Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken

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Instant Pot balsamic chicken the whole family will love. This recipe yields tender pieces of meat with crispy skin. A balsamic vinegar and tomato reduction is drizzled on top for a savory sweet sauce.

Instant Pot Balsamic chicken thighs with crispy skin in a large bowl

Instant Pot balsamic chicken is quickly tenderized under pressure for succulent pieces of meat with a flavorful sauce to drizzle on top. The multi-cooker allows for searing the skin of the chicken thighs to create a crispy surface while finishing the cooking in just 10 minutes.

The chicken is braised in a tomato and balsamic vinegar sauce, transferring the flavors into each bite. The sauce gets reduced in the same pot to concentrate the naturally sweet, tangy and savory flavors of the ingredients. This recipe will be a new Instant Pot favorite with fresh Italian flavors that everyone will enjoy!

Instant Pot cooking chicken thighs

The saute function on the Instant Pot has been a game-changer. It enables the cooker to add new textures and create flavors from Maillard browning, all in one vessel. I wouldn’t say that it’s better than a stainless steel pan for the color development and crunch on the chicken skin, but it’s an excellent alternative when you want to minimize cookware.

When cooking chicken thighs it’s important to sear the surface for not only taste, but it also helps to render the extra fat from that particular cut of meat. The drippings then melt into the pan, flavoring the braising liquid.

Instant Pot filled with balsamic vinegar braising liquid

Have you ever experienced the skin on the chicken sticking to the bottom of the pot? Just like using stainless steel pans, make sure that the Instant Pot is hot before adding the oil. Do not overcrowd and allow the skin to sear without moving until it releases from the surface on its own.

It may require a little nudging at the end, however, if you let it be, it should not overly stick. If there’s too much chicken added to the pot at one time, it’s prone to sticking because it’s not hot enough to create a crust to harden and be easily removed.

Closeup photo of balsamic chicken thighs

Once the chicken is seared, onions, tomatoes, and garlic are sauteed in the drippings. The onions lightly caramelize, the tomatoes cook down, and the garlic adds its aromatics. Chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, and fresh thyme are added to the pot to create a braising liquid for the chicken.

After the balsamic chicken is cooked under pressure for 10 minutes, the sauce gets reduced down until its thick enough to cling to the meat. This step also helps mellow out the acidic vinegar notes, accentuating the sweetness of the fermented and matured grapes which adds depth to the sauce.

White bowl on a table filled with a family-style chicken dinner

I like to take one extra step after the chicken has pressure cooked and the sauce is reducing. After braising in the hot and steamy environment, the skin loses its crispiness. You can leave it be, or if you like to eat crispy skin like my family, quickly turn on the broiler in the oven and let the skin dry up a bit and get it’s crunchy texture back. I promise, broiling is worth the time and adds a nice contrast to the juicy meat.

This Instant Pot balsamic chicken recipe is a tasty main dish, perfect for those cool evenings when you want a cozy and satisfying hot meal. It’s also great for Paleo and the Whole30 diet. Break out the multi-cooker and get ready for a mealtime hit!

More chicken recipes

Sear in batches

One limitation to the Instant Pot is that the circumference of the pot insert is not that large, so it’s best to work in batches for searing pieces of protein. The meat should not overlap. Otherwise, the food will steam instead of brown limiting the amount of color on the surface and extra flavor. Simply remove the seared food, allow the pot to heat up, add more oil if needed and continue to cook the next batch.

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Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken

Instant pot balsamic chicken yields tender pieces of meat and crispy skin. A balsamic vinegar and tomato reduction is drizzled on each piece of chicken for a savory sweet sauce.
Pin Print Review
4.12 from 63 votes
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time50 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Italian

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds bone-in chicken thighs
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • black pepper, as needed for seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup yellow onion, ¼-inch dice
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes, seeded and ½-inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup unsalted chicken broth
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Instructions 

  • Trim any excess fat and skin from the chicken thighs. Dry with paper towels and season on both sides with salt and pepper.
  • Press the "Saute" button on the Instant Pot. Press "Adjust" and select "More" setting. Once the display says "Hot", add the olive oil and allow to heat.
  • Once the oil is hot add the chicken skin-side down. Saute without moving until golden in color, 7 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes. Transfer to a clean plate.
  • Add onions and tomatoes, saute until tender, 3 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, ½ teaspoon salt and thyme, stir to combine.
  • Add chicken to the pot. Place lid on Instant Pot and turn to lock. Make sure the steam release handle is positioned to "sealing". Press the "Keep Warm/ Cancel" button.
  • Select the "manual" setting on "high pressure". Use the "- or +" button to adjust the time to 10 minutes.
  • It will take about 10 minutes for the pot to build steam and pressurize. You may see some traces of steam exit from the float valve as it is pressurizing.
  • Once the display indicates "On" and begins the countdown at "10", and beeps when the cycle is complete.
  • Cover your hand with an oven mitt or towel to carefully quick-release the pressure from the pot, sliding the steam release handle to the "Venting" position to release all of the steam until the float valve drops down.
  • Carefully open the lid. Press the "Keep Warm/ Cancel" button.
  • Transfer chicken skin-side up to a foil-lined sheet tray. Broil on high about 12-inches from the top of the oven to crisp the skin, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, press "saute" on the "more" setting. Simmer and stir until sauce is reduced and thickened, 8 to 9 minutes. The sauce should be reduced to about ¾ cup.
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve sauce with chicken and garnish with parsley.

Equipment

Notes

  • MAKE IT WHOLE30 AND PALEO: Use extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt.

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Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 277 Calories from Fat 90
% Daily Value*
Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 159mg53%
Sodium 321mg13%
Potassium 140mg4%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 34g68%
Vitamin A 100IU2%
Vitamin C 8.3mg10%
Calcium 20mg2%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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53 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Kelly says

    Hi, I made this last night, the only variance was red onion instead of yellow. I was doubtful after mixing everything because it didn’t smell like something I was going to like, however to my surprise it was absolutely delicious! Definitely, one I’m adding to my ‘frequent’ meal list.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Karen- I would still do 10 minutes on high pressure, cover the vent with a towel and do quick release of the pressure. See how that goes, and please let me know. Thanks!

  2. Tracy Darling says

    I want to make this, but with chicken breasts instead. Is that possible and how would the cooking time in an instant pot change?

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Tracy- I would cook the breast for 3 minutes, flip and cook another three, and then use the same pressure cooking time. Give that a try and let me know hot it goes.

  3. Mary says

    I made this in my Instant Pot—and it was a huge hit. Will be a regular at our house. We love chicken thighs. Will also serve it to company—this is not a typical recipe that you would find in a restaurant—-so something special to have at a dinner party with Italian potatoes and garlic bread. Can’t wait to make it again!

  4. Donna Frost says

    Thanks for a great recipe. I accidentally bought two bottles of maple balsamic vinegar so I used that instead of regular balsamic. Because of the maple flavor, I did not use any tomato so the recipe was more Asian than Italian. Definitely delicious and will make again. I needed to drain oil out of reduced sauce because it separated out. To serve, I placed cooked thighs skin side down to get a nice coating of sauce and then turned skin side up.

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