How to Cook Boneless Chicken Thighs in the Electric Pressure Cooker

If I had to pick just one cut of chicken to live off of for the rest of my life, it might have to be the thigh.

Vertical image of a plate with seasoned meat pieces next to a salad on a red towel in front of silverware and a kitchen appliance, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

When I was growing up, the thigh was always the piece I would fight for, with my uncles and cousins vying for it as well. There weren’t a ton of us who loved it, but those of us who did… Well, we really wanted that cut of meat.

But it wasn’t until I was out of college that I learned just how versatile it could be.

This is the number one cut of poultry that I use for everything from tacos to braising, stews, and so much more. I think it has a lot more flavor than the breast, and it just so happens that it’s quicker to cook if you are working with a boneless cut.

On a weeknight, knowing how to make boneless thighs in the electric pressure cooker is a serious time saver. I love to pair these with a grain and vegetable for a simple complete meal, but like I said before, there’s tons that you can do with them.

Here’s everything we’ll cover in this how-to guide:

Can I Use Frozen Thighs?

Of course you can! Here are a few tips for when you are using frozen instead of fresh poultry for this preparation.

Vertical image of a blue plate with pieces of seasoned meat next to a side salad on a red towel in front of another plate, a glass, and silverware.

First, make sure the pieces are separated, and not frozen together. This will help with the cooking process so everything is cooked all the way through.

Second, skip the browning step described below, as frozen pieces will not brown.

Finally, instead of rubbing the seasoning all over, sprinkle the seasoning on top of the pieces after you place them on the trivet. The rub won’t stick as easily as it does to fresh thighs, so this is the best workaround.

Can I Use Bone-In Thighs?

You can do this by following the same method outlined here, making sure to take into account the tips on working with frozen food if that is what you are using.

Adjust the cooking time to 10 minutes instead of 8 minutes on high pressure for fresh, or 20 minutes instead of 15 minutes for frozen.

Read our guide for more pro tips on how to pressure cook bone-in thighs.

Why Should I Brown Them First?

When it comes to boneless thighs, you want to make sure to brown them before cooking because it helps to add extra flavor and a golden color to the meat.

Vertical image of a black plate with simply prepared meat pieces on a red towel in front of a kitchen appliance.

This is a step that I don’t recommend skipping, because it really helps the pieces to come out extra juicy as well. However, if you opt to use them frozen rather than defrosting them first, you will have to forego it.

Can I Use the Leftover Liquid?

The leftover liquid can be used to make a flavorful pan sauce, if you like.

Reduce the liquid in the insert on the Saute setting for about 5 to 7 minutes, then strain it and season to taste. Serve with the poultry.

How to Cook Boneless Chicken Thighs in the Electric Pressure Cooker

If you haven’t been cooking your poultry this way already, your life is about to change.

Vertical top-down image of blue plate with pieces of simply prepared meat next to a side salad on a red towel next to a glass and silverware.

Not only will it help to save time, this method ensures that the meat comes out perfectly juicy and moist.

It’s nice to have a guarantee like that to rely on when dinnertime rolls around, am I right?

Step 1 – Measure Ingredients and Season Chicken

To begin, gather and measure all of your ingredients. You will need:

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 6, fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup water or chicken broth

Add the garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper to a small bowl, and stir to combine.

Horizontal image of raw pieces of poultry lightly covered in seasoning on a dark blue plate.

Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pieces on all sides.

Step 2 – Saute

If you are using fresh thighs, add the olive oil to the insert of your electric pressure cooker.

Set to Saute, and once the oil is hot, add the pieces to the insert. The oil should be shimmering, but not smoking.

Horizontal image of searing pieces of seasoned meat in a pot.

Sear for about 4 minutes per side, until both sides are browned. Transfer to a plate.

Skip this step if you are using frozen poultry.

Step 3 – Pressure Cook

Turn off the pressure cooker and add the water or broth.

Horizontal image of pieces of meat in an Instant Pot insert.

Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom if you browned them (or skip this if you are using frozen).

Place a trivet in the bottom of the insert, and set the seasoned pieces on top.

Close the lid, set to Manual, and cook on High pressure for 8 minutes for fresh, or 15 minutes for frozen.

Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes. Manually release any remaining pressure.

Remove the chicken thighs, transfer them to a serving platter, and either use the liquid to make a pan sauce or discard it.

Side Dish Suggestions

Chicken is probably the easiest meat to pair with sides because it goes with basically everything.

Horizontal image of two plates with pieces of meat and a side salad on a red towel next to glasses and silverware.

Here are a few of my favorite ideas to start with, if you need some inspiration:

You can also shred the meat and use it in tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.

And you can even incorporate it into pasta if you wish. This is a tasty way to use it throughout the week if you are meal prepping your lunches.

How Long Will This Last in the Refrigerator?

Got leftovers? Not a problem!

Horizontal image of a plate with pieces of meat and salad on top of a red towel next to silverware in front of a kitchen appliance.

Just cool the poultry completely before storing it in an airtight container. It will keep for about 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.

What side will you serve these easy-peasy chicken thighs with? Tell us below in the comments.

And for more how-to guides to prepare delicious chicken in the electric pressure cooker, check out the following:

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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