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Last updated on June 18th, 2021 at 11:10 pm

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Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken [Video]

Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken boasts juicy white meat in a sweet and spicy Asian sauce. It takes minutes in the pressure cooker to cook it to perfection! As delicious as your favorite take-out, but much healthier and faster.

Serve this on a bed of Egg Fried Rice with a side of Roasted Bok Choy and Easy Chow Mein. Bonus points for using chopsticks!

Pressure Cooker Firecracker Chicken

Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken is seriously addictive. I just want to slather that spicy, sweet, garlic-ginger sauce on everything! It’s hot enough to make you want more, but not so spicy it burns your tongue. Even my kids love this dish! 

Best of all, the dish only takes 5 minutes in the Instant Pot. Add the browning time and reducing the sauce, and you’re looking at 30 minutes tops. That’s faster than ordering in! One bite of this Firecracker Chicken, and you’ll know you’ve found your new favorite meal.

We like serving it with rice and steamed veggies on the side or a salad. If you plan on making the low-carb version, serve it with cauliflower rice and some broccoli on the side.

How long does it take for chicken breast to cook in the Instant Pot?

It depends on factors like the size of the cuts, how many you’re cooking at a time, and whether you’re cooking from fresh or not. But in general, follow these cooking times:

  • Fresh breasts, whole fillets: 10 minutes
  • Frozen breasts, whole fillets: 15 minutes
  • Breast chunks: 5 minutes, add 4 minutes for frozen

What is Firecracker Chicken?

It’s a Chinese-American creation of breast meat tossed in a sweet and spicy sticky sauce. One of the main flavors in buffalo hot sauce, which also gives the dish its signature tanginess. It’s a really popular item in Chinese fast food joints, and once I make sure to order every time we visit!

How do you make Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken?

  1. Sear. Brown the cubed meat in the IP on Sauté.
  2. Cook. Whisk the sauce ingredients together, then pour all over the browned meat. Set for 5 minutes on High, finished with a quick venting of pressure. 
  3. Reduce the sauce. Transfer the meat to a plate. On Sauté, simmer the sauce and thicken with a cornstarch slurry. Once thickened to your liking, return the meat and toss. 
  4. Serve. Enjoy with some chopped spring onions on top!

Recipe Variations:

  • Use thigh fillets: For fans of juicy dark meat!
  • Use other meats: This will also work with tender strips of pork. Add a minute or two to the cooking time.
  • Use other hot sauces: Sriracha is a delicious alternative to buffalo hot sauce.
  • Use other sweeteners: Sub honey for the brown sugar!
  • Add veggies: Add some of your favorite veggies to make this dish heartier. We like adding bell peppers, mushrooms, Chinese corn, bamboo shoots, or sugar snap peas.
  • Make it low carb: if you are watching your carbohydrates you can use amino acids instead of soy sauce. Also, you can replace the sweetener with a low-carb one.

Can you make Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken using frozen chicken?

Sure! Just place everything – both the sauce and meat – at the same time in the IP. Add about 4 minutes or so to the cooking time. 

Can you double this recipe?

Very easily, yes. Again, just adjust the cooking time by 3 to 6 minutes to account for the bigger batch.

How to make Slow Cooker Firecracker Chicken?

Yes, but it will take longer. Place the meat in the pot and pour the sauce mixture all over. Set on low and cook for 4 to 6 hrs. After it’s done, remove the meat to a plate. Turn the Slow Cooker to high, add the slurry to the sauce, and let it simmer to thicken. It’s now ready for dinner!

Can you “dump and cook” this meal?

Yes, through the IP’s slow cooker function. You can also just dump the meat and sauce in there at the same time and cook. While it won’t have those flavorful brown bits from searing, it will still taste amazing!

How to store:

Cooldown the leftovers completely, then transfer to a well-sealed container. Keep in the refrigerator and consume within 3 days.

How to freeze and reheat:

Transfer the cooled dish into a freezer-safe baggie or container, and freeze up to 2 months. To reheat, microwave until hot. You can also heat it up in a skillet on low fire with a little water to loosen up the sauce.

More Instant Pot Asian Recipes:

Recipe Tips:

  • You can slice the breast fillets into strips if you prefer. 
  • For a spicier dish, add a tablespoon of chili paste.
  • Don’t have rice vinegar? Apple cider vinegar will do in a pinch. 

Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken

Instant Pot Firecracker Chicken boasts juicy white meat in a sweet and spicy Asian sauce. It takes minutes in the pressure cooker to cook it!

instant pot firecracker chicken
  • Prep Time25 MIN
  • Cook Time5 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts diced into 1 inch cubes
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

Firecracker Sauce:

  • 2/3 cup buffalo hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chili paste optional
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup water


  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons cold water


  • 2 green onions chopped
  • Sesame seeds



  • Combine some salt and pepper in a large shallow plate and toss the chicken cubes in the mixture. Allow to sit for a couple of minutes.
  • Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and once hot add the canola oil. Once oil is hot, place diced chicken in the Instant Pot, and while working IN BATCHES quickly brown it on all sides.

Firecracker Sauce:

  • Whisk together the SAUCE ingredients in a bowl.
  • Add all chicken to the IP and pour the sauce over the chicken, give a quick stir.

Pressure Cook:

  • Cancel Saute.
  • Lock the lid on the Instant Pot, and turn the vent to seal. Press “pressure cook” and set the timer to 5 minutes. Once cooking time is over, do a quick release.

Thicken the sauce:

  • Use a slotted spoon to remove chicken and transfer it to a large plate.
  • Set the Instant Pot to the “Saute” once the sauce is simmering, combine together cornstarch and water in a bowl until fully dissolved, and whisk it into the sauce until thickened.
  • Add in the cooked chicken back to the pressure cooker and stir well to coat in the sauce.
  • Garnish the chicken with chopped green onions and serve over rice.

Nutrition Facts

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This is on fire! I loved everything about this dish! I am really obsessed with my instant pot!



This was a huge hit for dinner! Loved it!



Yummy! This looks so delicious and tasty! Can't wait to give this a try!



Wow, what a nice recipe for the instant pot! This is going to be a must try for us!

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