Make this Instant Pot Lemon Chicken for dinner tonight – everyone will love it. Even better: It’s SO quick and easy to make – and you can even cook the chicken from frozen!
This recipe is Trim Healthy Mama friendly (THM S), low carb, Keto friendly and gluten free. It only has 2g of net carbs per serving!
Chicken is such a dinner favorite around here. And I love chicken thighs for their healthy fat content! I always eat the skin to get more of that precious collagen from natural sources.
For more low carb chicken recipes, see my Low Carb Oven Fried Chicken or my Balsamic Caprese Chicken.
This low carb instant pot lemon chicken
- is easy to make
- can be cooked from frozen on those extra-busy nights!
- has 2g NET carbs per serving, perfect for low carb or Keto diets!
My instant pot has been my saving grace on those nights I completely forgot to defrost any meat…
… which has really been most nights since having baby #3. Ahem.
This version with a tangy and creamy lemon sauce is one of our favorites, because it’s so easy and flavorful!
I love how tender meat turns out in the instant pot, so I don’t mind those flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants dinners at all 😉
For more easy and healthy instant pot dinner recipes, see my Instant Pot Sour Cream Pork Chops or my Instant Pot Turkey Pumpkin Chili.
How to make instant pot lemon chicken
Read on for the detailed steps, or scroll down for more tips to make this recipe foolproof and the printable recipe card.
1 – Prep: To prep, chop a small onion (do really use a small one to keep this low carb, or use half of a medium one) and mince some garlic.
Plug in your instant pot and fit with the inner pot.
2 – Brown the chicken: Set the instant pot to “sauté” and add oil to the inner pot. Brown the chicken well on the skin side, then flip and brown on the other side for a couple of minutes, too.
Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside on a plate (it doesn’t have to be cooked through at this point).
3 – Start the sauce: To start the sauce, add the onion and garlic to the hot pot and sauté until softened.
Add the chicken broth, lemon juice, herbs and seasoning. Scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
4 – Pressure cook: Place the chicken thighs back into the pot.
Secure the lid and set the valve to the “sealing” position. Choose “pressure cook” (or “manual” on older models) and “high” for 12 minutes.
Allow the pot to naturally release the pressure (just switch it off and leave it alone) for the most tender meat.
5 – Finish the sauce: Once the pressure has released, open the pot and remove the chicken.
Set the instant pot to “sauté” and stir your preferred thickener into the sauce.
You can use glucomannan, arrowroot or cornstarch, depending on your carbohydrate goals.
Simmer until the sauce has thickened! Then stir in some cream and butter to make it extra luscious.
Tips for the BEST Low Carb Lemon Chicken
- don’t try to flip the chicken too soon, or you’ll rip it apart. it will naturally come off the bottom once it’s ready if you’re using enough oil
- you can make this with chicken breast, reduce the pressure cooking time to 8 minutes
- if the instant pot gets too hot while you’re sautéing, switch it off and use the residual heat to finish browning the chicken
How do you cook frozen chicken thighs in the instant pot?
Simply skip browning the chicken and only sauté the onion and garlic, then follow the recipe as written.
Pressure cook for 15 minutes instead of 12. Check the meat for doneness, if it’s still raw in the middle close the lid again and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Can you stack the chicken in the instant pot? Can you double the recipe?
If you’re using defrosted thighs and want to double the recipe, you can stack the chicken thighs.
Double the sauce ingredients too, but the cooking time should stay the same.
Please note: Do not stack the chicken if frozen/make sure the thighs are separated. If that’s not possible/they’re totally stuck together, your thighs may need longer to cook.
Can you use water instead of chicken broth?
Yes, you can.
It will still be delicious, but you may need to add more seasoning.
What are the best low carb sides for this lemon chicken?
There are many great ways to serve this!
- roasted broccoli
- sautéed green beans
- sautéed zucchini
- cauliflower rice
- cauliflower mash
- roasted radishes
More Low Carb Dinner Recipes
PS If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback! You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook or Instagram. Sign up for my email list, too!
Low Carb Instant Pot Lemon Chicken
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 pound chicken thighs I used bone-in, skin-on
- 1 small onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 3/4 cup chicken broth
- 1 lemon juice only
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon glucomannan OR 1/4 teaspoon Xanthan gum OR 1 teaspoon cornstarch OR arrowroot mixed in 3 tablespoons cream
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Brown meat: Set instant pot to sauté. Add oil to pot and add thighs skin-side down. Cook, in batches if needed, until golden and crisp. Flip and cook until browned on the other side. Remove chicken from pot.
- Start sauce: Add onion and garlic to pot and cook until starting to soften, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth, lemon juice, herbs and seasoning. Stir, scraping the browned bits off the bottom of the pot.
- Pressure cook: Place chicken thighs back in the instant pot. Secure lid and set the pressure valve to "sealing". Choose "pressure cook" (or "manual") and "high" for 12 minutes. Naturally release pressure after cooking time is up (just switch off the instant pot and leave it alone until pressure is gone).
- Finish sauce: Carefully remove thighs. Set the Instant Pot to sauté. Pour thickener slurry into pot, stir well and simmer until sauce has thickened. Stir in butter until melted and serve sauce over chicken.
Have you ever used boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe? If not do you have any recommendations for cooking boneless skinless chicken, I’m tired of the same old recipes I use…lol
you can definitely make it with boneless chicken breasts, Sherry! Just pressure cook them for 8 minutes instead of the time given for thighs, and you should be all set.
Yummy!!!!! Thank you!!! Will definitely make again.
This sounds fantastic!! I am planning to make it this week. Also going to finally serve my riced cauliflower. Fingers crossed that the family likes two new items at once
Do you think it’d be any good with orange instead of lemon? I’m out of lemons!
Mikki Detten says
I made it and we loved it! I’m new to the IP but this was good!!! I loved the sauce. I didn’t have rosemary so I used poultry seasoning in addition. It was fabulous!
Pretty good. I think I went overboard with the sauce. I doubled it and the consistency was awesomeness but a little too much lemon.
Could everyone please put the actual recipe, with quantities, at the beginning of the post? I thought this one wasn’t ever going to give quantities! It’s cooking now, so we haven’t tasted it yet.
Ronda, thank you so much for your honest feedback, I appreciate it. I’m working on going through my recipe posts to improve them. I will most likely not place the recipe right at the top (many of my readers enjoy a few tips and suggestions). Having said that, there will most definitely be a big “jump to recipe” button right at the top so you can skip straight to the recipe if you’re in a hurry. Sorry you didn’t have a better experience on my site right now, but I promise I’m working on it. And I do hope you’ll enjoy the chicken!
Jeannie Collier says
Delicious I will place this in one of my favorite dishes.
Hi – what would you suggest as a cooking time for frozen chicken breast in this recipe? And would you still brown the outside? Thanks!
Hi Kim, if you have smaller (around 8oz) frozen chicken breasts, they need to cook about 12 minutes at high pressure.
A little larger ones (around 10oz) frozen chicken breasts need to cook about 14 minutes at high pressure. In either case, they’ll need 10 minutes of natural pressure release. Hope that helps!
Christy Renee says
I’m never certain type of onion is best to use with different recipes. Do you think yellow or white is best with this one? I can’t wait to make this!!
I used yellow here! Hope this helps, Christy.
Kristi Cargile says
Had this tonight. Soooo good! Might try it with pork chops next time. Thanks for the recipe.
Breelyn Young says
Added capers. So delicious ?
What a great idea, Breelyn!
Paula Marden says
I made this and it was delicious. I am doing meal prep for our vacation at a cabin and wondered if you could freeze the finished product to eat later? It’s so much easier than dragging everything with me.
Paula, I’m really not sure because I’ve never tried freezing it! Sorry I’m not of more help!
This was so yummy, hubby loved and so quick and easy to make all done and on the table within 30mins…?? Thank you
I’m so glad, Donna!
Is it possible to do a natural release for X amount of time, then do a quick release? Full natural release adds such a longer amount of time to the cooking process.
Sarah, you can do 5 minutes of natural release and then manually release. The chicken can just be a little tougher if doing this. But I can totally relate to needing dinner ready a little sooner and have done it before myself, tastes still fine!
Super flavor despite how easy it was to make. Thanks for the recipe!
Kristie Simmons says
This was amazing. I made cooked cabbage and sautéed greenbeans & mushrooms as sides. Delicious!
Sandra I. Rodriguez Marcial says
What does this mean? 1/4 teaspoon glucomannan OR 1/4 teaspoon Xanthan gum OR 1 teaspoon cornstarch OR arrowroot mixed in 3 tablespoons cream.
I know o have to choose one but don’t understand in what cream i have to mixed to. Heavy cream?
Yes you just mix it into 3 tablespoons heavy cream! Sorry about the confusion, I’ll make a note to update the recipe to make the instructions more clear.
I’m an instant pot novice in this recipe came off fantastic! Thank you!
Joan G says
This was awesome! We made it in our pressure cooker on the picnic table outside our RV. It was easy, economical and VERY tasty.
I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because that’s all I had. 4 of them. We did use a little corn starch because it, too, was all I had in the RV.
We had it with cream of cauliflower soup. There was some leftover sauce which we will have for soup tomorrow at our next stopping place.
Katharine Waite says
Help. Can I use half and half instead of heavy cream?
I am very new to the IP world; today was my 3rd time. The food was great, the only issue I had was one chicken breast got sick the other was perfect. Had anyone tried using no- stick spray in addition to oil? I used as much as the recipe said but it seemed to all kinds of gather at the edges instead of staying in the center. 🤷♀️ Other than that, it was very good. I am pinning this recipe for use again later!
Stuck* lol, not sick. 😄
Haha, I was just wondering about the sick chicken breast 😂
I have never had an issue with the chicken sticking, so I’m not sure what might have happened 🤔 you could definitely try the nonstick spray!