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Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken

This Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken recipe delivers succulent chicken in a rich and sticky sauce, perfect for a quick weeknight meal or a leisurely weekend feast. The taste is a delightful balance of sweet, savory, and just the right amount of heat (adjustable to your liking).

An overhead angle of beautiful Instant Pot Mongolian chicken in brown sauce served with rice and garnished with spring onion

Exploring Mongolian Cuisine

Predominantly featuring dairy and meat, Mongolian Cuisine is renowned for its stews and Buuz, savory mutton dumplings. It also draws significant influences from Russian and Chinese culinary traditions. Typically, the flavors are robust and full-bodied, and this Mongolian chicken dish is a creative twist on the classic Mongolian beef.

Utilizing the Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is probably our favorite kitchen appliance because it makes weeknight cooking so quick and easy. Making Mongolian Chicken in the Instant Pot is swift, straight-forward and the result is some extremely moist and tender chicken.

It’s important to remember that it’s crucial to let the Instant Pot naturally release its pressure for 10 minutes post-cooking. Hastening this step could result in less moist chicken.

The Importance of Deglazing

Deglazing after sautéing is essential to prevent burning at the bottom during pressure cooking, which could activate the burn notice and alter the dish’s flavor profile.

Remember: In Instant Pot terminology, a single beep signifies the attainment of pressure, whereas a series of beeps indicates the completion of cooking and the onset of natural pressure release.

Chicken Cut and Preparation

This recipe calls for thinly sliced skinless chicken breasts to maximize sauce adhesion. If chicken breasts aren’t available, skinless, boneless chicken thighs are an excellent alternative. Slicing the chicken into one-inch strips is ideal, allowing ample surface area for sauce coverage without risking overcooking.

Beautiful Instant Pot Mongolian chicken in brown sauce served with rice and garnished with spring onion with a side angle

The Sauce

The sauce’s tantalizing flavors stem from soy sauce, brown sugar, and the essence of ginger and garlic. Adjust the heat with crushed chilies to taste, or omit them for a non-spicy version.

Vegetable Selection

While carrots are used here, feel free to use vegetables like broccoli, zucchini, or mushrooms. It’s advisable to cook these more delicate vegetables separately to maintain their texture and add them after the pressure cooking phase. Carrots, however, tend to cook perfectly alongside the chicken and sauce.

Overhead photo of beautiful Instant Pot mongolian chicken in brown sauce and garnished with spring onion

Can I use frozen chicken to make this Mongolian chicken recipe?

Yes! If your chicken is frozen whole, thaw out the chicken before cooking and then follow the steps as seen in the recipe card. However, if you have frozen slices of chicken, you can put the frozen chicken straight into the Instant Pot to thaw and cook. In this case, add approximately one-two minutes to the pressure cook time if you are cooking with frozen chicken slices.

Why do we coat the chicken in cornstarch?

Coating your chicken slices in an even layer of cornstarch helps the chicken brown easily on the outside while staying juicy on the inside. This creates a much better outer texture for the chicken allowing the sauce to stick better.

Can I make Mongolian chicken on the stovetop?

Yes, while this recipe is optimized for an Instant Pot, it's adaptable for stove-top cooking as well. The recipe will take a little bit longer and you need to be careful to keep an eye on the chicken not to dry it out. Check out this fantastic stove-top version.

Can I substitute chicken breasts in this recipe?

Yes! You can substitute chicken breasts for your preferred cut of meat. However, we suggest swapping out chicken breast with skinless off-the-bone chicken thighs, beef, or pork.

Can I use frozen chicken for this recipe?

Absolutely! Thaw whole frozen chicken before starting, or directly cook frozen chicken slices in the Instant Pot, adding an extra minute or two to the cooking time.

Why is the chicken coated in cornstarch?

Cornstarch helps the chicken brown nicely and remain juicy inside, enhancing the texture and sauce adherence.

Can I replace chicken breasts in this recipe?

Certainly! Skinless chicken thighs, beef, or pork make suitable substitutes.

Can I use a different electric pressure cooker brand?

Any brand works, but consult the manual for specifics, as cooking times may vary.

What are some serving suggestions for Mongolian chicken?

Pair it with:

  • Rice
  • Egg noodles
  • Steamed vegetables

How long is Mongolian chicken good for in the fridge?

Mongolian chicken stays fresh for 2-3 days when refrigerated.

How many calories are in this dish?

There are 389 calories per serving. Moderation is key due to the high sodium content coming from the soy sauce.

Can I use different vegetables?

Yes, carrots can be swapped with broccoli, zucchini, or mushrooms, though cook these separately to prevent sogginess.

How much chili should I use?

This dish also doesn’t need spice to taste great! Skip the crushed chilies altogether if you’d prefer a milder meal.
1 teaspoon crushed chilies 🌶🌶🌶
½ teaspoon crushed chilies 🌶🌶
¼ teaspoon crushed chilies 🌶

Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken

This Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken recipe is a culinary delight, offering tender, succulent chicken enveloped in a delectable and sticky sauce. It's an ideal dish for those busy weeknights when time is of the essence.

Cuisine
Mongolian

Serves
4

Prep
10 mins

Cook
25 mins

Total
35 mins

Calories
389 kcal

A plate of beautifully cooked Mongolian chicken with a serving of white rice, garnished with finely chopped green onions. In the background, there is a bowl of additional rice and more green onions both chopped and whole.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoon minced garlic

  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger

  • 1 teaspoon crushed chilies

  • 14 ounces skinless chicken breasts

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch (for slurry)

  • ½ cup low sodium soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil

  • ⅛ cup green onions

  • a pinch of sesame seeds

  • ½ cup brown sugar

  • 1½ cup low sodium stock

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • 1 cup carrots

Instructions

  1. Slice 2-3 chicken breasts into inch long pieces. Thoroughly coat the chicken in ¼ of a cup of corn starch.

  2. Set your instant pot to saute mode on high and add 2 tablespoons of sesame oil. When the oil is sizzling, add the chicken and cook for 1 minute on each side until white or light brown. Once cooked, set the chicken aside.

  3. Add 1.5 tablespoons of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of minced ginger to the pot (the instant pot should still be on saute mode). If needed, add a drizzle of sesame oil. Cook the garlic and ginger until fragrant (roughly 30 seconds).

  4. Turn off saute mode and deglaze the instant pot by adding 1½ cups of low sodium stock or 1 cup of water to the pot and then scrape the bottom with a silicone spatula or a wooden spoon until anything stuck to the bottom of the instant pot is removed.

  5. Add ½ cup of soy sauce, ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 teaspoon of chili flakes, and 1 cup of chopped carrots to the pot of vegetable stock. Return your sliced chicken to the pot and stir well to ensure everything is coated in the sauce.

  6. Set the pressure cooker on high for 3 minutes. Wait for the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes then do a quick release and remove the instant pot lid.

  7. Prepare the cornstarch slurry by mixing 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of water in a cup. Mix thoroughly until all the lumps from the corn starch are gone.

  8. Switch to saute mode on low. Wait for the sauce to start lightly bubbling and stir in the slurry. Keep stirring the sauce on saute until it thickens (approximately 1-2 minutes). Once it thickens, turn off saute mode and let the Mongolian chicken stand for 5 minutes.

  9. Serve your Mongolian chicken with rice. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

Notes

  • When coating the chicken in cornstarch, try doing so in a reusable freezer bag because it’s easier to mix and get an even coat on the chicken.

  • When sauteing the chicken, do not overcrowd the pot. It’s far easier to cook the chicken in batches if you have a lot of chicken than to add all of your chicken to the pot at once.

Nutrition

  1. Calories 389 kcal | 
  2. Carbohydrate Content 47.3 g | 
  3. Cholesterol Content 73 mg | 
  4. Fat Content 10.3 g | 
  5. Fiber Content 1.4 g | 
  6. Protein Content 26.7 g | 
  7. Serving Size 1 portion | 
  8. Sodium Content 1124.4 mg | 
  9. Sugar Content 30.3 g |