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Instant pot garlic sesame chicken

Making meals in the Instant Pot is fun and easy. We like a good and easy meal like our popular Instant Pot Orange Chicken, Instant Pot Mongolian Beef and Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken.

Instant Pot Garlic Sesame Chicken is quickly becoming my go to weeknight meal! I love using my Instant Pot to make easy weeknight meals, and this dish is so flavorful and easy to make that it will quickly become a staple in your house too. Instant Pot Garlic Sesame Chicken is way better than takeout. All you have to do is dump all the ingredients in the pressure cooker and sip on wine, while a great meal cooks in 25 minutes or less, that is considering the pressure and natural release time! Winner, winner – tasty, easy and with just one pot to clean!

It is easy to make and it takes only around 30 minutes!
Only one pot to clean and that is the Instant Pot.
The dish is packed with amazing flavors and lean protein.
It is perfect for busy weeknights and also for entertaining guests.
You will have delicious leftovers that can be stored in the fridge, in an airtight container for 3-4 days.


  • I used organic chicken thighs, but this recipe also works with chicken breast. You don’t have to adjust the cooking time.
  • I would rather use brown sugar as it works great in this recipe, but if you really want to substitute, a healthier alternative would be 1/3 cup of honey.
  • If you don’t have sesame oil on hand, you can make the recipe with canola or vegetable oil, but keep in mind that you will be missing the sesame flavor, it will still taste delicious.
  • Using fresh ginger will add amazing flavor to the dish, but if you don’t have any on hand, use 1 teaspoon of ground ginger powder.
  • You can add more or less garlic, based on your taste preference.
  • You can make this meal spicier by adding 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or more.
  • Cornstarch is a key ingredient in here, do not try to replace it with flour, the results will not be the same.
  • When it comes to adding the cornstarch, you have to mix it with water until dissolved and add the slurry to the Instant Pot at the end to thicken the sauce. Do NOT add the cornstarch by itself to the Instant Pot, it will make the sauce full of lumps.
  • If the sauce is too runny after adding the slurry, mix another 1-2 teaspoons of cornstarch with same amount of water and add it to the Instant Pot. Please note, that the sauce will get thicker with time, so definitely wait a bit before adding more cornstarch.
  • Use a 10 Minute Natural Release, otherwise the chicken will be tougher due to the quick change in pressure.

This dish can also be made in your Crock Pot or in the Instant Pot using the Slow Cooker function. Add browned chicken to the Slow Cooker, add the mixture except the cornstarch slurry. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours. Make the cornstarch slurry, gently stir it in and cook on high for 20 more minutes. Serve and enjoy! The recipe for it can be found here Slow Cooker Garlic Sesame Chicken.

Freshly cooked White or Brown Rice
Mushed Potatoes or Rice and Bean
Crispy Roasted Potatoes or Instant Pot Roasted Potatoes
Steamed vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus or bok choy

Yes, this dish can easily be frozen. Let the sauce from Instant Pot cool completely before freezing. Transfer into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags and add the chicken. Label with the date, and freeze for up to 3-4 months, or longer if you use a deep freezer.

Transfer the frozen meal to your refrigerator the night before you wish to use it to allow it to thaw. Add the sauce to a sauce pan and reheat it to at least 165 F before you consume it. Microwave the chicken or heat it up in the sauce, you can also put it in a hot oven until it warms up.

A Natural Pressure Release means that the pressure is released gradually. For a Natural Pressure Release, you click on Keep Warm, and wait 10 minutes, after which you open the valve and let any leftover pressure to release. Another option is to Turn Off/Unplug the pressure cooker, wait 10 minutes and after that open the valve. A natural release is usually used when cooking soups, meat in a large amount of sauce, pasta or steel cut oats. This method prevents for any foam from the dish to shoot out through the valve, which can happen during a Quick Pressure Release.

Instant Pot – I use it all the time, I have the 6 quarts one. It makes weeknight meals so much easier.
Cornstarch – I prefer using cornstarch instead of flour to thicken sauces, and this organic brand is my favorite.

Ingredients :
Dump & Cook :

  •  2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  •  2 tablespoons sesame oil
  •  1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
  •  1 tablespoon minced garlic
  •  1 tablespoon ginger grated
  •  1/3 cup brown sugar
  •  1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
  •  1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  •  1/4 cup water
  •  1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Cornstarch Slurry :

  •  2 tablespoons water
  •  2 tablespoons cornstarch

Garnish :

  •  2 green onions sliced
  •  Sesame seeds

Instructions :

  1. Add all the ingredients from the "Dump & Cook" section to the Instant Pot: chicken, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, ginger, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, brown sugar and chicken broth and water.
  2. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  3. Close lid, make sure the pressure cooker is sealed. Set up the pressure Cooker to cook on High Pressure for 5 minutes.
  4. Use a 10 minute Natural Release. Turn off the heat. Release the remaining pressure. Open the lid.
  5. Select the Sauté function, on LOW.
  6. In a small bowl combine 2 tablespoons of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water, whisk until well combined with no lumps.
  7. Add the mixture to the Instant Pot and gently stir to combine. Cook on Sauté function for a few more minutes, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.
  8. If you want the sauce even thicker, mix one more tablespoon of cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of juice and add it to the pressure cooker.
  9. Let the chicken stand for 5-7 minutes, the sauce will thicken more.
  10. Serve over rice and garnish with fresh chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

Calories: 291, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 143mg, Sodium: 501mg, Potassium: 433mg, Carbohydrates: 16g, Sugar: 12g, Protein: 30g, Vitamin A: 2%, Vitamin C: 1.4%, Calcium: 3.1%, Iron: 9%

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