Instant Pot lemon chicken is simple but scrumptious with tender, juicy chicken thighs and a swoon-worthy sauce!
I’ve been on a bit of a lemon kick recently. 🍋🍋🍋
Today, we’re keeping the love alive with this Instant Pot lemon chicken, which calls for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, a lemon, some butter and a handful of other basic ingredients.
(I’m a total convert to loving chicken thighs. See my baked chicken thighs for a great go-to way to fix them. Or this Instant Pot honey garlic chicken for another pressure cooker recipe using chicken thighs.)
I’ve also been using my Instant Pot on the regular! It’s just so convenient to be able to set it and walk away.
Today, though, it’s some chicken love.
This pressure cooker lemon chicken is a simple recipe, easy to put together and comes with a yummy sauce that you’ll be smelling throughout the kitchen.
And oooh, that sauce! The sauce for this dish is swoon-worthy!
The buttery richness (and you don’t need much) really helps balance out the tart lemon flavors and make a smoother, more well-rounded sauce that you’ll want to drizzle over your entire plate!
Which I definitely recommend. 👍
Plus, this lemon chicken recipe is just a few basic, on-hand ingredients. Simple things you probably already have in your kitchen.
OK, let’s get cooking.
Now, I’ve got some notes and tips coming up below on how to make Instant Pot lemon chicken. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on Instant Pot lemon chicken:
- For this recipe, you’ll sear the chicken thighs in the Instant Pot on the sear mode first and then they finish cooking under pressure. Searing the chicken really helps lock in the flavor, so don’t skip this step.
- You could also try this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you prefer.
- I love the buttery richness with this sauce, but you could substitute extra-virgin olive oil if you prefer.
- Lemon zest and fresh lemon juice are necessary here; this dish won’t taste the same if you use bottled lemon juice.
- Feel free to sprinkle some fresh chopped herbs, such as parsley, over the cooked chicken if desired for serving.
Thickening the sauce after you’ve cooked the chicken is optional, but I highly recommend it and it takes just a few minutes. It concentrates the flavor and turns it into a smooth, luxurious sauce that you’ll want to lick off a spoon.
AKA, worth it.
I highly recommend using a digital thermometer to check the temperature of your chicken. This eliminates the guessing game of whether or not it’s cooked through to a safe temperature. (Reminder: it should be 165.)
Also, a disclaimer: Instant Pot recipes often fail to mention the time it takes for the pot to come to pressure or to release.
I have found it misleading when trying to plan, so I wanted to be sure to include it here.
I’ve listed “additional time” as 20 minutes to account for the amount of time it will take for the pot to come to pressure and then the time for the release. The exact amount of time can vary, but that’s at least a rough estimate.
In case you’re in the market for one, I have and love this 6-quart Instant Pot.
Ready to eat? Me too. Let’s bring this meal home.
What to serve with lemon chicken?
This chicken goes great with steamed rice, mashed potatoes or creamy polenta, all of which would benefit from a drizzle of some of the extra sauce.
You could also serve it with microwave baked potatoes or roasted potatoes if you prefer.
Don’t forget the veggies! Steamed broccoli or asparagus, green beans or sautéed spinach would all be good choices.
Those can get a little drizzle of sauce too. Cause you’re gonna want to put this sauce on ALL the things!
Finally, let’s talk any leftovers you may have.
What to do with leftover cooked lemon chicken:
- Leftovers will store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 4-5 months. Store the chicken with extra sauce too!
- You can reheat the chicken in a skillet over medium low heat. Slice it first and be sure to add some leftover sauce to help keep the chicken moist.
- Or you can reheat the chicken quickly in the microwave.
- Also, you can serve it again as is or you can get creative. Use the leftover chicken as part of a grain bowl or on top of a salad. You could even mix the chicken into some pasta and add some peas or asparagus for a whole new meal.
I hope you give this a try for an easy, flavorful Instant Pot chicken thigh recipe that I think you’ll really love.
P.S. I’ve got more lemon chicken and more Instant Pot recipes coming up for you soon!
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- 1 ½ lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (OR sub black pepper for less heat)
- 1 ½ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or sub more olive oil)
- 1 small onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
- Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
- ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
To thicken sauce:
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a small bowl, combine the paprika, salt and red pepper flakes and stir to combine. Season the chicken thighs with the seasoning mixture.
- Heat the olive oil in the Instant Pot, set to sauté mode, and add the chicken thighs. (Work in batches if yours won’t fit comfortably in a single layer without being too crowded.) Sear the chicken thighs for 3-4 minutes, then flip and sear on the other side for an additional 3-4 minutes. Remove the chicken thighs to a plate and cover to keep warm.
- Add the butter to the Instant Pot insert and then add the chopped onion. Sauté for 5 minutes, then add the garlic, Italian seasoning, lemon zest and juice and chicken broth. Stir well to combine.
- Return the chicken thighs to the pot, turn to coat all sides, then cover the pot and set to high pressure for 7 minutes.
- When the cooking time is up, do natural release for 3 minutes then switch to a manual release.
- To thicken the sauce: Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl until well combined. Remove the chicken thighs from the Instant Pot and set aside. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce in the pot and whisk it in. Set the pot to sauté mode and allow the sauce to cook and thicken, whisking occasionally, for 4-5 minutes.
- Serve the chicken thighs with the sauce drizzled over the top.
For this recipe, you’ll sear the chicken thighs in the Instant Pot on the sear mode first and then they finish cooking under pressure. Searing the chicken really helps lock in the flavor, so don’t skip this step.
You could also try this recipe with boneless, skinless chicken breasts if you prefer.
I love the buttery richness with this sauce, but you could substitute extra-virgin olive oil for the butter if you prefer.
Lemon zest and fresh lemon juice are necessary here; this dish won’t taste the same if you use bottled lemon juice.
Feel free to sprinkle some fresh chopped herbs, such as parsley, over the cooked chicken if desired for serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 434Total Fat: 24gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 230mgSodium: 878mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 43g