Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken is made with tender chicken thighs, a spicy sauce with a mild chili kick, garlic, ginger, onions, bell peppers, onions, and sugar snap peas.
What is Firecracker Chicken?
There are various recipe versions of Firecracker Chicken out there. Some of them have the chicken coated in flour and baked in the oven, and then a buffalo style sauce is added to it.
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One of the best known version comes from Panda Express and this is the recipe I’m attempting to recreate today. Their recipe is not baked, nor is it coated in flour, it’s essentially a stir fry.
They use a spicy black bean sauce which I’m guessing would be made from fermented black beans which are quite different from the canned black beans you are probably used to.
Fermented salted black beans are actually a type of soy bean and taste quite different to regular canned black beans. Because it can be difficult to find gluten free fermented soy beans in local stores, I decided to omit them and create my own sauce without them instead.
How to Make Firecracker Chicken in Your Pressure Cooker
This is a simple recipe and doesn’t take long to prepare or cook! The full recipe is listed further down the page, but here are some simple step by step directions and tips to help you make it more easily.
- The first thing you need to do is cut the skinless chicken thighs into chunks. You don’t want to make them too small or they will be overcooked in the pressure cooker.
- Now you can mix all the sauce ingredients together (reserve 1/4 cup of it) then add the chicken and sauce to a dish to marinate.
- Prepare all the vegetable, garlic and ginger as directed.
- Add the chicken and sauce to the Instant Pot or other pressure cooker and cook as directed – see the recipe below.
- While the chicken is cooking add the cornstarch (or other starch, such as arrowroot, if you are paleo) to the remaining 1/4 cup of sauce and mix well.
- When the cook time is up and the lid is opened you can add the garlic and ginger and cook for just a minute or two with the saute function turned on.
- Now add the remaining sauce and vegetables and cook for a few minutes more. I like my vegetables with a little more crunch so 1-2 minutes is long enough for me, you can cook for longer if you prefer.
More Instant Pot Recipes
I have lots of tasty gluten free Pressure Cooker recipes that are very easy to make. One of our family favorites is my Instant Pot Chili, it’s got a really rich flavor and has been specially adapted for the pressure cooker.
Another easy recipe that we’ve been making for years in the slow cooker is my pressure cooker Korean Ribs. If you are just starting out with your Instant Pot then I recommend this recipe as it requires no prep, you just throw everything in the pot!
If you’ve ever wondered how to cook an Instant Pot Whole Chicken then this post is for you! It’s unbelievably simple and I have a few tips in there to make sure it cooks perfectly.
Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken
A wonderful explosion of fabulous Sweet, Hot and Savory flavors blend together to make this easy weeknight Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken Recipe!
My Panda Express Copycat recipe is one you won't want to miss! It's gluten free and dairy free and can be made paleo with a couple of tweaks that are listed in the recipe.
- 2lb chicken thighs, cut into chunks (not too small!) , about 6 skinless, boneless, thighs
- 2 tbsp cornstarch, or arrowroot for paleo
- 1/3 cup gluten free chicken broth
- 4 tbsp gluten free soy sauce, or coconut aminos for paleo
- 3 tbsp dry sherry
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp garlic
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1.5 cups sugar snap peas
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes , or more, or less, to taste
Prepare the skinless boneless chicken thighs by cutting them into large pieces.
Combine all the sauce ingredients into a small jug, and mix well together.
Reserve 1/4 cup of sauce, then add the remaining sauce to a bowl or other dish with the chicken pieces to marinate, while you prepare the vegetables.
Now chop all the vegetables, garlic, and ginger, as directed so that you are ready to cook.
Add the chicken to the inner pot of your Pressure Cooker, along with the marinade.
Lock the lid, turn the steam release vent to 'sealing' and using the manual setting, adjust it to cook for ONE minute at High Pressure.
While the chicken is cooking mix together the remaining sauce mixture with the cornstarch. or arrowroot.
When the cook time time is up, allow the unit to reduce pressure on its own without opening the steam release vent (Natural Pressure Release, or NPR) for about 6-7 minutes, then you can gently release the rest of the pressure by opening the vent.
Add the garlic and ginger, into the pot and cook (use saute function) for 1 minute.
Add the vegetables and other remaining ingredients (adjust the crushed red pepper flakes to taste) and the rest of the sauce, cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring all the time, or until the vegetables are cooked the way you like them.
Serve hot over rice.
- PALEO - use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, and replace the cornstarch with arrowroot or tapioca starch, you may need to use a little less as it can be a little sticky/gloopy.
- Adapted from Panda Express
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