Need a new tried-and-true main dish that turns out delectable every time you make it?
And takes only five minutes to throw together in your slow cooker or Instant Pot? (Find out why you might want to upgrade to an instant pot 8 quart.)
Then you NEED this healthy honey garlic chicken recipe! Sweet yet savory and bursting with flavor, this honey garlic chicken requires minimal time in the kitchen.
Currently, this is our go-to dish when I need to make something quick for out-of-town guests, a church family in need, or on those nights when I don’t have time to stand in front of a stove.
Even better, everyone who tries it, loves it! (Even picky eaters.)
It’s also perfect for those nights when you’re craving Chinese takeout but don’t want to deal with the added expense, sugar, or MSG. Now you can turn on your favorite series while enjoying an Asian-inspired dinner that’s actually good for you.
This honey garlic chicken is sure to be one that your family loves for years to come!
When I found this jewel of a recipe, it was love at first bite. We’ve made it *almost* as much as our oven baked chicken wings with buffalo gravy.
Since then, I’ve tweaked the original recipe to make it healthier and adapted it for Instant Pot lovers.
So, what’s the key to its amazing flavor? The sauce.
How To Make A Healthy Honey Garlic Sauce
A basic honey garlic sauce consists of just a few things: honey, garlic (of course), soy sauce, ketchup, plus a dash of sesame oil.
In this particular recipe, we’re making it even healthier by using two of my favorite Bragg food helpers: Bragg liquid aminos and Bragg apple cider vinegar with “the mother”.
Bragg liquid aminos are a liquid protein concentrate made from soybeans with 16 different naturally occurring amino acids. Liquid aminos taste much like soy sauce (which is usually fermented with wheat), but is a wonderful gluten-free substitute. Plus, it’s made using non-GMO soybeans.
Adding apple cider vinegar to the sauce gives it an extra “kick” while adding health benefits, such as improving insulin sensitivity and making the carbs in your meal have less of an impact on blood sugar. Consuming ACV daily has also been shown to help people lose belly fat and feel fuller longer!
We’re also swapping regular high fructose corn syrup-laden ketchup for organic ketchup or homemade lacto-fermented ketchup.
The result is a healthy honey garlic sauce that tastes just as good as the original, but healthier!
Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe Variation
The first time I ever made this recipe, it was in a slow cooker. Those instructions are below, but I went a step further too, and adapted it to the Instant Pot!
With the slow cooker, I just add the chicken pieces to the bottom of the pot, cover with sauce, and set to cook on low or high.
In the Instant Pot, the method is much the same. But instead of cooking for several hours, you’re done in just over 30 minutes from start to finish! Only 20 minutes of cook time on high pressure, plus a little extra time on either end for pressure building and release.
We’re also adding 1/2 cup of cooking liquid (chicken broth) to ensure the recipe has enough liquid for the high temps of the Instant Pot (to prevent scorching).
Here’s how to adapt your favorite slow cooker recipes to pressure cooking, plus 6 lessons learned from years of pressure cooking.
Healthy Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe Notes
Use any chicken you prefer: bone-in or boneless thighs, chicken breast pieces, even wings! This recipe is extremely versatile. I prefer bone-in chicken thighs for ultimate tenderness and texture.
I often cook my chicken pieces still frozen because I’m the type of gal who often forgets to thaw her meat. Anyone else? The recipe works perfectly either way. If using frozen chicken, simply add 1 hour of cook time for the slow cooker or 3 extra minutes for pressure cooking.
If using a slow cooker, cook on high or low depending on preference. Then adjust the cooking time (instructions below).
Use a variety of fresh herbs to top your chicken! I love chopped parsley but oregano or sage would be nice also. A sprinkling of sesame seeds is a nice touch, too. No salt and pepper is needed, since the sauce has so much flavor already!
Serve this honey garlic chicken alongside colorful steamed vegetables and perfect soaked rice. Here are some wonderful ideas for fresh produce if you’re looking for a unique side dish!
If doubling the recipe, there’s no need to make much extra sauce. A little goes a long way and seems to coat the chicken extremely well, even if you add a few extra thighs to the pot.
There’s no need to use local, raw honey in this recipe, although it definitely has the most health benefits. Since we are heating this sauce at high temps, many of the beneficial enzymes are lost. So ideally, save your good honey for desserts and special drinks, like honey-sweetened kombucha!
Healthy Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe
What's super easy and so yummy that even picky eaters love it?? This Instant Pot honey garlic chicken recipe! Inspired by Asian takeout but without the yucky ingredients, it's sweet, savory, and bursting with flavor. You can use whatever chicken you have on hand: thighs, breast pieces, or even wings! Serve it with veggies and rice for a perfect healthy dinner families will love. Bonus: it can also be baked in the slow cooker!
- 6 chicken thighs bone-in or boneless
- 1/2 cup broth
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup Bragg liquid aminos or coconut aminos, or traditionally fermented soy sauce
- 1/2 cup ketchup organic or lacto-fermented
- 1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
- fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
- sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Mix broth, honey, liquid aminos, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, and sesame oil together in insert pot of pressure cooker.
Add chicken thighs.
Cover the pot, checking the seal and components to make sure all is well.
If using an electric cooker, set to high pressure for 20 minutes (or 23 minutes if using frozen thighs). If using a stove-top cooker, bring to high pressure and maintain for 15 minutes (or 18 minutes if using frozen thighs).
When cycle is complete, turn off (if electric cooker) or remove from heat (if stovetop cooker).
Quick release pressure.
Or, if using frozen thighs, let sit for 10 minutes to naturally release pressure. Then quick release any remaining pressure.
Carefully open lid once pressure has released.
Serve over rice and top with chopped fresh parsley and a sprinkling of sesame seeds, if desired.
Slow Cooker Variation
Omit chicken broth. Add chicken thighs to the bottom of the slow cooker. In a small bowl, mix mix honey, liquid aminos, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, minced garlic, and sesame oil together. Pour mixture over chicken. Cover slow cooker with lid.
Cook 4 to 5 hours on LOW or 3 to 4 hours on HIGH. If using frozen chicken, add 1 hour of cook time to ensure doneness. Top with chopped fresh parsley and a sprinkling of sesame seeds, if desired.
Looking for more healthy chicken recipes? Try these!
- 30 Gluten-Free Instant Pot Asian Recipes (Keto, Paleo, Whole30)
- 43 Fresh & Vibrant Instant Pot Recipes For Spring (Keto, Paleo, Whole30)
What are your favorite super easy chicken recipes? Which do you use more often: the Instant Pot or a slow cooker?
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Cooking honey is not recommended. Heating it up causes by products which are not good for health. How do we balance that?
We balance that by mostly using unheated honey. Wardee’s family does occasionally use honey in baked goods, but that’s pretty rare.
~Danielle, TCS Customer Success Team
Linda Woods says
Somewhere I have seen that Bragg Liquid Aminos is not a good choice. What do you think?
As long as you don’t have a specific allergy to soybeans, it’s a great and healthy choice that’s gluten free. Alternatively, you could try coconut aminos.
I was not meaning allergies. I no longer use it. This is the article on why liquid aminos is questionable. https://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/soy-sauce-the-good-the-bad-and-the-surprisingly-ugly/
Wow, I’ve never seen that information. Thanks for sending it my way. As stated in that article, traditionally fermented soy sauce is very healthy and can definitely be used in place of liquid aminos.
I have this in my IP now. Is it a typo when it states “Quick release pressure. Or, if using frozen…” then next bit down it states “Then quick release any remaining pressure”. I’m still learning to pressure cook and never seen “quick release” then “release remaining pressure”.
Haniya Cherry says
Hi JL, thanks for asking! It’s not a typo, but the instructions could have been arranged better for clarity. It should read,
“Quick release pressure.
Or, if using frozen thighs, let sit for 10 minutes to naturally release pressure. Then quick release any remaining pressure.”
I hope this helps!
I have a question; is the 20 minute time correct? Usually the chicken cooking time charts show less time (for chicken dark meat 10 – 15 min. fresh) This recipe sounds so good; i would like to try it soon.
Sharon I think you could do 15 minutes instead. Hope you enjoy this!
Thank you for your prompt reply! My meat was in the freezer but i tried it tonight anyway. The shorter cooking time worked and I let the pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes. I checked the boneless chicken by using a thermometer as well as it was very tender.
Thanks for a yummy recipe; my husband enjoyed it as well!
Wonderful, I’m so happy it worked well for you! Thanks for the feedback! Blessings.
2 of my favorite chicken recipes are the sloco version of Sticky Chicken and Forbidden City Chicken (can be stovetop, sloco, or oven). I’ve also made these in my rice cooker, just put the rice in the bottom and the chicken on top, both get done at the same time, even with frozen chicken. Both probably work in a presco too, but I haven’t tried it since I only recently bought one. We prefer dark meat too, though sometimes I pull the skin from the thighs and make chicarrones. I usually make my own teriyaki sauce with monkfruit sweetener.
Wow, those recipes sound amazing! There’s something about sweet and savory that goes so well with chicken. I love that you make your own teriyaki sauce, too!
Diana M Wallach says
Is this for an 8 quart or a 6 quart Instant Pot?