Instant Pot Sesame Chicken

Total Time

Prep: 10 min. Cook: 10 min.


4 servings

Updated: Aug. 26, 2023
Your family will love the flavorful sauce that coats this chicken, and you'll love how quick and easy it is for a weeknight dinner! If you serve gluten-free meals, use tamari instead of soy sauce. — Karen Kelly, Germantown, Maryland


  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce or gluten-free tamari soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • Hot cooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • Thinly sliced green onions, optional


  1. Select saute or browning setting on a 6-qt. electric pressure cooker. Adjust for medium heat; add 1 tablespoon sesame oil. When oil is hot, brown chicken in batches using additional oil as necessary. Press cancel. Return all to pressure cooker. In a bowl, whisk honey, soy sauce, water, garlic and pepper flakes; stir into pressure cooker. Lock lid; close pressure-release valve. Adjust to pressure-cook on high for 4 minutes.
  2. Quick-release pressure. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into pressure cooker. Select saute setting and adjust for low heat. Simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Serve with rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and, if desired, green onions.
Instant Pot Sesame Chicken Tips

How can you thicken the sauce for sesame chicken?

A cornstarch slurry is the best way to thicken the sauce for sesame chicken. After cooking the chicken, mix the cornstarch with a small amount of water to create a smooth paste. Then, add the slurry to the sauce while it's simmering and continue cooking until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency. Other ways to thicken a sauce include arrowroot or flour. Alternatively, you can reduce the sauce by simmering it and allowing the excess liquid to evaporate.

Can you use chicken thighs for Instant Pot sesame chicken?

Yes, you can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts for Instant Pot sesame chicken. Chicken thighs have more fat compared to lean chicken breasts, so they're juicier, more tender and have a richer taste. When cooking chicken, you may need to adjust the time for chicken thighs because they can sometimes take longer to cook in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker.

What do you serve with Instant Pot sesame chicken?

Instant Pot sesame chicken pairs well with other authentic Asian recipes. Like other Chinese chicken recipes, our favorite way to serve it is by scooping it over a bed of rice or noodles, allowing the starch to soak up the flavorful sauce. It’s also great with side dishes like a vinegar-based slaw, scallion pancakes or wontons.

Lindsay Mattison, Taste of Home Contributing Writer 

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 311 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 94mg cholesterol, 1004mg sodium, 20g carbohydrate (17g sugars, 0 fiber), 37g protein.