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Looking for how long to cook frozen chicken thighs in the Instant Pot? You’re in the right place. THIS IS WHAT WE DO! After all, we did write an Instant Pot cookbook. There is a lot of misinformation about cooking frozen food in the Instant Pot, so we are glad you’ve come to the right place.
In an effort to nail down the perfect timing for frozen chicken thighs in the Instant Pot, I have overcooked and undercooked quite a few meals.
We have trail blazed the freezer meal + Instant Pot path for you, and we’re happy to share what we’ve learned.
How Long to Cook Frozen Chicken Thighs in the Instant Pot
Alright, I’ll give you the straight up answer right off the bat. But please take the time to read our hard-earned lessons we’ve learned about cooking freezer meals and frozen food in the Instant Pot below, k?
After adding 1 cup of chicken broth or water to the Instant Pot (1.5 cups if you have an 8 quart) here is how you cook frozen chicken thighs:
1-2 Pounds Frozen, Boneless Chicken Thighs: Cook at high pressure for 15-20 minutes with a quick release
2-3 Pounds Frozen, Bone-In Chicken Thighs: Cook at high pressure for 17-22 minutes with a quick release
I’d recommend adding salt and pepper to add much-needed flavor to the chicken.
You can also add a more complex seasoning like in our recipe below. To make Instant Pot chicken thighs even more delicious, broil them on a sheet pan for a few minutes after they cook to get the skin crispy.
Pro Tips on Cooking Frozen Chicken in the Instant Pot
Tip 1: IF POSSIBLE, DON’T STACK YOUR CHICKEN
We have learned this the hard way. Because the Instant Pot cooks so fast, if meat (especially chicken) is stacked, it’s really hard for it all to cook evenly. The outside gets done and the inside remains pink as a pig. (Is that a phrase? It is now.) If it’s impossible to not stack your chicken, just be sure to check for doneness throughout. If it’s not done, move it around with some tongs and cook on high pressure for 1-2 more minutes and check again.
Tip 2: Use a Meat Thermometer
Because cooking frozen food in the Instant Pot is more of an art than a science, the only way to really tell if the chicken is done is to check its temperature.
While writing our cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, we methodically tested chicken recipes by taking the internal temperature with our trusted meat thermometer at different points during the cooking time. We discovered that Instant Pot Freezer Meals have a mind of their own. This is why we provided a range of 17-22 minutes instead of a hard and fast number.
Tip 3: ALLOW EXTRA TIME TO COME TO PRESSURE AND FOR COOKING FREEZER MEALS IN THE INSTANT POT.
I’ve found that Instant Pot Freezer Meals or a batch of frozen chicken thighs in the Instant Pot takes almost twice as long to come to pressure than a thawed meal does. Make sure you allow for that time when prepping or you’ll have a hangry family. I wish there was a one size fits all pattern to freezer meal cooking times in the Instant Pot but there just isn’t.
Tip 4: Use Our FREE Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart!
During our two years of research and testing Instant Pot cooking times, we learned EXACTLY how long to cook meals in the Instant Pot both from fresh OR from frozen. Be sure to download and print off our Cheat Sheet here. It’s so helpful to have inside your cabinet.
Instant Pot Recipes with Chicken Thighs
Looking for some recipe ideas?
Teriyaki Chicken Thighs – We include the Instant Pot instructions in this slow cooker version of teriyaki chicken thighs. So easy!
Want More Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot?
We’ve got you covered. Hop over to this post highlighting 20+ Best of the Best Freezer Meals for the Instant Pot. It includes freezer meal instructions for EVERY recipe plus tons of pro tips and tricks we’ve learned over the years.
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
- 2–3 pounds frozen chicken thighs (boneless or bone-in)
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup chicken broth (using 1 1/2 cups if you have an 8 quart Instant Pot)
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- Place frozen chicken thighs and broth inside the Instant Pot, being mindful not to stack if possible. Sprinkle evenly with all the seasonings.
- Lock and seal the lid.
- Using the manual function, cook at high pressure for 15-20 minutes if using boneless chicken thighs (17-22 if using bone-in) and then quick release the pressure. (Check to make sure the chicken is done, which means no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.)
- Optional: Preheat the broiler. Place the cooked thighs, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil for a few minutes until the skin is crispy.