Tender, juicy, and full of flavor, these Instant Pot Lemon Butter Chicken Thighs are just the thing for a delicious family weeknight dinner. They’re ready in just 45 minutes and when served with rice and veggies make a mouthwatering meal everyone will enjoy.
Easy & Juicy Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
Cooking chicken thighs in the Instant Pot results in super juicy, tender chicken thighs with very little effort on my part. Cook them in a lemon butter sauce…well, let’s just say licking the plate may have crossed my mind a time or two! If you’ve been searching for an easy Instant pot recipe, this is a good one.
I am absolutely a part of the Instant Pot love train and these lemon butter chicken thighs are one of the reasons why. There’s just something about pressure cooking the chicken that leaves it so much juicier and tender than other cooking methods – not to mention it takes less time and less effort on my part.
Here’s all you need for these juicy, flavorful chicken thighs in the Instant Pot.
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Chicken thighs – For this recipe, bone-in thighs with the skin work best.
- Seasonings – Fresh garlic plus paprika, chili flakes, garlic powder, and salt give these juicy chicken thighs loads of flavor.
- Olive oil – For sautéing the chicken.
- Butter – The base of the butter sauce.
- Onion – Flavor and aromatics.
- Lemon juice – Definitely used freshly squeezed for this.
- Italian seasoning – Adds flavor that complements the lemon and butter well.
- Chicken broth – Use low-sodium to avoid making the dish too salty.
- Cornstarch – Mix with water to create a slurry that thickens the sauce.
- Garnishes – Fresh parsley and lemon slices, if desired.
Can I Use Boneless Chicken Thighs?
I like to use bone-in chicken thighs with the skin for this recipe as I find them to be the most flavorful and I love how the skin crisps up when I sear it. However, this recipe will work with whatever variety of chicken thighs you want to use – bone-in, boneless, skin or no skin.
Can You Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs in The Instant Pot?
Technically, yes. Note, however, that you won’t be able to sear the chicken first so you lose out on the crispy outer layer and it’s just not our preferred way. However, if you’re in a pinch, use the frozen thighs, skip the sear, and increase the cooking time to 25 minutes.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Thighs with Lemon Butter Sauce
This easy Instant Pot recipe comes together with just a handful of steps, in less than an hour. Here’s a summary:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Season the chicken. Combine the paprika, chili flakes, salt, and garlic powder then rub the mixture onto the skin of the chicken.
- Sauté the chicken. Use the sauté function and olive oil to cook the chicken thighs until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot.
- Make the sauce. Add the butter to the Instant Pot with the onion and garlic. Sauté. Add the lemon juice and scrape the bottom to deglaze the pan. Stir in the Italian seasoning, lemon zest, and chicken broth.
- Cook. Return the chicken to the Instant Pot. Lock the lid, turn the valve to sealing, and cook for 7 minutes. Allow to naturally release for 5 minutes. Turn the valve to release to let any remaining steam out. Transfer chicken to a clean plate.
- Thicken the sauce. Whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add the slurry to the pressure cooker. Turn to sauté and whisk until the sauce thickens. Put the chicken back in the pot, coating with the serve.
- Serve. Serve with rice or noodles and enjoy!
How Long To Cook Chicken Thighs in Instant Pot?
Since the chicken thighs are seared first, they need to cook for just 7 minutes. That’s the beauty of the Instant Pot! Of course, you should always double-check to make sure they’ve reached an internal temperature of 165F before digging it. If your thighs are super large, you can add an extra minute just to be safe.
Tips & Variations
Here are a few helpful tips and variations for this easy Instant Pot dinner!
- Always sear the chicken first. For the best Instant Pot chicken thighs, you must sear the chicken first! Not only does this cut down on the cooking time, it gives the chicken a fantastic texture and crisps up the skin just the perfect amount.
- Don’t stack the thighs. While technically you can stack the chicken thighs and still cook them thoroughly, I don’t recommend it for this recipe. You want that crispy, golden skin! Save that trick for when you want to shred the meat after.
- Make the sauce creamy. For a creamy lemon butter sauce, add 2 tablespoons of heavy cream before thickening the sauce. You may need a bit less of the cornstarch slurry as the sauce will naturally be a bit thicker.
Lemon butter chicken thighs can be served in so many ways. I typically serve these over noodles or rice with a side of veggies, whether it’s roasted asparagus, air fryer beets, roasted broccoli, or roasted cauliflower.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers
- How to store leftovers. These lemon butter chicken thighs will last in the fridge for about 4 days. That makes them ideal for meal prep and leftovers can easily be added to salads, sandwiches, and wraps.
- How to reheat leftovers. The easiest way is to reheat them in the microwave.
- Can I freeze these? Yes, your Instant Pot chicken thighs can be frozen. After they cool store in a freezer ziploc bag for up to a month. Thaw in the fridge, reheat, and enjoy.
More Chicken Thigh Recipes:
- Hawaiian Chicken
- Honey Mustard Chicken
- Sofrito Chicken
- Chicken Cacciatore
- Teriyaki Chicken
- Apple Cider Chicken
Instant Pot Lemon Butter Chicken Thighs
- 6 chicken thighs , bone-in, skin on
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice , freshly squeezed
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- For garnish: Fresh chopped parsley and Lemon slices
- For serving: rice or noodles with a side of roasted vegetables.
- Combine paprika, chili flakes, salt and garlic powder; rub the seasoning onto the skin of the chicken.
- In the Instant Pot with the sauté function, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add chicken thighs and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes until the chicken is golden brown. Remove chicken from the Instant Pot and set on a plate.
- Add butter to the instant pot. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté for a minute. Add the lemon juice and deglaze the pan by scraping the bits off the bottom. Add Italian seasoning, lemon zest, and chicken broth. Stir to combine.
- Put the chicken back into the Instant Pot. Put the lid on and lock. Turn the valve to sealing.
- Set to cook for 7 minutes. When the pressure cooker is done, allow to naturally release for 5 minutes.
- Turn the valve to release and allow all the steam to release. Push stop.
- Unlock the lid and transfer chicken to a clean plate and set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water. Add slurry to the juices in the Instant pot. Turn back to sauté. Whisk and heat until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Put chicken back into the pot, coating with the sauce.
- Serve and enjoy!