If you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t worry. This recipe can be done on a weeknight using a regular pot on the stove. My mom would make so many dishes at a time and serve the dishes family style where everyone got to help themselves. This Chinese Instant Pot Braised Chicken is inspired by my mom’s cooking. She would cook it stove top – bring it to a boil and then simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Since the blog needs more weeknight recipes, I decided to add my mom’s easy braised chicken dish to the blog.
I used drumsticks because it was on sale, but you can also use any other chicken parts like bone-in chicken thighs. You can pick boneless meat, but make sure that the skin is on for full flavour. For skin-on boneless chicken thighs, pressure cook for 8 minutes instead of the 10 in the recipe. The chicken is actually pressure cooked for a total of 12 minutes; the last one to two minutes are for adding vegetables. One minute for al-dente vegetables; I find 2 minutes is just right.
How to adapt the Instant Pot braised chicken recipe to suit your taste
My mom does not add sugar to her chicken; the sugar is optional if you are watching your sugar intake or calories. You can skip the sauteing step if you are on a time crunch even though it won’t be braising at that point. Braising is sauteing at a high heat before cooking in liquids.
The truth is, there is no “real recipe” when it comes to making this dish. As my mom says, “agak-agak” (Approximate in Malay). You can adapt how much dark soy sauce and spices to put. You can add white pepper or black pepper – this is optional. No Chinese 5-spice? No problem: use fresh or powdered ginger, garlic and soy sauce. There are so many combinations for this Chinese braised chicken recipe. For this recipe, I didn’t add any pepper but my mom usually adds pepper. You can also customize the veggies used in this recipe. Got dried shiitake mushrooms? Soak them and add them to the recipe when adding vegetables. Use what you have got on hand. Follow the Instant Pot directions and you can tweak vegetables to use whatever is in season.
For the dark soy sauce, I used the Amoy brand. You definitely do not want to use kicap manis (Sweet dark soy sauce). It is far more viscous than regular dark soy sauce. This is the only caution I would use for substituting ingredients. If you wanted to plan ahead, marinate your chicken overnight in the fridge. I did this recipe without marinating ahead and it turned out just fine.
The trick of this recipe is knowing when to start cooking your rice: start your rice the moment you finish putting your ingredients in the Instant Pot or your stove top pot. Start rinsing your jasmine rice in water and save that water for your outdoor garden. Per cup of rice, use the same cup volume of water. I cook my rice in a rice cooker since you can set and forget it. The rice cooker takes about 20 minutes to cook. The dish was ready about the same amount of time, including the 5 minute instant pressure release.
The trick of weeknight cooking is to make enough, so that you have leftovers for work the next day! If you wanted to sneak 2 more chicken drumsticks in this recipe, go for it! Oh, and there’s no need to be Julia Child and paper towel dry each drumstick before marinating them. We are marinating them in soy sauce after all.
Thicken the sauce with a cornstarch & cold water slurry. That braised dark soy sauce is delicious when served over rice. The Chinese 5-spice is the star spice in this dish.
Other one-pot weeknight meals under 40 minutes:
Make the yellow curry paste on a weekend and make this Yellow Curry Chicken (or tofu). This recipe does not do well in the Instant Pot as it gets soup-y. You need to cook the coconut milk without a lid on.
This weeknight Instant Pot beef curry takes 41 minutes in total, but is worth the extra minute.
If you are new to using the Instant Pot, Instant Pot has great tips for beginners.
To save this recipe on Pinterest, click on the following pin.
| || |
|5 people||5 minutes|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|17 minutes||10 minutes|
Instant Pot Braised Chicken
- 10 chicken drumsticks or bone-in chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
- 1/4 cup Water
- 3 tbsp Chinese 5 spice Or just enough to cover all your chicken
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 1 tsp granulated garlic or use garlic powder
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- white pepper optional for taste
- 1/4 cup broccoli cut into florets
- 2 carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 bell pepper chopped
- Marinate the chicken with dark soy sauce, brown sugar, light soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, Chinese 5-spice, granulated garlic, and pepper. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
- While waiting for the chicken to marinate: Set the Instant Pot to saute and wait for it to say hot. Add 1 to 2 tbsp of vegetable oil.
- Add marinated chicken to saute; save the sauce for later. It is okay to ignore Julia Child's advice about overcrowding the chicken in the Instant Pot. Just keep turning your chicken over, so that it will brown in the Instant Pot. Pile your done chicken on top of each other if you have to.
- After browning the chicken, hit the cancel button to turn off the heat. Add the reserved sauce to the pot. Pour 1/4 cup of water. Close the Instant Pot lid. Set the vent to sealing and select manual pressure for 10 minutes.
- Prepare your rice to cook either stove top or in a rice cooker. Per person, use 1/4 cup of rice. Portion for lunch leftovers.
- Once rice is cooking, prep your vegetables. Enjoy your passive time until your Instant Pot beeps at you.
- When the 10 minutes of pressure cooking is done, be careful with instant pressure release. Once you can open the lid, add the prepared vegetables into the pot. Select manual pressure and cook for 2 minutes.
- After the 2 minutes is up, wait for 5 minutes before releasing the pressure release instantly.
- Transfer the chicken and vegetables into a dish deep enough to store sauce. Add 1 tbsp of cornstarch and a small amount of cold water in a small bowl (less than 1 tbsp of water) to make a slurry. Hit saute button and pour the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce.
Dish up, call your family for supper time and enjoy!
14 thoughts on “Instant Pot Braised Chicken”
This looks delicious!! Will have to try 🙂
A great recipe! I’m definitely trying this one!
wow, that is FAST! I’m going to have to try this…though I’ll start my rice a bit earlier as it takes more than 20 minutes. Great idea to suggest all the different flavour combinations too. I would generally add fresh herbs and mushrooms to this but soy and five spice sounds awesome.
I’m still new to cooking with an instant pot (I know, I know…), but this sounds fantastic! I’ve not tried braising chicken like this yet, and I just happened to get some chicken on my grocery run. Fate? I think so.
You will grow to love your Instant Pot! Hope you will enjoy the chicken dish!
I had no idea that instant pot cooking was so quick! I love the fact that your sharing your moms recipes and that even if you don’t have an instant pot you can still make this recipe. Looks delish and I’m adding it my list of weeknight dinners!
This is such a Sunday night comfort dinner- so tasty!
I don’t have an instant pot but am definitely giving this a go for a weeknight family meal! Thanks!
Great flavours in this and I ALWAYS see drumsticks on sale. We love easy Instant Pot meals.
I love how simple this is AND that I don’t need an instant pot! Will definitely be trying it!
Chef Heidi Fink did an oven braised version and it looks so good on her Facebook page.
I’m glad you can make this without an instant pot because it looks delicious! Drumsticks are a favourite at my house and now we have a brand new way to try them. Thanks for sharing your mom’s recipe.
Warm, comforting, delicious and easy. Thanks for this family friendly meal!
I have been looking for more instant pot recipes and this one looks so good!
I think I have a majority of the ingredients and I love how you explained alternate or spice mixes of you don’t have the right stuff.
Your recipe is really easy to follow and really makes me feel good about trying this! I can’t wait to come back with feedback!