If honey and garlic are your favorite ingredients, you’ll probably love today’s Instant Pot honey garlic chicken recipe and this honey butter chicken. They both feature juicy chicken cooked in a lip-smacking, fragrant glaze.
Is Our Chicken Healthy?
When served with cooked rice, this honey garlic chicken becomes a decent main course with calories from the lean proteins and carbs, all parts of a healthy diet.
Healthy eating also requires a moderate daily intake of calories, sodium, saturated fats, and through sweet dishes, sugar as well. Carefully crafting the recipe, we kept each of these at 506, 548 mg, 5.8 g, and 5 g respectively.
Once strictly following our recipe(s), you should easily fit your other 3-a-days into your daily meal plan while still complying with our nutritional guidelines.
What’s the Best Chicken to Use?
The best cut for this Instant Pot honey garlic chicken recipe is thighs. Drumsticks are just as juicy but don’t come boneless, wings have too many bones, and the breasts are simply dryer — all making them second bests.
Still, beauty lies in the eye of its beholder. The best cut is the one you love most; this recipe welcomes alternatives.
The Sauce for This Chicken
Here are the ingredients you need to make the garlicky, sweet, salty, and fragrant glaze:
Garlic: minced and sautéd until fragrant. Consider our suggested amount as a reference — feel free to add more, to your liking.
Honey: the sweet part. You can use corn syrup or maple syrup instead; they’re just a little different in aroma.
Brown sugar: for extra sweetness and a subtle hint of molasses.
Soy sauce: to give the sauce a delicious saltiness.
Sesame oil: adding healthy fats and a pleasing aroma to the sauce. We suggest the regular sesame oil over the toasted one, which looks darker and smells far more intense.
Mustard: intensifying the flavor profile. Skipping it and the glaze will lack a pungent hint that we think really ties it all together.
Cornstarch slurry: the thickening agent that brings a glossy surface to the meat when reduced. It’s just a mixture of cornstarch and water.
Once you’ve gathered the ingredients, let’s cook.
Tips for Making
Keep in mind that:
The ingredients should be strictly measured to assure a healthy nutritional profile. The amounts are available in our Instant Pot honey garlic chicken recipe at the bottom.
You need cooked rice on hand as soon as the chicken’s ready to serve it hot. Before engaging in step 1, have either the rice cooker running or leftover rice reheating.
The chicken shouldn’t be cooked fully in step 1, or you’ll end up with overcooked meat. You want the skin seared and golden, so if it takes less than our suggested time, remove it and move on.
Some recipes choose to fry the garlic until it’s crunchy so it develops a nutty flavor rather than a mildly sweet one. You can also do this by leaving the garlic to cook for about 2 minutes, or until they turn from light yellow to golden.
Rather than allowing the steam to naturally release, you can push the process by manual release. Place a kitchen rag on the steam handle, switch it from ‘sealed’ to ‘venting’, and do so with a spoon for safety.
The toppings are chopped scallions, toasted sesame seeds, and chili flakes, which you can prep during pressure cooking to save time.
Once cooked, the chicken and sauce should be transferred to a large serving dish, for convenience. You will find it impossible to spoon the sauce when there’s only a thin layer at the bottom of the pot.
How to Store and Reheat
Place the leftovers in an airtight container and either store it in the fridge (for 4 days) or freezer (for 3 months). We encourage storing separate servings in separate containers when freezing, for convenient reheating.
To reheat, simmer the chicken and sauce with 1-2 tbsp of water for about 4-7 minutes depending on whether it’s refrigerated or frozen. For bone-in cuts, either make slits to expose the bone to the bubbling sauce, increase the simmer time, or use a microwave.
What to Serve With
This carb-and-protein-rich dish needs some veggies, and our top suggestion is a bowl of winter melon soup. It’s warm, soft, and cleans out the meat’s strong flavors, freshening your palate.
Round it off with a chilled glass of lemon watermelon juice. It’s a refreshing, nutritious way to end a meal.
Simple Instant Pot Recipes We Didn't Think Possible, But Were
This easy Instant Pot Thai chicken curry recipe is loaded with lean protein and vegetables to make a standard, nutritious dinner at home. The chicken is simmered in a spicy, creamy coconut-infused curry sauce to enhance the signature flavors of Thai cuisine.
This Instant Pot chicken adobo recipe is a handy guide to Filipino comfort food. The savory, tangy, spice-infused dark sauce elevates the chicken drumsticks and penetrates even deeper into the meat thanks to the high pressure.
16 oz boneless chicken thigh (from about 30 oz bone-in thighs)
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp garlic (about 5-6 cloves, minced)
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth
2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp white sesame seeds (toasted)
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp traditional Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch
2 tbsp water
1 tsp chili pepper flakes
1 tbsp scallions (chopped)
3 cups cooked medium-grain rice
Select the 'sauté' mode and heat 1/2 tbsp olive oil. Add one piece of garlic to test the heat; when it sizzles, add 16 oz worth of boneless, skin-on chicken thigh, skin-side down, to sear for about 5 minutes. Place the seared meat in a bowl and set aside.
Add 2 tbsp minced garlic and sauté for about a minute or until it gets fragrant.
Add the chicken back along with 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth, 2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1 tbsp honey, 1/2 tbsp sesame oil, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp traditional Dijon mustard, 1/4 tsp black pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt. Stir everything well. Close the lid, turn the steam handle to 'sealed', select 'stew/meat' mode, adjust the time to 7 minutes, and allow the machine to pressure-cook.
Once finished, place a kitchen rag onto the steam, turn it to 'venting' with a spoon, then open it up when the steam completely escapes. Mix 2 tbsp water and 1 tsp cornstarch (using the chicken bowl that's now empty to clean one less item), and stir it in the pot. Select 'sauté' and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
Turn the machine off and carefully place the saucy meat into a deep dish for convenient serving. Sprinkle on top 1 tbsp chopped scallions, 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds, and 1 tsp chili pepper flakes. Enjoy with cooked rice.
Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 506Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 6g
Polyunsaturated Fat 5g
Monounsaturated Fat 10g
Vitamin A 253IU
Vitamin C 2mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.