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Last updated on May 26th, 2024 at 03:18 pm

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Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken [VIDEO]

Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken is one of the easiest dinners you can make; no wonder it’s in the top 10 most popular recipes on my blog. This homemade version of the popular PF Chang menu item can be finished and on the table in less than 45 minutes, so you won’t even consider takeout. It has tender, juicy, flavorful chicken cooked in a garlic brown sugar Mongolian sauce. The chicken is then served over herbed butter basmati rice. You will get a mouthful of flavor in every bite!

Best Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken

This quick and easy take of the famous Chinese Mongolian Chicken is such a perfect, delicious, and quick Asian meal made in just 30 minutes! It’s faster to make this meal at home than to drive to a restaurant or to order takeout. Also, by making it at home you will save some good dollars and will have amazing leftovers.

My family and I love Asian dishes, and this Mongolian chicken recipe is delicious, quick, and accessible. I tried this dish at PF Chang years ago and loved it so much that I decided to make it myself. Through trial and error, I figured out the perfect balance to make it taste like theirs, only better!

When I find something that we love when dining out, I always try to duplicate it so I can make it at home for the family. As much as I enjoy dining out, I also love making my recipes because I can tweak them to my preferences. And with the instant pot, I can make this faster than waiting for them to bring it to my table at the restaurant!

After sautéing the tender chicken breast slices, the delicious sauce is cooked at high pressure and then served on top of perfectly cooked basmati rice garnished with chopped green onions and sesame seeds. This dish tastes even better on the second day, so if you have leftovers, you will love it even more tomorrow.

I like making everything in my Instant Pot. I have two because sometimes I cook two Instant Pot recipes simultaneously. It doesn’t heat the house like the oven, so it is perfect for warm days when your windows open. But if your neighbors smell the delicious aroma coming from your home, they may be knocking on the door.

What you’ll need to make instant pot Mongolian chicken

Special items:

  • An instant pot – I use an instant pot Duo Plus and a RIO Wide Plus. I used the Duo for this recipe because I do not need the wide top for large pieces of meat.
  • A wooden spoon – To stir your chicken without scratching the pot.
  • An extra-tall trivet with handles – Make sure it is the size of your instant pot.
  • A heat-safe pot – To cook the rice in.
  • Small mixing bowl – For making the cornstarch slurry.

The ingredients for instant pot Mongolian chicken:

The chicken and the sauce:

  • Chicken breasts – I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into one-inch cubes.
  • Carrots – Chopped into small pieces for serving with the chicken.
  • Sesame or olive oil – I prefer the milder taste of the extra virgin olive oil. 
  • Brown sugar – To add rich sweetness to your sauce.
  • Garlic cloves – Fresh minced garlic will give your chicken the most incredible flavor.
  • Garlic powder – Gives this dish an even more intense garlicky taste.
  • Lite soy sauce – Use low-sodium soy sauce for a less salty flavor.
  • Chicken broth – To add extra flavor to your chicken.
  • Rice vinegar – a light but tangy sweet vinegar that adds a nice kick to the recipe.
  • Red pepper flakes – Add a bit of spiciness to your meat.
  • Fresh ginger – For a sweet and a little hint of spicy earthy taste.
  • Cornstarch – To thicken the sauce.
  • Water – To dissolve the cornstarch.

For the rice:

  • Basmati rice – This long-grain rice has a nutty flavor and light and fluffy texture.
  • Herbed butter – Adds extra flavor to the rice.
  • Salt – To enhance the other flavors.
  • Water – To add to your rice for cooking.

For garnish:

  • Sesame seeds – Adds some crunch and a nutty flavor.
  • Green onions – Chopped to add extra flavor to your meal.

How to make the instant pot Mongolian chicken?

  1. Saute the meat: Using the Saute function of your Instant Pot, add the olive oil and quickly saute the poultry for about 2-3 minutes. Remember to properly stir while browning the chicken. 
  2. Deglaze: After sauteing it, ensure that there are no bits stuck to the bottom of the pot, otherwise, you will get a “burn notice”. To avoid it, deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup water and scrape them with a wooden spoon. If you leave the bits stuck to the bottom, they may burn or cause the pot not to come to pressure.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and cook: Next, add the rest of the ingredients and stir well to combine. Then, close the lid and cook on High Pressure.
  4. Release pressure: After that, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, release manually any remaining pressure and carefully open the lid. 
  5. Add the cornstarch and serve: Lastly, in a small bowl, add the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and stir to combine, add the mixture to the pot. Gently let it cook on Sauté function on LOW for a few more minutes stirring without the lid, until the texture thickens. 
  6. Serve: Enjoy warm over some white rice with chopped green onions and sesame seeds on top.

Dump and Cook option:

This easy recipe is also a great dump-and-cook meal. In case you are in a hurry and don’t have time to brown the meat, just dump all the ingredients in the pot and cook. The cooking time does not change.

This way, you can plan in advance, and prepare the ingredients ahead of time and just add everything to the IP when ready to cook.

How to cook the rice with the chicken in the pressure cooker:

For that, you will need a long-legged trivet and an oven-safe dish, I personally like to use these stackable pans to cook the rice with the chicken. The pressure cook time stays the same, regardless if you add the rice or no.

  1. First, follow the steps to make the juicy Mongolian chicken, and right before pressure cooking it, add the trivet to the pot and the dish with the rice.
  2. After that, pressure cook everything per recipe directions. After you release the pressure, remove the dish with the rice and let it rest for a few minutes.
  3. In the meantime, continue to follow the recipe and thicken the sauce. Finally, fluff up the rice with two forks and serve.

Make in the slow cooker or using the slow cooker function:

This dish can also be made in your Crockpot or in the Instant Pot using the Slow Cooker function.

  1. First, add the browned meat to the Slow Cooker, add the rest of the ingredients except for the cornstarch slurry.
  2. Next, cover and cook on High for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours.
  3. Then, make the cornstarch slurry, gently stir it in and cook on high for 20 more minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Expert tip

The best rice for instant pot Mongolian chicken

One thing about making Mongolian chicken in the instant pot is whether to cook the rice and chicken simultaneously or separately. I first sauté the chicken in my recipe and then add it to the pot with the other ingredients. Then, I add the rice in a separate dish on top of the chicken, so they cook together but in different juices.

You want the chicken to stew in the sauce while the rice stays separate in the water with butter and salt. That way, the rice does not absorb all the meat’s juices and becomes soggy while the chicken turns hard. Other recipes may have you cook the rice in the pot before the chicken and add them together afterward.

It’s essential to use the right kind of rice. I prefer basmati or jasmine rice because it does not get too moist when cooking. However, there are over 40,000 varieties of rice. You should use a one-to-one ratio of water and rice. This recipe calls for two cups of rice with two cups of water, which is perfect. Then, adding a bit of butter will not be an issue. Other types of rice often used include arborio and sushi rice.

Recipe variations and add-ins:

  • Different meat: Use sliced beef instead of chicken to turn this into Mongolian beef. The same sauce and rice work well with this option.
  • Make it spicy: If you like spicy food, experiment with other spicy ingredients like cayenne pepper, minced jalapenos, and chopped chiles.
  • More veggies: Add some broccoli, cauliflower florets, and carrots for a heartier meal.
  • No veggies: Alternatively, leave out the carrots and have your chicken with the sauce and rice.
  • No cornstarch: You could use potato starch or flour instead of cornstarch. 
  • Gluten-Free: Try making it gluten-free by using coconut aminos or tamari sauce.

Serving suggestions:

  • Instead of serving your Mongolian chicken on rice, try it on top of noodles like my yummy soba noodles.
  • For dessert, get some Chinese fortune cookies. Or you can make your own and write your fortunes.
  • Serve some dinner rolls with your dinner to soak up the extra sauce.
  • On the side, try some stir-fry veggies, dumplings, or bamboo shoots.
  • Also, it goes great with vegetables such as steamed broccoli, roasted asparagus, or oven-roasted bok choy

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Mongolian sauce made of?

Whether you use an instant or a regular pot, the sauce is the same. It has soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, brown sugar, chicken broth, and sesame oil. I add red pepper flakes for a little kick without too much spiciness and carrots to help add texture and flavor.

What is the difference between General Tso’s chicken and Mongolian chicken?

This depends on who makes the recipes. My Mongolian chicken may not be as spicy as other recipes, so that will be one significant difference. General Tso’s chicken is often tangy and spicier than Mongolian chicken, and the meat is deep-fried in batter instead of sautéed in oil. They both have chicken broth, rice vinegar, light soy sauce, sugar, ginger, and garlic with a slurry to thicken the sauce, but General Tso’s has chiles or chili paste.

What is the difference between Szechuan chicken and Mongolian chicken?

Another delicate Asian dish that can also be made in the Instant Pot, Szechuan chicken has a spicier sauce because it has Szechuan peppercorns. These unique peppercorns create a numbing and tingling sensation when eaten. You will also taste a bit of star anise and sesame paste, and sometimes, it has peanuts in it as well.

How to avoid the “burn notice” on the Instant Pot?

Sometimes, you might get the “burn notice” when cooking in the IP or any other pressure cooker. To avoid this, we highly recommend ensuring that there are no browned bits of meat stuck to the bottom of the pan after sautéing the food. Also, as stated above, try to deglaze it with some liquid and gently scrape up the browned bits with a wooden spoon.

How to store:

  • Refrigerate: Store the Instant Pot Mongolian chicken in a sealed container in the fridge for up to four days. Keep the rice in a separate baggie.
  • Freezing: To freeze, place it in a freezer-safe container, and you can keep it for three months in the freezer. Put the rice in a freezer bag.
  • Defrost: Thaw frozen leftovers in the fridge overnight for the best texture and taste.
  • Reheating: Put your chicken and sauce in a pot to heat and reheat the rice in the microwave.   

More instant pot Asian recipes:

Recipe tips:

  • Always use the best cuts of chicken for your recipes to get the tastiest dishes with tender, juicy meat.
  • The Mongolian chicken served in the restaurant has a lot of sugar. You can add more if you wish.
  • The carrots are optional, so they are not necessary. However, they add a bit of sweetness to your sauce.
  • Keep the rice and chicken separate so you can store leftovers separately when you put them away. This helps when reheating.
  • To cut on sodium and sugar, reduce the sugar to 1/2 cup and soy sauce to 1/2 cup if desired.
  • Some older pots don’t have a sauté function. Use a pan to sauté your chicken instead.

Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken

Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken takes just 5 minutes to throw into the pressure cooker. It only takes 30 mins to cook tender, and juicy chicken!

  • Prep Time15 MIN
  • Cook Time5 MIN
  • Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into one-two inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar use 1/2 cup if you want less sugar
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger minced
  • 3/4 cup lite soy sauce use 1/2 cup if you are sensitive to sodium
  • 3/4 cup water or chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 cup carrots chopped*
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

Cornstarch Slurry:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

Garnish:

  • 1/4 cup green onions chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds

Rice (optional):

  • 2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons herbed or unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

Sear the chicken:

  • Heat up your pressure cooker: press Sauté, click on the Adjust button, and select More to activate the Sauté More function. This means that the food will be sautéed over medium-high heat. Wait for the Instant Pot indicator to read HOT.
  • Add the oil to the hot Instant Pot, add the chicken, and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times. Cook until it just starts to get golden. When sautéing it, stir constantly so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot.
  • Also, after you sauté it, check if bits are stuck to the bottom. In that case, deglaze the pot with 1/4 cup water and scrape it with a wooden spoon.
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the pot: minced garlic, ginger, light soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, water, carrots, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes.
  • Stir well until all the ingredients are combined and coated in sauce.

Rice (optional):

  • Add the rice, salt, and two cups of water to an Instant Pot safe dish/pot. Stir to combine.
  • Add a long-legged trivet to the Instant Pot on top of the chicken. Add the pot with the rice onto the trivet. Cover with aluminum foil and pinch a few times with a fork.

Cook:

  • Close the lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 5 minutes + 10 minutes Natural Release. Turn off the heat, release the remaining pressure, and open the lid.
  • Open the lid, remove the pot with the rice, and let it rest covered for 5-10 minutes. Before serving, fluff the rice with a fork.

Thicken the sauce:

  • Select again the Sauté function on LOW.
  • In a medium bowl, combine two tablespoons of cornstarch with 1/4 cup water and whisk until combined and without lumps. Add the mixture to the Instant Pot and gently stir to combine. Cook on Sauté function on LOW for a few more minutes without the lid, stirring gently, until the sauce thickens.
  • Turn off your Instant Pot.

Serve:

  • Serve over rice and garnish with fresh chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

Nutrition Facts

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Comments

(199)
Gretchen O’Brien

Gretchen O’Brien

Excellent recipe. Just enough “kick” to make it memorable! I will definitely make this again!

Amy Horton

Amy Horton

This was a hit! I put everything on the pot and finished with corn starch when we were ready to eat. Picky 6 year old approved.


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

so happy that you liked it, thank you for the feedback!

Tami Yeomans

Tami Yeomans

How do you make your herbed butter for the rice? Searched your site and can't find a recipe for it. Thanks in advance.


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

Leave the butter on the counter so it comes to room temperature. Choose your herbs, I usually do basil, dill, parsley, oregano. Chop them, mix with the butter. Spread it into a log on plastic wrap, wrap and place in the fridge. Done.

William

William

For cooking it using the dump amd cook option, do you still coat the chicken in the cornstarch?


Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

No, I skip it, and add a slurry at the end.

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