I know, it’s so hard to choose; crock pot honey garlic chicken or instant pot honey garlic chicken. I mean, one takes hours of cooking, and the other makes it all in minutes. But the instant pot is possibly my new favorite way to cook. I do really love my crock pot, but this pressure cooker/instant pot thingamajig is a game-changer.

This easy recipe for Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken is packed with so much flavor and requires very little effort. With just a handful of ingredients, this dish continues to be one of my go-to’s because it’s low maintenance and it’s fall-off-the-bone amazing.

Clearly, I’m not talking just any old chicken here. I’m talking about the kind of garlic chicken that hits that perfect spot between sweet and savory, tender and juicy. Also, it can be made in about 20 minutes and that just makes my heart sing for joy! What’s more is that I always make extra so that I have at least some leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

Gosh… There is not one single thing I don’t love about this type of food.

Anyone who reads this site regularly knows there are two things that I absolutely love. The first is my new Instant Pot. I’ve only had it about a year, but I’ve already used it to make shredded chicken, beef stew, steamed artichokes, and a bunch of pasta dishes – and the list just keeps growing.

The other thing I really love is honey garlic sauce. I use it for meatballs, cocktail weenies, shrimp lo mein…even carrots. No matter what you put it on, it’s delicious.

So it was only a matter of time before I decided to put these two wonderful things together. And sure enough, wonderful plus wonderful adds up to REALLY wonderful. This Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken is a Chinese-style dish bursting with honey-garlic flavor. And because you make it in the Instant Pot, it’s also really quick to make.

Once you’ve prepared the sauce, you can move onto browning the chicken thighs right inside your instant pot. One pot = one meal, and less dishes to wash.

I chose to use bone-in chicken thighs thus could only fit 4 at a time inside my instant pot, but if you go with boneless thighs, you can definitely get 6 to 8 thighs in there at once.

And once them thighs are done browning-up, an introduction to their cooking liquid will follow:

Step one, mix up the sauce, pour it over the meat, and cook for 20 minutes. Step two, take out the meat and thicken the sauce. And step three, cut up the meat and toss it with the sauce. Boom, done. Served over rice with a sprinkling of sesame seeds and green onions, it’s a super-flavorful Chinese meal that takes less time than ordering takeout.


  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken thighs (4 chicken thighs)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • Chopped parsley (optional)


  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons water or chicken broth preferred
  • 3 dashes cayenne pepper


  1. Wash and rinse the chicken thighs with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Set aside. Mix all the ingredients in the Sauce together, stir to mix well. Make sure the honey and sugar are completely dissolved. Set aside.
  2. Turn on the Saute mode on your Instant Pot. As soon as the pot is heated, add 1/2 tablespoon of the cooking oil. Pan sear the chicken thighs (skin side down first) until both sides turn nicely brown. Add the remaining cooking oil and saute the garlic a little bit. Pour in the sauce and cover the lid. Cover the pot and select Manual and set to High pressure for 10 minutes.
  3. When it beeps, turn to Quick Release. When the valve drops, remove the lid carefully, add the chopped parsley and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

  • I used a 6-quart Instant Pot. The Sauce in the recipe equals to 8 tablespoons of liquid content, which is 1/2 cup, the min amount of liquid for Instant Pot. If you don't have an Instant Pot, you can make this honey garlic chicken in a slow cooker, or on your stove top. If you use a slow cooker, make sure not to overcook it.
  • Use high heat and cook for 3 hours. For stove top, just pan-fry the chicken and then add in the Sauce. Simmer on low heat and cook until the chicken meat is tender.

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