This easy pressure cooker recipe for Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken cooks up juicy chicken in a delicious low carb lemon garlic butter sauce. This keto and Whole30 recipe is great for busy weeknights.
I'm always looking for different quick and easy ways to make chicken in the Instant Pot because when it comes to making the most tender and juicy chicken, pressure cooking is the way to go.
And that's exactly why I love this recipe. It cooks up melt-in your-mouth chicken breast in a light lemon butter garlic sauce seasoned with thyme. Not to mention, it's made with all fresh and flavorful Whole30 compliant ingredients!
🥑Is Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken Keto or Low Carb?
Yes! This recipe as written has only 4 net carbs per serving. I calculated that total based on the ingredients I used to make this recipe. The carb count in your dish may vary slightly based on the kind of ingredients you use.
✅ Recipe Highlights
- It's DELICIOUS. This dish is bursting with bright, fresh and crave-worthy flavors
- 30-minute-meal. Make a healthy meal quick!
- Perfect dinner-for-two.
- Simple low carb, keto and Whole30 ingredients.
- Versatile. Lemon garlic chicken goes great with a variety of side dishes.
🍋Ingredients You'll Need
Chicken Breasts (boneless, skinless) - are sliced down the middle lengthwise. You can also use chicken thighs (see below).
Garlic (minced) - adds incredible, aromatic flavor to this dish.
White Onion (sliced) - gives this dish sweet and savory mild onion flavor.
Butter or Ghee - Butter builds on the sauce and the bright lemony flavors of this recipe. For Whole30, replace butter with ghee.
Chicken Stock or Chicken Bone Broth - is used to deglaze the bottom of the Instant Pot, loosen up any browned bits and keep the chicken moist throughout the pressure cooking process.
Avocado Oil - is used to coat the Instant Pot to prevent sticking.
Dried Thyme - I love using thyme in chicken dishes because it compliments the flavor so well. See below for herb variations.
Lemon (juice and zest) - gives that tangy lemon-forward taste.
Sea Salt & Black Pepper - enhances the sweet, savory and tangy flavors of the whole dish.
🍗Instant Pot Lemon Chicken Thighs
Good news! You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or skinless bone-in chicken thighs! Just add 5 more minutes to the cook time.
📖 How to Make Lemon Garlic Chicken in the Instant Pot
1️⃣ Prep chicken breast. Pat chicken breasts dry and season with salt and pepper.
2️⃣ Sear chicken. Set the SAUTE function on high and add avocado oil. Once the oil is hot but not smoking, add chicken breasts and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side (until lightly seared and browned). Remove from Instant Pot and set aide.
3️⃣ Saute garlic and onion. While the Instant Pot is still set to SAUTE, add butter (or ghee), garlic and sliced onion. Saute until the onions begin to soften and become fragrant (5 to 7 minutes).
4️⃣ Add liquid. Add in stock or broth, lemon juice, lemon zest and dried thyme. Deglaze bottom of pot by scraping up any browned bits with a heavy spoon. Stir everything together well.
5️⃣ Pressure cook. Return the chicken to the Instant Pot and cook on manual HIGH PRESSURE for 5 minutes (10 minutes for thighs). Manually release pressure once the timer is up and remove chicken promptly.
6️⃣ Finish and serve. Spoon remaining sauce over chicken before serving. Enjoy!
No Instant Pot? That's okay. I've included instructions on how to make lemon garlic chicken on the stove.
1️⃣ Pat chicken breast dry and season with salt and pepper.
2️⃣ In a large sauce pot, heat avocado oil over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add chicken breasts, cooking until lightly seared and browned (2 to 3 minutes per side). Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
3️⃣ To the sauce pot, add butter (or ghee), garlic and sliced onion. Cook until onion begins to soften and become fragrant ( 5 to 7 minutes).
4️⃣ Add in stock or broth, lemon juice, lemon zest and dried thyme. Deglaze bottom of sauce pot, making sure everything is combined well.
5️⃣ Add the chicken back to the sauce pot, lower heat, cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through (10 to 15 minutes).
6️⃣ Remove chicken from sauce pot, spoon sauce over chicken and serve.
👩🏻🍳 Chef’s Tips
Feel free to use a heavy hand of fresh thyme instead of dried thyme if you'd like.
Be sure to sear the chicken. Searing the chicken before pressure cooking lightly browns the surface of the breast while locking in all of the juices.
Don't skip deglazing. Deglazing the pot after searing the chicken adds amazing flavor to the sauce. Not to mention, if there are any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the Instant Pot, it will probably trigger the BURN warning on your Instant Pot.
Keep in mind that the Instant Pot takes some time to reach temperature before the pressure cooking starts.
There are plenty of herbs and spices that pair perfectly with lemon garlic chicken. Instead of thyme, try:
To sweeten the flavor profile of this dish a bit, add a couple of tablespoons of honey before pressure cooking.
Side Dishes to Serve with Lemon Garlic Chicken
Try this delicious recipe with one or two of of these healthy side dishes.
- Crispy Air Fryer Potatoes
- Air Fryer Asparagus
- Buffalo Roasted Potatoes
- Cucumber Dill Salad
- Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
🔁 Storing & Freezing
Storing - This chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezing - Store chicken in a resealable freezer-safe plastic bag and freeze for up to 3 months.
This recipe reheats well on the stove top or microwave.
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
It isn't recommended to use skin-on chicken for this recipe because the skin will get soggy when pressure cooked. However, you can firm up the skin after pressure cooking. Once cooked, place the chicken under a broiler or in an air fryer to quickly crisp up the skins.
You can cook frozen chicken in your instant pot! For this recipe, skip the browning process. Begin with preparing the onions/garlic and the broth mixture, add the frozen chicken and then pressure cook for 15 minutes. The texture for this particular recipe will be slighty different.
This most likely happened because the chicken needs to cook longer and the meat needs more time to tenderize.
Instant Pot Lemon Garlic Chicken
- 2 Chicken Breasts cut in half lengthwise
- 2 tsp Garlic minced
- 1 medium White Onion saute sliced
- 2 tbsp Butter or Ghee
- ½ cup Chicken Stock or Chicken Bone Broth
- 1 tbsp Avocado Oil
- 1 tsp Dried Thyme
- 1 Lemon juiced and zested
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper
- Pat chicken breast dry and season with salt and pepper.
- Turn instant pot to SAUTE function on high and add avocado oil. Once avocado oil is hot, cook chicken breasts for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are browned. Remove from instant pot and set aside.
- While instant pot is still on saute function, add 2 tbsp butter or ghee, garlic and sliced onion. Saute for about 5-7 minutes or until onions start to soften. Add in chicken stock, lemon juice, lemon zest and dried thyme being sure to deglaze the bottom of the instant pot and make sure everything is combined.
- Add the browned chicken breast back into the instant pot and cook on manual high pressure for 5 minutes. Use a quick or manual release once it’s done cooking.
- Remove chicken from instant pot and spoon remaining sauce over the chicken.