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Seared chicken thighs and lemon slices with chopped basil in a green stock pot

Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken

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This Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken is the perfect weeknight meal. It’s fast. It’s delicious. It’s versatile. Serve over rice, pasta, or with a side of veggies or potatoes.


  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or 4 chicken breasts)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic (can substitute garlic powder)
  • 23 tablespoons of vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 large yellow (Spanish) onion, chopped
  • Little bit of salt & pepper for sprinkling over onions
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 lemons (juice and zest, separated)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (Italian parsley can be substituted)
  • rice or pasta (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, mix together salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Pat dry chicken pieces and season both sides with salt and pepper mixture.
  2. Preheat Instant Pot to “sauté” function.
  3. When pot is hot, add 2 tablespoons oil and 1 tablespoon of butter to pot. Sear chicken pieces for 2-3 minutes each side. You may need to cook more than one batch if they don’t fit in the pot. Set seared chicken aside.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon butter to pot. Add onions and sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, while scraping up browned bits off of the bottom.
  5. Push aside some of the onions to create an opening in the bottom of the pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil to that area and then add garlic. Let cook 1 minute. Stir onions and garlic together.
  6. Add lemon juice from 2 lemons to deglaze the pan. Cook for one minute and, while cooking, scrape up the remaining browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  7. Mix in chicken stock, lemon zest, and Italian seasoning.
  8. Place the chicken back into the Instant Pot (chicken pieces can be overlapping) and add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter on the top. Lock the lid and turn the valve to SEAL.
  9. Select “Pressure Cook” and adjust timer to 7 minutes if using chicken thighs, 11 minutes if using chicken breasts. Let Instant Pot pressurize and when timer goes off, let it naturally release for 3 minutes before pushing the valve to VENT. Be careful! I always use something long, like tongs or a long rolled up pot holder. You never want your hand in the way of the steam coming out.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped basil. Italian parsley can be substituted. Squeeze a little lemon over the top and serve. Add sliced lemon for presentation, but it’s optional.
  11. Serve over pasta, rice, potatoes, or serve with a side of vegetables.


  • If you’d like to thicken the sauce, add a slurry of 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water. Put on SAUTE function and allow to thicken up, stirring occasionally.
  • If you’d like to use a slow cooker instead of the Instant pot, I would suggest cooking on low for 4-6 hours, AFTER you’ve seared the chicken breasts.
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Method: Instant Pot