How To: Cook Instant Pot Chicken Thighs – Fresh, Frozen, Bone in & Boneless


I love chicken thighs…

They’re flavorful, often on sale, and they freeze well. I instantly started cooking them in my Instant Pot and figured out the cooking guidelines for speedy meal prep.

Factors When Cooking Chicken Thighs

  1. Fresh vs Frozen – fresh chicken obviously will cook much faster than frozen
  2. Thickness / Overall size of frozen chicken (the thicker the chicken, the longer it will take for the core to reach temperature)
  3. Wether browned before pressure cooking or not (browning can remove a few minutes from your pressure cooking time)
  4. Wether bone-in or boneless (bone-in requires a few extra minutes)

Cooking Frozen Chicken Thighs

  1. Avoid very thick frozen chicken thighs, especially if they are bone in. Also, do not freeze multiple thighs together and try throwing them into the pot as a frozen brick. This will dramatically increase your cooking time. Use a meat mallet to break them apart first, do NOT ever use a knife to pick apart frozen meat. Never ever! Please just smack the frozen meat with a mallet.
  2. use 1 cup of liquid for every pound of frozen thighs – I have stuck to this rule with great success. For some instances you will result in more resulting liquid than is desired for your end product. You can then easily drain some of the liquid off, or set the pot to sauté mode to reduce the liquid into a thicker sauce. I often reserve a cup of a cooking liquid to cook a cup of rice with next.
  3. Limit your cooks to 2 pounds of thighs. Anything more will take quite a while to reach pressure, and at that point you may as well use a slow cooker recipe instead.
  4. Expect frozen thighs to take around 30 to 40 minutes from start to finish to cook. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to reach pressure, and your cooking time may range from 20 to 30 minutes, depending if you want to quick release directly afterwards, which may take up to 5 minutes, or allow the Instant Pot to release naturally, which can take around 15 minutes. Keep in mind that food continues to cook in that carryover cooking time period. This is why you should factor your pressure release method into your cooking time. There is a slight art to using the Instant Pot accurately, which you will get a hang for after cooking with it a few times.
  5. Remember to check the internal temperature of your thighs post cooking with a kitchen thermometer. Your core internal temperature should be 165°F. If your chicken has not reached temperature, set your Instant pot to saute mode, adjust the temperature to high, and finish off cooking your chicken until it reaches temperature.

There is ultimately convenience in being able to take chicken thighs from the back of your freezer to a plate in 40 minutes, I am still more likely to cook a frozen chicken breast or two when in a last minute meal pinch. With that said, it’s still nice to know that you can get a frozen chicken thigh based meal ready in under 45 minutes flat.

finalcooktemp_165

Cooking Fresh Chicken Thighs

  1. Fresh chicken thighs work wonderfully with the Instant Pot. Browning them in sauté mode enhances flavors, and in turn reduces the time required in pressure cooking mode.
  2. For boneless thighs that I brown, I can then use as little as 8 minutes at pressure.
  3. For bone-in thighs, I typically add 2 extra minutes (per pound.)
  4. I always quick release my pressure. If I were to walk away from the Instant Pot to let in release naturally and sit in warming mode, I would shave cooking time off to account for carryover cooking.
  5. Remember to check the internal temperature of your thighs post cooking with a kitchen thermometer. Your core internal temperature should be 165°F. If your chicken has not reached temperature, set your Instant pot to saute mode, adjust the temperature to high, and finish off cooking your chicken until it reaches temperature.

 

Using Bone-In Chicken Thighs

I often purchase bone-in chicken thighs. They often go on sale, and ultimately pack more flavor than their boneless counterpart. With that said, they take a tad longer to reach temperature. I will add an extra minute or two per pound when using fresh bone-in thighs, and add another 4 minutes for frozen bone-in thighs. The important part is getting the core to 165°F before you pull the messy-looking chicken off of the bones .

 

Last Minute vs. Grill vs. Oven

  • When cooking fresh chicken thighs with the Instant Pot, you can complete the whole process in 30 to 40 minutes flat, with all of that hands-off cooking time.
  • Using a grill last minute requires the 10 minutes or so for the grill to pre-heat, and then another 20 minutes or so for the chicken to reach temperature. Slight time advantage grill, although a completely different cooking style, that saves you about 10 minutes, albeit with more hands-on cooking time.
  • Using an oven last minute will also take you 10 to 15 minutes to pre-heat, and up to 45 minutes to bake. Slight time advantage Instant Pot. Again a different cooking style, yet the Instant Pot wins for last minute food prep.
Summary
Recipe Name
Instant Pot Chicken Thighs - Fresh & Frozen
Published On
Preparation Time
Cook Time
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Average Rating
2 Based on 8 Review(s)
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Easy How To: Instant Pot Chicken Thighs - Fresh - Frozen - Bone in - Boneless
How to cook fresh and frozen chicken thighs in your Instant Pot pressure cooker.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine PROTEIN
Prep Time 1 Minutes
Cook Time 5 Minutes
Passive Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Course Main Dish
Cuisine PROTEIN
Prep Time 1 Minutes
Cook Time 5 Minutes
Passive Time 30 Minutes
Servings
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Use 1 cup of water or liquid per pound of chicken thighs, cooking a maximum of 2 pounds at a time.
  2. Brown fresh thighs on sauté mode to gain flavoring, and cutting down your pressure cooking time.
  3. For fresh thighs that you brown, cook on high pressure for another 8 minutes before quick releasing. If bone-in, cook for 10 minutes. When cooking 2 pounds, increase your cooking time to 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Expect your Instant Pot to take 10 minutes to reach pressure and begin the cooking program.
  5. For frozen thighs, cook on high pressure for 20 minutes for boneless, and 25 for bone in. If cooking 2 pounds, increase cooking times to 25 and 30 minutes, respectively.
  6. Perform a quick-release of the pressure, testing the chicken with a thermometer to ensure it has reached 165F.
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How To: Cook Instant Pot Chicken Thighs – Fresh, Frozen, Bone in & Boneless

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