Instant Pot French Onion Chicken

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Instant Pot French Onion Chicken is a fun way to enjoy everyone’s favorite French soup in main dish form, with chicken, sautéed onions, beef stock, butter, and melted Gruyere, cooked to perfection in the Instant Pot.

French onion chicken

Chicken is on the plate for most dinners, simple because it’s so versatile. But it doesn’t always have to be plain chicken breast or thighs with a side. You can dress up that chicken with bold, delicious flavors, like this recipe.

The problem with making French Onion Soup is that it takes forever to properly reduce the onions. It can take up to 45 minutes to get perfectly cooked onions. In the Instant Pot, you can skip a lot of that process because cooking them under pressure does most of the work for you.

Ingredients You Need

Ingredients for French onion chicken
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – If your chicken is frozen, thaw them ahead of time so you can slice them in half lengthwise. This makes the chicken thinner so it cooks quicker and it makes a better chicken to onion ratio in the end.
  • Butter – I always use salted butter in savory dishes to add an extra boost of flavor.
  • Onion – Use white or yellow onions. I often prefer to use sweet onions because I like their flavor and low bitterness.
  • Seasonings – Thyme, salt and pepper
  • Beef Bouillion – Any powdered bouillion or Better than Bouillion can be used. These have a lot of flavor and add great richness to the dish. 
  • Cornstarch – You’ll make a cornstarch slurry with cold water to help thicken the liquid that’s leftover in the pot. This sauce is so delicious poured over the top of the chicken.
  • Gruyere cheese – The best choice for cheese is Gruyere. It melts well and tastes great. If this isn’t available, you can use Swiss or Emmental cheese.

How to Make French Onion Chicken

If the chicken is thick, like most chicken breasts are, you’ll need to cut them in half lengthwise, so they are thinner. Season with thyme, salt, and pepper. Set aside.

Turn on the Instant Pot saute mode on high. When hot, melt the butter in the pot.

Add the onions and remaining seasonings to the pot, close the lid, and set the vent to sealing. Press the pressure cook or manual button and set to cook on high pressure for 0 minutes. Don’t worry that there isn’t any water in the pot. The onions themselves will provide the water for the steam.

Onions in the Instant Pot

When the cook time is up, do a quick release of the pressure and open the lid. You’ll see that the onions are cooked down by at least half.

Stir the beef bouillon paste into the onions. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the onions. 

Uncooked chicken in the Instant Pot

Close the lid and set the vent to sealing. Press the Pressure Cook button and set to cook for 8 minutes on high pressure. When the cook time is over, allow a natural pressure release of 5 minutes then release the remaining pressure and open the lid.

Transfer the chicken to a baking dish. With a slotted spoon, remove the onions from the broth and place them on top of the chicken. 

French onion chicken in a casserole dish

Turn the Instant Pot saute mode on and allow it to heat up. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the broth in the Instant Pot. Whisk the broth until it thickens.

Pour the sauce over the chicken and onions in the baking dish. Top with slices of Gruyere. Place the baking dish under the broiler for 3 minutes until cheese is melted.

Cheese on top of the French onion chicken

Tips and Notes

  • When putting your chicken in the Instant Pot, ensure that it’s immersed in the seasoning and beef broth in the pot. This helps the chicken absorb more flavor.
  • Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer your chicken from the pot to the baking dish after pressure cooking, so you leave the majority of the liquid in the pot to make your sauce with.
  • You don’t have to transfer the chicken to a dish to broil it. If you put the cheese on right after taking it out of the pot, it will melt on its own.
French onion chicken

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you overcook a chicken in an Instant Pot?

It’s possible to overcook chicken breast in an instant pit because you can’t check the level of doneness while it cooks. Overcooking makes it dry and rubbery at times.

Do you sauté with the lid on in an Instant Pot?

You should not sauté with the lid on the Instant Pot. If you are worried about your food splattering, you can use a splatter guard over the top of the pot, but never the lid.

Can you substitute chicken breasts for thighs in this recipe?

Yes, you can. When boneless, they both cook at the same time at high pressure. They will cook better if you arrange them in a single layer in the pot.

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French onion chicken

Instant Pot French Onion Chicken

Instant Pot French Onion Chicken is a fun way to enjoy everyone's favorite French soup in main dish form, with chicken, sautéed onions, beef stock, butter, and melted Gruyere, cooked to perfection in the Instant Pot.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 9 minutes
Pressurize Time 10 minutes
Total Time 34 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 309 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 large onions sliced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon beef bouillon powder
  • 1 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoons cold water
  • 6 slices Gruyere cheese or Swiss cheese

Instructions
 

  • Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthwise, so they are thinner. Season with some of the thyme, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  • Turn on the Instant Pot saute mode on high. When hot, melt the butter in the pot.
  • Add the onions and remaining seasonings to the pot. Close the lid and set the vent to sealing. Press the Pressure Cook or Manual button and set to cook for 0 minutes. Don’t worry that there’s no water in the pot. Steam will be created from the water in the onions.
  • When done, do a quick pressure release. Stir the beef bouillon paste into the onions. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the onions.
  • Close the lid and set the vent to sealing. Press the Pressure Cook button and set to cook for 8 minutes on high pressure. When the cook time is over, allow a natural pressure release of 5 minutes, then release the remaining pressure and open the lid.
  • Transfer the chicken to a baking dish. With a slotted spoon, remove the onions from the broth and place them on top of the chicken. Top the chicken with the slices of Gruyere. Place the baking dish under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Serve the chicken with the thickened sauce poured over the top.

Notes

  • It’s not necessary to broil the cheese. If you’d rather skip that step, just allow the cheese to melt on top of the chicken before serving.
  • If you don’t like or can’t find Gruyere, you can use Swiss or Emmental cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 309kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 25gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 1706mgPotassium: 261mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 471IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 455mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Chicken, Onion
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