This Instant Pot lemon chicken recipe is just begging to spruce up your next date night! I bet when you think “fancy chicken recipes,” you don’t often think “Instant Pot chicken recipes,” but this dish will make you a believer. It’s one of those dishes that is perfect for a weeknight and still special enough for company! From the creamy, bright lemon sauce to the fall-off-the-bone tender chicken, each bite is a wow of flavor and cooking perfection.
There are a lot of lemon chicken recipes out there and on my site too like my easy creamy lemon skillet chicken, but this one is extra special because it harnesses the unmatched ease of the Instant Pot! You might wanna try instant pot pork chops and instant pot chicken noodle soup after making this recipe!
Let’s get cooking!
- SO easy — Instant Pot magic!
- Sour, creamy, bitter, savory — all the flavor notes
- Great for a fancy home-cooked meal
- Yummy enough to please every palate!
How To Make Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Recipe
Like most Instant Pot recipes, this lemon chicken dish uses the pot and only the pot!
Set your Instant Pot to saute. Caramelize the lemon slices (these will be your garnishes later) and set aside. Clean the pot then brown your chicken skins and remove. Add the remaining ingredients except for the slurry and parsley, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Add the chicken back in and set your Instant Pot.
When it’s done, make your slurry in the microwave. Remove the chicken, thicken your sauce with the slurry, and dish it up!
I adore how simple the ingredients are in lemon chicken recipes. Lemon, chicken, FLAVOR!
Read on for my best tips and tricks to make sure every bite is utterly divine!
Tips For Making The Perfect Instant Pot Lemon Chicken
The ingredients may be simple, but things can easily go sideways! Here are some things to look out for:
Dry Skin: You want to make sure you pat your chicken dry before browning. Moisture would just steam the skin instead of crisp it, and crispy brown color is where the flavor is! Just use a paper towel or napkin to dab the wetness of your chicken skin.
Milk: When you microwave your milk for the slurry, watch it carefully! Milk has a much higher boiling point than most liquids, so it can quickly spill over and make a mess in your microwave.
Got an ingredient question? I’ve got answers!
Chicken: This recipe works best with bone-in chicken thighs. Cooking with bone-in meat adds certain flavor and moisture profiles, especially when cooking with pressure. Don’t skip the bone!
Lemons: What’s the best way to zest a lemon skin? If you don’t have a zester, you can just use a cheese grater!
Poultry is one ingredient you want to be careful with storage. How should you keep it to get the best (and safest) shelf life? Read on!
Can You Freeze This?
You can freeze the chicken part. But the sauce? Eh. Because the sauce has acid + dairy, freezing it may cause separation, which leads to yucky textures and flavor breakdown. Stay on the safe side and just freeze the chicken!
You’ll get up to four months out of it, and when you need to thaw, pop it in the fridge overnight then heat in the microwave.
Make Ahead Tips
This recipe harnesses the lightning-fast power of the Instant Pot, so it isn’t much you can do to shave off time! The one tip I can suggest is buying your lemon slice garnishes at the store rather than make them — but making them is so quick and makes your house smell AMAZING!
How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge?
Your finished lemon chicken dish will keep in the fridge for up to four days. It is not recommended that you store poultry any longer than that, and the sauce will keep just the same.
If you’re looking for an instant pot chicken dish, try my Instant Pot chicken and rice. It’s one those homey dishes that’s pure, soothing, comfort food!
What To Serve Instant Pot Lemon Chicken With
I like to serve this with buttered rice. The rice is the perfect thing to catch the pan sauce if you drizzle it on top of the chicken. Sauteed asparagus, roasted broccoli, or my broccoli salad with its amazing homemade orange dressing are all favorites at our house to round out the meal.
Instant Pot Lemon Chicken
- 2-2 1/2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 3-4 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 large lemon, thickly sliced
- 1 cup onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 cup milk, warmed in the microwave
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon butter
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Dry the chicken with paper towels. Generously season with salt and pepper.
- Turn a 6.5-quart Instant Pot onto saute function. Add 2 tablespoon vegetable oil. When the display reads "hot" add the lemon slices in a single layer and cook until the lemons caramelize and become golden brown on the edges. Do not overcook or the slices will disintegrate. Remove to a plate; set aside. Wash Instant Pot completely, removing all brown bits.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. When the display reads "hot" add the chicken skin side down, saute until golden brown. Flip chicken and brown on other side. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- Add more oil as needed then stir in onions and garlic, saute, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Saute, stirring constantly, scraping up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pot (Do Not skip or the burn light likely will go off during cooking)
- Add chicken thighs and any juice that may have accumulated on the plate back to the pot.
- Lock the lid and set the valve to seal. Set function to "manual mode-high pressure" for 12 minutes. The Instant Pot will start on its own.
- When the pressure cooking cycle is completed, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 12 minutes. Release any remaining pressure. Carefully open the Instant Pot (there still may be some steam) and remove chicken to a serving plate.
- Warm milk in microwave.
- Make the cornstarch slurry by whisking the warm milk and cornstarch together until cornstarch is dissolved.
- Set the Instant Pot to saute. Add cornstarch slurry to the pot, gently stir to combine and saute until sauce thickens. Stir in butter and lemon zest. Pour sauce over chicken, garnish with caramelized lemon slices and chopped parsley, and serve.
Believe it or not, there are even more lemon chicken recipes for you to try!
- Lemon Pepper Chicken – Sour lemon and spicy pepper marry well!
- Creamy Lemon Chicken – Liked the milk in this recipe? Let’s go bigger!
- Honey Lemon Chicken – Offset the tartness with sweet honey