Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken is a simple, flavorful instant pot chicken recipe that features tender chicken coated in a rich, yet light, lemon garlic sauce.
This Instant Pot Lemon Chicken ranks right up there with Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore, as one of the easiest and most flavorful recipes for preparing chicken thighs using the Instant Pot.
This recipe for Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken is a favorite instant pot chicken recipe, as it checks all the boxes.
It is fast, flavorful, inexpensive, and family-approved!
Ready in less than 30 minutes, using just a handful of easy-to-find ingredients, this recipe for pressure cooker lemon chicken delivers a delicious, hearty dish that is full of incredible flavor. The lemon garlic sauce is light, yet rich in flavor, and the chicken becomes nearly fall-apart-tender while absorbing notes of garlic and lemon.
- Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or chicken thighs for this recipe. Both work equally well without the need to change the cooking time.
- Lemon: Be sure to use FRESH lemons. The zest and the juice of the lemon are key to adding flavor to this recipe.
- Mustard: A bit of mustard adds incredible flavor to the sauce. Use Dijon or Brown mustard, not yellow mustard.
- White Wine: The wine is optional, but adds depth to the sauce. If using, opt for a dry white wine, like Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. You can omit the wine and use additional chicken broth or stock if desired.
- Thyme: Adding dried thyme leaves to the recipe is completely optional, but the subtle floral notes are a beautiful match with the lemon.
- Garlic: I love the pairing of garlic with lemon and chicken. However, if you don't care for garlic, omit it. You will be left with a delicious lemon-flavored chicken.
- Butter: A bit of butter adds a rich finish to the sauce. Feel free to omit if you are dairy-free or would like a lower-calorie dinner.
How to Make Instant Pot Lemon Chicken
While this is an incredibly simple recipe, if you are unfamiliar with cooking in an Instant Pot or the functions of your Instant Pot, be sure to start with How to Use an Instant Pot for the best results on this and future recipes. You will find the full recipe in detail in the recipe card below.
- Begin this recipe by preparing the sauce by whisking chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon, garlic, and a pinch of salt together in a mixing bowl. Keep in mind it is best to zest the lemon before cutting the lemon open and juicing it.
- Now that the sauce is prepared, turn the Instant Pot to Saute and add in a bit of oil and let heat up.
- While the Instant Pot is heating, season the chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Add the seasoned chicken to the heated oil in the inner pot and sear for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden. You may need to do this in batches, depending on how many chicken thighs or breasts you are cooking.
- Once the chicken is seared remove the chicken to a plate and then turn the saute function off.
- Add the wine, or additional stock to the inner pot and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot. This step is called deglazing the inner pot, and not only does it add flavor to the sauce, but it also helps prevent a burn notice from happening.
- Return the seared chicken to the inner pot, pour the lemon sauce over the chicken, and add a pinch of dried thyme leaves if desired.
- Seal the lid on the Instant Pot and set the cooking time to 7 minutes on HIGH pressure.
- Once cook time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes--this will help keep the chicken tender! Do not be tempted to do a quick release of pressure.
- At this point, you can opt to serve the chicken immediately, or thicken the sauce--which I HIGHLY recommend, as then the sauce turns into a gravy-like consistency that can beautifully coat the chicken.
- To thicken the sauce, remove the chicken to a clean plate and turn the Instant Pot Back to saute, allowing the mixture to come to a boil.
- Whisk together the cornstarch with the water and whisk into the sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly until the sauce is thickened.
- If desired, whisk in butter to the sauce to give it a rich finish.
- Serve the chicken with the thickened lemon garlic sauce.
Taking the additional step of searing the chicken adds a bit of flavor and texture to the final result, but it is completely optional. If you skip searing the chicken, omit the oil from the recipe and cook for 8 minutes on high pressure instead of 7 minutes.
Yes! This recipe can be made using frozen chicken breasts or frozen chicken thighs. Skip searing the chicken and cook for 11 minutes on high pressure.
NO! While thickening the sauce with cornstarch makes a delicious sauce to serve with the chicken, this is an optional step. The chicken will have a great lemon flavor even without serving with the sauce.
More Favorite Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Instant Pot Chicken Breast
- Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings
- Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
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If you enjoyed this recipe for Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Instant Pot Lemon Chicken
- 6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup dry white wine or additional chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- Zest of one lemon
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice the typical amount from 1 lemon
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves optional
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- In a mixing bowl, combine the chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest, Dijon, and garlic together. Add a pinch of salt and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper.
- Turn the Saute function on and allow it to heat. Add in the oil and place chicken in the Instant Pot and allow to sear on each side for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Once browned, remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate. Turn the saute function OFF.
- Pour in the white wine, or chicken stock, and scrape up the browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot.
- Place the chicken back into the Instant Pot and pour the lemon sauce over the chicken. If desired sprinkle with the dried thyme.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and be sure to turn the valve to SEAL. Select the Manual/Pressure Cook and adjust the timer to 7 minutes.
- When done, allow to naturally release for 10 minutes, then do a quick release of any remaining pressure if needed.
- Remove the chicken from the pan to a clean plate.
- Turn the Instant Pot off and then hit the saute function. Allow the cooking liquid to come to a bubble, while you whisk together the cornstarch and water until dissolved.
- Pour in the cornstarch slurry into the inner pot of the Instant Pot while whisking the sauce. Allow to cook for two to three minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened. Hit Cancel on the SAUTE function.
- Serve the chicken with the thickened sauce.
- This recipe works with both boneless skinless chicken breasts and chicken thighs. The directions will remain the same regardless.
- For frozen chicken breasts or thighs, skip searing the meat and simply place frozen chicken directly into the inner pot and cover with the sauce. Cook on HIGH for 11 minutes and allow the pressure to release for 10 minutes.
- If using bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, adjust the cooking time to 9 minutes on high pressure.
- If desired, omit the garlic from the sauce.
- Adding dried thyme leaves to the recipe is completely optional, but the subtle floral notes are a beautiful match with the lemon.
- Adding butter to the thickened sauce is completely optional. Omit for a dairy-free recipe or for a lighter version.
- Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in a sealed container.