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Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs

Delight your taste buds with the umami, sweet, and spicy flavors in this Korean-style chicken dish. Serve my moist and tender Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs over jasmine rice. It’s quick and easy enough for a weeknight, and exotic enough to steal the show at your next dinner party! This post first appeared on Pressure Cooking Today where I’m a contributor. 

Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs on a black plate with black chopsticks.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – What is Gochujang?

Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs features Korean gochujang paste – an umami rich paste made with red chile, fermented soybeans, glutinous rice, and salt. Traditionally, the mixture was naturally fermented in earthen pots outdoors at home. That process has been replaced by commercial production in modern times.

Gochujang is used in traditional Korean dishes like bibimbap and bulgogi. It is widely available in the U.S. in both Asian markets and grocery stores that carry a good variety of international products. Having become something of an addiction for me, I keep a carton in my refrigerator at all times…

My cooking style depends on a well-stocked pantry. I keep a list of pantry ingredients on hand, and when I run low on any of those items, they immediately go on a phone app called OurGroceries. All of the items that go into this dish are on that list: Gochujang, hoisin sauce, ketchup (I make my own most of the time), mirin, soy sauce or tamari, rice wine, rice vinegar, fresh ginger, whole garlic, chicken broth. Given that I keep chicken in the freezer, I can whip this up with basically no planning ahead.

📋 Ingredients You’ll Need

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs in a black serving bowl alongside a bowl of jasmine rice with a bunch of scallions.

🥘 How to Make Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs

My work flow goes like this: Whisk the ingredients together for the BBQ sauce. Brown the chicken, and saute the onions, ginger, and garlic. Combine them in the pressure cooker.

Add broth to about half of the BBQ sauce, and whisk it together. Pour over the chicken. Pressurize on high for 15 minutes, and then release pressure. Stir the cornstarch into about 1/4 cup of broth or water. In a medium saucepan, add the cornstarch mixture a little at a time to about 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Bring it to a boil.

When the liquid is thickened as desired, add in the reserved 1 cup of BBQ sauce. Using a slotted spoon, remove the tender chicken pieces to a platter. Pour the sauce over the top, and garnish with the chopped scallions. Serve the chicken with jasmine rice.

If gochujang sounds interesting – and delicious – you might also enjoy my Korean-Style Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork Wraps With Asian Slaw & Kimchi. Once you taste this flavorful ingredient, I’m certain you’ll be adding it to your well-stocked pantry list!

If you’re looking for something new to make in your pressure cooker but you’ve not yet been able to find gochujang, you might try my Pressure Cooker Braised Lamb Shanks & Couscous. A pressure cooker is a great way to “beat the heat” by not heating up your oven!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.
A close up of the Korean chicken thighs and rice on a black plate with black chopsticks.
A single serving of Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs on a black plate with chopsticks.

Instant Pot Korean Chicken Thighs

Spicy, sweet, and umami flavors come together in a moist and tender chicken dish… Serve with jasmine rice for a flavor-packed quick and easy meal made simple with your pressure cooker!
4.86 from 7 votes

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
To Pressurize 10 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Asian, Korean
Servings 6 servings
Calories 324 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Korean BBQ Sauce

  • ½ cup gochujang paste
  • ¼ cup hoisin sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup - (see notes)
  • ¼ cup mirin
  • ¼ cup soy sauce - I like tamari
  • ¼ cup sake rice wine
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger - grated or minced
  • ½ tablespoon garlic - minced

The Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs - skin removed
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger - minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic - minced
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¼ cup broth or water

Instructions

Korean BBQ Sauce

  • Whisk the ingredients (gochujang through garlic) together in a medium bowl. Remove and set aside 1 cup for finishing the sauce.

The Chicken

  • Using the pressure cooker or a pan on the stove, brown the chicken pieces on both sides in the vegetable oil. Set aside.
  • Add the onion, ginger, and garlic. Cook until the onion is soft. Add the chicken pieces and onion mixture to the pressure cooker.
  • Mix the chicken broth with the Korean BBQ sauce remaining in the prep bowl (after removing 1 cup). Add to the pressure cooker with the chicken.
  • Lock the lid, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Release the pressure.
  • Remove 1 cup of cooking liquid to a medium sauce pan. Mix the cornstarch with broth or water. Bring the cooking liquid to a boil, and add the cornstarch slurry a bit at a time until thickened as desired. Add in the reserved BBQ sauce. Stir until combined and bubbly.

To Serve

  • Using a slotted spoon, remove chicken pieces to a platter. Pour the sauce over the top, and garnish with slice scallions. Serve with jasmine rice.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

“Ketchup” – I don’t like store bought ketchup. I use Gochujang Spicy Ketchup rather than “ketchup.” You can also substitute tomato sauce and sriracha.
I like bone-in chicken thighs for this recipe (bone-in adds more flavor). Substitute boneless thighs or chicken breasts if you prefer. If I have time, I let the pressure cooker de-pressurize naturally. It results in an even more tender result.
Disclaimer: I use both an Instant Pot and a stovetop pressure cooker, and have for many years. 
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 324 calories; 32 g protein; 4 g carbohydrates; 11 g fat. Does not include rice. This recipe serves 6 with about 5 ounces chicken each. If you’re planning 2 thighs per person, the calories will increase accordingly.
Note: This dish is impossible to quantify, but Google search demands calories. The liquid required by the pressure cooker means it is very saucy. It doesn’t all get eaten. I reduced the vegetable oil for browning the chicken to 1 tablespoon to cut some fat. My pressure cooker has a non-stick surface, and it works with just a bit of oil. Adjust as necessary. Save additional cooking liquid and/or sauce for another meal, or use more chicken…

Nutrition

Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 11g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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28 Comments

  1. I just tried this recipe and it was very good. The only thing I will change is to reduce the Gochujang to 1/4 cup as well. I found it to be a little overpowering with a little too much heat for most people and the Gochuchang tended to be the star instead of a player. Otherwise I think this will be a repeat but with 1/2 the Gochujang. I’ll let you know after.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback on the recipe Carl! It’s so appreciated, and not often given… I would love to know the results of the second time too!

  2. Just found your site a couple of days ago and I’ve already made three of the recipes. The pressure cooker Korean chicken thighs recipe was amazing but what put it over the top was combining it with a side of rice and the Moroccan Carrot Salad with Lemon Dressing. My family was licking the platters and couldn’t decide which they liked better. Thanks.

    1. You just made my day! I don’t get a lot of feedback from readers after they make a recipe, and that means so much ๐Ÿ™‚ My recipes are a little outside-the-ordinary, so confirmation is so important! Thanks for taking the time to write…

      1. I realized as I looked at recipes on your website that a lot of folks said that they looked mouth-watering and they were going to make them. So I was pretty surprised that you didn’t have many comments about how the recipes tasted. Well,so far so good. You are so in my flavor zone. I love trying foods from everywhere (in fact, I just back from 3 weeks eating amazing food in Vietnam and Cambodia). The first recipe that I made was Pressure Cooker Pork Roast With Blood Oranges which was really good. I thought that I had left a review but I think that I forgot to send it so I’ll go post one now.

        1. Thank you so much! I love Vietnamese, and that would be an incredible foodie experience… I love playing with my food, but other than pho, I haven’t done much Vietnamese-inspired food. I may have to get on that! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. This looks great except my family is not big on spicy heat. Can you suggest a substitute or modified amount for the gochujang??

    1. Hi Diane! I would suggest starting with 1 tablespoon gochujang, and maybe try adding a tablespoon of miso as well. My family does love spicy heat, so 1/2 cup is pretty generous. There really isn’t a substitute for the paste as it’s a pretty unique flavor combination. You might be able to find a “mild” version. They’re sometimes labeled. Good luck!

  4. Oh Tamara… This immediately takes me to Masterchef AU. I have never used gochuang paste but you made it sound wonderful. LOVEEEE how you use pressure cooker so much.. Xo

    1. Awww, thanks Swayam! I’m in love with gochujang! I do wonder if there is an even better flavor if I make the paste myself? It’s pretty new to me… and I do love my pressure cooker ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Haha! I just started doing a monthly post for Pressure Cooking Today, so you’ll be seeing new recipes at least monthly ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks MJ!

  5. We just recently tried some gochujang in a home delivery food box and I loved the flavor it added to the sauce I made! I am so glad to see another recipe with this in it so I can use up the rest of my stash! Can’t wait to try this!

  6. Yum! This looks and sounds fantastic! Is the gochujang sauce spicy? Personally….the spicier the better I think! ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. As a Brazilian pressure-cooker has been a big part of my cooking!! The best part of using a pressure cooker is that it can save you both time and money. I love your dish!! Looks delicious!