Tender, juicy chicken is smothered in a savory brown sauce with crisp water chestnuts. It takes no time to prepare and is so fast to make, which makes it a perfect dish for your weekday dinner.
This Instant Pot shredded chicken lettuce wrap is one of our favorite weekday dinners. And it’s one of those perfect summer dishes. I have been using my Instant Pot frequently during the hot summer, because I simply need 5 minutes to add ingredients to the pot and dinner will be done in no time. I posted a stovetop chicken lettuce wrap recipe in the past. But since I discovered the Instant Pot method, I rarely cook the stovetop version.
Here are a few good reasons.
Why you should cook chicken lettuce wraps in an Instant Pot
1. No oil required
Sometimes I get requests from readers on making oil-free Asian food for a healthier lifestyle. I think the Instant Pot is one of the best solutions for this.
The Instant Pot uses a high pressure environment to raise the boiling point of the water in the pot. The extra-high heat not only speeds up the cooking process, but also promotes caramelization and browning, even when you’re not searing the meat with oil. Your chicken will have a deep and complex flavor after this “boiling”.
2. Dump it and leave it
You only need to layer the ingredients in the pot and set the timer. The whole process takes just 5 minutes. The cooking time is 10 minutes. Then you need another 3 to 5 minutes to thicken the sauce a bit. Dinner will be ready in under 20 minutes, with very little active cooking time. That’s exactly what I want on a busy weekday.
3. Excellent taste
You’d be surprised how flavorful the sauce comes out with a just a few ingredients you already have in your pantry. Make sure to use fresh garlic and ginger. This makes a big difference when it comes to Asian sauces.
(1) Which cut to use
I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe, because they yield super juicy results. But you can totally use chicken breasts and the result will be just as great.
(2) You don’t add any liquid to the Instant Pot?
I know that the makers of the Instant Pot say you should use at least 1 cup of liquid to cook any ingredients to prevent from scorching. Since we are using a combination of liquid seasonings and onions as a bed, the chicken won’t scorch on the bottom. Plus, the chicken will release juice during the cooking process. In the end there will be enough liquid in the pot.
(3) Fast release
Make sure you use the fast release method when cooking this dish. I often use a long spatula to move the valve. The steam that comes out of the valve is very hot and might burn your hand if you’re too close. The chicken will be just cooked through at this stage. I often shred it and use the “Saute” function to cook it a few more minutes to thicken the sauce. The chicken will be super tender and juicy.
(4) Serving options
Don’t have lettuce on hand? No worries! The Instant Pot shredded chicken with its rich, sticky sauce is a perfect topping for rice and noodles. Skip the lettuce and serve the chicken with other staples to make a more prominent main dish.
(5) Veggie options
I like to add a can of water chestnuts at the end. They add a delightful crisp texture and make your dish more like takeout style. A can of sliced bamboo shoots works well, too. If you are serving the shredded chicken on top of rice or noodles, you can also add a handful of veggies at the end. Broccoli florets, cauliflower, asparagus, and kale are some of my favorites.
More easy Instant Pot recipes
- Instant Pot Beef Curry Stew
- Asian Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Asian Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Instant Pot Chicken Congee
- Instant Pot Eggs (Perfect Hard-Boiled & Soft-Boiled Eggs)
If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.
- 1/4 cup oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce (Optional)
- 1 tablespoon minced ginger
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 onion , diced
- 1 lbs (450 g) skinless boneless chicken thighs (or breasts)
- 1 8-ounce can diced water chestnuts , drained
- Chopped green onion for garnish (Optional)
- 1 head butter lettuce (or 2 heads Bibb lettuce)
- Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, Sriracha sauce, ginger, garlic, and ground black pepper into your Instant Pot.
- Spread the onion in the pot. Add chicken without overlapping. Close the lid and seal the valve. Press the “manual” button, set the pressure to "high", and set the timer to 10 minutes.
- When the cooking is done and you hear the beep, immediately use a pair of tongs to turn the valve to release the pressure. Be careful not to put your hands or face near the valve, so the steam won’t burn you. The release will be quick, less than 1 minute.
- Once the pressure has released, you will hear a small click. Open the lid and let cool for a few minutes. Use two forks to shred the chicken.
- Add the water chestnuts. Turn on “Saute” function. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes, until the water chestnuts turn a bit tender and the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Add the green onion, if using, and toss again.
- To serve, add 1 to 2 spoonfuls chicken with the sauce onto a lettuce leaf. Wrap it like a taco and enjoy!