One of my family's favorite weeknight meals! Serve these shredded Hoisin Instant Pot Chicken Breasts over rice with stir fried veggies on the side.
Hoisin Instant Pot Chicken Breasts take the prize for being one of the longest running "family favorites" in our house. I started making a slow cooker version of this recipe years ago and it was such a hit with my boys that they even requested it for birthday meals. That has now been usurped by my vegetable fried rice recipe, which is requested for every special occasion on the calendar.
For those of you (okay, me) that don’t always plan ahead, the Instant Pot can handle either frozen or fresh chicken breasts. No problem if you didn’t remember to defrost the chicken the night before!
This recipe has the flavors of honey garlic chicken, with the extra depth of hoisin sauce. Sweet, salty and full of that illusive umami taste. In other words, wonderfully delicious!
What you need for these hoisin instant pot chicken breasts:
These are the main components of this recipe (affiliate links included):
- Chicken: Use approximately 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Trim the breasts to remove any excess pieces of fat.
- Soy sauce: I tested this recipe with regular soy sauce and low sodium soy sauce, and the low sodium was the winner. If following a gluten free diet, substitute with reduced sodium tamari.
- Hoisin sauce: Hoisin sauce can be found in the international aisle of most well-stocked grocery stores. It’s also available in a gluten free version.
- Agave nectar: Use either agave nectar or honey.
- Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores.
- Ginger: Use fresh ginger. Peel it with a sharp knife, then mince or grated on a microplane.
- Chili garlic sauce: This can also be found in the international aisle.
- Cornstarch: Used to thicken the sauce after cooking the chicken breasts. Use all-purpose flour if you don’t have cornstarch.
See recipe card below for full ingredients list & recipe directions.
How to make hoisin chicken in the instant pot:
As far as Instant Pot chicken recipes go, this has to be one of the easiest! Start by whisking together the sauce ingredients in the Instant Pot.
Give the chicken breasts a little trim, removing any visible chunks of fat. Then add them to the sauce in the Instant Pot, turning to coat.
Close the lid of the Instant Pot and turn the valve on top to “SEAL”. Set the Instant Pot cook at HIGH pressure for 12 minutes.
It takes the Instant Pot about 15 minutes to come to pressure. If using frozen chicken breasts, it will take a little longer.
Once the time (12 minute cook time) expires, use natural pressure release for 10 minutes. In other words, don’t touch the Instant Pot. It should automatically switch to the Warm setting. After 10 minutes, carefully turn the valve to release the rest of the pressure. Remember…hot steam will be coming out of the valve!
Time to shred! Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and shred them, using two forks.
Before you start shredding the chicken, whisk a cornstarch slurry (a mixture of cornstarch and water) into the sauce in the Instant Pot. Set to SAUTE and simmer the sauce until it thickens slightly. That should take about 3 or 4 minutes. The sauce can be simmering (with the occasional whisk) while you shred the chicken.
Add the chicken back to the sauce and toss to coat. Ready to serve!
What to serve with pressure cooker chicken breast:
We often serve this hoisin chicken over brown rice with a side of stir-fried veggies, such as broccoli, bell pepper and zucchini or stir-fried cabbage.
Here are a few more ideas:
- Serve on hamburger buns, Sloppy Joe-style, topped with an Asian-inspired slaw.
- Use it as a taco filling and top with my cucumber and jicama slaw.
- Use it as a pizza topping, along with some mozzarella cheese and bell peppers. For pizza night, try my whole wheat pizza dough. For weeknights, keep things simple by making naan pizzas.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts?
Absolutely! I often opt for chicken thighs in many recipes, such as one-pot meals and grilled chicken. However, Instant Pot chicken breast recipes produce such tender meat that I often opt for the lower fat meat when using my pressure cooker.
If using chicken thighs, reduce the cooking time to 10 minutes. Like with the chicken breasts, use natural release for 10 minutes, then quick release.
The nutritional information will vary because chicken thighs have a higher fat and calorie count than chicken breasts.
Can I use frozen chicken breasts in Instant Pot?
Yes! That’s the beauty of the Instant Pot, particularly if you’re like me and you don’t always remember to transfer the chicken to the fridge the night before to defrost.
When using frozen chicken breasts, it will take your pressure cooker a little longer to come to pressure.
Can you freeze the leftovers?
This hoisin chicken freezes very well. Allow the chicken to cool, then transfer to freezer ziplock bags or glass freezer containers, such as these ones, in desired portion sizes.
According to the USDA, cooked chicken in a sauce can be frozen for up to 6 months for optimal flavor and texture.
To thaw, take the chicken out of the freezer the night before serving and let it thaw in the fridge. Use the microwave if you need to defrost it quickly.
Once thawed, warm the chicken either in the microwave or in a saucepan set over medium heat.
Hoisin Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
- ¾ cup water
- ⅓ cup low-sodium soy sauce (See Note 1)
- 3 tablespoons hoisin sauce (See Note 1)
- 3 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
- 1 ½ tablespoons minced ginger
- 1 ½ teaspoons rice vinegar
- ¾ teaspoon chili garlic sauce
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts trimmed
- 1 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- Sliced green onions for serving (optional)
- In an Instant Pot, whisk together the water, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, agave nectar, ginger, rice vinegar and chili garlic sauce.
- Add the chicken breasts to the Instant Pot coat with the sauce.
- Put on the lid, with the pressure release valve set to “Seal”.
- Cook the chicken breasts on HIGH pressure for 12 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes (i.e., don’t touch the pressure valve and definitely don’t try to remove the lid!) After 10 minutes, turn the valve to release any remaining pressure.
- Using tongs, transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the chicken.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water to form a slurry.
- Set the Instant Pot to SAUTE. Add the cornstarch slurry to the sauce in the Instant Pot and whisk to combine. Allow the mixture to simmer until the sauce starts to thicken, whisking frequently, about 3 minutes.
- Add the shredded chicken to the sauce in the Instant Pot. Toss to coat. Serve, garnishing with sliced green onions, if desired.
Disclosure: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.