Delicious meets easy with this Instant Pot honey sesame chicken breast. You will love the sticky honey sesame sauce that is perfect for drizzling over rice and vegetables! Ready in under 30 minutes and made with simple pantry spices.
Since the Instant Pot requires 1 cup of liquid to come to pressure, it's the perfect opportunity to cook your chicken in a delicious sauce. I've used this trick before with chipotle lime chicken and creamy lemon chicken breasts and it works perfectly for honey sesame chicken as well!
This recipe is proof that you don't need fancy ingredients to get mind blowing flavor! With a sticky sweet and savory sauce that is going to have you licking your plate, Instant Pot honey sesame chicken is a great weeknight or meal prep recipe.
Reasons you'll ♡ Instant Pot honey sesame chicken
- it's made with simple pantry staples but tastes gourmet
- you can have it on the table in just 30 minutes
- it works great for meal prep and can even be frozen
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Simple ingredients for great flavor
The honey sesame sauce in this recipe is one of my favorite sauces because it's the perfect blend of sweet, savory, umami and spicy. Not only is it delicious, but you need simple pantry staples: soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and red pepper flakes...it's really that simple!
As the chicken cooks in the sauce, it absorbs the flavor. After cooking through, we add a cornstarch slurry to thicken. This helps the sauce stick to the chicken, intensifying it's flavor.
Cooking chicken breasts in the Instant Pot
Chicken breasts are one of my favorite proteins to pressure cook because they come out nice and juicy every single time!
What are the secrets to great chicken breasts in the Instant Pot?
- Cook in a delicious sauce (we've got that covered with our honey sesame sauce).
- Do not overcook- 8 minutes at high pressure with a quick pressure release works perfectly for the average sized chicken breast (7 oz; if you have larger chicken breasts, add 1-2 minutes onto the cook time)
- Rest before slicing- rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting to help seal in the juices
Note- this recipe has only been tested in a 6 quart Instant Pot and I cannot say if it will come to pressure in an 8 quart Instant Pot (which requires 1.5 cups of liquid to pressurize)
Turn it into a 'stir fry'
If you'd like to cook vegetables in the sauce, add them after the chicken is fully cooked through. Remove the chicken, then add the vegetables and select the 'sauté' function on the Instant Pot. Cook until tender, then add in the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce. Cut the chicken, add it back in, and you have yourself a delicious 'stir fry'.
Other proteins you can use
The beauty of this recipe is that you can swap the chicken breasts for almost any other protein! Here are some of my favorites to cook in the Instant Pot:
- boneless chicken thighs- increase the cook time to 10 minutes high pressure with a quick pressure release
- pork tenderloin- cook at high pressure for 5 minutes with a 7 minute natural pressure release. See Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin.
- ground beef or turkey- first cook partially through using water with the ground meat on a trivet, then dump the water and cook the meat in the honey sesame sauce using the sauté function. See full directions for Instant Pot Frozen Ground Beef.
Meal prep it
You can meal prep this recipe in one of two ways:
Freezer Instant Pot Meal
To assemble 'freezer packs', which saves you from having to measure anything out on cook day, simply combine the stock, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and chicken breasts in either a heavy duty freezer bag, a sandwich sized Stasher bag, or a 6 cup meal prep container.
Squeeze out air if possible, then freeze for up to 3 months.
To cook- thaw completely before cooking as indicated above. Since the sauce is required to bring the pot to pressure, I do not know if this would work as a fully frozen Instant Pot meal.
Another way to meal prep this recipe is to cook it ahead, cool, and portion out with rice and veggies. Find my favorite meal prep containers here!
Store in the fridge for up to 4 days, and reheat until steaming hot to serve.
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Stew
- Spicy Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry
- Instant Pot Chicken with Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
- Instant Pot Coconut Sweet Chili Stir Fry
- Instant Pot Soy Ginger Chicken
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup reduced sodium soy sauce (see note **)
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (roughly 2 large chicken breasts)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- toasted sesame seeds
- In the base of a 6 quart Instant Pot (see *note), mix together the chicken stock, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil and red pepper flakes.
- Add the chicken breasts.
- Set the valve to 'seal' and cook on manual high pressure for 8 minutes.
- Do a quick pressure release (using a spoon, push the valve to 'venting' as soon as the timer beeps).
- Open the Instant Pot and remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board to allow them to rest for 5 minutes.
- Mix the cornstarch with 2-3 tablespoons cold water and stir into the sauce in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
- Set to 'saute', and heat until bubbling and thickened. Using oven mitts, remove the base of the Instant Pot to prevent the sauce from burning.
- Slice the chicken breast and spoon the sauce over top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
To Make Freezer Packs:
- In a heavy duty quart-sized bag, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, red pepper flakes and chicken breasts.
- Squeeze out as much air as possible and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To cook: thaw completely, then follow directions 3-8 above.
For Reheat Meal Prep Bowls:
- Serve over rice and with steamed vegetables (4 cups veggies such as bell peppers, snap peas, green beans or asparagus may be added to the sauce and sauteed for 3-5 minutes before adding the cornstarch).
- Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- boneless chicken thighs– increase the cook time to 10 minutes high pressure with a quick pressure release
- pork tenderloin– cook at high pressure for 5 minutes with a 7 minute natural pressure release. See Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin.
- ground beef or turkey– first cook partially through using water with the ground meat on a trivet, then dump the water and cook the meat in the honey sesame sauce using the sauté function of the Instant Pot. See full directions for Instant Pot Frozen Ground Beef.
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