Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Thighs

This perfect Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Thighs recipe gives you the most tender and juicy chicken thighs imaginable. It takes only 10 minutes to make but has the most bright and flavorful taste!

Why This Recipe Works

This Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Thighs recipe is bursting with fresh, lemon flavor. The combination of lemon zest and fresh lemon juice makes it taste bright and ultra-lemony and fresh.

Using bone in chicken thighs ensure they won’t overcook and turn dry, since meat cooked on the bone stays juicier. Plus, bone in cuts of meat also have the most flavor, so it’s a win-win.

Then, the juices from the chicken meld together with the chicken broth, spices, and lemon and all those juices are then used to make a light gravy that perfectly complements the chicken.

Recipe Ingredients

Chicken thighs – I prefer bone in chicken thighs for maximum flavor. You can either remove the skin or leave it on, depending on your preference.

Chicken broth – you can also use vegetable broth or water.

Lemon zest – use a microplane or rasp grater to finely grate the zest. Then, juice the zested lemon, so you don’t waste anything!

Thyme – I like the fragrance that fresh thyme adds, and it goes beautifully with lemon! You can also use dried thyme if that’s all you have. If using dried thyme, use only 1 tsp.

Cornstarch – this is optional, only need if you want to thicken up the juices a bit to make a sauce for the chicken.

How to make Lemon Chicken Thighs

Gather your ingredients:

In a bowl combine lemon zest, thyme, garlic, salt, and pepper.

Brush your chicken with olive oil and rub with lemon mixture.

Saute 2 chicken thighs at a time (working in batches for the best results) until golden brown, 2-3 min per side.


Place the chicken on a trivet and add chicken broth and fresh lemon juice.

Set to manual at high pressure, close the lid, and set for 6 minutes. After that do a quick release. Remove the meat and serve.

Bonus for those of you who actually read the detailed instructions - Homemade Gravy!

How to make Instant Pot Gravy

Just combine in a small bowl 1 Tbsp water with 1 Tbsp cornstarch.

Add to the liquid and saute for 2 minutes until thickened.

Serve or keep for later use 🙂

Recipe Notes

  • You can also make Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Thighs using boneless chicken thighs or even chicken breasts. The cook time and instructions remain the same.
  • This recipe makes a light gravy for the chicken. If you enjoy a thicker sauce, you can double up on the cornstarch slurry.

How to Serve

I love serving these with a simple salad for a light, refreshing meal in the summer. Or, you can serve these Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Thighs over Instant Pot mashed sweet potatoes for a complete hearty meal.

Similar Recipes

If you like this recipe, check out this Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken, a similar recipe with a different sauce. Here are some other chicken recipes you should try:

Instant Pot Orange Chicken

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

FAQ About Lemon Chicken Thighs

What other herbs go well with this recipe?

Lots of Mediterranean herbs pair well with lemon, including basil, dill, rosemary and oregano. If using hearty herbs like thyme, rosemary, or oregano, I would add them straight to the marinade. Leafy herbs like basil or dill should be added at the end of the recipe.

Why do you mix cornstarch with water?

When you mix equal parts cornstarch and water, it forms a paste that’s called a slurry, which is commonly used to thicken sauces and soups. The cornstarch is blended with a bit of liquid before adding to the mixture so it doesn’t clump up.

Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Thighs
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: European
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 3
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 pound chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • In a bowl combine lemon zest, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • Brush your chicken with olive oil and rub with the mixture.
  • Saute chicken on both sides for a few minutes until golden.
  • Take out the chicken and place a trivet on the bottom of the Instant Pot.
  • Add chicken broth and lemon juice.
  • Place the chicken on a trivet and close the lid.
  • Set manual setting in high pressure, close the lid, and set for 6 minutes.
  • When cooking time is complete, do a quick pressure release.
  • Take out the chicken and serve 🙂

For the gravy

  • Mix 1 tbsp of water with 1 tbsp of cornstarch.
  • Add to the Instant Pot and saute for 2 minutes until thickened.
  • Serve gravy with the chicken.
Calories: 433kcal Carbohydrates: 5g Protein: 25g Fat: 35g Saturated Fat: 8g Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g Monounsaturated Fat: 17g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 148mg Sodium: 261mg Potassium: 368mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Vitamin A: 230IU Vitamin C: 7mg Calcium: 30mg Iron: 2mg



This recipe is part of our 1001 Instant Pot recipes project, a huge collection of free, easy and delicious recipes.

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