How to Make Amazing Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs

These succulent, tender, sweet & spicy glazed Instant Pot BBQ chicken thighs will convert even die-hard “white meat only” folks.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs

Why make BBQ chicken in an Instant Pot?

Of all the chicken recipes I’ve made lately, these Instant Pot BBQ chicken thighs are a current favorite. They are crazy easy to make, and they are so much more tender and moist than the typical oven baked chicken. BBQ thighs in the Instant Pot are perfect because the meat cooks to a fall-apart-tenderness that is out of this world delicious. Thighs cooked in the oven tend to dry out (or cook quicker on the outside and not be done completely inside).

Why Use the Oven for Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs?

The oven allows you to finish the tender, succulent thighs with a saucy, glazed coating that firms up to a BBQ chicken lover’s dream. A short stint (5-10 minutes) under a broiler (high or low~mine even has a “crisp” setting) seals the BBQ sauce onto the meat and begins to brown it. See how this is done in the short video below. 

What If My Family Won’t Eat Dark Meat?

One of my daughters has always refused to eat dark meat, but she ate half of one of these thighs before she knew it wasn’t a breast. She admitted that it was delicious, and said that the flavor and texture of the meat reminded her of my baby back ribs. I’ve made this Instant Pot BBQ chicken with breasts (bone-in/skin-on as well as boneless skinless) and thighs (bone-in/skin-on), and hands down the thighs are better. The breast meat is neither as tender nor as flavorful as the thigh meat, but for those who just won’t eat dark meat, by all means use breasts. If you opt to use breasts, you’ll need to cook them longer.

What BBQ Sauce Do You Use for BBQ Chicken Thighs?

BBQ sauce is strictly to your preference. I often use equal parts Dreamland BBQ sauce (spicy) with Bob Gibson’s or another sweet leaning BBQ sauce. You really can use any bottled or jarred sauce of your choosing. If you are really savvy, you can make your own BBQ sauce!

Tools I used: For all the tools that I used to make these Instant Pot BBQ chicken thighs, simply click on and scroll through the images below.

These Instant Pot BBQ chicken thighs are perfect for a quick & easy weeknight meal. When I made them yesterday, I served them with Mississippi green beans, roasted zucchini & yellow squash, and Simply Potatoes mashed potatoes. Easy and delish!

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs

Let me know if you try the chicken; I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below (especially if you convert a “white meat only” family member:-)

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As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes


  • 4-5 pounds chicken thighs, skin-on and bone-in
  • 1 cup chopped onion (I use frozen)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce divided inro 1/2 cup portions (use your favorite brand)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to broil; adjust oven rack to upper middle.
  2. Cover baking sheet with foil; place baking grid on top and spray with oil.
  3. Add olive oil to Instant Pot.
  4. Press the SAUTE key on the I.P. and allow oil to heat for 1 minute.
  5. Add onion; saute for 1 minute.
  6. Add garlic; saute for another minute or two or until onion and garlic are tender.
  7. Add 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup BBQ sauce to IP; stir.
  8. Add chicken thighs, meaty side facing up, to the IP.
  9. Press CANCEL to stop SAUTE; cover IP and lock lid (set valve to sealing).
  10. Press MANUAL and set to HIGH pressure for 10 minutes.
  11. When IP timer beeps, allow chicken to stay in the IP as pressure releases.
  12. When pressure goes down (about 30 minutes), release any remaining pressure and open lid.
  13. With slotted spoon,carefully lift thighs from IP and place onto baking grid.
  14. With pastry brush, slather remaining 1/2 cup BBQ sauce onto thighs.
  15. Broil chicken for 2-3 minutes or until glaze is set.
  16. Turn off oven; leave thighs in until ready to eat, adding more sauce if desired.
Nutrition Information
Yield 10 Serving Size 1 thigh
Amount Per Serving Calories 533Total Fat 33gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 23gCholesterol 290mgSodium 571mgCarbohydrates 9gFiber 0gSugar 6gProtein 54g

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  1. Hi Kat, if you are not using garlic or onion then you can skip the oil + saute part. Just start with the pressure cooking and go from there!!!

  2. Hello! If I cannot have garlic and onion should I skip the oil as well? Or is that needed for the chicken? Thank you!

  3. Hi Robert! I’ve never done it, but I am sure it would work. Just strain it, let it cool for about 30 minutes, and place in an airtight freezer container or freezer ziplock bag. Hope this helps!!!

  4. Hi Olga, when you hover your cursor over the photo/image, a pin it button appears. But I do need to improve that function and have asked my technical person to work on that. Thank you for letting me know. I want my blog to be super user friendly!

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