Instant Pot Chicken in Lemon-Basil Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Braised chicken usually requires browning, then cooking for 45 minutes. Amazingly, you don’t need the skin for flavor or color when pressure cooking in an Instant Pot, and the braising takes just a fraction of the time. Serve with rice or orzo to soak up the lemony sauce.


  • 1 chicken, about 3 1/2 lb. (1.75 kg), cut into 8 pieces and skin removed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. minced shallots
  • 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) dry white wine or dry vermouth
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml) fresh lemon juice
  • 6 paper-thin lemon slices, seeds removed
  • 1/3 cup (1/2 oz./15 g) chopped fresh basil


Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

In an Instant Pot set to “sauté,” warm 1 Tbs. of the butter with the olive oil. In batches, sear the chicken until golden brown all over, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate.

Add the shallots to the pot and stir for 30 seconds. Pour in the wine and cook for 1 minute, then add the broth, lemon zest, lemon juice and lemon slices. Return the chicken to the pot, stacking the pieces so that the breasts are on top.

Lock the lid in place and turn the valve to “sealing.” Set the Instant Pot to cook at high pressure for 15 minutes.

When the pressure cooking is complete, turn the valve to “venting” to manually release the steam. When the steam stops, carefully remove the lid. Using tongs, transfer the chicken to a platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Use a slotted spoon to remove and reserve the lemon slices.

Set the Instant Pot to “sauté” and bring the cooking liquid to a boil. Boil until the liquid is reduced by about a third, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.

Cut the remaining 2 Tbs. butter into 4 pieces and stir into the sauce along with the basil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with the reserved lemon slices and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen