Tender chicken thighs cooked to perfection with a rich, savory and vibrant creamy cilantro sauce, all in your Instant Pot. It’s an easy recipe with simple steps and ingredients to create a new favorite dish.
Fresh Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs Perfect for Instant Pot Cooking
For this recipe we start with boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess fat. Chicken thighs are ideal for Instant Pot pressure cooking as they are more forgiving than many other cuts of meat. We won’t make shredded chicken with this recipe, but rather we add a seasoning mix to the meat and sear it first, before it gets a quick 5 minutes pressure cooking, followed by a 5 minute release time. The seasonings are all simple too – paprika, cumin, salt, garlic powder, with a little flour and oil to create a thick, rich seasoning which we let marinate for just a few minutes, while we prepare the other ingredients.
While our chicken is marinating in the seasonings, we can begin to prepare the other ingredients. Start with a nice fresh bunch of cilantro. Take approximately half the bunch, pull the leaves from the stems and chop it up. Then chop up a small yellow onion, or enough to fill a ½ cup. And finally we want a tablespoon of chopped garlic. You can certainly use a couple of cloves of fresh garlic. I often keep those jars of chopped garlic on hand, it can be a nice step saver. And finally, take a jalapeno pepper and slice it in half lengthwise. You don’t need to slice it into rings or dice it, just split it right down the middle. The pepper is going to pressure cook in the liquid, infusing the perfect amount of heat and flavor, without overwhelming the dish.
Now we’re ready to get cooking. With the Instant Pot on sauté mode, add one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of olive oil and let it get hot! This is important. The pot will indicate when it’s hot. Carefully place the marinated chicken thighs into the pot and let it sear for about 3-5 minutes. Flip them over and sear the other side for an additional 3 minutes. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add the chopped onion and the jalapeno pepper and sauté for about 3 minutes or until the onions start to become translucent. Then add the garlic and cilantro and sauté for another 1 minute. You want to add the garlic last because it will burn if sautéed too long. Add a cup of chicken broth and use a wooden spoon to scrape any bits off the bottom of the pot. This is very important. It’s called “deglazing” the pot. And those little bits will be full of flavor! Now it’s time to place our chicken directly into the pot and into the liquid, secure the lid, set the vent to the sealing position and pressure cook for 5 minutes. When the 5 minutes are up, let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then quick release the rest and remove the lid. Press cancel to stop all cooking and warming and carefully remove the chicken to a plate.
Create the delicious creamy sauce with yogurt
Now it’s time to create our creamy cilantro sauce. After we’ve removed the chicken and pressed cancel, let the sauce cool for about 1 minute. Then take the ⅓ cup of yogurt and mix it with just a tablespoon of water. Then slowly whisk the yogurt into the liquid in the pot. Now press the sauté button and let the sauce come to a simmer. After a few minutes it will begin to reduce and thicken. Then it’s ready to be served over the chicken. Add some additional fresh cilantro for garnish.
Instant Pot Creamy Cilantro Chicken Thighs
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings
An easy Instant Pot pressure cooker recipe for creamy cilantro chicken. A perfect low carb dinner recipe with tender chicken thighs covered with flavorful sauce made with fresh cilantro and yogurt.
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
For spice mix:
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- ½ cup diced yellow onion
- 1 jalapeno pepper, cut in half lengthwise
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ½ bunch fresh chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
- ⅓ cup yogurt
- In a medium bowl, mix together the spice mix ingredients with the 3 tbs of olive oil to create a thick paste. Season each chicken thigh with the spice mix paste and set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.
- After 10 minutes, set Instant Pot to “Sauté” mode and add 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. When it says “hot” add chicken thighs. Cook until golden crisp for 3-5 minutes, then flip and cook 3 minutes more. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.
- Keep Instant Pot in sauté mode and add the onion and jalapeno slice. Sauté for about 3 minutes or until onions just start to soften, then add garlic and continue for another 1 minute. Press cancel, add chicken broth and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the bottom of the pot (scrape off any cooked-on bits). Add salt, cilantro and then chicken directly into the liquid.
- Secure lid, make sure valve is set to sealing position, and pressure cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. Then let pressure naturally release for 5 minutes, then after the 5 minutes, go ahead and quick release the rest and carefully remove lid when pin drops. Press “cancel” to stop all warming/cooking.
- Remove chicken and set aside. Let sauce cool for a minute or two, then add 1 tablespoon of water to the yogurt and mix it together. Then slowly whisk the yogurt into the sauce. Once yogurt is whisked in, press sauté and reduce the sauce for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Serve sauce over chicken with fresh cilantro.
Recipe developed in collaboration with Abi Guna.
Photography by Abi Guna
- Prep Time: 10 min
- Cook Time: 20 min
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant pot, chicken thighs, cilantro
Just came across your site today and loved the look of SO MANY RECIPES, so decided to subscribe, now looking forward to some more recipes.
Just want to ask with this recipe is it detrimental to have the jalapenos in it as we don’t particularly like them. Is there anything else I can use or can they just be omitted altogether.
Hi Josephine, You can just leave the jalapeños out. If there’s another type of pepper you like, by all means go ahead. But it’s not essential to the overall recipe.
Made it tonight came out really well. I love this site;)
My husband and kids LOVED this! I forgot to buy a jalapeno so I used some pickled jalapeno slices instead and it was still fabulous! The meat and the sauce had such a full and fantastic flavor. Thank you for a new family favorite recipe!
Awesome, Julie!! Sure the pickled jalapeños will work just fine. I’m so glad you liked it! Thank you for the feedback!
I made this and it came out great. I will make this again using less salt. I was a little heavy on the salt.
Thanks so much for the feedback, Carla! The salt can certainly be adjusted per individual taste. Glad you liked it!