Freezer Meal Recipes / Dinner / Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken – Traditional Version

Instant Pot Honey Bourbon Chicken – Traditional Version

Try this Instant Pot version of our simple Honey Bourbon Chicken for a quick and easy family dinner. These seductively saucy morsels of juicy chicken are perfectly complimented by a simple side of rice or broccoli and sure to become a fast favorite.
4 Servings Meet The Cook Print

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds Chicken, Thighs, Boneless/Skinless
  • ⅛ teaspoons Salt
  • ⅛ teaspoons Black Pepper
  • ½ cups dice Onion
  • ½ cups Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cups Ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 2 teaspoons mince Garlic, Cloves
  • ¼ tablespoons Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 cup Honey
  • Serving Day Ingredients

    These ingredients are added AFTER your meal has been frozen — for the day you serve and eat it.

  • 2 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon Water

Freezer Containers

Supplies

  • Labels

Nutritional Information

  • Not available.

Make It Now Cooking Directions

These directions are for cooking this recipe to serve immediately and NOT to freeze for later.

  1. **Due to the nature of pressure cooking there is always room for inconsistency. The times given here are based on 4 servings fresh. If you are using more servings you may need to increase your cooking time.**
  2. *** Though it doesn't seem likely that this recipe will work for liquid issues--we assure you this recipe has been tested multiple times in the Instant Pot with great success.** Place all ingredients except for cornstarch and water into inner pot.
  3. Lock cover into place and seal steam nozzle.
  4. Cook on the chicken setting or manually set for 15 minutes. If you are using frozen chicken, add an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Naturally release pressure for 5 minutes then quick release remaining pressure.
  6. Remove chicken and dice.
  7. Set Instant Pot setting to saute.
  8. In a bowl, combine cornstarch and water.
  9. Add cornstarch mixture and chicken to pot and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes until thickened.

Freeze For Later Cooking Directions

These directions help you cook or prepare this meal PRIOR to being frozen for serving later (see Serving Day Directions when you are ready to prepare it to eat).

Why would I want to freeze this?

  1. Combine all ingredients except for cornstarch and water and divide among indicated number of round, freezable containers. Label and freeze.

Make From Frozen Serving Day Directions

These directions help you cook or reheat this meal AFTER it's been frozen for when you are ready to eat it.

  1. **Depending on your container size/shape and your serving size, you may need to adjust cooking times given as it is based on 4 servings frozen in a 64 ounce container.**
  2. ** Though it doesn't seem likely that this recipe will work for liquid issues--we assure you this recipe has been tested multiple times in the Instant Pot with great success.**Place frozen contents into inner pot.
  3. Lock cover into place and seal steam nozzle.
  4. Cook on the poultry setting (15 minutes) and add an additional 10 minutes or manually set for 25 minutes.
  5. Naturally release pressure for 5 minutes then quick release remaining pressure.
  6. Remove chicken and dice.
  7. Set Instant Pot setting to saute.
  8. In a bowl, combine cornstarch and water.
  9. Add cornstarch mixture and chicken to pot and continue to cook (on saute) for 2-3 minutes until thickened.

173 Comments

Join the discussion
    1. It’s bourbon inspired! You’re welcome to add it, if you like! One of our staffers has done this! πŸ™‚

      1. I’m not sure that is what they meant but however I DO like thinking. My father-in-law made “6 Pack” Chile, and not a drop of beer every hit the pot. 🀣

    2. When the recipe was created, it had bourbon in it. There are those who prefer to forego the alcohol, so now both recipes are common. 😊

    1. It’s bourbon inspired! You’re welcome to add it, if you like! One of our staffers has done this! πŸ™‚

  1. There is no bourbon because the title of the recipe refers to the origin of the recipe. Bourbon chicken was created by a chef from Bourbon Street, New Orleans.

  2. In order to get the label with the cooking instructions, do you have to sign up for the Once A MOnth meal plan? I love the idea of having the instructions right on the label! πŸ™‚

    1. Yes, that is a benefit of membership πŸ™‚ If you have questions about membership we’re happy to talk with you via chat in the bottom right-hand corner of the website!

  3. So to freeze, you do not need to cook anything first? Just put ingredients minus the couple that you add the day of and freeze? Thank you

  4. This is super good with apple juice in place of the water or half water, half apple juice. Most bourbon street chicken recipes call for Apple juice. πŸ™‚

    1. Apple juice in place of what water? It only calls for 1 Tbsp. of water for mixing in the corn starch. I’m a little confused with this recipe and wondering if it was correct. Is the liquids of the soy sauce and honey enough to use in the instant pot for bringing up pressure?

      1. I have personally made this recipe several times (a family favorite) and all our recipes are tested before they’re published. If you follow the instructions there should be plenty of liquid for your pot to come to pressure! If you have more questions, we’d love to chat with you in the bottom right-hand corner of the website!

        1. If I double the recipe fresh for the bouborn honey chicken,for my instant pot.Do I double cooking time? e.g. 15 min. for 4 servings. 8 servings 30 mins.cooking time???. 12 servings 45 mins. cooking time ???. Pease help me My first instant pot dish , 8 qt. capacity pot! Thank You waiting for your reply.

        2. Dennis, welcome! Excited you’ll be making this as your first dish! We wouldn’t necessarily double your cooking time, but increase it by a little for sure. Remember, your Instant Pot is going to cook things WAY faster than normal. We’d probably recommend starting with 25 minutes and see how it goes from there.

          Below are some of our recommendations for times based on servings.

          Average Cooking Times:

          1-2 Servings: 5-10 minutes
          3-4 Servings: 10-20 minutes
          5-6 Servings: 15-25 minutes
          7-8 Servings: 25-35 minutes

          To increase your serving size for every 2 servings add 2 – 5 minutes
          To decrease your serving size for every 2 servings add 2 – 5 minutes.

          * Remember, these are recommendations, so adjust as you cook and learn!

          This excerpt was taken from our post >> https://onceamonthmeals.com/blog/series/kitchen-tips/troubleshooting-instant-pot-recipes/

        1. The water is listed under the Serving Day Ingredients so that and the cornstarch aren’t added until the day you cook it and eat it. πŸ™‚

  5. Would I be able to make this with only the chicken frozen and adding the other ingredients unfrozen at 25mins high pressure?

    1. Kat, we would think so! Just know your chicken will not have marinated in the sauce, so it might taste slightly different from normal, but should still taste great!

  6. We really enjoyed this recipe. It was easy to make and start to finish, making it from fresh, we had food on the table in under an hour. It was a little sweet for me and I wondered if it was because we use low sodium tamari and perhaps that didn’t cut the sweetness as much as full powered soy sauce would have. Making it again I will most likely reduce the amount of honey and increase the other liquids evenly to make up for the loss. I would say this serves four perfectly.

    1. I’ve made this a twice now… the second time I didn’t have enough honey- so I used half honey, half molasses. It was slightly less sweet with a deeper flavor. My boys enjoyed it more with the molasses.

      1. Ohh that sounds GREAT! (I think it could have half as much honey and be just as good too. We always have leftover sauce).

  7. How much time do I add for 2 pounds of chicken? Is there a standard rule of thumb per pound of chicken? What would I do if I didn’t have enough time and the chicken wasn’t cooked all the way?

    1. As a member, you would have the ability customize serving sizes. If you have questions about membership, we’d love to chat with you in the bottom-right hand corner! We include a disclaimer on all of our IP recipes that states what the original serving size was when we made it fresh and that if cooking different amounts the time might need to be adjusted. If you cook and the chicken is not cooked all the way, you can always cook it longer. We encourage you to consult the Instant Pot Time Tables for reference: http://instantpot.com/cooking-time/
      Enjoy!

  8. Does a 64 oz container get full with this recipe? Will it have extra room if I increase the recipes by 1/3? I need to feed 2 kids and 5 adults.

    1. Since this recipe is for 4 servings and you’d like to feed 7, I would go ahead and prepare to fill 2 64oz containers. It might not hurt to just double the recipe, then you’ll have a little left over πŸ™‚ Enjoy!

  9. We loved it, but will reduce the amount of honey because of the sugar in the ketchup and add a bit more pepper. I used the correct amount of chicken but there was quite a lot of liquid. I may reuse it with a thigh or two on the stovetop.

    1. If you Google “ketchup substitute” a recipe appears to make your own substitute but it doesn’t seem like there is something already made, if that makes sense. I hope that helps! Enjoy!

    2. Hi Kelly,

      I ran out of ketchup and used 1/4 c. jarred spaghetti sauce and 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (any other vinegar would work, too). It came out fantastic, just like a restaurant’s. It was a great substitute. Enjoy!

  10. Made this tonight and it was excellent. I only changed the amount of honey and soy. My husband doesn’t like really sweet so I did 3/4 cups honey and 3/4 soy. I will probably do 1/2 cup of honey next time but it was still very good!

  11. It was delicious! My family couldn’t believe I had made it from scratch! It was the 2nd time I had ever used my new InstatntPot and we are sold on both the pot and the recipe! Thank-you!

    1. Barbara, we are so sorry it burned! Can we ask: How many servings did you make yours for? And did you cook it from frozen, or already thawed? Unfortunately overcooking can easily occur pending some of those variables. We would love to assist you further to help get it right!

      Please note our disclaimer at the top of the recipe instructions: “Due to the nature of pressure cooking there is always room for inconsistency. The times given here are based on 4 servings fresh. If you are using more servings you may need to increase your cooking time.”

  12. Is this recipe a Pot in pot recipe? Or is this supposed to be cooked in the regular stainless steel pot? I am new to the instant pot and just learned that PIP was a thing today. The recipe says “inner pot” so is that what signifies a PIP vs regular? Could that be what caused Barbara’s meal to burn?

  13. Made this tonight and it was delicious. The only change was that I had frozen bone-in thighs with skin. I cooked for 25 minutes (added the 10 minutes as suggested for frozen). It had plenty of liquid. My only complaint is that it was so good, I wish I had doubled the recipe. I plan on using the leftover sauce on more chicken.

  14. Do you put the chicken directly in the pot or on the little rack? I’m fairly new to the pot but saw a post above that it burned and wondering if that is why.

    1. Hey Barbara, great question! This is not a pot in pot recipe so you can put the chicken directly in the big steel pot. I personally have made this recipe several times and never had my chicken burn. Hope that helps! Enjoy!

  15. Made this tonight when a schedule change meant I needed to make something for dinner instead of grab and go later.

    I cut the honey to 3/4 cup.

    I used frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cooked at high pressure for 27 minutes and natural release. I like a slightly shredded but not totally shredded chicken in dishes like this. It was perfect – soft chunks and a few shredded pieces.

    after the sautΓ©e and thickening of the sauce I tossed in some. Aged frozen peas and carrots that I needed to use up. Over rice it was perfect and easy. Definitely a keeper recipe. πŸ™‚

    1. Oh Mary we are SO glad this turned out so well for you! And those are some great adaptions you made! Let us know what other recipes you are enjoying! Many thanks!

  16. you said to use the 64oz freezer containers.. do you put those directly into the pot, still in the container or remove it?

    1. Nope, it’s only recommended that you put oven safe containers in your Instant Pot. You would dump the contents of the bowl into the stainless steel pot. Enjoy!

  17. OMGOSH, I made this tonight. I actually used 4 large breasts (could actually have done 6 breasts) & added 1/2 a cup of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Whiskey. This was absolutely excellent!

  18. I made this and froze it in a zip-lock freezer bag. It never froze solid which concerns me. Is that possibly because of the honey?

    1. Betsey, the answer is yes! Honey does not freeze solid, but everything else will freeze just fine. So don’t worry!

    1. Great question Linda! P.S. It tastes really good with some added Bourbon πŸ˜‰ But the amount depends a little on your serving size; however, we might start with 1/4 cup. Let us know how it turns out!

    1. I have made this recipe several times and to be honest – it takes the duration of the cooking process for the sauce to thicken. It’s hard to say while the pot is cooking since the lid is on but you also have to add the cornstarch (to help thicken) after the pot comes to pressure. It is a family favorite! Hope this helps! Happy cooking!

  19. If you diced the chicken in advance, would that be a problem? It would be great to minimize the cleanup on the day it’s cooked.

  20. I made this last night, and it was really, really good. I followed the directions (fresh, not frozen) exactly as written, and the chicken was the perfect texture. There was a LOT of liquid in the pot when I opened it. I fished out the chicken, and while the sauce was thickening in the pot with the cornstarch, I put the chicken in a large, non-stick pan on high heat and caramelized the exterior of just one side of the pieces.

    When I used to get Bourbon Chicken at the mall food court, the guy there told me that they used oyster sauce in the marinade. After tasting the sauce in the pot, I decided to add some oyster sauce to cut the sweetness. I accidentally grabbed a bottle of fish sauce instead, and tossed about 2 teaspoons worth in. I realized my error when I put the bottle down, but when I tasted the liquid the fish sauce had really cut down the sweetness. I then added about another teaspoon from a bottle of oyster sauce. I think those two additions really balanced the flavor.

    I ended up with a LOT of sauce left over (more than a cup). Next time I will definitely double the amount of chicken, there is plenty of sauce for that, and this makes great leftovers. I’ve got the left over sauce in the fridge, and will use it as a BBQ sauce next time I grill.

    One of the side dishes they served with the chicken at the mall was a noodle dish with cabbage, which I hoped to replicate. I found a recipe (http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2014/06/print/lo-mein-shiitake-cabbage-recipe.html) that sounded good , and I think it went well with this chicken. I substituted savoy cabbage for white cabbage, dried udon noodles instead of the fresh lo mein, sliced onion in place of the chives, and skipped the mushrooms. (This dish was finished before the chicken, so I dumped the noodles into a bowl and used the same pan to caramelize the chicken.)

    1. It looks like you can substitute with flour, arrowroot, potato starch, tapioca, and even instant mashed potato granules. You’ll just want to make sure your ratios are correct as they’ll likely be different. Enjoy!

  21. Yum! I made this tonight for the first time. I subbed 1/2 a cup of pineapple juice and 1/2 cup of honey for the 1 cup of honey and it worked beautifully. There is nothing left. I will make it again.

  22. I used 6.3 pounds of chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, and I used 19 minutes because none of the chicken was frozen.
    I also didn’t measure the liquids, the catch-up, the soy sauce, and the honey very exactly. It still came out delicious.

  23. Ok, I am new to the instapot world and I am not a great cook so this question may be obvious to others. If I want to freeze for later do I cook it all before then freeze or do I put all ingredients in raw then freeze? Sorry, I am just confused

    1. Welcome to the Instant Pot world! πŸ‘‹ This is a great recipe to start with – a fan favorite! There are three sets of directions for all our recipes. To freeze for later you’ll want to follow the second set of directions, this is an easy assembly recipe or “throw-n-go” so you’re just tossing the ingredients and freezing and cooking on cooking day. If you have more questions, we’d love to chat with you in the bottom right-hand corner of our site! Happy cooking!

    1. Regular soy sauce was used, but you could definitely use a reduced sodium one if it was saltier than you’d like.

  24. Do you have to add the red pepper flakes? My hubby is not a fan of anything spicy but I want to make this because he loves Bourbon Chicken.

    1. You could certainly leave the red pepper flakes out if you feel it will suit your preferences better. You know best how to make what your family likes. πŸ™‚

  25. This is a terribly written recipe. It just says add chicken. What about the rest of the ingredients? Do the onions get sautΓ©ed?

    1. We’re sorry you feel that way. This is one of our most popular recipes. There are three sets of directions – so it depends on if you cooking fresh or from frozen. The phrase “add chicken” is actually not used in the directions. If you’re cooking from fresh it begins with “Place all ingredients except for cornstarch and water into inner pot.” No, you do not need to saute the onions. You might also like to watch the video to see the directions in action. Enjoy!

  26. I made these tonight and everyone loved it! It will certainly be a keeper recipe. I used bone in skinless thighs that were already thawed. Every thing else was to recipe. I cooked it high pressure for 11 minutes with quick release. I removed the chicken and thickened the sauce. Poured the sauce over the chicken thighs. Served with rice and fresh asparagus. Everyone from the kid to the grandma enjoyed it.

  27. Delicious recipe! Only difference is I added chicken broth instead of water for roux part. Depends how many red pepper flakes you add, but those who have no tolerance at all should skip it or add very little. More of a background heat that was delicous! Adding to my recipes for the instant pot.

  28. Recipe says “2 teaspoons minced garlic, cloves”……does that mean 2 teaspoons of each? Does it mean one or the other?

    If you’re supposed to use both, how much cloves?

  29. Perhaps it’s because I cubed my chicken before I cooked, as I hate trying to handle insanely hot chicken to cut it after, but my chicken was soooo dry! Any insight as to why? I’ve seen other recipes where you can cube the chicken before cooking. I’m still pretty new to this!

    1. Hey, Sarah sorry to hear your chicken turned out dry! Here is a helpful post and if you have more questions we’d love to chat with you in the bottom right-hand corner.

  30. Thank you for this recipe, my husband LOVED it! Used 3/4 c honey and 1/4 c Jack Daniels Honey Whiskey. Then instead of soy sauce, I used same amount of coconut aminos.

    Can I make twice as much of the liquid part? Husband really liked the flavor! Also, when I mixed the cornstarch and cold water, it made a hard icky substance. Is there a secret I need to know about this?

    THANKS again for sharing this! It was actually a recipe he asked me to make again!

    1. Oh yum! You can make 2x as much liquid but just be aware it may affect the cooking time. In regard to the cornstarch, you might just have to add a little more water – cornstarch/water can be touch and go. We’re THRILLED this was such a hit for you guys!

  31. What type of onions do I need to use? It just says onions but the picture shows green onions. Is it a regular white onion or green onions for the recipe?

  32. I made this last night totally last minute with frozen chicken, getting some rice going in my rice cooker at the same time to serve with it. I was so worried it wouldn’t turn out but it did! It was fantastic! My two boys, aged 12 & 14, along with my husband, LOVED it! This will definitely be a go-to meal for us, saving us from those unhealthy drive-thrus when we think there’s no time to cook dinner. There is! THANK YOU!!

  33. This is literally the 3rd thing I’ve made in my new electric pressure cooker! Jasmine rice, the-most–perfect-ever hard boiled eggs, and this pot of deliciousness… the only thing I did differently was tonsaute the onions first and I added a tablespoon (or 2) of bourbon. Served over jasmine rice with broccoli on the side. Amazing. I.Am.Hooked.

  34. Does anyone have a recipe for leftover Honey Bourbon Chicken

    I made it one night and we didn’t end up eating it. Family drama. It is now in my freezer and I would like to remake it into something else. Any suggestions?

  35. This was my first Instant Pot recipe. I halved the honey as per comments and it turned out fantastic. Really nice recipe!

    1. I agree, it is fantastic! On a side note, I ran out of ketchup and used 1/4 c. spaghetti sauce and 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar because I was desperate. Still came out PERFECT! Thanks for a new family staple.

  36. Love that this does not contain alcohol
    For those that want it it can be added
    Hard to find recipes that list a alternative.

  37. I would highly recommend cutting the honey down to 3/4 cup . WOW was it overly sweet at the full cup.
    Also I had trouble with the cornstarch. Normally I see ratios of 2 to 1 with more water, not my CS. When I mixed it in the bowl it was chunky and then when I added it to the sauce it just jelled in big clumps. I used a strainer to remove it.
    Next time I’ll make a better cornstarch slurry and add a cup of the sauce into that bowl before adding it back to the instant pot to simmer.

    1. You can easily reduce all of the liquid ingredients by 1/2 and still have plenty of sauce left. You could reduce the honey by 3/4 if you really needed to.

  38. Your site is not usable due to overwhelming number of advertisements you have crammed into the page. Will not be back, which is a shame because I would have liked to use these recipes.

    1. We are sorry to hear that you feel that way. Those advertisements do go away when you become a member. Websites like ours aren’t free and we do have to supplement those costs in some ways.

  39. I cooked frozen chicken breasts (hallelujah!) for 15 minutes but they were pretty dry, except for the really thick breast. Everything else worked out splendidly, and though I’m not crazy about the sauce (I didn’t keep the extra), it was pretty good. I brought the sauce back up to pressure to steam my frozen broccoli for zero minutes (while I cubed the chicken), and that was a little too soggy. Very easy.

  40. New to this site. Loving it!

    Is there a print button on the page I’m missing? I function best when I can print it, tape it to my kitchen cabinet @ eye level with painter’s tape

    1. Hey Alethea, so glad you found us! There is no official print button but you should be able to “file > print” from your top navigation bar or hit
      “command + p”. Happy cooking!

  41. I will have to adjust the soy sauce next time to half… it turned out way too salty! But quick and easy recipe I made using frozen chicken breasts at the last minute!

  42. Anyone else had a problem with contents spewing out valve when you did quick release?! I’m fairly new to pressure cooking, but I’ve used it about 10 times and have never had that happen. Any ideas?

  43. I am making this tonight for a crowd and so I will need to double this recipe. In the recipe it indicates that if you increase serving size you may need to increase cooking time so what would you suggest to increase cooking time if I double this recipe

  44. Wow. My husband is slowly starting to like the instant pot after 2 initial flops. I added 6 fluid oz of honey and some extra hot garlic paste. He said it was deep and flavorful. I trusted in the pot and the recipe and was NOT disappointed. A keeper. Thanks!

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