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Creamy Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Thighs (pressure cooker)

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Servings 4 servings

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These Creamy Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are easy and delicious! Use bone in or boneless chicken thighs — both come out perfectly in the pressure cooker!

garlic instant pot chicken thighs overhead on grey plate on marble background
Table of Contents
  1. Can I cook frozen chicken thighs in the Instant Pot?
  2. How do I get crispy chicken thighs in the Instant Pot pressure cooker?
  3. How long do you cook chicken thighs in the pressure cooker?
  4. Variations on these Creamy Garlic Chicken Thighs:
  5. What to serve with these Instant Pot Chicken Thighs?
  6. Creamy Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe

So in December, I got a little carried away with holiday cookies and mashed potatoes and hot caffeinated drinks and such, but I want you to know we’re back to real food and I’m bringing my Instant Pot along for the ride!

I have a lot of fun dinner recipes planned, and these Creamy Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are just the beginning.

I know that these sound a little indulgent, but there’s just a little cream in this recipe, that’s stirred into the sauce just before serving (don’t try to pressure cook the cream or you’ll have trouble!), and it makes this a luxuriously comforting but also relatively healthy weeknight dinner.

Plus, we love sauce.

A creamy, garlicy sauce to boot? Yes. Yes please.

These pressure cooker chicken thighs are perfect over mashed potatoes or pasta, but they’re also great with a side of steamed green beans or broccoli or a simple side salad.

pressure cooker chicken thighs on grey and white plate with asparagus and instant pot in the background

Here are some of my tips and tricks to help you make the best Instant Pot chicken thighs!

Can I cook frozen chicken thighs in the Instant Pot?

You can absolutely cook frozen chicken thighs in the Instant Pot, but you won’t be able to brown them first.

Check out my post here on how to cook Instant Pot chicken thighs from frozen, and find my recipe for BBQ chicken thighs.

How do I get crispy chicken thighs in the Instant Pot pressure cooker?

When I’m cooking bone-in, skin on chicken thighs, I always brown the chicken thighs, skin side down, first.

With all of the steam that the pressure cooker creates, the skin isn’t going to stay crispy, but it will be much better than if we had skipped this step altogether.

For truly crispy Instant Pot chicken thighs, you will want to remove the chicken thighs from the Instant Pot after cooking and broil for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the skin, while the sauce finishes in the pressure cooker.

I know this is an extra step, but if crispy skin is important to you, you’ll find it’s worth it.

If you, like me, don’t eat the skin, you can simply peel it off after cooking (it adds so much moisture if you leave it on during the cooking process!), and enjoy!

How long do you cook chicken thighs in the pressure cooker?

  • Bone in chicken thighs:

For fresh, bone-in chicken thighs of around 5-6oz, you will pressure cook for 10 minutes. For frozen chicken thighs, you’ll likely want to add a few minutes and cook for 13-15 minutes.

  • Boneless chicken thighs:

For fresh, boneless chicken thighs, you will cook for about 7-8 minutes. For frozen boneless chicken thighs, you will cook for 12-13 minutes on high pressure.

instant pot chicken thighs in pressure cooker with creamy garlic sauce

Variations on these Creamy Garlic Chicken Thighs:

  • You can make this recipe dairy-free by omitting the cream or using your favorite non-dairy milk in its place. Keep in mind that this will affect the flavor.
  • This recipe is naturally gluten-free, but be sure to double check all of your ingredients.
  • To lighten up this recipe, substitute the heavy cream for half and half or light cream. You can also remove the skin before eating.
  • Feel free to add vegetables to this recipe! Mushrooms, broccoli or green beans would be great in here, but you’ll need to keep in mind that they could much more quickly and won’t stand up well to a 8-15 minute cook time. Potatoes and carrots would also do well, and larger chunks or whole small potatoes should be fine to cook with the chicken.

What to serve with these Instant Pot Chicken Thighs?

This recipe has so much flavor going on that we prefer to serve it with mashed potatoes, rice or plain pasta! But any of these would also be great options:

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Creamy Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

5 from 23 votes
These Creamy Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are easy and delicious! Use bone in or boneless chicken thighs — both come out perfectly in the pressure cooker! 
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings
Calories 403cal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons corn starch

Instructions

  • Turn a 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot to saute. When it says “hot”, add the oil. 
  • Meanwhile, combine the Italian seasoning, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle over chicken thighs, skin side up.
  • Sear chicken thighs, skin side down, for 2-3 minutes or until the chicken moves easily. I do this in two sets of 4 thighs. If it seems to be stuck to the pot, it is not ready to be removed yet. (you may have to tilt and swirl your pot during this process so that the oil evenly coats the bottom of the pot)
  • Remove chicken thighs to a plate, drain remaining oil and add in minced garlic. Cook for 1 minute.
  • Add broth to the hot pot, and scrape the bottom so the brown bits come up into the broth.
  • Turn off the Instant Pot, add the chicken thighs back in in a single layer (you may have to overlap them just slightly as pictured), skin side up. 
  • Put the lid on, turn the valve to sealing, and select Manual or Pressure Cook for a cook time of 10 minutes (see alternate cook times above). It will take 6-8 minutes to come to pressure and begin counting down.
  • When the cook time is over, let pressure release naturally for 7-8 minutes before opening the valve and removing the lid.
  • Remove chicken to a plate (see notes above about broiling if desired). Whisk together cream and corn starch and stir into remaining liquid in Instant Pot.
  • Turn the Instant Pot to saute, whisk and simmer the sauce until thickened. Serve with chicken thighs.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 403cal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 234mg | Sodium: 502mg | Potassium: 582mg | Vitamin A: 550IU | Vitamin C: 0.7mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 1.9mg
Keywords instant pot, pressure cooker

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Lezlie says

    I made this for dinner tonight and we really liked it! It was a quick, easy, tasty meal!
    Thanks for the great recipe and great instructions! The instructions were clear to follow.

  2. Alix says

    Ashley, that was delicious! I used boneless/skinless chicken thighs, with fat trimmed off, and half-and-half instead of heavy cream. I doubled the broth, half-and-half, and cornstarch to create more sauce. I had huge garlic cloves on hand and minced 2-1/2 cloves. Omigoodness, that was divine! Next time I will increase the sauce ingredients by just 1-1/2, as I had more than enough.

    I am considering making a freezer pack of the chicken with seasoning. I would need to sauté fresh garlic, of course, and I think I would not add the broth to the pack as that way I could decide how much sauce I wanted at cook time. It’s not dump-and-go that way, but it at least gives me a head start to answering the call of, “I want something yummy but my brain has stopped!” Heh.

  3. Dawn says

    I made this last night and my husband and daughter were gaga over it. I was in a hurry so I didn’t even brown my half-frozen skinless, boneless chicken thighs. I just gave the garlic a whirl in the olive oil, layered in the spiced chicken, tossed in the broth, and let it go. They loved the cream sauce over whole grain pasta and peas. I will definitely be adding this recipe to my repertoire! Thanks for sharing such an easy and outstanding meal!

  4. Angela says

    So good! Made with defrosted skinless, boneless chicken thighs. Served with basmati rice and cucumbers. Will definitely make again

  5. Sheri says

    Hi Ashley,
    What do you think about adding some greens to the sauce? I have Kale & Arugula on hand. Would one be better than the other? I wish I had spinach but you take what you can get from the local farmers 🙂

  6. Hunter says

    This was easy and tasty! I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cooked it for 7 minutes, and it turned out perfect. Thank you for the recipe.

  7. Jason says

    Modified the sauce with a brandy reduction and it came out fantastic. Thanks for this. I can’t have onions, so this recipe is great!

  8. Jenerfer says

    Delicious dinner. I didn’t change a thing. Followed the recipe, except I had 6 thighs instead of 8. Didn’t change anything else. My hubby and picky kids LOVED this meal. Mashed potatoes and cheesy broccoli on side was a wonderful compliment.

  9. Karen says

    Thank you, Ashley!
    I was so glad to find a garlic chicken instant pot recipe that does not contain lemon. My son always complains that meat is “too sour” if I cook it with lemon juice. Your recipe really fit the bill for an easy, inexpensive family dinner! I had 12 chicken thighs on hand, so cooked all of them, and just used a little more seasoning, quadrupled the garlic (because we love it) and made extra sauce. I took the time to brown the chicken under the broiler after cooking it, and it was a lovely presentation. I’m glad that I cooked up all the chicken that I had, because my son ate 3 chicken thighs, and my husband ate 4! My husband has celiac, so we are a gluten free household, and your recipe worked in that regard as well. I served over mashed potatoes with steamed broccoli on the side, and everyone was happy. This one is definitely a keeper.

  10. Leigh says

    I cooked 6 large bone in thighs and mixed the spices (I subbed in dried oregano for Italian seasoning and added a generous amount of dried red chillies) into a couple teaspoons of regular flour to dust the chicken before sautéing. Added some halved baby potatoes too. Cooked perfectly! Finished with a squeeze of lemon, cracked black pepper and a heap of crispy baked kale. Soooooo good 🙂

  11. Robert says

    Ashley,
    I added a cup of chopped onions and a cup of chopped mushrooms to the minced garlic, cooked the onions and mushrooms for a bit and then removed the mix to a separate bowl before cooking the chicken. I added the mixture to the cream and cornstarch saute while i broiled the chicken and then served it over a bed of brown rice. Super delicious, thank you!

  12. Steve says

    In one of your first images it shows the chicken in the pot sitting in the cream, which confused me making me wonder if I’m supposed to cook the chicken in the cream mixture with the broth or if I’m supposed to add the chicken in with the cream and saute it at the end. Could you clear that up for me? And also do we need to use a trivet to sit the chicken on or do we just sit the chicken in the chicken broth? And lastly, when I put the oil in then the chicken, some of the chicken skin was stuck to the bottom even after 3 minutes, even though the chicken was somewhat browned and most of it wasn’t stuck. And I also had a burn notice at this time. Does this mean I should do 2 tablespoons of oil instead? Maybe add more oil for the second batch? Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Steve! Most of these questions are addressed right in the recipe. You do not cook the chicken with the cream sauce. You do not need the trivet (but I suppose you could use it if you wanted to). With regards to sticking, this can be a problem if the bottom of the pot wasn’t coated with oil — sometimes when I drizzle my oil in I find that the oil goes to the outer edges of the pot and there is none in the middle. I think it must be sloped! For this reason, I always swirl the oil around the pot to coat the middle, and I think that adding a second drizzle before cooking the second batch of chicken is a good idea! I hope that helps!

  13. Julie says

    This recipe was fantastic as written (I tasted it this way first). I served mine over bucatini because the noodles hold up well with creamy sauces.
    I doubled the sauce because I have a 10qt pressure cooker and more liquid is needed. I’m so glad that I did! I also added bacon into the sauce.
    After everyone tasted and ate it, I added lemon juice to the sauce and LOVED it even more.
    Great recipe to adjust to your likings. Tomatoes would be a good addition too.
    Thanks for an awesome recipe! I’ll be saving this to my rotation.

  14. Rebecca K. says

    Holy cow! This is the best recipes I’ve made in YEARS, let alone in the Instant Pot! I have to admit that I added chopped bacon and 1/4 cup parmesan into the sauce at the end, but even without it, it would be AMAZING. Thank you so much for this recipe – I was so proud and felt so fancy serving it to my family!

  15. Frances says

    We had this on New years Day and yummmmm. My husband gave it the “eyes closed deep sigh of delight” approval. So thank you thank you .

  16. Lindsay says

    Hi! I am new at instant pot cooking. If I only wanted to cook 4 chicken thighs, how would I adjust the cook times? Thanks!

  17. DrB says

    Made last night and this was a big hit! Added a little more fresh garlic, two Idaho potatoes ( 1/2 “ dice), 8 0z sliced creminis and 1/4 tsp crushed red. Otherwise, followed the recipe faithfully. Delicious!

  18. Amy says

    Made this tonight. Everyone loved it! I doubled the broth, cream and corn starch.
    Served it over egg noodles and it was so good with the sauce.
    My husband said next time I need to ass peas and carrots but I think mushrooms would be excellent with it. Thanks for the great recipe.

  19. Jessie says

    If you are going to add potatoes (I have the little round baby potatoes) does it affect the cook time? I was going to cook them with the thighs.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      The little baby potatoes I cook in the Instant Pot for 3 minutes. You can add them at the beginning with the chicken thighs, but they’ll be pretty soft.

  20. Chris B says

    I made this tonight with chicken breasts, and the family loved it! Served with rice made in chicken broth and veggie. I will definitely make again, no changes! Thank you!

  21. Amber Goff says

    This recipe is super easy to make and tasty! I added the steamer basket to the instant pot and steamed broccoli florets on high pressure for about 1 minute while the chicken was crisping in the oven. After the broccoli finished, I removed the basket from the pot and then made the cream sauce. Yum!!!

  22. Krissy Allori says

    This looks so easy to make and it makes my mouth water! This could easily be a quick and delicious family dinner idea! I can’t wait to get my instant pot going.

  23. Lisa says

    I made this last night and it was delicious! The chicken was super tender and moist. I just could not get the sauce to thicken up, but it was still tasty. The family said it’s a keeper. Thanks!

  24. Katie says

    I sort of made this tonight but in true Recipe Rebel fashion I took a lot of liberties. I used chicken breasts (I wish I’d done thighs though, thighs are just better), added mushrooms, pesto and sundried tomatoes to the garlic & stock. Then added sliced zucchini, blanched broccoli, and cooked spaghetti when I added the cream/cornstarch.
    Oh, and lots of Parmesan cheese.
    It was excellent. Even my picky 8 year old ate it (when I showed it to him he said “I guess were out of tomato sauce then?” No! I just wanted something different)

    So thanks for the idea!

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