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A little sweet and a little spicy, this EASY Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken recipe is BIG on flavor and takes just minutes. It’s a fan favorite and also freezer friendly!
Why This is One of My Favorite Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
With all of these perks, what’s not to love about easy Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken?
1. It’s super simple to throw together. Simply dump the ingredients in the Instant Pot and cook it for 7 minutes. After it’s done, you can quickly thicken up the sauce using what’s called a cornstarch slurry. It’s optional yet quite easy.
2. It’s complex in flavor thanks to ingredients like fresh ginger (just keep some in the freezer to have on hand), soy sauce (or substitute gluten-free coconut aminos), honey, green onions, and, of course, bourbon. (More on the bourbon in a minute.)
3. My kids love it! It’s a little spicy, but you can always pull back on the spice if your family has a sensitive palate.
4. It’s been very well-tested by Polly and me, as well as, our 500 person recipe-testing team for our cookbook! In fact, we spent nearly two years developing and refining the recipes in From Freezer to Cooker. This recipe is actually one of the few on our site that is also in our cookbook!
5. It’s naturally dairy-free and can be made gluten-free with our substitutions. (According to Beyond Celiac, most bourbon is gluten-free due to the distillation process.)
How Long Does Chicken Breast Cook in the Instant Pot?
Now here’s the key to delicious Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken: Do not overcook your chicken! If you follow our recipe, you’re good to go. But…be sure to download and print off our Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart that we spent two years developing for our cookbook. This guide will help you pressure cook both fresh and frozen meals perfectly! It’s our gift to you!
Tips For Cooking Chicken in the Instant Pot
- In order for the 6 quart Instant Pot to work, it needs a minimum of 1 cup of liquid. If you have an 8 quart Instant Pot, it needs at least 1 1/2 cups of liquid.
- Because chicken breast is so easy to overcook, we always use the quick release method. Quick release is when you turn the pressure release valve to “open” or “venting” (depending on IP model) at the completion of the cooking cycle. This forces the steam to release from the Instant Pot quickly.
- Do not stack chicken when cooking in the Instant Pot. It will cook unevenly. This is especially true for frozen chicken. Try to spread it out evenly along the bottom as much as you can.
- Use a meat thermometer like the one we recommend here to determine doneness. All poultry must cook to the safe temperature of 165°F internally (or no more pink inside). You don’t want to cook it longer than that or it will get dried out.
- If cooking chicken from frozen, make sure to read our post about how to prepare and cook freezer meals in the Instant Pot. Seriously, don’t skip it.
- If you have more questions about the Instant Pot, swing by and browse Instant Pot 101.
What Should I Know About Cooking with Bourbon?
I personally don’t drink or enjoy the taste of bourbon. However, when used in cooking, I’ve found that the bourbon lends a smoky, caramel-like sweetness that’s hard to replicate with another ingredient.
If you have kids, don’t worry, the alcohol will almost entirely evaporate when the sauce is simmered at the end. Look for small bottles by the liquor counter, if you don’t have some at home in your cabinet.
Wondering what you can use as a replacement for bourbon? One of our readers said she used chicken stock as a replacement with good results.
How to Freeze Bourbon Chicken
Like most of our recipes, this freezer-friendly chicken dish is one you can easily double, eat one for dinner tonight, and freeze the other for later. Here’s how easy it is to make ahead and freeze:
Freeze for Later: Make the sauce. Place the sauce and chicken into a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen.) You can freeze with a bag of frozen rice and frozen stir fry veggies to make this a meal kit.
From Frozen: Note: Have cornstarch, and (optional) cooked rice and stir-fried veggies on hand to complete this meal. Set the Instant Pot to “Saute.” Transfer the frozen meal to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.”
Lock, seal the lid, and cook at high pressure for 15 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Then, thicken the sauce using a cornstarch slurry in Step 3 of the recipe. Serve over rice and with stir-fried veggies.
Can I Make Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken in the Slow Cooker?
You bet! In fact, we have a whole post walking you through how to make Bourbon Chicken in the Slow Cooker.
How to Serve Instant Pot Bourbon Chicken
Round out this spicy-sweet chicken and sauce by serving it on top of some brown rice (or quinoa or cauliflower rice) and stir-fried veggies.
To save time, buy pre-made brown rice at the store and use the frozen stir-fry vegetable mix.
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
If you’re on the prowl for more easy Instant Pot recipes that you can freeze, here are some others that we love in our homes…
Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce (For Gluten-Free: Use coconut aminos or GF Tamari soy sauce.)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup organic or all-natural ketchup
- 1/4 cup bourbon or other whiskey (For Gluten-Free: Omit or use chicken stock/broth instead.)
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (decrease to 1/8 teaspoon, if sensitive to heat)
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions, plus more for garnish
- 1 1/2 – 2 pounds boneless, skinless medium chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- Cooked basmati rice or brown rice, for serving
- Stir-fried vegetables, for serving
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Make It Now:
In the Instant Pot, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, ketchup, bourbon, oil, ginger, garlic, red pepper flakes, and green onions. Add the chicken and stir to coat. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
Lock and seal the lid. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, then quick release the pressure. (The chicken is done when it is no longer pink inside and/or registers 165ÅãF internally.)
Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, dice or shred the meat, and set aside.
Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water until smooth. Stir this cornstarch mixture into the sauce and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until the sauce has thickened, about 3 minutes. Press “Cancel.”
Stir the chicken back into the sauce to combine. Serve over basmati or brown rice. Garnish with green onions and serve with stir-fried vegetables, if desired.
Freeze For Later:
Follow Step 1. Pour the sauce and chicken into a gallon-size freezer bag or container. Seal and freeze (if using a freezer bag, set it in a bowl or round container with a diameter similar to the Instant Pot so it will fit in the pot when frozen).
Prepare From Frozen:
Note: Have cornstarch and (optional) cooked rice and stir-fried veggies on hand to complete this meal. Set the Instant Pot to “Sauté.” Transfer the frozen meal to the pot and cook for 5 minutes to release some liquid. Press “Cancel.” Follow step 2, but cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Follow steps 3 through 5.
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.