An entire meal prep recipe, made completely in the Instant Pot – rice, chicken thighs, veggies, and all! Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken Meal Prep Bowls are made with just a few simple ingredients and utilize the “pot-in-pot” cooking method to make meal prep clean up a breeze!
Did I completely forget about chicken thighs and how unbelievably moist and delicious they can be? Yes, yes I did! Until we tried this Instant Pot Tandoori Chicken recipe from Pinch of Yum, and I was reminded how much different they really are from chicken breasts.
So I decided to go full throttle on a delicious Instant Pot chicken thigh meal prep recipe… but I wanted to do something different! Cook everything (rice, too) in there, at the same time! Crazy? No way. Totally easy and you’re seriously going to wonder why you didn’t try it sooner.
Total Time: 35 minutes
Method: Instant Pot
Prep: Make-Ahead Friendly
Watch how to make Honey Garlic Chicken Meal Prep bowls (1 min 54 sec):
What is this “pot-in-pot” method you mentioned?
The “pot-in-pot” method of cooking in the Instant Pot is simply the idea of cooking another “pot” of food inside the base “pot” of your Instant Pot. You put a pot into the pot. Simple!
There are tons of reasons to do this, and it’s certainly not only for cooking rice at the same time as your main dish. For example, another reason would be to cook a dish that you want to keep separate from the 1 cup of water required for pressure cooking (cheesecake, lasagna, etc.).
For a more complete article on pot-in-pot cooking and all the ways it can be done, please check out this super helpful article: The Secrets to Instant Pot Pot in Pot Cooking from Paint the Kitchen Red.
For this recipe, we’re using the pot-in-pot method to cook our chicken thighs with honey garlic sauce in the bottom of the pot, while white rice with broth cooks in the top of the pot, completely separate from the chicken.
When meal prepping, I usually like to keep the sauce separate from the rice or grain side dish so it doesn’t get too soggy in the fridge (especially once you eat the meal four days later).
The best part? You don’t have to cook the rice on the stove or in a rice cooker while your Instant Pot is busy with the chicken. They can both go at the same time. This means quicker, and easier cleanup for you. Woohoo!
What supplies do I need to do Instant Pot pot-in-pot cooking?
In general, along with your Instant Pot, you really only need a trivet, and an oven safe dish to serve as your pot. You may need special dishes, such as a springform pan, if you’re making a cheesecake or something like that, but I’m keeping it simple here.
For this recipe, I’m using a tall stainless steel trivet (affiliate link!), and this 7 inch silicone loaf pan (affiliate link!). If you want to see more of the items I cook with daily, check out my Amazon storefront for all of my recommendations.
- Tall trivet (affiliate link): To be completely honest, you do not NEED the tall trivet – you CAN use the one that came with the Instant Pot. But to be even more honest, I really dislike that one. Why is it SO low? Well, because it was probably meant for steaming and not really meant for food to go under it. But if you use the tall trivet, your top bowl won’t get any food splatter on the bottom and it’s easier to pull out of the pot once cooked. My personal preference!
- Silicone pan (affiliate link): Once again, this is not a requirement. You can use any oven safe pan that fits into your Instant Pot for your pot-in-pot cooking. But I use this silicone loaf pan. HEAR ME OUT: I had a really hard time finding the right pot-in-pot pan to work for me and my Instant Pot. I tried a Pyrex dish. I know it’s safe, but it freaked me out (glass shards = scary) and I’m positive it changed the cooking time of the food in the top (glass isn’t a good heat conductor). I do have metal bowls that fit into the pot, but they are not the right shape and leave literally zero inches between the bowl and side of the pot for me to pick up the bowl after cooking. That is, without fashioning an aluminum sling with handles, and I just don’t have time for that. So I use this food safe silicone loaf pan (which can totally be used for baking, too). The pan fits up to 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice (after cooking).
- Instant Pot (affiliate link): Of course there are lots of models, but I own the Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 quart size. Please be aware that the items recommended here have only been tested with this model and they may not fit into smaller Instant Pot varieties.
Show me how pot-in-pot works!
Okay, let’s do it! Following the recipe below, first you’re going to add your chicken thighs to the pot, followed by the prepared sauce. After that, carefully nestle in your trivet so all the legs are touching the bottom of the pot, and not poking the chicken.
Place the pot-in-pot bowl on the trivet, then add your white rice and broth or water. This recipe calls for 1 + 1/4 cups of dry white rice, but anywhere from 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of uncooked white rice will work, depending on how much cooked rice you want to end up with.
Be sure to use a 1:1 ratio of rice to liquid. Do not use brown rice, as the cooking time is significantly longer than white rice.
Can I skip the rice and cook only the chicken?
Yes! If you aren’t looking to make any rice at the same time, simply skip that part and leave all the related equipment out of the pot. The cook time remains the same.
Continuing to follow the recipe, set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 5 minutes. Let it cook and do it’s thang, then let it do a natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
This means you should simply leave the pot alone after the cooking timer goes off. The timer on the pot will begin to count UP, showing the amount of time that has elapsed since the pot completed pressure cooking.
Of course, there will still be a large amount of pressure built up in the pot, so the food will continue to cook while the pressure slowly decreases.
Release pressure after 10 minutes. Once it’s safe to remove the lid, do so. Remove the rice and trivet as soon as you can in a safe manner. Immediately turn Instant Pot off, then hit the Sauté button.
Toss in your snow peas to cook them for a quick minute. Optionally, add a cornstarch slurry to help thicken the sauce. And it’s done!
If I were only making rice, I would set the Instant Pot to 3 minutes High Pressure, and let it do a complete natural pressure release (I timed it once and it took about 13 minutes). This equals about 16 minutes of time with pressure in the pot (the rice is cooking).
Compare this to these Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken Meal Prep Bowls – 5 minutes of High Pressure followed by 10 minutes of natural pressure release. This equals 15 minutes of cook time.
My point is that rice is versatile enough to be cooked using the pot-in-pot method with recipes that take anywhere from 3-8 minutes of high pressure cook time plus a natural pressure release of some kind. Next time you’re trying out a random chicken recipe, try sticking some rice in the top to cook. And look! You’ve just cooked a complete dinner in your Instant Pot!
How to meal prep the Honey Garlic Chicken:
Use four airtight, glass meal prep containers and portion out your rice, then your honey garlic chicken into the containers. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy within 4 days for lunch or dinner! Reheat in the microwave, covered, for 90 seconds to 2 minutes, checking at 90 seconds.
For this recipe, I used these 2 Compartment Glass Meal Prep Containers from Prep Naturals, pictured below. They’re also available in 1 compartment and 3 compartment varieties! See all of my meal prep container recommendations in my Amazon storefront.
How to store prepared Honey Garlic Chicken Meal Prep Bowls:
Store meal prep meals in airtight containers in the fridge and enjoy within 4 days. I used my 2 Compartment Glass Meal Prep Containers to store this recipe.
How to freeze prepared Honey Garlic Chicken Meal Prep Bowls:
Store meal prep meals in airtight containers (or frozen into single serve portion cubes) in the freezer for up to 3 months for best quality.
How to reheat prepared Honey Garlic Chicken Meal Prep Bowls:
Reheat in the microwave, covered, for 90 seconds to 2 minutes, checking at 90 seconds. This type of meal would also reheat really well in a HotLogic portable mini oven – read my review here.
An entire meal prep recipe, made completely in the Instant Pot – rice, chicken thighs, veggies, and all! Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken Meal Prep Bowls are made with a few simple ingredients and utilize the “pot-in-pot” cooking method to make meal prep clean up a breeze!
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
- 1/2 cup chicken broth (or water)
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 pound fresh boneless skinless chicken thighs (4–5 thighs)
- 1 + 1/4 cup long grain white rice
- 1 + 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 3 ounces snow peas
- cornstarch slurry (1 TB cornstarch + 1 TB water), optional for thickening
- equipment: Instant Pot, trivet, oven-safe bowl; *see notes for specific equipment I use
- Mix sauce ingredients: In a small bowl or mason jar, add honey, soy sauce, Sriracha, oil, 1/2 cup broth, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Shake or whisk until well mixed.
- Instant Pot setup: Place your chicken thighs directly into the Instant Pot liner pot, seasoning with fresh ground black pepper if desired. Pour the sauce over the chicken and stir briefly. Place your trivet over the chicken gently, ensuring the trivet legs are directly on the bottom of the pot and not resting on the chicken. Place your oven-safe “pot-in-pot” bowl on top of the trivet. Add white rice and broth in a 1:1 ratio to the bowl (I use 1 + 1/4 cup of each). Do not use brown rice, as it has a significantly longer cook time.
- Pressure cook: Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the steam release valve is sealed. Set to Manual or Pressure Cook for 5 minutes. After pressure cooking is done, let the Instant Pot do a Natural Pressure Release (NPR) for 10 minutes (until the timer counting up says 10). Release remaining pressure after 10 minutes.
- Shred chicken & add peas: Safely but quickly remove the rice bowl and trivet from the pot. Hit the Sauté button on the Instant Pot. Shred the chicken – it should be tender enough to pull it apart without removing from the pot. If adding a cornstarch slurry for thickening, do so now. Finally, add the snow peas to the pot and stir. Cook for 1-2 minutes, or until the peas are bright green and just barely cooked through. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
- Serve & store: Enjoy now or portion for later. Store in airtight containers like these 2 compartment glass meal prep containers and eat within 4 days. Reheat in the microwave, covered, for 90 seconds to 2 minutes, checking at 90 seconds.
No Instant Pot instructions: Cook rice by the box directions or in a rice cooker. In a large non-stick pan, heat 1TB oil then add chicken thighs. Brown on each side for 2-3 minutes. Shake/whisk sauce ingredients together, then add sauce to the pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cooked to 165F. Shred chicken, add peas and cornstarch slurry, cook for another 2 minutes on low. Portion out with cooked rice and eat within 4 days.
Equipment: I own an Instant Pot Duo Plus 6 Qt . I use this tall stainless steel trivet (affiliate link!), and this 7 inch silicone loaf pan (affiliate link!) for pot-in-pot cooking, though any trivet and oven-safe dish will work. These items are shown in the photos above. If you want to see more of the items I cook with every day, check out my Amazon storefront for all of my recommendations.
Nutrition information estimated with My Fitness Pal. Recipe video added 4/02/19.
- Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
- Calories: 492
- Fat: 9g
- Carbohydrates: 73g
- Protein: 29g