Instant Pot Mongolian Drumsticks [VIDEO]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet

Instant Pot Mongolian Drumsticks are the perfect combination of sweet and savory. The chicken drumsticks are incredibly tender on the inside and crispy on the outside.

Quick and easy Instant Pot recipes are a staple around here. I have a large library of delicious Instant Pot recipes, like this Instant pot Orange Chicken and Instant Pot Sesame Chicken, which should be on top of your must-try list.

Image of instant pot Mongolian drumsticks over brown rice.

Easy Instant Pot Mongolian Drumsticks

Instant Pot Mongolian Drumsticks are the perfect budget-friendly dinner, which is also very easy to make and delicious. I love to prep ahead this meal and freeze it. I make the sauce and add everything to a freezer-friendly zip-lock bag and when I know I want to make it for dinner, I transfer the bag from the freezer to the fridge in the morning to thaw.

By the time I get home from work, all I have to do is add the marinated Instant Pot Mongolian Drumsticks to the pot and cook. For a delicious crispy outside, I cook the drumsticks under the broiler for a few minutes. Served with the sweet and sticky Mongolian sauce, this dinner is bound to be a success.

Picture of chicken drumsticks soaked in Mongolian sauce inside the instant pot.

Instant Pot Mongolian Drumsticks Recipe Tips

  • Firstly, you always have to use the minimum liquid requirement for your pressure cooker.
  • For this recipe, I used a 6 quart Instant Pot and I used 1.5 lbs of chicken drumsticks.
  • There are different methods to cook chicken drumsticks. 1) on the rack that usually comes with your instant pot or pressure cooker or 2) to directly add the chicken in the liquid on the bottom of the pot.
  • The cooking methods depend on the recipe and the result you want. Also, for this recipe, it is best to cook the chicken in the liquid. Because it contains all the flavors and its intended to flavor the chicken.
  • If the recipe is heavier on seasonings and the intention is to have the rub on the chicken, its best to cook the chicken on the rack. In that case, for the liquid part, only water or broth is usually used.
  • In addition, I find 15 minutes to be enough cooking on High Pressure for 1.5 lbs of chicken drumsticks. That comes down to about 5 chicken drumsticks. Similarly, if the chicken legs you are using are thicker, you can increase the cooking time by 2 minutes. For tender and fall of the bone meat, increase the cooking time to 20 minutes. I like 15 minutes, as the chicken is tender and it also gets cooked under the broiler for extra crispiness.
  • Also, always do a 10-15 minute Natural Release when cooking chicken. Because if you do a quick release, the meat will toughen from the quick change in pressure.
  • Lastly, place drumsticks on a lined cookie sheet and brush them with the sauce. Then, broil for 2-5 minutes on each side, watching carefully not to burn them.

Photo of Mongolian drumsticks over brown rice.

Can I make these Instant Pot Chicken Drumsticks ahead of time?

Yes, you can. I like to meal-prep and these are always on the menu as they are quick and delicious. Here is how you can prep these Instant Pot Mongolian Drumsticks ahead of time:

  • First, add all the sauce ingredients to a medium bowl and mix until the sugar is completely dissolved.
  • Then, add the chicken drumsticks to a large freezer zip-lock bag.
  • Next, pour the sauce over the chicken drumsticks.
  • Close the bag, shake to coat all the pieces and freeze flattened so all the chicken drumsticks are covered in sauce.
  • When ready to make, remove the bag from the freezer in the morning and move it to the refrigerator to thaw.
  • Once thawed, shake well, and add all the ingredients to the instant pot or pressure cooker.

Storing instruction:

  • To refrigerate: Ensure the dish is completely cooled prior to storing. Then, transfer the Mongolian drumsticks to an airtight container, and store for up to 4 days. Best to reheat prior to serving. 
  • To freeze: Once the chicken has cooled, transfer it to a freezer-safe dish, and freeze for up to 3 months. You can reheat it in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. 

Looking for more delicious pressure cooker meals, check these out:

What is a 10 Minutes Natural Pressure Release?

A Natural Pressure Release means that the pressure is released gradually. For a Natural Pressure Release, you click on Keep Warm, and wait 10 minutes, after which you open the valve and let any leftover pressure to release.

Another option is to Turn Off/Unplug the pressure cooker, wait 10 minutes and after that open the valve. A natural release is usually used when cooking soups, meat in a large amount of sauce, pasta or steel cut oats. This method prevents any foam from the dish to shoot out through the valve, which can happen during a Quick Pressure Release.

Tools/Ingredients I used to make the Instant Pot Mongolian Drumsticks Recipe:

  • Instant Pot – I use it all the time, I have the 6 quarts one. It makes weeknight meals so much easier.
  • Cornstarch – I prefer using cornstarch instead of flour to thicken sauces, and this organic brand is my favorite.

Save Recipe
5 from 15 reviews
Instant Pot Mongolian Drumsticks
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 5 drumsticks
Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Total time: 25 mins


  • 1 1/2 lbs.  or about 5 drumsticks  (skin on)


  • 1 tablespoon  sesame oil 
  • 1/2 cup  low sodium soy sauce  (or gluten free Tamari sauce)
  • 3/4 cup  water 
  • 1 tablespoon  rice wine vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup  brown sugar 
  • 4 cloves  garlic  (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon  freshly grated ginger 
  • 1/2 teaspoon  red pepper flakes 

Cornstarch Slurry:

  • 2 tablespoons  cornstarch 
  • 2 tablespoons  water 


  • 1 tbsp  sesame seeds 
  •  chopped scallions 


  1. Add all the sauce ingredients to a medium bowl and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Now, you have a few options:

  1. To add the sauce and the chicken drumsticks to the Instant Pot and cook.

  2. To add the chicken to the sauce and marinate for a few hours.

  3. To add the chicken and the sauce mixture to a freezer friendly ziplock bag and freeze.


  1. When you are ready to cook the meal, add the sauce mixture to the instant pot.
  2. Add the chicken drumsticks in one layer on the bottom of the pot.
  3. Close the lid, make sure you Seal the valve and cook on High Pressure for 15 minutes.
  4. Once the Instant Pot beeps, let the pressure naturally release for 10-15 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, turn on the oven broiler and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Gently remove the chicken drumsticks from the Instant Pot and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Brush them with some of the sauce and place them under the broiler for 2-5 minutes on each side. Watch them closely not to burn.
  7. In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water until fully combined.
  8. In the meantime, turn the Sauté button on, and add the cornstarch slurry to the Instant Pot. Stir to combine and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Let stand, the sauce will thicken.
  10. Serve the chicken over rice, and pour the sauce on top of the chicken.
  11. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions. Enjoy!
Calories: 374 Carbohydrates: 27 Protein: 25 Fat: 17 Saturated Fat: 3 Cholesterol: 125 Sodium: 1004 Potassium: 387 Fiber: 0 Sugar: 21 Vitamin A: 120 Calcium: 54 Iron: 1.8
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Dawn Monahan

The recipe says to out chicken in one layer in the IP. So is doubling the recipe not recommended? Or is it better to do in single layer batches and then put them all in the oven/broiler at the same time?


a second layer will work too, I just prefer one layer, as its more evenly cooked. When you have a second layer, the bottom one will be a bit more cooked.



Mongolian chicken is one of my favorite flavors and I have a huge pack of drumsticks that need cooked. PERFECT timing.



Such a great idea to use drumsticks for that classic Mongolian chicken flavor!



I love the idea of being able to meal prep this ahead of time! I think this will become a family favorite very quickly!


Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert

Such a perfect meal! My family definitely love this!


amanda @ fake ginger

My boys love drumsticks! I have to make these for them!


Lauren @ Hall Nesting

I've been needing more IP recipes!



Can I do this in my crockpot??


Yes, brown the drumsticks on each side, add to the crockpot with the sauce and cook on low for 5 hours.


Kim Terrell

If you double the recipe with drumsticks, should you double everything else?


not necessarily, but 1 1/2 of the sauce ingredients.


Tania Ciantar

This recipe seems delcious I will definitly make it. Can I take off the skin before cooking?



My family really liked this dish. I served it on top of some ramen noodles. When I make this again, I'll try it with boneless chicken thighs.


Julie Thomas

This was a hit with the family. I used 4 lbs of chicken and doubled the sauce. I arranged the chicken so that the large meaty part of the leg was facing downward. So the sauce was able to cover the meat even if not the whole drumstick. Thanks for the recipe!


Hi, Did you change the cook time? Thanks



I made it with 12 drumsticks and they were still all in the liquid. I increased the time to 18 minutes & released the pressure right after it was done. They were falling off the bone when I put them under the broiler. This is a make again.



To reduce dishes, could I reasonbly brown the legs in the instant pot first and skip the oven after?


Yes, you can!



Could I use boneless thighs instead of drumsticks?


yes, you can :)


Nadine Drew

I made this recipe with a few substitutes. I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and  Erythritol instead of brown sugar. I used slightly less than the 1/2 cup called for. I also thickened with arrowroot powder instead of cornstarch. This recipe was delicious and a lot of sauce so probably could have used more drumsticks. I will definitely do this again.


Paul Kern

Made this dish 3 times now, 5 stars every time! One of the easiest recipes I've ever found. First time was a few weeks ago, searching for a simple recipe for 1 drumstick my daughter asked I make her, while making another pressure cooker recipe (Instant pot for the readers of this site), so made it with 5 drumsticks and very, very good -- I'm thinking 5-star review. Quick background: Three week ago I tried a Pakistani/Indian dish at a local restaurant (Achari Gosht: goat with pickling spices) and liked it so much thought I'd try to see about it being a 2nd dish the family might like, in addition to the Butter Chicken that they now ask for regularly. So picked up a package of chicken drumsticks to mix in with the goat and ease the introduction to the family of goat meat, which is not common in my locale. Now to make a long story short, this Mongolian Chicken recipe stole the show that first time -- it was sooo delicious, made it as is, and poured it over rice noodles (soak in room-temperature water for the time of the pressure cooker, used the oil floating on the top of the pressure cooker when done to saute the noodles, plus a cup of the extra liquid before adding the cornstarch for thickening). A week later, after the success of the first try of this recipe, I was at a lake house rental with 10 of my older daughter's friends (they are graduating from high school), brought the pressure cooker, and they made this recipe and all-around great reviews! With two wins, made this dish again last night with half chicken breasts (bone-in) and half bone-in thighs, and ... wait for it ... my wife said great meal, glad you made it!


Hi Paul, I am so happy that you love this recipe! Thank you for the feedback!! :)


Hi, I have a question. When you made it for 10 of your daughter's friends, obviously for the amount of drumsticks used, not all would be submerged in the liquid. Did that affect the flavor? I'm thinking of making it for a part of 7-10 as well and was considering cooking it in crock pot. But if it works in the IP, I would prefer doing it in the IP.



To clarify, the recipe calls for rice wine, i.e. sake, and not rice wine vinegar?


rice wine vinegar :) sorry



Made this recipe tonight and it was super easy delicious! Even my husband loves it and chicken is usually not his favorite dish. Thank you!



Don't use parchment paper when broiling, it's not safe above 450F since that's the temp paper starts to auto-ignite and broilers are 500F. Use tinfoil, grease it a little before you put the chicken on with a neutral high temp oil like canola to prevent sticking. Otherwise extremely tasty.



Can you use frozen drums ?


Yes, you can, just increase the cooking time by about 5 minutes.



My toddlers DEVOURED this! 4yo and 2yo both had two drumsticks and wanted more. I halved the red pepper bc they were eating, and didn’t have sesame seeds. Was perfect. Will make again!


Paul Kern

Meldy -- you're right, with that quantity the chicken was not fully covered, and though I also was concerned it worked just fine that way! Did you find the same?


Jennifer Harasin

Loved the flavors in this recipe! Definitely going to try boneless thighs next time.



I'm having the hardest time finding rice wine vinegar. Are there any alternatives?


Apple cider is a great alternative.



Made this tonight and the family loved it! I doubled the recipe to the T and it came out wonderful. The slur went so well on the chicken and rice. I’m definitely adding this to our meal rotation! Thank you for sharing!


Thanks for stopping by, and for your review. Glad you loved it!



Can I brown first then add to instant pot? Instead of broiling at end? Broiler isn't working right now. But would love to make this for dinner tonight! Thanks!


yes, but they won't be crispy. The broiler is what makes them crispy.


Rachel Lamb

Can I double the amount of drumsticks? How much would I add to the cooking time?


Yes, you can double, cooking time goes up only just by 1 minute.



We absolutely LOVED this, and it will be made again! The sauce is SO delicious, and the broiling is a great finish to the drumsticks! Love your recipes, Catalina!


Thanks Laurel for your feedback! Glad you loved it!


Thank you Laurel. Happy you loved our recipe.


Paul Kern

You're right, most were submerged but not all, and everything turned out great, probably because 1.) we have a 20 year old pressure cooker (Presto) that took some time to get to heat, and 2.) used the digital thermometer to make sure all were at 165 F (even the chicken pieces submerged were not there), so mixed them up each of two 5-minute additional pressure cookings.


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