Sweet and spicy Instant Pot firecracker chicken served on a bed of jasmine rice. This is a dinner that the whole family will love, and trust me, if you make it once you will instantly fall in love with it!
This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, and takes less 30 minutes to be ready.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’d know how much I love my Instant Pot! I use it to make all kinds of dinners from restaurant-quality dishes such as chicken parmesan and Tuscan chicken, and hibachi restaurant meals such as hibachi steak, chicken, shrimp, and even fried rice, to easy comforting dinners such as butter chicken, creamy mushroom chicken, and creamy salsa chicken.
This firecracker chicken is a new family favorite, I only started making it a couple of months ago, and we already made it at least 5 times! It’s sweet, spicy, saucy, and full of flavor. And the best part? It’s SUPER easy to make!
What You’ll Need
Here’s what you’ll need to make firecracker chicken in the Instant Pot. You can use any type of chicken that you have available. I used diced chicken breast, but if you would like to use chicken thighs, that totally works!
As for the vinegar, I used rice wine vinegar, but you can substitute it with apple cider vinegar.
How to Make Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken
- Season the chicken, then coat in cornstarch. I like to use my kitchen tongs for this.
- Lightly brown the chicken in the Instant Pot, remove it and set aside. Deglaze, and I like to remove the bits that got stuck to the bottom of the pot (discard) to get a smooth sauce.
- Make the sauce, so simple! Just mix the ingredients in a small bowl.
- Put the chicken back in, add the sauce and water, and pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.
- Remove the chicken, and thicken the sauce. Put the chicken back in, mix and garnish with chopped green onion.
Now you can totally skip the cornstarch coating, and make this a dump and start recipe. But I personally love the crust that the cornstarch creates, it makes it so close to a classic firecracker chicken.
I also created a quick video for you to show you how I make Instant Pot Firecracker chicken, so make sure to check it out!
What to Serve With Firecracker Chicken
I like to serve this firecracker chicken on a bed of perfectly cooked jasmine rice (it cooks the same as basmati rice in the Instant Pot). For low-carb, you can serve this over cauliflower rice.
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I don’t feel like I say this often enough, or that I could ever thank you enough. But THANK YOU for all of your support, for visiting my blog, commenting, and sharing my recipes with your friends and family. I am SO thankful for you!
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I hope that you love every recipe that you make! – Diana x
Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken
- 2 pounds (900 grams) chicken breasts cubed into bite-size or 1 inch pieces
- ⅓ cup cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup water ¼ to deglaze and ¼ added to the chicken and sauce
For the Sauce
- ⅓ cup hot sauce such as Frank's hot sauce or sriracha
- ½ cup brown sugar or honey
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce if GF – use tamari sauce instead of soy sauce
- ¼ cup green onion chopped
- Cooked rice for serving
To Thicken the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- To a bowl, add the chicken, corn starch, salt, and pepper. Mix so that the chicken is well coated.
- On the Instant Pot press on SAUTE (on low) and heat the oil. Add the chicken, and brown it until lightly browned. Remove the chicken from the pot onto a plate and set aside.
- Deglaze the pot by adding ¼ cup of water, and with a wooden spoon or a heat resistant spatula scrape off any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. I recommend discarding the liquid and the chicken cornstarch bits that were stuck to the pot to get a smooth sauce. Switch off the saute setting.
- In a bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients until well combined, then add them to the Instant Pot and put the chicken back. Add ¼ cup of water to the chicken and sauce, and give everything a good mix.
- Secure the lid and set the vent to SEALING. Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL setting and set the cooking time for 5 minutes at high pressure. The Instant Pot will take around 4 minutes to come to pressure and start cooking. When the cooking program ends, quickly release the steam.
- Carefully open the lid, and remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
To Thicken the Sauce
- Press on SAUTE if the sauce is no longer hot, and once the sauce comes to a gentle boil add the cornstarch mixed with water. Whisk until the sauce is thickened (it thickens very quickly). Put the chicken back in, and mix.
- Serve over rice, and garnish with chopped green onion.
- This dish is quite spicy, if you don’t like spicy food then you can reduce the amount of hot sauce. If you would like to omit the hot sauce, use ketchup instead.
- It’s important that you deglaze the pot after the saute to avoid getting a burn message.
- The reason why I like to deglaze and discard the liquid with the stuck bits then wipe the pot clean is to get a smooth sauce.
- Serve over jasmine rice, and garnish with chopped green onions.
- Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- Freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.