These Garlic Sesame Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are perfect for your weekly meal prep and are made with the best sticky and sweet sauce!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Sesame oil – olive oil, perilla oil or canola oil will work in place of sesame oil. Note that it won’t be as aromatic as the sesame oil.
- Chicken thighs – if you’re looking for a leaner cut of meat, use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs.
- Soy sauce – tamari or coconut aminos are great alternatives to soy sauce.
- Brown sugar – coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup or white sugar with molasses would also work.
- Garlic – fresh or jarred minced garlic can be used.
- Ginger – freshly grated ginger is best but ground ginger powder will provide a similar flavour.
- White rice – any variation of white rice, brown rice or long grain rice can be used.
- Cornstarch – wheat flour, arrowroot, potato starch or rice flour can be used in place of cornstarch.
- Broccoli slaw – in a pinch, regular coleslaw mix will work in place of broccoli slaw.
- Rice vinegar – white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar or lemon/lime juice will also work.
- White sugar – honey, maple, agave syrup are great alternatives to white sugar.
- Sesame oil – canola oil will also work in place of sesame oil for the broccoli slaw.
- Ground dry ginger – swap out for some allspice, nutmeg or cinnamon.
- Salt & pepper – to taste.
How to make this recipe
- Sauté the chicken thighs.
- Add in the sauce ingredients.
- Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes.
- Make the rice and broccoli slaw.
- Do a quick release of the pressure.
- Stir in the cornstarch slurry.
- Serve and enjoy!
What to serve on the side
I like to serve these garlic sesame chicken thighs with some rice and broccoli slaw, but you can mix up the sides to include whatever you’re craving. You can even use some of the leftover chicken for wraps or as a salad topper.
If you’re looking for more side dish options, here are some ideas:
Frequently Asked Questions
For this recipe, you need to cook the chicken thighs for 3 minutes at high pressure. Keep in mind that the Instant Pot will take 5-10 minutes to get up to that pressure setting, so it’s more like 15-20 minutes of cooking time.
The sweet and sticky garlic sesame sauce I used in this recipe is made of sesame oil, low-sodium soy sauce, brown sugar, minced garlic and grated ginger root. I suggest using fresh ginger for the best flavour, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can always use a bit of ground ginger powder instead.
This garlic sesame chicken has 404 calories per serving. It’s super filling and the perfect lunch or dinner meal prep option!
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Storing and reheating
Store these meal prep bowls in the fridge for up to 5 days. You have the option to eat the bowls cold so you don’t have to microwave the coleslaw, but you can always pack the coleslaw separately so you can microwave the chicken and rice.
To reheat the chicken, sprinkle some water over top to keep the chicken and rice from drying out, then microwave for 2 minutes.
Freezing the chicken
You can freeze any of the leftover chicken for up to 3 months. Make sure to use freezer-safe bags or airtight containers to prevent freezer burn! When you're ready to make this recipe, thaw the chicken in the fridge overnight, and then reheat it in the oven or in the microwave for a few minutes. If you’re reheating it in the microwave, make sure to sprinkle some water over top to avoid that leftover chicken taste.
More chicken thigh recipes
- Meal Prep Thai Basil Chicken
- Perfect Baked Chicken Thighs
- Korean Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
- More Healthy and Delicious Chicken Thigh Recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning these Instant Pot Chicken Thighs into your weekly lunches.
- I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Get a rice cooker for hands-off cooking time here (they're cheap!).
- This is the brand of tamari I like, and I love this low-sodium soy sauce!
Garlic Sesame Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- 1 tbsp sesame oil
- 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp gingerroot, grated
- 1 package broccoli slaw
- 2 tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp sesame oil (or canola oil)
- 1 tsp ground dry ginger
- 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
- 1 cup dry white rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp butter
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp water
- Add sesame oil to Instant Pot and turn Instant Pot into saute mode. Saute chicken thighs for 1-2 minutes per side, then add soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic and gingerroot and stir slightly amongst thighs.
- Place the lid on and press the pressure cook button. Select the high setting, then set to cook for 3 minutes – Instant Pot will take about 5-10 minutes to preheat then the 3 minutes to pressure cook.
- While chicken is cooking, cook rice with water and butter in a rice cooker and then mix together rice vinegar, sugar, sesame oil, dry ginger & salt in a small bowl until well combined and sugar is dissolved. Pour over and toss with broccoli slaw then set aside.
- Make the cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch and water together in a small bowl. Do a quick release of the pressure when Instant Pot is done by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon, then open lid when safe to do so. Gently stir in the cornstarch slurry.
- Add two chicken thighs to each meal prep bowl and drizzle a little bit of sauce overtop, garnishing with sesame seeds if desired. Divide the rice and broccoli slaw evenly among bowls. Serve and enjoy!