Instant Pot EASY Sesame Chicken and Rice

No need for take-out - this EASY Sesame Chicken made in your Instant Pot is ready in less than 30 minutes from start to finish! A much healthier option to make at home that your family will love.

I have only owned my Instant Pot for a short amount of time and this is the first recipe that I am sharing on our blog that is for the Instant Pot (even though my sisters have been sharing tons of Instant Pot recipes!).

Up until this point, I have been the slow cooker queen (that is a self-given title) and have posted over 150 slow cooker recipes on our blog personally. I LOVE my slow cooker.

However, this Instant Pot has earned a spot on my kitchen counter – I am LOVING how quickly it cooks my meals, which means I can have dinner on the table in a matter of minutes!

This recipe for EASY Sesame Chicken is so simple and SO delicious!

The texture from coating it in cornstarch and then sauteing the chicken pieces in sesame oil (which, by the way, you saute the chicken in your Instant Pot and then cook it in your Instant Pot – only one dish to clean! It’s the best) makes it taste like it’s deep fried, but it’s actually pretty healthy for you!

My family loved this recipe and I know that yours will too.

Chicken Breasts vs. Chicken Thighs

For this recipe, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces.

You could definitely use boneless chicken thighs (just add 1 minute to cooking time) – just be sure to cut the thighs into bite-sized pieces and then follow the instructions are directed in the recipe.

Both kinds of chicken will be delicious in this recipe!

Why sear the chicken first?

The reason that we sear the chicken before cooking is to lock in amazing flavor and to cut down on cooking time.

To sear the chicken, plug in your Instant pot, remove the lid, and push the “Saute” button on your Instant Pot. It will heat up fairly quickly. Add in your sesame oil and let it get nice and hot.

Once the oil is hot, add in the coated chicken pieces to the Instant Pot and saute for 2-3 minutes. You aren’t cooking the chicken, but instead sealing in all the juices and giving it a nice golden brown crust.

Tips for making Sesame Chicken in the Instant Pot:

  • This recipe calls for a quick release. Don’t do a natural release on your Instant Pot because you don’t want to overcook the chicken, which will dry it out.
  • If you don’t have sesame oil, you could substitute olive oil – but I promise that savory flavor of the oil adds so much to this dish (hence the name *Sesame* chicken).
  • Remember that it is going to take about 10 minutes for your Instant Pot to pressurize, so be sure to take that into consideration as you are preparing this dish.

What Instant Pot do I use?

I have the Instant Pot LUX 6 Quart 6-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker. It’s basically 6 appliances in 1 – pressure cooker, rice cooker, saute, steamer, cake maker, and warmer.

If you are new to using your Instant Pot, I would highly recommend checking out these 3 easy recipes that you can make in your Instant Pot:


Check out our other favorite Instant Pot recipes:

Serves: 6

Instant Pot EASY Sesame Chicken and Rice

10 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

25 minTotal Time

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  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch (divided)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (could also use chicken thighs)
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil (divided)
  • 6 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons ketchup
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 6 Tablespoons honey
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds


  1. In a gallon-sized resealable bag, mix together 2 Tablespoons cornstarch with salt and pepper.
  2. Add in chicken pieces to bag, seal, and shake until chicken is completely coated with cornstarch (if you need to add more cornstarch to make sure all chicken is covered, feel free).
  3. Plug in your Instant Pot and push "saute" button. Add in 1 1/2 Tablespoons of sesame oil to the Instant Pot and let it heat up.
  4. Once the oil is hot, add in the coated chicken pieces. Saute for 3-4 minutes or until all sides of the chicken start to turn golden-brown.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together soy sauce, ketchup, red pepper flakes, and honey. Pour over chicken pieces. Stir gently so that all the chicken pieces are covered in sauce.
  6. Place lid on Instant Pot and seal. Make sure that your valve is in the "seal" position and not the "vent" position.
  7. Push the "manual" button and then set for 3 minutes.
  8. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to pressurize and then it will start the 3 minute cooking time.
  9. Once the 3 minutes are up, do a quick release (move the valve from "seal" to "vent") and let all the pressure out. Once the steam has stopped coming out of the vent, remove the lid.
  10. Add in the remaining sesame oil and honey and mix in with the chicken.
  11. In another small bowl, mix together water with the remaining cornstarch. Pour in with the chicken, and gently stir to cover chicken. Push the "saute" button again and let the sauce thicken (should only take 2-3 minutes).
  12. Serve over rice and top with sesame seeds.


Instant Pot
dairy free
egg free
seafood free
treenut free
mustard free

Recipe adapted from: Julie Harrington, RD

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Comment on this Recipe

One Response to “Instant Pot EASY Sesame Chicken and Rice”

  1. Annette Stallings
    Hello, In the Sesame Chicken recipe, it calls for 6 tbsp of honey. The directions state to add the honey in with the ketchup, soy sauce and red pepper flakes mixture. Yet, further down in the directions, the instructions state to add honey and sesame oil to the instant pot after the chicken has pressure cooked. I am unsure how much honey to add to the instant pot, since it appeared I added all of the honey previously in the ketchup mixture. Thanks!

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