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5 from 5 votes

Garlic Sesame Chicken for the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker

This Garlic Sesame Chicken for the pressure cooker or slow cooker is tender, juicy, sweet, savory and full of delicious flavors -- and it only requires about 10 minutes of prep!
Course Dinner
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword chicken thigh recipe, instant pot chicken recipe, Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6 people
Calories 336kcal
Author Blair Lonergan

Ingredients

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 2.5 lbs.) or substitute with an equal amount of chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • Salt
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup less sodium soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Optional garnish: sliced green onions, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes
  • Optional for serving: rice or cauliflower rice

Instructions

FOR THE INSTANT POT:

  • Season chicken with about ¾ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  • Whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, and water. Set aside.
  • Press the “sauté” button and add oil. When oil is shimmering, add onions and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until soft (about 3-5 minutes).
  • Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.
  • Add chicken to the pot and pour soy sauce mixture over top. Turn off the sauté function and close the Instant Pot (locking the lid).
  • Press the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button and set the cooking time to 10 minutes for chicken thighs or 7 minutes for chicken breasts (if your chicken pieces are bigger than 8 ounces each, you can cut them in half or increase the cooking time to 9 minutes).
  • When the chicken is finished cooking, release the steam and open the lid right away to prevent over-cooking.
  • Slice chicken or shred with forks; return to the pot and stir with sauce. Serve over rice or cauliflower rice. Garnish with sliced green onion, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes, if desired.

FOR THE SLOW COOKER:

  • Season chicken with about ¾ teaspoon salt. Set aside.
  • Whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, and water. Set aside.
  • Spread oil in the bottom of a large slow cooker.
  • Place onion and garlic in the slow cooker and season with about ¼ teaspoon salt.
  • Place chicken on top of onions and pour sauce over everything.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or on HIGH for 2-3 hours, or until chicken is tender but not dry.
  • Slice chicken or shred with forks; return to the pot and stir with sauce. Serve with sauce over rice or cauliflower rice. Garnish with sliced green onion, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Notes

There are a variety of ways that you can serve the cooked sesame chicken -- in wraps, over salad, on top of rice, on top of cauliflower rice, or in bowls with stir-fried Asian vegetables.
This sesame chicken recipe calls for chicken thighs, which are definitely my preference in the Instant Pot or slow cooker. The meat just stays so moist!
But if you're not a fan of dark meat, that's fine too. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts will also work nicely.
Please don't try to substitute a different oil for the sesame oil. The dinner just will NOT taste the same. Plus, you can find tiny little bottles of sesame oil in just about any grocery store these days

Nutrition

Serving: 1/6 of the chicken and sauce | Calories: 336kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 179mg | Sodium: 882mg | Potassium: 558mg | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 1.8mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2.1mg