Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs are fork-tender boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a Thai peanut sauce. This pressure cooker or Instant Pot chicken recipe is cooked in a fraction of the time it takes to cook in the slow cooker.
You’re hurrying out the door in the morning and as you’re driving away you remember you forgot to put dinner in the crock-pot before you left. Take-out again tonight? Not if you have a pressure cooker at home! Most slow cooker recipes are easily adapted for the pressure cooker and cook in minutes instead of hours.
I adapted this recipe from a great slow cooker cookbook recipe from 365 Days of Slow-Cooking. The original slow cooker recipe cooks on low for 4 to 6 hours. You get the same great taste in just 9 minutes cooking time in the pressure cooker.
In addition, browning the chicken in the pressure cooker before pressure cooking adds flavor without having to dirty an extra pan.
Making Thai Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot
An Instant Pot is one of the most popular brands of electric pressure cookers. They are easy to use and your Instant Pot can help you create these delicious Thai Chicken Thighs!
Should I Use Chicken Thighs or Chicken Breasts in the Pressure Cooker?
Chicken Thighs: Basically, chicken breasts are white meat while chicken thighs are the dark meat. This means that 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.
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.
Chicken thighs are also generally a little cheaper, so I like to use them when I can.
Chicken Breasts: 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 need a shorter cook time than thighs, I’d cook the breasts whole then cut them into pieces before serving. I’d also recommend reducing the cook time to 5 to 6 minutes at high pressure with a quick release.
You’ll want to use chicken breasts that are a uniform thickness throughout the breast. (If needed, use a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken breast to flatten the thick parts.) Use an instant-read thermometer to verify each chicken breast is at least 165°F in the thickest part of the breast.
If you want to use fresh cilantro, substitute 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro for the dried cilantro in this recipe.
What to Serve with Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs
My family loves these Pressure Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs and ask for it often. The sauce has an amazing flavor that begs to be drizzled over sides; therefore, I generally choose a side that’s more subdued.
I like to mix up how I serve it—with white rice or brown rice, rice noodles, spiralized zucchini noodles (aka zoodles), orzo pasta, or broccoli (steamed or roasted with garlic). It tastes good with all of these—just use your favorite or what 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.
Update: I’ve been making this Pressure Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs recipe for so many years. I wanted to update it with new pictures and a fun video to show you how easily it comes together.
I hope you enjoy this Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs recipe!
- 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 soy sauce (I use low-sodium soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon freeze dried cilantro or 3 tablespoons fresh 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 corn starch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
- green onions, chopped for garnish, optional
- Select Saute and preheat the pressure cooking pot. When hot, add 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 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 lid in place. Select High Pressure and 9 minutes cook time. (It will take about 10 minutes to reach pressure.)
- After 9 minutes cook time, turn off pressure cooker and use a quick pressure release. Remove chicken thighs from the pot leaving the sauce.
- In a small bowl, dissolve cornstarch in 2 tablespoons water. Add cornstarch mixture to the sauce in the pot stirring constantly. Select Simmer and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. After sauce thickens, add chicken thighs and coat with the sauce.
- Serve garnished with chopped peanuts and green onions.
* If you're using a natural peanut butter, you'll want to add some sweetener to the recipe.
** NOTE: 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. In addition, if you're using natural peanut butter or a very thick peanut butter, you can also stir in the peanut butter after pressure cooking. When in doubt, add a little extra liquid.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 607 Total Fat: 37g Saturated Fat: 8g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 27g Cholesterol: 277mg Sodium: 1402mg Carbohydrates: 10g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 63g
More great ways to make pressure cooker chicken thighs:
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 slow-cooked favorite 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 is easy to make at home. You’ll love the combination of tender chicken thighs and a creamy, buttery tomato sauce.