Monday, July 24, 2017

Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken

I'm still not a member of "the Instant Pot has changed my life" camp. But this recipe totally earned my Instant Pot's space in my kitchen. I've done hard cooked eggs many times and yes, they are perfectly done and easy to peel. But I could hardly recommend that you should buy an Instant Pot just to cook eggs. I've done a teriyaki chicken that was delicious, and similar to this recipe. I've made a couple of other recipes that we liked enough to make again. But this recipe was a total winner.

I'm still learning about the Instant Pot (IP) in general. There is a huge Facebook group, Instant Pot Community, that gives so much information and answers questions. I think that is where I first saw this recipe. Folks generally share the links to the recipes they've used. Anyway, if you have an IP, it's worth checking out the Facebook group. There are also many, many videos of people showing how they use theirs. There are also people who share their Instant Pot disasters. That's useful information, too.

Is the Instant Pot an "instant" method of cooking? Not exactly. Some things are quicker. Some take about the same length of time when you factor in the "come to pressure" time, the cooking time and the pressure release time. But what I am beginning to appreciate is that once I've put the lid on the pot, I can walk away and do the rest of the dinner prep and not think about what's cooking in the IP until I hear the timer beep. Last night, while the chicken was cooking, I made the rice on the stovetop and made salads for us and never had to remember to stir anything.

Like all cooking methods, there is typically more than one way, one recommended cooking time for most recipes. And eggs and chicken breasts come in different sizes, so there are variables. You have to do some figuring out what suits you. I like my hard cooked eggs done for 6 minutes and then do a "quick release" of the pressure, and then plunge eggs in a bowl of icy cold water. I've seen other who cook them for 8 minutes. And, there are others who do 5 minutes under pressure, 5 minutes of natural pressure release (NPR) and then quick release (QR) of remaining pressure and then 5 minutes in the ice water bath. They call that the 5-5-5 method. I just saw an Instant Pot reference chart that said eggs took 4 minutes. I know I want mine more done than that. But you might not.

I finally realized that it all depends on what you like. Just like cooking on the stovetop, we all do things differently and have different expectations of the outcome. You just need to find the way that suits you. Find some recipes that sound good to you and use them as starting places.

And I would suggest that you make a note of the cooking times you are happy with. It all starts to run together in my mind. And, when I've looked to find a recipe again, there will be a dozen of the same recipe name—but all with slight differences in ingredients and cooking times. Make sure to save the one you like in the beginning. Or, you might be like me and never find that exact one again.

Well, this honey bourbon chicken recipe suited us perfectly. I'll make it again for sure and I won't change a thing. (Unless I use a little less honey. The taste was great like it is, but I felt a little guilty for making a main dish that was sweet.) If you look up the recipe online, you'll find many versions of Honey Bourbon Chicken. But I'm posting this particular one here so that I know where I can find it the next time.

After dinner last night I put the remainder of the chicken and sauce in a quart ziptop freezer bag and put it in the freezer for later. My almost son-in-law is always asking me about freezing foods. One day I'll write more about that in general. But this recipe is one that will freeze well, partly because of all the liquid. The process of freezing pulls moisture out of food. Proper packing helps prevent that. And foods with a sauce usually freeze well because of all the extra liquid.

Please take a minute to visit the recipe I used for this. This wonderful site gives more information about freezing the ingredients ahead for IP cooking later. There are many comments from other users that are helpful, too. They ask many questions and someone usually answers.

Here is my version of their recipe. You'll notice there is NO bourbon in this recipe. According to the internet (and we know it's never wrong! Ha.) the recipe was named after a restaurant on Bourbon St.


8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1-1/2 lbs)
a sprinkle of salt & pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic (from a jar)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
1 cup honey (might try using 3/4 cup next time)

add after the pressure cooking
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon water

Place all ingredients—except cornstarch & water— in the Instant Pot, lock cover in place and turn steam nozzle to "seal."
Cook on chicken setting or manual setting for 15 minutes.
Naturally release pressure for 5 minutes, then quick release remaining pressure.
Use two forks to slightly shred chicken. (I did this carefully right in the pot.)
Set pot to Saute. Combine cornstarch and water and add to chicken mixture. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until thickened.

Makes 4 servings

We served this over brown rice. I'll confess I used a boil-in-bag rice because I needed quick and easy last night. That rice takes 10 minutes to cook—after the water comes to a boil. For the record, I started the rice immediately after I put the lid on my Instant Pot and turned the valve to "seal." The rice and the chicken were done at exactly the same time. That 10-minute rice takes considerably longer than that when you add in the time it takes for the water to boil. So, the Instant Pot is as "instant "as the nearly instant rice.


  1. Nice introduction to the IP for me. Thanks!

  2. Judy, I am enjoying the IP as another option in my kitchen. Is it a necessity? Not yet-- at least for me. I need to keep trying other types of foods and explore more cooking possibilities.


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