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 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken
- 1 ½ pounds (680 g) bone-in chicken thighs
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
- black pepper, as needed for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- ½ cup (66 g) yellow onion, ¼-inch dice
- 1 cup (114 g) diced tomatoes, seeded and ½-inch dice
- 1 teaspoon (3 g) minced garlic
- ½ cup (120 ml) unsalted chicken broth
- ¼ cup (60 ml) balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons (2 g) chopped thyme
- 1 tablespoon (5 g) chopped parsley
- 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.
- MAKE IT WHOLE30 AND PALEO: Use extra-virgin olive oil and sea salt.