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!
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.
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.
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:
- Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- Instant Pot Baked Potatoes Recipe
Creamy Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- 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
- 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.