Instant Pot honey garlic chicken recipe is ready in 30 minutes! Use thighs or breasts and serve with rice and veggies for a healthy, quick and easy weeknight dinner. It’s gluten free and dairy free too!
When I crave Chinese food, I know that ordering take-out will hurt my wallet and hurt my belly.
This might sound cliché, but I’m pretty sure this honey garlic chicken is BETTER than anything you could possibly order from take-out.
And because it’s made in the Instant Pot, this easy recipe can be ready in a total of 30 minutes! Can I get a high five to adding another 30-minute meal to our repertoire?!
Why Make Honey Garlic Chicken in the Instant Pot?
I’ve seen recipes for slow cooker honey garlic chicken and baked honey garlic chicken. But honestly, if I’m craving take-out, I want it to taste BETTER than take-out.
And boy does this recipe over achieve!
Using the Instant Pot really makes the flavors come together. (I have this one!) The chicken gets cooked just perfectly and the sauce is AMAZING!
Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe
Let’s talk about why this great chicken recipe should be on your meal plan this week!
You need two basic ingredients:
Number one, Chicken.
You have a lot of different options when it comes to chicken. Use what works with your budget and family preferences.
- I used skinless boneless chicken thighs from Costco. It comes in a 3-pack and one of those packages weighs just over 2 pounds. It’s the perfect amount of chicken to feed my family of four AND have several lunches leftover.
- You can substitute chicken breasts, but reduce the cooking time by a minute. Substituting with what you have is a GREAT way to save money on food. Use this FREE Master Substitution List to learn over 200 ways to substitute!
- If you’re like me and sometimes forget to thaw the meat, you can use frozen chicken. Skip cutting the meat in the first step. Then continue with the cooking instructions as listed. No need to cook longer. (The Instant Pot is a life saver!!)
- You can use shredded chicken in this recipe, too! One of my time savers in the kitchen is to batch cook a whole chicken. After cooking, I shred and save portions in the freezer for later. Follow the instructions below for making the sauce separate. Then mix in the shredded chicken and heat until warmed through.
Number two, sauce.
Somehow honey + soy sauce + garlic powder + sriracha + ketchup makes a CRAZY GOOD sauce that the family loves. Let’s break it down:
- Honey. Gives just enough sweet and sticky without making you feel like you ate a ton of sugar for dinner. Use pasteurized honey (i.e. NOT raw honey) because you’re going to cook it and you’ll lose the benefits of the raw enzymes anyway.
- Soy Sauce. Whether you usually use soy sauce, liquid aminos or coconut aminos, it all works the same.
- Garlic Powder. I tested this recipe with fresh garlic and it wasn’t nearly as good. In fact, almost every Instant Pot recipe that I’ve made that calls for fresh garlic, falls flat. My non-scientific opinion is that the pressure cooking method doesn’t really allow the garlic to fully blossom in flavor.
- Sriracha. This hot sauce gives the sauce a nice little kick!**
- Ketchup. I never would have thought to use ketchup for the sauce, but it’s a definite must. The ketchup knocks it out of the park!
** If your kids are super sensitive to spicy foods, you might want to omit the sriracha in the recipe itself and serve it at the table instead. On the flip side, my daughter can’t tolerate spicy foods well, but she LOVES this meal. It doesn’t bother her at all! Use your best judgement, but remember once you add in the spice, you can’t take it out!
What to serve with Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken
I like to make this Instant Pot honey garlic chicken recipe with brown rice and roasted broccoli.
- I typically make big batches of Instant Pot brown rice. Then I freeze them in 4 cup portions in quart-size plastic bags. When I need rice, I can just pull one bag out the night before and the rice is already done.
- Roasted broccoli takes 15-20 minutes in the oven, which means it will cook as the chicken cooks too. Plus roasted broccoli doesn’t run the risk of getting mushy as steamed broccoli does.
- Other side options include: crispy cauliflower rice, 5 minute asparagus, Instant Pot Quinoa, or Instant Pot Steamed Vegetables! (You can find more about cooking multiple Instant Pot dishes at once HERE.)
Can you freeze Honey Garlic Chicken?
Simply mix up the sauce with the raw chicken and put it in a freezer-safe bag or container. Label and store in the freezer for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to cook, dump it in the Instant Pot and follow the rest of the recipe as written.
In fact, when you make this, I HIGHLY recommend doubling it and putting half in the freezer for later! You can use this dump dinner freezer cooking meal plan and this guide to planing a freezer cooking session to help!
(Also check out this incredible Freezer Cooking Bundle for more recipes, shopping lists, and meal plans. You can fill your freezer with healthy meals for your family!)
What to do with leftover honey garlic chicken?
My family loves to eat up leftovers for lunches. Honey garlic chicken reheats really well! You can heat it in a large skillet on the stovetop over medium heat, or in the Instant Pot. Use the Saute function and stir until warmed through.
I’m not sure how well leftover honey garlic chicken will freeze. Unlike homemade Italian meatballs that freeze well AFTER cooking, this meal is better frozen before cooking. If I’m going to make a freezer meal out of it, I use the instructions listed above.
This meal is so good though, that I doubt you’ll even reach the recommended maximum fridge time for leftover food!
Is Honey Garlic Chicken Healthy?
Absolutely! One of the best reasons to make food from scratch is because you can control the ingredients.
To make honey garlic chicken, you get to pick out the quality of chicken (such as conventional, organic, or free-range). If you can’t find the quality of meat you desire at your local stores, try Butcher Box. They offer grass-fed beef, pastured pork, and free-range organic chicken delivered to your door for prices better than local!
You can check ingredient labels on your sriracha and ketchup to make sure they don’t contain high-fructose corn syrup. HFCS is one of the top five ingredients we avoid in food.
Tapioca starch or arrowroot powder also work in place of cornstarch if you need to make it corn-free.
Tips for Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken
Instant Pot Timing: Instant Pots really aren’t “instant.” (Read more about that in 20+ Things to Know Before You Buy an Instant Pot.) They require time to come to pressure, time to cook, and then time to release pressure. When I timed this recipe and it took about:
- 20 minutes to pressurize
- 7 minutes to cook
- and less than 5 minutes to release pressure.
When it comes to measuring the sauce, use a 1-cup measuring glass. I pour the honey in first (to the 1/3 cup line), then the soy sauce (to the 2/3 cup line). Next I add the garlic and sriracha sauce and ketchup until it gets to the 1 cup mark. It comes out to about 1/4 cup of ketchup, but it’s MUCH easier to measure the ingredients this way. And you’re left with just one dishwasher-friendly dish!
When you make the cornstarch slurry, re-use the measuring glass! Fewer dishes is always a good thing, and you aren’t contaminating anything by re-using the glass for the cornstarch slurry. You’re just being efficient!
What kind of Instant Pot do you use? I have the 8 quart DUO 7 in 1 Instant Pot.
How to Make Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
You can make this recipe in a slow cooker too! Follow these instructions:
- Skip cutting the chicken. Place in the slow cooker whole.
- Mix all of the sauce ingredients except cornstarch and water in a bowl. Pour over the chicken.
- Add the lid and cook on low for 4-5 hours or high for 2-3 hours until chicken is cooked through and tender.
- Remove chicken from crock pot and set aside. Mix cornstarch and water in a bowl and add to the sauce in the slow cooker.
- Turn heat to high and let simmer for 15 minutes or until desired thickness. Cut or shred chicken and return to the slow cooker. Mix to coat.
- Serve with rice and broccoli!
How to Make Honey Garlic Sauce
- Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl or mug.
- Add honey, soy sauce, garlic powder, sriracha, and ketchup to Instant Pot. Set on Saute to heat. (Or in a small saucepan on the stove over medium high heat.)
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 1-2 minutes.
- Add cornstarch slurry to thicken and stir until desired consistency.
- Serve over your favorite meat or vegetables.
Do you need some other easy healthy chicken dinner recipes?
- Sweet and Sour Chicken (with homemade sauce!)
- Chinese 5 Spice Chicken
- Bacon Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps
- Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
- Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
Watch How to Make Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken
- 1½ - 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)*
- ⅓ cup honey
- ⅓ cup soy sauce (I use liquid aminos)
- 3 tsp granulated garlic
- 1½ tsp Sriacha
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 Tbsp corn starch
- 2 Tbsp water
- Cut the chicken into 1" pieces and place in the Instant Pot (or pressure cooker).
- Add the remaining ingredients - except the cornstarch and water - to the Instant Pot. Use a spoon to stir well.
- Close the Instant Pot and turn the vent knob to "seal."
- Cook on "high" for 7 minutes. When the timer goes off, release the pressure by turning the venting knob to "venting." Be careful - hot steam will come out!
- Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch and water together in a small mug (or reuse the glass measuring cup from making the sauce).
- When the pressure is fully released, remove the lid and set aside.
- Press the "saute" button. When the liquid begins to bubble, add the cornstarch slurry and stir well to incorporate.
- Let it cook for about 1-2 minutes, and then press "cancel" to turn the Instant Pot off. The sauce will continue to thicken slightly as it cools.
- Serve with rice and vegetables, or however else you'd like! (I like sprinkling sesame seeds on too!)