These Teriyaki Chicken Thighs are juicy, tender, and coated with a sweet and sticky sauce that’s irresistible. They’re cooked in an Instant Pot, so they’re easy to make and cooked to perfection.
Teriyaki sauce is one of those foods that I could eat every day and never get tired of it. There’s something so special about the sweet, tangy, sticky, and salty sauce. This recipe for teriyaki chicken thighs feature a homemade sauce packed with ginger, honey, and soy sauce, and the flavors are dynamic.
But the secret to the perfect chicken thighs is the Instant Pot. Not only does that make it easy to cook, but it allows the chicken to really absorb the teriyaki sauce. Most teriyaki chicken recipes are just covered in sauce, but these juicy thighs get to pressure cook in it, so they’re extra flavorful. Plus, the Instant Pot ensures that the chicken is super tender and moist. If you like Asian chicken then you have got to try this recipe.
Ingredients for Chicken Teriyaki
Here are all the ingredients (and possible substitutions) you need to make this tender Instant Pot chicken recipe. Scroll to the printable recipe card at the bottom of this article to see the exact amount for each of the ingredients.
- Spices: Garlic powder, onion powder, fresh ground ginger and salt
- Chicken thighs – You want to use bone-in, skin-on thighs for this recipe.
- Butter: salted or unsalted butter works in this recipe. If using salted butter
- Sesame oil: rich and savory toasted sesame seed oil adds depth and flavor to the recipe.
- Honey: another liquid sweetener such as maple syrup or this sugar free syrup will also work.
- Ketchup: don’t worry, this dish doesn’t taste like ketchup, this just adds depth to the sauce and balances the sweet and savory components nicely.
- Soy sauce: You can replace the soy sauce with tamari if needed.
- Sesame seeds: These are an optional garnish.
How to Make Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
Here’s how to make this delicious and juicy chicken. It only takes 30 minutes to have delicious, tender chicken.
Season and Sear the Chicken
Make the spice rub by adding the garlic powder, onion powder, and salt to a small bowl, and mix to combine. Next, pat the chicken dry with paper towels. This step is essential because you cannot get a good sear on meat if the surface contains a lot of moisture. Instead, that moisture will result in steam when you cook the meat which in turn steams instead of searing the meat.
Next, season the meat on both sides with the spice rub. Turn your Instant Pot onto the sauté function, and add the butter and sesame oil. Add the chicken and sear until golden brown, about 4-5 minutes. Then flip the meat and sear the other side until golden brown, which should take another 4-5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot.
Make the Teriyaki Sauce
Put the honey, soy sauce, ketchup, and ginger in a bowl, and stir together. Pour the sauce into the Instant Pot and use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape off any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Turn off the Instant Pot.
Add the Chicken and Pressure Cook
Put the chicken back in the Instant Pot, and toss until it’s well coated in the teriyaki sauce. Seal the Instant Pot lid (and pressure valuve if you have an older model that doesn’t do it manually), and pressure cook the chicken on high for 15 minutes. If you are new to the Instant Pot it can be a little confusing.
Naturally Release Pressure
Once the cooking cycle has ended allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 5 minutes, then CAREFULLY use the venting knob to release the rest of the pressure. Remove the chicken from the pot. Let the meat rest for 5 minutes, then pour the sauce over each piece of chicken.
Serve this chicken immediately. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds and chopped green onions if desired. Some great side dish options include Crispy Brussels Sprout Fried Rice, Air Fryer Egg Rolls, or these amazing Sesame Noodles. If you want a nice easy veggie these Air Fryer Brussels Sprouts are paired with an Asian dipping sauce that is very similar to Yum Yum sauce, it is excellent with this chicken!
Storage and Reheating
Leftover teriyaki chicken will last for 3 days in the fridge. Just make sure to store it in an airtight container. You can reheat the thighs in a 350F oven for 10 minutes, or in the microwave in 30-second increments.
Tips & Tricks
- Really brown the meat. It’s important to really brown both sides of the chicken thighs before pressure cooking the meat. Searing the thighs gives them so much more flavor while also trapping in all of their liquids. Make sure you’re patient with the thighs, and cook them long enough that both sides are a rich golden brown.
- Adjust the time based on the meat. Chicken thighs are usually all a similar size, but sometimes thighs can be really big. If you’re using larger chicken thighs, then pressure cook this recipe for an additional 3 minutes.
- Use bone-in thighs. Most people cook with boneless chicken thighs, but I strongly recommend using bone-in thighs. The bones give chicken so much more flavor, and that’s especially true when you’re pressure cooking. Simply put, bone-in chicken thighs will have a lot more flavor than boneless chicken thighs in this teriyaki recipe.
- Toss the meat in the sauce. If you’re serving these thighs as an entree, then simply pour the leftover sauce over the meat. However, if you’re cutting the chicken up into pieces for a sandwich, wrap, or salad, then you can add a little bit of extra flavor. Reserve the sauce, and cut up the meat. Place it in a bowl, then add the teriyaki sauce and toss until each piece of chicken is well coated. There will be so much flavor in each bite.
Definitely! Let the chicken thighs cool completely, then store them in an airtight container in the freezer for 3 months. Defrost or thaw the chicken completely before you reheat it.
Yes, but the cooking times will likely be different.
This recipe only contains one possible ingredient that would be an issue. Be sure to choose a gluten free soy sauce such as La Choy to make this dish gluten free.
No, this dish is not spicy, it is sweet and savory.
Other Asian Chicken Recipes
Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 chicken thighs bone-in, and skin-on
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup honey sugar free maple syrup if keto
- 1/2 cup ketchup sugar free if keto
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- Sesame seeds optional for garnish
- In a small bowl, combine the garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge, and pat dry with paper towels. Season with the seasoning mixture and set aside.
- In your Instant Pot, heat the butter and sesame oil using the sauté function. Add the chicken thighs, and sear for 4-5 minutes until golden brown. Flip the chicken, and sear the other side for 4-5 minutes. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and set aside.
- In a small bowl, stir together the honey, ketchup, soy sauce, and ginger. Pour it into the Instant Pot, and scrape the brown bits at the bottom of the pot to prevent the burn notice.
- Press “cancel” on the Instant Pot.
- Add the chicken back to the pot and toss in the sauce.
- Close the lid and turn the venting knob to “sealing”. Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes.
- Once 15 minutes is complete, allow for a 5-minute natural release. Release the pressure using the venting knob, and remove the chicken from the Instant Pot, reserving the liquid at the bottom of the pot.
- Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes, then pour the sauce over the chicken, garnish with sesame seeds, and serve!
- It’s important to sear for 4-5 minutes on each side, otherwise, the chicken does not completely cook through. If you have particularly large chicken thighs, I would recommend pressure cooking for 18 minutes.
- Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge. This chicken tastes amazing on its own, but it’s also great shredded over rice and on salads, too!
- Pour the reserved liquid from the bottom of the Instant Pot over the chicken for extra flavor!
- If you need to double this recipe, I would recommend doing so in batches to ensure properly cooked chicken.