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.

If you love easy and delicious instant pot soup recipes, be sure to try our delicious Instant pot creamy chicken enchilada soup. It’s absolutely amazing!


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.


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

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 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. 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



1690 cal


51 g


143 g


165 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

Recipe adapted from: Julie Harrington, RD

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Related Recipe: If you’re looking for a meal that is filling and tasty, try these Instant Pot Spicy Chicken and Rice Bowls. The Instant Pot makes a tender, flavorful chicken that will have people coming back for more.

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28 Responses 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!
  2. The recipe is confusing as to how much honey is poured over the chicken after you open the instant pot. I just guessed and it may not have been enough. The sauce in the instant pot was really thick after adding the cornstarch so I made another batch of sauce to pour on top. It still didn’t seem to be enough sauce.
  3. Angela West
    In this recipe, after the chicken is seared, it says to push the “manual” button. I have an 8 quart instant pot duo. There is no button for a manual setting. I tried cooking it on the “meat setting” and the “pressure” setting and both times, it burned. Can you please tell me how to adapt it for my duo? Also, just as these other folks, I am confused about how much honey to add when.
  4. This recipe didn't work for me. I followed the recipes exactly. When I got to the pressure cooking stage, my Instant Pot beeped at me and declared "burn". I de-pressurized and opened it up to discover that all of the sauce had burnt to the bottom of the pot. At this point, I probably should have tested the chicken's doneness, taken it out, and eaten it. Instead, I scraped the bottom and attempted to cook it again. The somehow burnt to the bottom even worse! Overall, the chicken wasn't bad. It definitely would have been better if I hadn't burned most of the sauce off...
  5. I followed this recipe to the letter and it also burned at the bottom of the pot. The chicken was very good so I really want to find a way to make it without the bottom burning. Perhaps if I sear the cornstarched chicken on the stove then transfer it to the IP. That would, of course, add more work and clean up but my picky son loved it so I'll do it!
    • Sandie
      I had the same issues. I wish I read the comments before cooking. I had no idea where the "extra honey" was coming from. I wish I took out the chicken the first time I got the "burn" signal. My sauce was already thick so I skipped the cornstarch. Dinner was good, but directions were confusing. Any ideas on how not to get the burn message?
  6. Eva Lally
    This recipe burned the heck outta my instant pot! Like, I may have to replace the pot. I had to switch it to a regular pan instead of cooking in an instant pot. My advice: don’t use this as an instant pot recipe! Horrible. I wish I could leave a picture.
  7. Christina
    I had the same issue with the burning & the same confusion about the honey, which was why I read the comments. I wish I would have read them first so I could have chosen a different recipe & avoided having my family’s dinner ruin! Remove this recipe from your site!
  8. Lisa Ewoldt
    Loved this recipe! The chicken was tender and I love the sauce, it's very thick. I just drizzled some honey in at the end, didn't bother to measure it. This might be one of the best recipes I've made in my pressure cooker. I didn't have any problems with burning, but I don't have an actual instant pot, I have a Farberware pressure cooker with a nonstick inner pot. Thanks for a great recipe!
  9. Love the flavor! But made it three times so far and I keep getting the burn warning. I tried adding water, and halfing the honey in the beginning. Is it the corn starch that’s causing it to burn? Anybody else having this issue that has been able to modify the recipe to make or successfully without burning it first?
  10. Amy M
    I didn't add the honey, just the soy sauce and ketchup and got the burn notice. Indeed it was burnt to the bottom. I think there is definitely not enough liquid in the pot. I think this recipe would best be made in the frying pan with such little liquid. Also I was confused at the short cooking time on the chicken. 3 minutes even after searing the outside seems too little time. I don't have a meat therm so I don't have a way to check for sure.

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