Instant Pot Chicken “Spareribs“–inexpensive chicken thighs coated in a zippy sparerib-style sauce made easy with your electric pressure cooker.
For the slow cooker version of this recipe see the notes section in the recipe card below.
Instant Pot Chicken “Spareribs”
Today’s recipe come from Sharon, a wonderful cook who has tried more of my recipes than anyone else I know! She sent me this traditional stove top recipe and asked how to transform it into an Instant Pot recipe. At first when I read the title of the recipe I was thoroughly confused “chicken spareribs?!” When I read the recipe I realized it was chicken thighs with a spare-rib type of sauce. The sauce is a zippy barbecue-type sauce made with vinegar, brown sugar, ketchup and apple juice. The chicken turns out so tender and moist. And it tastes great served with rice or potatoes. Enjoy these chicken spareribs at your house soon!
Can I use another cut of chicken?
The bone-in chicken thighs really give that meaty spare rib taste to this recipe. You can also use chicken legs or bone-in chicken breasts for this recipe. If you want to try this recipe with boneless thighs, that would also work well.
If you try this recipe with boneless skinless chicken breasts you will want to use a 1 minute cooking time per ounce of the average chicken breast size. So if your chicken breasts are 10 ounces each you’d use a 10 minute cooking time and then use a 10 minute natural pressure release.
What do I serve with Instant Pot chicken spare ribs?
These Instant Pot chicken spareribs taste great with rice, mashed potatoes, green salad, garlic bread, cauliflower rice or a side of steamed vegetables.
More Chicken Instant Pot Recipes…
Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
Instant Pot French Onion Chicken
Instant Pot Creamy Lemon Chicken
Want more tried and true Instant Pot recipes?
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Instant Pot Chicken “Spareribs”
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes (plus 10 minute NPR)
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 4–5 servings 1x
Inexpensive chicken thighs coated in a zippy sparerib-style sauce made easy with your electric pressure cooker.
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 2 Tbsp ketchup
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/4 tsp ground red pepper
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch + 1 Tbsp water
- Turn Instant Pot to the saute setting. While it is heating up remove the skin from the chicken thighs. Lightly salt and pepper the chicken thighs.
- When the display says HOT add in the oil and swirl it around. Add chicken and lightly brown on all sides, turning frequently for about 5 minutes. Move chicken to a plate.
- Combine the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, apple juice, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, ground red pepper and ginger. Pour the mixture into the pot, scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pot. Place the chicken, meaty side down, into the liquid. If possible, fit all chicken pieces into one layer on the bottom of the pot.
- Cover the pot and secure the lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing. Set the manual/pressure cook button to 15 minutes. When time is up let the pot sit for 10 minutes and then move the valve to venting. Remove the lid.
- Turn Instant Pot to the saute setting. Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting. In a small bowl stir together 1 Tbsp of cornstarch with 1-2 Tbsp of water, until smooth. Then pour the mixture into the Instant Pot. The cornstarch mixture will thicken up contents of pot quickly. Stir chicken pieces and rotate often as each piece gets glazed with the sauce. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- Serve sauce and chicken and enjoy!
I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. Use the same recipe and instructions for the 3 quart pot and 8 quart pot.
To make in a slow cooker: Skin the chicken thighs. Place them in a slow cooker. Combine the water, soy sauce, brown sugar, apple juice, ketchup, vinegar, garlic, ground red pepper and ginger and pour over the chicken. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. In a small bowl stir together 1 Tbsp of cornstarch with 1-2 Tbsp of water, until smooth. Then pour the mixture into the slow cooker. Keep the lid off of the pot and turn to high and cook for another 30 minutes, turning the chicken often to glaze the chicken pieces in the sauce.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Instant Pot
*Karen Petersen is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
Joan Bourget says
Why am I unable to print this recipe? Being of the lazy nature, I prefer to print all recipes that I’m sure to use.
The print recipe button on the recipe card worked for me. Perhaps refresh the page and try again?
I know this is going to be great. Can I double this in my six quart IP and keep the same time. Love all your recipes and also have your book which is my kitchen bible. LOL
Yes you can double!
Made exactly as written and got a 5 stars from hubby.
So glad to hear he enjoyed it! Thanks for your review.
My hubby LOVES chicken with skin on. Is there a reason it has to be skinless?
No, just a personal preference.
Judy S. says
This recipe is terrific! So tasty! Easy to make, too. It’s now on the top of my list of fave, family-pleasing IP recipes. I’m not a fan of thighs (tho my husband is), and this sauce makes them taste wonderful. Thank you, Karen!
Thank you Judy! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!
Yum! Searching for “tangy chicken” I stumbled upon your recipe. Using what I had, I substituted 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger for ground,1/8 tsp of cayenne for red pepper, and white vinegar for apple cider. Some paprika was sprinkled on along with the salt and pepper. Served over rice. Delicious, succulent and will be a re-do over and over. Oh – the sauce barely thickened so next time I’ll increase the cornstarch. BThank you!
Yay! Glad you found me!
Aaron Miller says
Would you recommend with or without skin for the chicken?
I take the skin off
This turned out very good. I used 6 thighs, so I browned the chicken in two batches. The colcannon served on the side complimented the dish. Thank you again for redoing the recipe into an Instant Pot one.
Yay! Thanks for sharing the recipe Sharon 🙂
Hello Sharon, May I ask what is Colcannon?
Hélène, colcannon is mashed potatoes and cooked cabbage combined together. Allrecipes.com has quite a few recipes if you want to give it a try. It’s a great side dish.
Had some pineapple juice to use up so used that in place of the apple juice and it was good. Served over basmati rice.
Mary Holley says
Does it really matter if it’s bone IN chicken thighs? I have boneless ones.
you can use those!
about how much does a chicken theigh weight
I had about 6 chicken thighs in my pot and it was 2 pounds.