20-minute INSTANT POT CHICKEN THIGHS cooked from frozen, with Asian based sauce that is soy-free and sugar-free!

Three pieces of chicken thighs on a black plate with a spoon with a small white bowl of soy sauce

While meal planning is the thing to obsess over these days, most of the time I end up swinging on the opposite side of the rope. Yep, I am talking about those last minute meal decision days or like most Moms, not being able to get to it until… well, dinner time.

For this reason I absolutely love this Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Thigh recipe because I can use frozen chicken and literally not have to worry about defrosting, prepping or marinating, just like this Instant Pot Asian Salmon!

what substitutions should I use to make a healthier Asian sauce

If you are trying to avoid soy for medical reasons or personal reasons, you are definitely not alone. The growing number of individuals with soy allergy is growing like bananas on a tree (myself included!). Luckily we don’t need to worry about it affecting our favorite Asian recipes because coconut aminos will do the job just fine!

I also substitute the oil option for this toasted sesame oil and if an acid ingredient is required for the recipe, I use brown rice vinegar.

Another common ingredient in Asian recipes is brown sugar. In my opinion a lot of times a recipe does not need a sweetener at all but when it does I use either honey or maple syrup.

Sautéd chicken thighs in instant pot with liquid ingredients

how long to cook frozen chicken thighs in instant pot

This recipe is based on two and a quarter pounds of bone-in frozen thighs (about 4 chicken thighs). They are not the largest I’ve seen so 20 minutes on high pressure was absolutely perfect! If using fresh chicken thighs I would recommend cooking for 15 minutes under high pressure.

If your chicken thighs are very large, add 5 minutes for both frozen (total of 25 mins) and fresh (total of 20 mins).

Instant Pot chicken thighs on a plate with spoon and fork and a small bowl of soy sauce beside it

how to make instant pot chicken thighs

Whether you are cooking frozen or fresh chicken thighs the process is the same, the only difference is the cooking time.

  • Start by heating sesame oil on sauté mode.
  • Season chicken thighs with paprika and black pepper. Skip the salt since you are using coconut aminos
  • Place chicken thighs skin-side down and sauté for 3 minutes
  • Meanwhile whisk the remaining ingredients in a small bowl
  • Add liquids into the pot
  • Cancel sauté mode and add 20 minutes on high pressure (for small frozen chicken thighs, if they are very large cook for 25 minutes)

favorite instant pot dinners:

Instant Pot Soy-Free Asian Salmon

Instant Pot Short Ribs (with creamy polenta)

Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi

Instant Pot Hamburger Helper

favorite instant pot side dishes:

Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Brown Rice

Instant Pot Butternut Squash Risotto

Instant Pot Mediterranean Potato Salad

Instant Pot Refried Beans

favorite instant pot desserts:

Instant Pot Dulce de Leche

Instant Pot Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake

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instant pot chicken thighs

Instant Pot Chicken Thighs

by Silvia Ribas
20-minute INSTANT POT CHICKEN THIGHS cooked from frozen, with Asian based sauce that is soy-free and sugar-free!
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 4 pieces bone-in skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 pinch fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 1/2 tbsp everything bagel seasoning or sesame
  • 2 tbsp water


  • Turn instant pot on sauté mode. Add in sesame oil. While it’s heating season chicken thighs with paprika and ground black pepper.
  • Place chicken thighs skin side down and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  • While the chicken is sautéing, mix the remains ingredients in a small bowl. Whisk to combine. 
  • Turn the chicken over so the skin if facing up and add in the sauce. At this point you can cancel the sauté mode and set the high pressure timer for 20 minutes. 
  • When done allow for 5 minute of NPR then release remaining pressure.
  • Chicken will be moist and falling off the bone. Pour some broth over and top with additional sesame if desired and/or fresh parsley. Serve. 

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Keyword: Chicken, Instant Pot
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
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Chicken thighs served in a black plate

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Hi! I’m Silvia.

My goal is to make cooking simple and enjoyable.

Garden in the Kitchen is full of easy and balanced recipes for busy families. Classics get a healthier twist with additions of veggies or alternative ingredients.

I hope my recipes will inspire you to cook more home meals and above all have fun in the kitchen!

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