Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken
Delightfully seared chicken swimming in a luscious cream sauce, rich in flavor, and super easy to make. This Tuscan chicken, made in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker offers all the flavors your tastebuds crave, with sundried tomatoes, spinach, and nutty parmesan all simmered together in the cream sauce. And it takes only a little bit of effort and time.
Serve with a side of delicious parmesan risotto or pasta and roasted vegetables, this instant pot dish is the perfect balance of protein, carbs, and veggies, making it the perfect healthy and satisfying meal option even on busy nights.
So don’t settle for a boring and bland when it comes to dinner! Instead indulge in the delicious flavors of Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken?
Why should you make this Tuscan Chicken in the Instant pot, when you could simply make it stove top?
That is a great question. And you could make it either way. But we love using the electric pressure cooker because it was made to cook food more quickly and easily. And, since it uses higher pressure to cook, often the flavors meld together faster, giving you the results of a long simmer time, without the actual time.
It is just a quick, convenient and delicious way to make Tuscan Chicken.
What You Need to Make Tuscan Chicken in the Instant Pot
Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken is made up of simple ingredients that you can find at normal grocery stores. And somehow, when these simple ingredients combine, they make something magical.
- Sun dried tomatoes: You are going to need the tomatoes, as well as the oil from the jar. Sun dried tomatoes are part of this lovely creation, and the oil they come packed in is the perfect oil for the recipe. Flavored.
- Salted butter: It matters. Both salted butter and unsalted butter are made from the fat and milk proteins of cow’s milk. However, salted butter has salt added to it. That salt can help enhance the flavor of the butter. When baking, unsalted is the way to go for better control over salt content, but in this recipe, salted butter helps make the creamy, flavor of the butter more evident. So go with salted.
- Chicken breasts, skinless and boneless: Probably the most popular of the poultry options, as it is lean, low-fat, and a good source of protein that is also easy to cook. However, because it is low fat, it can dry out quickly, so look for chicken breasts that are relatively the same size for a more even cooking.
- Seasonings: Kosher salt and ground black pepper, oregano, and chili flakes.
- Minced garlic: Fresh is best, but you can use the kind from the jar in this recipe as well.
- Chicken broth: Opt for a high quality broth as it is the base of your sauce.
- Heavy cream: This is heavy whipping cream, or simply heavy cream. In a pinch, you can use milk or half and half.
- Parmesan: Nutty, delicious parmesan really takes this dish up a notch, freshly grated is best, but any will work.
- Baby spinach leaves: They wilt and add lovely color and flavor to the dish
- Lemon wedges: For serving, but it adds a nice pop of flavor.
How to Select Sun Dried Tomatoes
The sun dried tomatoes are part of what makes this dish so special, so when choosing sun-dried tomatoes, consider quality and flavor. Here are some tips for choosing the BEST sun-dried tomatoes:
Appearance: Look for tomatoes that are plump and richly colored, with no signs of hardening or discoloration. The bigger, and plumper, the better. Sun-dried tomatoes should have a deep red color, with no signs of fading or discoloration.
Texture: Sun-dried tomatoes should be slightly chewy, with a slightly leathery texture. If after you open your jarred tomatoes, they seem too hard or too soft, discard, they may not have been properly dried.
Smell: Smell the tomatoes to decide if they smell good. If you don’t like the scent, chances are you won’t like the taste. Sun-dried tomatoes should have a slightly sweet and slightly tangy aroma, with no mustiness.
Taste: Even if you buy the best brand and make sure they check out, it is always a good idea to simply taste them before adding them to your dish. It is the quickest and best way to evaluate the quality of sun-dried tomatoes, and whether or not you would like them in your Tuscan Chicken. They should have a slightly sweet and slightly tangy flavor, and give off no bitterness or sourness.
Substitutions for Heavy Cream
This recipe is amazing with the cream, but if you are trying to cut down fat, or you simply don’t have heavy cream on hand, there are some substitutions that can work here:
Milk and butter: Heavy cream is essentially the milk without the cream removed, so to replace it, add 3/4 cup milk, and 1/3 cup butter, for each cup of cream. You will get the same richness and flavor, but it won’t be quite the same consistency as cream is thicker.
Evaporated milk: Evaporated milk is canned milk with most of the water removed, which means it will give you a similar consistency in your dish to using heavy cream. You replace it with a 1 to 1 ratio.
Half-and-half and butter: This is similar to milk and butter, but will give you a thicker consistency.
Non-dairy milk and oil: If you are in a pinch, it is possible to replace 1 cup of heavy cream, with 3/4 cup of non-dairy milk, such as soy milk or almond milk, and a couple tablespoons of oil, like olive oil. However, for this recipe it is not recommended, and can make the dish feel oily. You won’t get the same creaminess. If you need, replace the cream with a non-dairy milk, and skip the oil. Taste, and add oil a little at a time or more parmesan as needed to get the creaminess and flavor you desire.
Tips for Mincing Garlic
Fresh is best, that is the motto for most recipes, and very true of garlic. Don’t let having to mince it yourself stand in the way of using the fresh stuff. Here are some tips for mincing garlic:
Start with a sharp knife: It is all about the tools. Use a sharp knife to more effectively chop the garlic into small, evenly-sized pieces. It matters because a dull knife will more crush than chop the garlic.
Cut off the root end of the garlic clove: Cut off the tough, fibrous root end, and discard before chopping.
- Peel off the papery skin: You can pop it into a garlic peeler to make this easy. But however you do it, remove the papery skin on the garlic clove before mincing the garlic.
Crush the garlic slightly: Use the flat side of your knife, place it on the clove, and use the palm of your hand to push it down and crush it slightly. This will help break up the cloves, and make it far easier to chop.
Make small, even cuts: Mince evenly by making small, horizontal cuts across the garlic clove, then turn the knife 90 degrees and make small, vertical cuts.
How to Make Pressure Cooker Tuscan Chicken
Making Tuscan Chicken in the pressure cooker is fairly simple:
Sear the Chicken
On the Instant Pot choose the SAUTE setting. Heat the oil and melt the butter. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and cook the first side for 2-3 minutes until golden, then flip and cook for 2 more minutes. This is to sear it and get it started.
Add in Seasonings
Add minced garlic to the pot, and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add chicken broth and deglaze the pot by removing any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. This step is also important to avoid getting the BURN message. Add oregano, salt, pepper, and chili flakes to the pot.
Secure the lid and set the vent to SEALING. Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL setting and set the cooking time for 5 minutes at high pressure/8 minutes if using bone-in chicken thighs. The Instant Pot will take around 6-7 minutes to come to pressure and start cooking.
When the cooking time is up, quickly release the pressure by opening the valve to VENTING.
When pressure is released, carefully remove the lid, take the chicken out of the pot and place on a plate, set aside.
Set pot to the SAUTE setting, and stir in the heavy cream and the freshly grated parmesan to the liquid remaining in the pot.
Add in the chopped sundried tomatoes, and spinach leaves and switch off the SAUTE setting. Let sit for 5 minute to allow the spinach leaves to wilt.
Combine it All
Put the chicken back into the pot, along with any juices that collected on the plate, and spoon the cream sauce over it. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning as needed.
Serve over buttered pasta or rice with extra grated parmesan cheese and lemon wedges.
Instant Pot and Pressure Cooking Tips
Because you cook this recipe in the pressure cooker, it is good to understand how they work, and how to adjust your cooking if needed. Pressure cookers work by creating a sealed environment in which the pressure is higher than the atmospheric pressure outside the cooker, which allows liquids to reach higher temps, meaning food cooks faster and more evenly. But it is an environment you can’t access during the cooking process, which means you have less control, so here are a few things to keep in mind:
Pressure cookers come in different sizes and styles: There is a wide variety of sizes and styles, from small, single-serving models to large, multi-quart models. A larger pot, will take longer to come to pressure, and can require more liquid to not get the burn notice. So cook in the right size for the dish you are making.
Pressure cookers have different cooking settings: The different settings are designed to make cooking easier, but simply follow the instructions on this recipe to get it right.
Pressure cookers need to be properly sealed: If it feels like it won’t come to pressure or start cooking, it could be that the seal ring isn’t on right. it has to come to pressure to cook, otherwise it will heat and heat, so just make sure you have that in right, and the lid locked in before cooking so as not to ruin the dish.
This recipe is so perfect for a weeknight meal, serve with:
- Garlic Bread Twists Recipe
- Broccoli Cheese Breakfast Egg Muffins
- Raspberry Italian Soda
- Chocolate Cake (Classic)
Tips and Tricks
Making this recipe is Eazy Peazy…
- Subbing Chicken: If using chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on) adjust the cooking time to 8 minutes. For boneless skinless chicken thighs, pressure cook for 5 minutes.
- Subbing Heavy Cream: You can substitute the heavy cream with half and half, but the sauce will be thinner.
- Double the Sauce: I love having extra sauce for covering my pasta noodles, but for this recipe, you can get extra sauce by doubling the whipping cream, and parmesan cheese amounts. Then taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Go with Fresh Parmesan: Freshly grated parmesan cheese will result in a smoother sauce.
Make Ahead and Storage
This recipe is best made fresh. It does not freeze well, and while it can be reheated, I prefer it freshly made.
To store and reheat Tuscan chicken do the following:
- Allow the chicken to cool to room temperature.
- Transfer the chicken to an airtight container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.
- To reheat the chicken, place it in a baking dish and cover it with foil.
- Bake the chicken in a preheated oven at 350°F for about 15-20 minutes, until it is heated through. Or reheat the chicken in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it is heated through.
This is not a great dish for freezing and using later. The cream tends to separate, leaving an undesirable texture to the sauce. Because cream has a high fat content, it will often separate and become grainy when frozen and thawed. So eat within a few days!
Other Great Recipes:
- Instant Pot Chicken Wings
- Instant Pot Turkey Breast and Gravy
- Instant Pot Biscuits and Sausage Gravy
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken Penne
- Skillet Creamy Tuscan Chicken
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Instant Pot Tuscan Chicken Recipe
- Instant Pot
- 1 ½ Tablespoons sun dried tomato oil from the jar
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons salted butter
- 2 pounds chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon chili flakes
- ½ cup sundried tomatoes chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup parmesan
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- Lemon wedges for serving
- On the Instant Pot choose the SAUTE setting. Add the oil and butter to the liner, and heat until butter is melted.
- Meanwhile, season the chicken with salt and pepper, and place into the butter and oil mixture in the instant pot. Cook on one side for 2-3 minutes until golden brown, then flip and cook for 2 more minutes on the other side. Do not move the chicken to allow a golden crust to form.
- Add minced garlic to the pot, and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add chicken broth and then using a wooden spoon, deglaze the pot by removing any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. This step is also important to avoid getting the BURN message. If needed, remove the chicken first so you can effectively get stuck on bits off the bottom.
- Add oregano, salt, pepper, and chili flakes to the pot.
- Place lid on the pot, and secure in place, set the vent to SEALING. Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL setting and set the cooking time for 5 minutes at high pressure/8 minutes if using bone-in chicken thighs. The Instant Pot will take around 6-7 minutes to come to pressure and start cooking.
- When the cooking time is up, use the quick release method to release pressure from the pot by opening or turning the valve to VENTING.
- When pressure is released, carefully remove the lid, take the chicken out of the pot and place on a plate, set aside.
- Set pot to the SAUTE setting, and stir in the heavy cream and the freshly grated parmesan to the liquid remaining in the pot.
- Add in the chopped sundried tomatoes, and spinach leaves and switch off the SAUTE setting. Let sit for 5 minute to allow the spinach leaves to wilt. And sauce to thicken.
- Put the chicken back into the pot, along with any juices that collected on the plate, and spoon the cream sauce over it. Taste sauce and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Serve over buttered pasta or rice with extra grated parmesan cheese and lemon wedges.
If using chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on) adjust the cooking time to 8 minutes. For boneless skinless chicken thighs, pressure cook for 5 minutes.
You can substitute the heavy cream with half and half, but the sauce will be thinner.
For some extra sauce, double the whipping cream, and parmesan cheese amounts.
Freshly grated parmesan cheese will result in a smoother sauce.
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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