommend reducing the cook time to 5 to 6 minutes at high pressure with a quick release.
You’ll also need to use chicken breasts that are a uniform thickness throughout. (If needed, use a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken breast to flatten the thick parts.)
💡 Tip: Use an instant-read thermometer to verify each chicken breast is at least 165°F in the thickest part of the breast after cooking.
What Kind of Peanut Butter Is Best?
You can use your favorite peanut butter for Thai chicken thighs. However, if you choose a natural peanut butter that’s not sweetened, you may want to add a bit of sweetener to the sauce. (Try brown sugar or honey to taste.)
Also, if you use an especially thick peanut butter that’s not pourable, you’ll want to add more chicken stock to prevent a burn notice on the pressure cooker.
🛑 You can always stir the peanut butter into the Thai sauce after cooking, if you’re worried about the burn notice. The flavor won’t be affected.
What to Serve with Instant Pot Thai Chicken Thighs
My family loves these Pressure Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs and asks for them often. The sauce has an amazing flavor that begs to be drizzled over everything! Therefore, I generally choose a side that’s more subdued.
- white rice or brown rice,
- rice noodles,
- spiralized zucchini noodles (aka zoodles),
- orzo pasta,
- broccoli (steamed or roasted with garlic).
It tastes good with all of these—just use your favorite or whatever you have on hand.
No matter what sides I serve, I always drizzle a liberal amount of sauce over the sides and top with a sprinkling of chopped peanuts.
More pressure cooker chicken thigh recipes:
Pressure Cooker Coq au Vin is a pressure cooker twist on a classic French chicken stew made with chicken thighs, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and topped with bacon. In a pressure cooker, you can make this on a weeknight.
Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Chicken Bacon Penne Pasta is a quick, easy, one-pot meal that’s rich, creamy, and delicious! It’s pure comfort food that’s ready in less than 30 minutes.
Pressure Cooker Indian Butter Chicken is a classic restaurant favorite that’s easy to make at home. You’ll love the combination of tender chicken thighs and a creamy, buttery tomato sauce.
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- 1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed (about 8)
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon freeze-dried cilantro OR 3 tablespoons fresh diced cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 cup peanut butter*
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- Prepared white rice, for serving
- At least 1/4 cup chopped peanuts, for serving
- Green onions, chopped for garnish, optional
- Lime wedges, optional, for serving
- Select Sauté to preheat the pressure cooking pot. When hot, add the oil and quickly brown the meat in small batches. Do not crowd the pot! Set the browned chicken aside.
- When all the chicken is browned, add the chicken broth, soy sauce, cilantro, lime juice, red pepper, and ginger to the cooking pot. Stir to combine and if necessary, scrape up any stuck-on bits on the bottom of the pot. Stir in the peanut butter.
- Add the browned chicken to the pot, along with any juices that have collected on the platter. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 9 minutes cook time. (It will take about 10 minutes to reach pressure.)
- When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker and use a quick pressure release. Remove the chicken thighs from the pot, leaving the sauce.
- In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tablespoons of water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the sauce in the pot, stirring constantly. Select Simmer and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. After the sauce thickens, add the chicken thighs and stir to coat in the sauce.
- Serve garnished with chopped peanuts, green onions, and lime wedges, if desired.
* If you're using natural peanut butter, you may want to add a sweetener, like honey or brown sugar.
** If your peanut butter is very thick, you can stir it in after cooking to avoid the risk of a burn notice.
NOTE FOR 8-QUART AND LARGER PRESSURE COOKERS: This recipe is written for a 6-quart pressure cooker. If you are using an 8-quart or larger pressure cooker, you will need to add more chicken broth in order to avoid a burn notice. (I’d start with an additional 1/2 cup.) When in doubt, add a little extra liquid.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 18gCholesterol: 184mgSodium: 733mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 42g
Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.
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