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Basil Pesto Chicken in an Instant Pot

This Basil Pesto Chicken in the Instant Pot is the perfect meal to throw together if you kind of want to cook, but don't have a lot of time. It requires about 10 minutes worth of active effort ad you're left with a pesto-y, tomato-y, cheesy dish that you're going to LOVE!
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Course, poultry
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Pressure Building: 10 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and Pepper to Taste
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ½ Cup + 2 Tbsp Basil Pesto
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes
  • 4 slices mozzarella cheese, or 1/4 cup mozzarella pearls


  • In a bowl, season chicken with salt and pepper to personal preference. Then add 2 tbsp pesto into the bowl and mix to coat.
  • Turn your Instant Pot (or other Pressure Cooker) to the Sauté setting. Coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil. Add chicken into the pot and allow to brown, about 4 minutes. Use tongs to flip the chicken thighs, browning on the other side as well. Do not cook all the way through, but allow the outside to brown. Remove thighs and place on a separate plate.
  • With the saute setting still on, add the chicken broth into the pot to deglaze. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any chicken bits stuck to the bottom of the pot.
  • Add ½ cup pesto and ½ cup cherry tomatoes into the pot, then add chicken thighs back in. Turn off saute.
  • Close the pressure cooker and seal. Cook on Manual for 6 minutes. When complete, allow a Natural Release for 5 minutes, and then use an instant release to release the rest of the pressure.
  • Open the lid. Quickly place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top of each chicken thigh. Then, close the lid to the pot and seal again (but do NOT turn on the pressure cooker). Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes until the residual heat melts the cheese slices.
  • Remove the lid and serve with pasta or potatoes. Enjoy!


Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 
Recipe was made using an 8 qt pot.
  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I used 4 chicken thighs, but you can always use 6 or even double the recipe! The cook time should remain the same.
  • Basil Pesto: You can buy this jarred or make it homemade! 
  • Tomatoes: Grape or cherry tomatoes work just fine. 
  • Mozzarella: I prefer using a chunk of mozzarella that I slice into the right size. Mozzarella pearls also work, but they’re a little harder to get to melt correctly on the chicken 
  • Olive Oil: I used olive oil, but you can also use avocado oil, butter, or anything else you have on hand.
  • Extras: Salt, pepper
  • If you want to use chicken breasts, you can! Simply butterfly the breasts until they’re about ½ inch thick, and then pressure cook for 7-8 minutes with a quick release. You can follow the rest of the instructions as is. 
  • You can use any pressure cooker to make this recipe, not just an Instant Pot! 
  • You can also use frozen thighs, but make sure to cook them for a few minutes longer than the recipe entails. About 8-9 minutes should do the trick.
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