Busy weeknights can make dinnertime a hassle. I need meals that are easy to prep and provide a warm, hearty meal for my family. Today’s Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken meets all the criteria for an easy and speedy dinner! It’s a dump and go meal with no chopping or prep work needed. A sweet homemade sauce and tender, flavorful chicken is just minutes away from your tabletop!
The prep time is LESS THAN 5 MINUTES and you don’t even have to defrost your chicken first! Also, this makes enough to easily feed a family of five with plenty of leftovers for a hot lunch! My whole family LOVES this meal. It’s a winner all around. You could also use the chicken (sans sauce) on our Chinese chicken salad.
Cooking the chicken in the instant pot is a guarantee that you will have moist, melt-in-your-mouth chicken and using chicken thighs means you get more flavor for less money! I will also include instructions for making the teriyaki chicken in the slow cooker. This is super easy, too, but there is a perk to cooking it in the instant pot. Once the chicken is done, you can remove the thighs from the pot, turn the instant pot to the saute setting, and you can thicken your sauce up right in the SAME POT! That means fewer dishes which is a major bonus, right?
Teriyaki Chicken Ingredients
- 2-3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs – I just love chicken thighs because they are always more tender and have more flavor. They work really well in the instant pot. You can even toss them in frozen!
- ½ cup teriyaki sauce – I like adding some extra flavor and liquid to our sauce without the excessive saltiness that we get from the soy sauce we’re adding.
- ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce – the soy sauce marinates and flavors the chicken and sauce; we’ll balance the saltiness with sweet, but we always use low-sodium soy sauce
- ⅔ cup brown sugar – this sweetens up the sauce to balance out the salty soy sauce
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced – garlic goes a long way to flavor both the meat and the sauce
- 1 Tbs. dried onion flakes – of course you can use freshly minced onion, but we use dried onion flakes to save time (and skip cutting board dishes)
- ½-inch chunk of fresh ginger, peeled and grated or ½ teaspoon dried ginger – using fresh ginger really adds some nice flavor, but ground ginger works well too to season the teriyaki sauce.
- 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch – we’ll use cornstarch to thicken up our sauce after the chicken is cooked
- sesame seeds (optional for garnish)
- green onions or chives (optional for garnish)
Making the Teriyaki Chicken in the Instant Pot:
- Place all ingredients except for cornstarch and garnish into the Instant Pot. (Chicken can be added straight from the freezer – no need to defrost.)
- Give everything a quick swirl.
- Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the release valve is set to seal.
- Set the instant pot on manual mode for 8 minutes. It will take several minutes for the pot to pressurize and then the chicken will cook for 8 minutes.
- When the pressure cycle completes, release the steam through the release valve for 5 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot so that you can thicken the sauce. If you’d like to toss the chicken onto a hot grill for just a minute on each side, you can get a bit of char and color, but this isn’t necessary.
- Stir 2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch with a small splash of water in a cup to make a slurry. The cornstarch will dissolve and the slurry will be smooth. You don’t want a lot of water because that just acts counter to the thickening that you’re going for. We make the slurry to prevent lumps when we stir the cornstarch into the hot sauce.
- Set the instant pot to the “Saute” setting. Stirring or whisking constantly, distribute the cornstarch mixture into the teriyaki sauce. Stir while it comes to a boil and begins to thicken. Let the sauce simmer for 2-3 minutes to make sure that the cornstarch is thoroughly cooked.
- Return the chicken to the pot or transfer the chicken and sauce to a serving plate and dinner is ready!
- Serve over rice and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions if you like.
Yes! You can definitely make a crockpot or slow cooker teriyaki chicken. Dump everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours. You will need to transfer the sauce to a pan on the stovetop to bring it up to a simmer. Add your cornstarch slurry and thicken just as you would in the instant pot.
Yes! I always forget to defrost my chicken ahead of time, but no worries! Add frozen chicken thighs directly to the pot with the other ingredients. Simply adjust the pressurized cook time to 14 minutes.
No problem. Follow the same recipe with your favorite cut of chicken. Chicken tenders or chicken breasts both work great in this recipe. Thicker chicken breasts should be cooked for 10 minutes.
Yes, you will need to increase the cooking time to 12 minutes.
Other Easy Weeknight Favorites
Instant Pot Chicken Teriyaki Recipe
Instant Pot Chicken Teriyaki
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup teriyaki sauce/marinade
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger or ½" chunk of fresh, peeled and chopped ginger
- 2-3 tablespoon cornstarch
- sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
- sliced green onions for garnish (optional)
- Place all ingredients except for cornstarch and garnish in Instant Pot.
- Set Instant pot to manual mode for 8 minutes.
- After the instant pot cycle completes, release steam through the valve. Remove cooked chicken to a serving bowl.
- Add a couple tablespoons of water to the cornstarch and stir until dissolved and smooth to make a slurry.
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the sauce and bring to a simmer.
- Whisk and cook sauce until it thickens and has simmered for 2-3 minutes.
- Pour sauce over the chicken and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.
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Comments & Reviews
Tried this recipe for kids and husband and it was a hit! It was easy to follow and make! I am always looking for quick, easy, and delicious dinners and this is definitely one I will use again! The recipe didn’t seem to be too salty with the measurements listed but I did use the less sodium soy sauce. I also used chicken breast instead of thighs because my husband doesn’t like to eat dark meat. I will try using the thighs at some point to see the difference. I also had it with brown rice, broccoli, and a vegetable egg roll. Simply delicious!
Sounds like such a good dinner!! I always use low sodium soy sauce, too.
Dawn Marie says
I made this tonight. The chicken was nice and tender. The only thing I’d change is not using 1/2 C soy sauce. It was on the salty side. I only used about 1/3 and even that was too salty. That’s the only thing I would change.
You’re right – it can get salty. I think it would be just fine to use less soy sauce, there’s still plenty of liquid. I also balance with the brown sugar – you could also add some honey. I’m glad you liked it!