instant pot kung pao chicken
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5 from 2 votes

Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken with Rice

Sweet, savory, saucy, and spicy (or not), Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken is a fast, easy weeknight meal. Use the pot-in-pot method to cook the rice and it all comes together in the pressure cooker in just a few minutes.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: instant pot, pot-in-pot
Servings: 4
Calories: 535kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.25



Kung Pao Chicken and Cooking Liquid

  • 1 Tbsp Grated Ginger (see note)
  • 3 cloves Garlic, chopped (see note)
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 3 Tbsp Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
  • 20 oz Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, chopped into large pieces

Pot-in-Pot Rice

  • 1 cup Medium-Grain White Rice
  • 1 cup Water

Kung Pao Finishing Sauce and Toppings

  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp Water
  • 4 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
  • 2 tsp Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 cup Peanuts
  • Chopped Green Onions (optional)


  • Make the cooking liquid by combining ginger, garlic, 1/2 cup water, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes.
  • Combine cooking liquid and chicken in the bowl of an Instant Pot. Top it with a rack that is approved for use in the Instant Pot.
  • Combine rice and 1 cup of water in a bowl that is approved for use in the pressure cooker. Place the bowl with rice on top of rack.
  • Close and lock the lid. Set steam valve to Sealing.
  • Cook on manual / high pressure for 4 minutes.
  • When chicken and rice are done cooking, leave pressure on natural release for 10 minutes and then manually release any remaining pressure.
  • Carefully remove the bowl of rice and rack, leaving chicken in the bowl.
  • Turn on the pressure cooker’s saute function to normal / medium.
  • Meanwhile, whisk cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water together until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture, Hoisin sauce, and toasted sesame oil to chicken.
  • Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes until the sauce thickens. (Be careful not to cook any longer than a minute or two so that the chicken doesn’t overcook.)
  • Serve chicken and sauce over rice. Top with peanuts and chopped green onions.


Ginger and garlic are not absolutely necessary. If you’re looking to save time, you can certainly skip them, but the sauce won’t be nearly as flavorful without these aromatics.


Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 56g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 800mg | Potassium: 586mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 3mg