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Instant Pot Black Pepper Chicken Recipe

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This easy Instant Pot black pepper chicken is super flavorful and savory, and perfect as a weeknight dinner for when you’re craving some Chinese food.

The flavors are absolutely delicious- super close to the Panda Express black pepper chicken, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to put this dish together.

This recipe goes great with rice or a Panera Greek Salad.

IP Black Pepper Chicken Sample 5 6

What I Love About This Recipe

The fact that this is a super versatile recipe that you can put together as an easy weeknight meal is what I love the best about it.

This is an absolute favorite dish in my household, and is a fantastic recipe to try putting together when you’re craving for some Asian food.

I promise you, the whole family will absolutely love it, and you’ll find yourself making it again and again.

Ingredients for the Instant Pot Black Pepper Chicken

Instant Pot Black Pepper Chicken Recipe

To make the black pepper chicken, you’ll need these ingredients.

  • Peanut Oil: Used for sautéing the ingredients, providing a neutral flavor and a high smoke point, making it ideal for cooking at high temperatures.
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast or Thighs: Serve as the protein base for this dish, offering tender and juicy bites of chicken.
  • Onion: Adds sweetness and depth to the dish, enhancing its overall flavor profile.
  • Celery: Provides a crisp texture and a subtle earthy taste, adding freshness to the black pepper chicken.
  • Garlic Powder: Infuses the dish with savory and aromatic notes, enhancing its overall taste.
  • Black Pepper: The star ingredient in this recipe, providing a bold and spicy flavor that gives the dish its signature kick.
  • Onion Powder: Adds a concentrated onion flavor, complementing the other spices and seasonings.
  • Ground Ginger: Brings a warm and slightly sweet taste, adding complexity to the dish’s flavor profile.

For the Sauce:

  • Chicken Broth: Serves as the liquid base for the sauce, providing a savory foundation for the flavors to mix and meld.
  • Oyster Sauce: Adds a rich and savory umami taste to the dish, enhancing its overall depth of flavor.
  • Vinegar: Adds a tangy and acidic element to the sauce, balancing the richness of the other ingredients.
  • Garlic Powder: Intensifies the garlic flavor in the sauce, adding another layer of savory taste.
  • Black Pepper: Contributes to the sauce’s spiciness and complements the black pepper used in the chicken.
  • Ground Fresh Ginger: Adds a bright and slightly spicy note, enhancing the sauce’s overall taste profile.
  • Red Pepper Flakes (Optional): Can be added for those who prefer an extra kick of heat in their black pepper chicken.
  • Xanthan Gum (Optional): Can be used as a thickening agent to give the sauce a smooth and slightly thick consistency, if desired.

How to Make the Black Pepper Chicken

Once you have the ingredients ready, here’s what you’ll need to do to make the black pepper chicken recipe.

Step 1: Prep the Instant Pot and Chicken

Heat the electric pressure cooker using the “sauté” function until “hot.” Meanwhile, place the chicken into a zip top storage bag or a large bowl. Add the seasonings and seal the bag. Shake and mash to cover the chicken in the seasonings.

IP Black Pepper Chicken Process 2

Step 2: Stir Fry Chicken Until Golden Brown

Add the oil to the pressure cooker and then add chicken. Cook the chicken on medium high heat until it is golden brown on all sides. 

If the bottom of the Instant Pot collects frond (baked on bits,) deglaze the bottom of the pot by adding a tiny amount of water or chicken stock and scraping with a wooden spoon. 

IP Black Pepper Chicken Process 3

Step 3: Prepare the Black Pepper Sauce

Place all the sauce ingredients for the sauce EXCEPT the xanthan gum in a jar with a lid or in a small bowl and shake to combine. Pour over the chicken.

Step 4: Pour the Black Pepper Sauce Over the Chicken

Cover the electric pressure cooker and set the valve to “sealing.” Program the electric pressure cooker using the “pressure cook” or “manual” function for 5 minutes. When the cook cycle is completed, quick release the pressure.

IP Black Pepper Chicken Process 4

Step 5: Thicken the Stir Fry Sauce if Needed

If a thicker sauce is desired, stir in the xanthan gum and allow the chicken to “keep warm” as the sauce thickens.

Step 6: Serve Hot and Enjoy

Serve alone or over cauliflower rice.

What Other Variations Can I Try?

This black pepper chicken recipe is super simple and straightforward, and uses minimal ingredients. That said, you can always tweak things around and add in other ingredients of your choice.

Most stir fries have veggies, so you can add some bean sprouts, carrots, bell peppers, broccoli , Bok choy or any other veggies of your choice.

To make this black pepper chicken more colorful and bright, you can add sliced or chopped bell peppers in different colors- red bell pepper, green bell pepper and yellow bell pepper all in the same size.

IP Black Pepper Chicken Sample 5 5

To balance out the heat and the other dominant flavors of the black pepper sauce, you can add a bit of brown sugar into it.

I also like to add some regular soy sauce into it to lend the sauce some extra depth of flavor and a nice color.

Tips to Make the Black Pepper Chicken Recipe

IP Black Pepper Chicken Sample 5 3

Ready to make black pepper chicken? You might want to take notes of these tips and tricks to nail this recipe.

  • I have used peanut oil for this recipe, but if you can get your hands on sesame oil, I would highly recommend using it instead. Toasted sesame oil has a much more Asian flavor, which works wonderfully whenever you’re making Asian dishes.
  • If you don’t have either of these, you can just stick to using vegetable oil or any other cooking oil of your choice.
  • Xanthan gum is added to the pepper chicken recipe to lend it that nice saucy coating. If you don’t have it, you can thicken the sauce by adding a simple slurry made using corn starch and water.
  • I have used garlic powder for this recipe, but you can also use fresh minced garlic if you have that at hand.
  • To lend the dish a bit of umami flavor, you can add a splash of dark soy sauce too. If you’re concerned about high sodium levels, you can always choose low sodium soy sauce.
  • Crushed black pepper chicken is the hero of this recipe, but if you’re looking to add some more spice into this dish and want to go beyond black pepper, you can also add some freshly ground Sichuan peppercorn powder.
  • While an Instant Pot is the best choice for this recipe, you can also choose to stir fry this in a large skillet if you want to.
  • If you’re choosing to pan fry the chicken, stick to medium high heat to ensure that it has cooked from within.

How Do I Serve the Black Pepper Chicken?

This easy black pepper chicken tastes best when served fresh, topped with a generous sprinkle of chopped green onions and some ground black pepper.

You can serve this as a side dish with some Asian fried rice or noodles, or team it up with a salad to make it a healthier meal.

IP Black Pepper Chicken Sample 5 5 1

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Any Other Cut of Chicken?

You sure can! I have used chicken breasts for this recipe, but you can also use boneless chicken thighs.
Chicken thighs are usually much more tender and flavorful than chicken breast, and are a great option to choose for this recipe.

Is the Dish Gluten Free?

This Chinese black pepper chicken makes use of oyster sauce, which is not naturally gluten free.
That said, you can just switch to using a gluten free version of the oyster sauce and make this recipe if you’re intolerant.

Can I Prep the Dish in Advance?

You sure can! The black pepper sauce can be made days in advance and refrigerated until you’re ready to use it.
You can also choose to marinate the chicken breasts along with the sauce ingredients for up to 2 days. Then, all you need to do is cook this marinated chicken in the Instant Pot when you’re ready.
Remember to transfer the marinated chicken to an airtight container before you refrigerate it to keep it fresh.

instant pot black pepper chicken

Instant Pot Black Pepper Chicken Recipe

Yield: 3
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 13 minutes

Easy and Delicious Black Pepper Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs, cut into cubes
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 celery stalks, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • For the sauce:
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • ¼ cup oyster sauce
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground fresh ginger
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum, for thickening if desired

Instructions

Step 1: Prep the Instant Pot and Chicken
Heat the electric pressure cooker using the “sauté” function until “hot.” Meanwhile, place the chicken into a zip top storage bag or a large bowl. Add the seasonings and seal the bag. Shake and mash to cover the chicken in the seasonings.

Step 2: Stir Fry Chicken Until Golden Brown
Add the oil to the pressure cooker and then add chicken. Cook the chicken on medium high heat until it is golden brown on all sides. 

If the bottom of the Instant Pot collects frond (baked on bits,) deglaze the bottom of the pot by adding a tiny amount of water or chicken stock and scraping with a wooden spoon.

Step 3: Prepare the Black Pepper Sauce
Place all the sauce ingredients for the sauce EXCEPT the xanthan gum in a jar with a lid or in a small bowl and shake to combine. Pour over the chicken.

Step 4: Pour the Black Pepper Sauce Over the Chicken
Cover the electric pressure cooker and set the valve to “sealing.” Program the electric pressure cooker using the “pressure cook” or “manual” function for 5 minutes. When the cook cycle is completed, quick release the pressure.

Step 5: Thicken the Stir Fry Sauce if Needed
If a thicker sauce is desired, stir in the xanthan gum and allow the chicken to “keep warm” as the sauce thickens.

Step 6: Serve Hot and Enjoy
Serve alone or over cauliflower rice.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 474Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 185mgSodium: 1033mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 59g

Did you make this recipe?

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More Asian Recipes

If you loved this easy side dish and are looking for some more Asian recipes to experiment with, here are a few handpicked ones you might want to take a look at.

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