Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

This finger lickin’ sesame chicken is sticky, sweet, savory and super easy to make in only 30 minutes! The Instant Pot (get yours here: makes it all possible.

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With this honey sesame chicken recipe, you can have a home-cooked meal that tastes just like your favorite Asian take-out, but sooo much healthier for you because it’s not fried! Super tender chunks of chicken get an upgrade when you add toasted sesame oil and garlic to the sauce—the aromatics bring freshness and flavor to this beloved takeout staple.

Skip the take-out and try this easy homemade version instead – it’s unbelievably tender and packed with so much flavor! It’s so fast and easy, it will become an instant favorite in your weeknight meal rotation.

To keep things interesting, serve over white or brown rice, Asian-style noodles or zucchini zoodles. For a real treat, pair with our Better-Than-Takeout Chicken Fried Rice <insert link to IP-134> (skipping the cooked chicken!).

Skip the take-out and try this easy homemade version instead!


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp thinly sliced scallions
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Add olive oil to the Instant Pot. Using the display panel select the SAUTE function.
  2. When oil gets hot, brown the chicken on both sides, 3-4 minutes per side. Meat will not be cooked through. Do not crowd the pot–you may have to work in batches. Transfer browned meat to a shallow dish and cover loosely with foil.
  3. Add onion to the pot and saute until soft, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  4. Add soy sauce, ketchup and red pepper flakes to the pot and deglaze by using a wooden spoon to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
  5. Put the chicken back into to the pot, turning once to coat.
  6. Turn the pot off by selecting CANCEL, then secure the lid, making sure the vent is closed.
  7. Using the display panel select the MANUAL function*. Use the +/- keys and program the Instant Pot for 5 minutes.
  8. When the time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes, then quick-release the remaining pressure.
  9. Carefully remove the meat from the pot to a cutting board and chop into bite-sized pieces.
    10. Add honey and sesame oil to the pot and stir to combine.
  10. In a small bowl mix together 1/4 cup of pot liquid and cornstarch. Stir into the pot until thickened.
  11. Add chicken back to the pot and stir to coat. Adjust seasonings.
  12. Serve hot over rice, noodles or zoodles, garnished with scallions and sesame seeds.

*The MANUAL and PRESSURE COOK buttons are interchangeable.