Lighter on the calories and made completely in the instant pot, this Thai basil chicken is loaded with fresh basil, soft sweet peppers, and tender chicken cubes.
We’re really putting the instant pot to good use today! Turns out Thai basil chicken + instant pot = the king of all fast yet flavor-packed dinners.
This is one of those dinners you can pull off using ingredients you mostly have on hand, but we’re not sacrificing any flavor for that! And believe me, it rivals your go-to takeout place.
A mess of this saucy chicken over a big bowl of rice and you’re pretty much set for life.
We’re gonna lighten up this whole dinner deal by making a few healthy swaps in the sauce which means less soy sauce, less sugar, but more FLAVOR.
Fresh basil, lots of ginger + garlic, and a little sesame oil are the powerhouse ingredients here that make this chicken everything it is!
This Instant Pot Thai Basil Chicken features…
- Perfectly juicy and tender chicken cubes
- Tender sweet bell pepper cubes
- Lots of herby fresh basil and a sweet, flavorful sauce
- Ready in only 35 minutes and made entirely in the instant pot
Making The Instant Pot Thai Basil Chicken
(scroll down to the bottom of the post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Sesame oil
- Chicken thighs
- Yellow onion
- Chicken broth
- Soy sauce
- Sweet chili sauce
- Rice wine vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Sweet pepper
Choosing Your Chicken
This recipe works well with both boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts. The thighs cook up just slightly more juicy and tender than the breasts, but honestly this chicken will turn out amazing either way you go!
To prep the chicken for cooking, trim off any fat and cut chicken into uniform 1-inch cubes (you can also do this several days in advance and store the chicken in the fridge until you’re ready to cook!)
Tips for Perfect Thai Basil Chicken
- Saute chicken and onion in instant pot first – this gets a nice browning on the meat and helps build a flavor base.
- Cook chicken on high pressure – 8 minutes on high pressure will cook the chicken to a perfectly juicy texture.
- Release pressure manually – this stops the cooking process and you won’t have to wait for the instant to de-pressurize.
- Add sweet pepper, basil, and cornstarch slurry at end of cooking – once the instant pot has been released of all pressure, add these ingredients, place the lid back on, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. This will cook the pepper to a perfect tender texture and thicken the sauce.
Try these ideas for a different twist on this recipe!
- Make it spicy – add a minced jalapeno or a few shakes of red pepper flakes prior to cooking chicken for a spicy version.
- Try a beef version – thinly sliced beef round strips will work great in place of the chicken.
- Add more veggies – thinly sliced mushrooms, zucchini, spinach, or broccoli will work great in addition to (or in replacement) of the sweet pepper.
- Make it fruity – try mandarin oranges or pineapple tidbits.
Don’t have an instant pot? You can still make this recipe using these stovetop instructions!
- Rather than using SAUTE function on instant pot, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and onion and cook per recipe instructions, adding ginger and garlic at the end.
- Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and the sweet pepper and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and allow to simmer 10-15 minutes.
- Remove lid from pan and fold basil and cornstarch mixture into chicken until thickened. Serve chicken per recipe instructions.
This chicken is just an absolute bomb of flavors! It’s so fall-apart tender from being cooked in the instant pot and just soaks up all that wonderful sweet herby sauce alongside the tender sweet pepper cubes.
If you’re into meal prepping this is absolutely one of those meals that’s easy to double and store for dinners all week. You’ll thank yourself later!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More instant pot chicken recipes to add to your menu!
Lighter Instant Pot Thai Basil Chicken
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-in cubes
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
- 3 medium cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 large sweet pepper, cut into 1/2-in cubes
- 3/4 cup lightly-packed fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch, mixed with 3 tablespoons water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot cooked rice for serving
- Heat sesame oil in a 4-qt instant pot set to SAUTE function. Once shimmery, add chicken and onions. Sauté several minutes until browned and onion is translucent. Add ginger and garlic and saute 1 additional minute until fragrant. Turn off SAUTE function.
- Add chicken broth, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, and brown sugar to instant pot and stir until combined. Seal lid on instant pot and cook on high pressure 8 minutes.
- Manually release pressure from instant pot, remove lid, and add red pepper, basil, and cornstarch mixture. Seal lid back on instant pot and let sit 5 minutes until peppers are slightly softened, basil is wilted, and sauce is slightly thickened.
- Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste and serve warm over jasmine rice. Enjoy!
This post was updated with new photos and recipe tips on 4/6/23.
Made this tonight for supper – so amazing. So much flavour. Thanks for such an awesome recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it, April! Thanks for letting me know. 🙂
Just defrosted boneless chicken breasts, any change to the recipe for breast instead of thighs? LOOks great!
Hi Amy! Breasts usually cook in less time so I’d recommend decreasing the cook time at high pressure down to 6 minutes rather than 8.
I’ve made this a few times and love it, thanks!! If I want to double the recipe do I need to change cook time?
Hi Jesse! You should be able to double this recipe without any changes! Because pressure cooking time is determined by the size of the food itself, not the quantity, you shouldn’t need to add any cooking time. 🙂
Cynthia Lancer says
I added a handful of cashews. We loved this.
Keeping. Thank you!
Love the sound of cashews in this chicken! Thanks for sharing, Cynthia. 🙂
Kimberly Strauch says
Looking really forward to making this tonight…but my chicken thighs are frozen. How should I adjust the cook time?
Hi Kimberly – because the chicken needs to be cut then sauteed in the instant pot, I would recommend thawing the thighs beforehand. You can do so easily in the microwave using the thaw setting!
Followed exactly. Delicious!
Thanks for letting me know, Sandra! 🙂
How would I adjust cooking time if I’m using chicken breasts?
Cook time should be roughly the same, Maura! Because it’s cooked in the instant pot, the chicken won’t really overcook.
Barbara Waterss says
One of my favorite recipes. Always delicious!
Ours too. 🙂 Thanks for reporting back, Barbara!