This Instant Pot honey garlic chicken is the perfect weeknight meal. Toss a handful of ingredients in your pressure cooker, walk away, and have a delicious, better-than-takeout dinner on the table in 30 minutes.
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I do not have the time or energy for fancy dinners these days. Still, I don’t want to settle for mediocre-tasting food, nor do I want to spend a ton of money to buy already prepared meals or take-out all the time.
Call me picky, but I want it all: a healthy, delicious, home-cooked meal that I can have on the table in 30 minutes from start to finish.
Is that too much to ask?
It’s really not! This Instant Pot honey garlic chicken proves that it’s possible.
I’ve been playing around with this recipe for months, and I’m excited to finally share it with you. It’s the perfect Asian-inspired weeknight meal–bold, family-friendly, and so EASY!
And by easy I mean that even if you forget to thaw the chicken ahead of time, you can cook this meal straight from frozen (just adjust the cooking time accordingly…it’s all in the instructions below).
Pro tip: For optimum efficiency, get the chicken started in the IP, then set your rice cooking. That way, both will finish about the same time. My rice cooker even has a steamer basket on top, so I usually toss some baby carrots in it and they cook along with the rice.
Side note: This rice cooker is really similar to mine. I LOVE the steamer basket and use it all the time to make side dishes to go with Asian-inspired meals.
Then I WALK AWAY.
While dinner cooks, I can do dishes, fold laundry, help kids with homework, or just hide in a quiet corner and read my book for 20 minutes until it’s done. Brilliant!
Once the time’s up on the Instant Pot, I take a few minutes to thicken the sauce, shred the chicken, and voila…dinner is done!
And in case you’re wondering…
Can I freeze this meal?
Yes! This honey garlic chicken freezes beautifully, and you’ve got options on how to do it.
Option 1: Mix together all the sauce ingredients that cook in the Instant Pot (basically everything except the cornstarch) and pour them into a freezer bag with some fresh (not frozen) chicken). Then throw it in the freezer. The chicken will marinate as it freezes and yield an extra flavorful chicken.
When you’re ready to cook, just cut open the bag and dump the chicken and frozen sauce into the Instant Pot. Cook on manual mode (HIGH) for 18 minutes. Follow the recipe below from that point.
Option 2: Cook the meal from start to finish according to the normal recipe, and then freeze the final product either in a large freezer bag or in smaller individual portions, as desired.
Reheat using your favorite method. You can microwave it, put it back in the Instant Pot, or cook it on the stove until the chicken is heated through.
How I do it…Whenever I make this meal, I try to double it and freeze half for later. Usually, I buy a big package of fresh chicken, and then mix up two batches of the sauce. I cook one immediately to serve for dinner, and then I freeze the other (using option #1) for later. It’s hardly any extra effort up front, but it makes for a super easy meal another day.
Related: Easy, make-ahead chicken marinades
This is such a hands-off meal; it’s truly wonderful.
I make no apologies for my enthusiasm…I get very excited about things that taste good and make my life easier.
It’s been making regular appearances in our meal planning calendar, and I hope it makes busy weeknights a little easier for you.
- 2 pounds chicken breast (fresh or frozen)
- 2/3 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/3 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger (or fresh grated ginger)
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- Sesame seeds (garnish)
- Green onion, sliced (garnish)
- Place chicken on the bottom of the Instant Pot. If your chicken breasts are really large, you can cut them into chicken tender sized pieces to ensure even cooking.
- In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine soy sauce, water, honey, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and ginger. Stir to combine, and pour over chicken in Instant Pot.
- Cook on Manual mode (HIGH), and set timer for 8 minutes if chicken is fresh/thawed, or 18 minutes if chicken is frozen.
- When timer goes off, quick release and then remove chicken to a bowl.
- Turn the Instant Pot to sauté. Scoop out about 3 Tablespoons of the liquid from the pot into a small bowl and whisk in 3 Tablespoons cornstarch. Once combined, add mixture back to the Instant Pot and simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally (2-3 minutes).
- While sauce thickens, shred chicken roughly (don't make the pieces too small) then pour the thickened sauce over the chicken in a serving bowl. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onion if desired.
- Serve over rice with steamed veggies.
Want more easy weeknight meals? Try these:
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Dinner
- Easy lasagna skillet (one pot meal)
- Easy BBQ Sloppy Joes (30-minute meal)
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