Instant Pot Recipes

Spicy Paleo Sticky Chicken in The Instant Pot

July 27, 2016

This year we tried our hand at raising cornish-cross chickens, which went really well. Now our freezer is stocked with delicious chickens- whole, split breast and hindquarters. I can only be so creative when it comes to cooking bone-in / skin-on chicken.. so if we are going to get through our freezer, I need some new recipes to switch it up. Enter Spicy Paleo Sticky Chicken in the Instant Pot!

This recipe is made in an Instant Pot aka my all time favorite kitchen appliance! If you don’t own one yet, nab it HERE! You will LOVE it!

A couple notes: 

-We like spicy, so I actually used more cayenne and vegetable sirracha than what this recipe calls for. If you don’t like spicy, you can simply leave these two ingredients out and have yummy sweet sticky chicken.

– We grew this batch of chickens BIG. Whole they weigh about 7 lbs. If you are using smaller hindquarters, or drumsticks, adjust your cooking time accordingly (11-12 minutes for smaller hindquarters, 10 minutes for drumsticks).

spicy paleo sticky chicken


– This recipe has a few more steps than my typical Instant Pot recipes, but it is so delicious, it is absolutely worth it! You can make the sauce on the stove-top while the chicken in the Instant Pot for even faster results.

– It looks like lots and lots of ingredients, but really it is a handful of common seasonings to make the rub. I’ve been getting all my organic spices from a place called Thrive Market.

Thrive Market is a membership community that uses the power of direct buying to deliver the world’s best healthy food and natural products to our members at wholesale prices, and to sponsor free memberships for low-income American families. Thrive promises to deliver only the highest quality and healthy natural products, at 25 to 50% off retail. 

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I’ve found all the spices for this recipe (and more!) at Thrive, for much less than even regular spices at our local grocery store.
Check out Thrive’s Organic Spices Kit: Thrive Market Organic Spices Kit

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It is important to use other quality ingredients, such as choosing an organic and unsulfered molasses, to keep all the wonderful nutrients in tact as unsulfured molasses is high in iron, magnesium, and calcium.

This Raw Honey which is absolutely amazing, it is one of the most delicious honeys I have tried!

spicy paleo sticky chicken



spicy paleo sticky chicken



  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.
  2. Make the spice rub by combining the chipotle, turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, garlic, cayenne, sea salt, and black pepper. Coat the chicken with the rub well on all sides.
  3. Add your choice of fat to the instant pot- I recommend coconut oil. Set the Instant Pot to “Saute” with the lid off. Brown the drumsticks on all sides.
  4. Remove the drumsticks from the Instant Pot, carefully add a bit of water (about 1/2 cup) – this will hiss and boil- so use an oven mit, and don’t stand directly over the Instant Pot! Scrape the chicken bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon.
  5. Add the steaming rack, and carefully stack the hindquarters back into the instant pot. (Note: you do not have to use the steaming rack, this is a personal preference, but I find that if I don’t use it, the skin sticks to the bottom of the Instant Pot and can tear off.)
  6. Set the Instant Pot for Manual, and adjust the time to 12 – 13 minutes depending on how large your hindquarters are. If you are doing just drumsticks, 10 minutes is fine. Make sure the steam valve is set to “sealing”.
  7. While the chicken is cooking, whisk together the honey, molasses, lemon juice and sirracha in a small bowl.
  8. When the time is up, use the quick release method to vent. Do not use natural pressure- as the chicken will continue to cook and will likely be overdone. Exercise caution! I like to use a wooden spoon to move the valve- obviously the steam will be hot!
  9. Remove the lid and carefully remove the drumsticks with kitchen tongs. Cover them with foil to keep warm. Remove the steam rack as well, but leave the juices in the Instant Pot. Turn the Instant Pot to “Saute” again and keep the lid off.
  10. Pour your honey / molasses / lemon / sirracha mix into the Instant Pot to mix with the leftover juices. When the indicator hits “Hot,” you should have a rolling boil in the pan. Whisk occasionally (being cautious of the steam) until the liquid has reduced to a thick sauce, about 10 minutes. If you accidentally let it go too long, it’ll get too thick and sticky – simply add a couple of tablespoons of water and whisk to smooth it out.
  11. When the sauce has thickened, turn the Instant Pot to “Keep Warm”. Using tongs, dip the hindquarters in the Instant Pot to coat with the sauce- flipping over to coat all sides.
  12. Garnish with cilantro, sesame seeds and green onion. Serve with cauliflower rice or fried plantains!

Wondering what else your Instant Pot can do?

Check out:

Instant Pot Basics: From Steamed Veggies to Instant Pot Cheescake!


New to the Instant Pot?

You might like: Which Instant Pot Is Right for Me?

 spicy paleo sticy chicken


I hope you find the bit of extra work this recipe requires worth it, and I would love to hear how your Instant Pot Spicy Paleo Sticky Chicken turns out!

This recipe is based on this Sticky Chicken Recipe by Bare Root Girl.

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  • Jessica Oilar November 14, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Do have any suggestions for a substitution for sirracha? I am sad that it has so much sugar in it.

    • Amy December 13, 2016 at 11:17 am

      I know! Part of the magic of this recipe is the sugar- the sugars caramelize and as they cook down to make the sticky sauce. You could try regular hot sauce, but it won’t be as thick or stick quite as well. Let me know how it turns out!

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  • S M Ervin January 29, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    This chicken recipe was a huge hit in my family tonight. So so delicious! Thanks for sharing!

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      Yay! Glad you liked it… one of our family favorites too!

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  • Diane April 3, 2017 at 7:53 am

    Can this be made with boneless chicken breasts?

    • Amy April 4, 2017 at 9:17 am

      Absolutely! I would cook the thawed breasts on the saute function for a couple minutes (each side), then do manual for 5. Let me know how they turn out!

  • Holly Galligan July 25, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    I used boneless thighs. They were so tender, I had to be careful that they didn’t fall apart with the tongs! My husband LOVED them without the sauce and with the sauce, but he thought your rub was AMAZING. This recipe was too spicy for my daughter and I. I made cauliflower rice and broccoli with it. Great job! 👍

    • Amy September 5, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      Thank you! 😀 I’m so glad you enjoyed it!