white plate with black speckles on white cloth with black stripes; chicken thighs with bbq sauce on plate; instant pot in background and light green condiment bowl with bbq sauce in it in background

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Thighs

Contributor: Lauren Keating

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken thighs are sticky sweet and perfectly smoky. The best part? You don’t need a grill to make them.

  • Author: Lauren Keating
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American


  • 68 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ tsp. liquid smoke
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil


  1. Season the chicken thighs liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Measure 1 cup water into the bottom of your Instant Pot insert. (*1 and ½ cups for an 8-quart Instant Pot.)
  3. Stir in the liquid smoke.
  4. Put the trivet or a steamer basket on top of the water. Put the thighs on top of the trivet in a single layer.
  5. Seal the Instant Pot and set the valve to sealing. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high for 10 minutes (14 minutes if frozen).
  6. Once the pressure cooker has counted down, let it do a natural release for 5 minutes before turning the valve to vent.
  7. Once the pressure button drops, remove the lid.
  8. Remove chicken thighs and brush with sauce.
  9. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté. Add the oil.
  10. Return the chicken to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until the sauce is caramelized and the chicken begins to brown in spots.