Instant Pot

Instant Pot Chicken in Red Wine Sauce

May 22, 2023
21 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

From Ann Mah’s Instantly French! Cookbook:

While this old-fashioned country recipe traditionally uses an entire chicken—preferably a tough old bird—here I use chicken thighs, which braise beautifully in the pressure cooker. For the braising liquid, I like to use an inexpensive (don’t spend more than $10), medium-bodied red wine like a Beaujolais Villages. Buttered broad noodles are a traditional accompaniment.
Ann Mah

Test Kitchen Notes

Every fall, I look forward to firing up my big and mighty cocotte with the promise of slow-braised goodness awaiting me at the end of the weekend. A tough piece of chuck slowly yielding to pot roast perfection, a mountain of short ribs getting coaxed to be the best versions of themselves after an hours-long interlude: These are the magical transformations that make cold-weather meals.

Yet the crisp fall air always seems to coincide with an uptick in tempo of life, in general. School starts, work picks up, the holidays loom (Thanksgiving is in less than a month y’all). All this to say, life gets busy! And so it’s no surprise that there are legions of Instant Pot fans among us.

Truth be told, I do not own an Instant Pot myself, but with diehard devotees around me singing the praises of under-30-minute beans (no pre-soaking!) and pho in an hour, I’ll admit I’m getting dangerously close to giving one a try. In the meantime, I have the good fortune of enjoying recipes through the magic of our test kitchen―and here’s a winner any Instant Pot owner should bookmark, stat. (And if you're on the fence and mulling over an Instant Pot purchase, this will be helpful for you, too.)

Ann Mah, an American author and food writer currently living in Paris (swoon), has written about her love for the Instant Pot on our site before. And now she’s taken that admiration headfirst in her new book, Instantly French!, the first French cookbook for the electric pressure cooker.

In it, you’ll find a multitude of classic French recipes, including the perennial favorite, coq au vin, or chicken in red wine sauce.

“Coq au vin, a French country classic, has its roots in the farm days of yore, when a tough old male bird―his purpose of breeding outlived―needed hours of stewing in to become palatable,” explains Ann. “These days, the recipe is usually made with a whole chicken or hen, and braised for hours. But with the magic of the electric pressure cooker, this traditionally slow-simmered dish becomes weeknight fare.”

Here are Ann’s tips for a knockout Instant Pot coq au vin:

Stick to the thighs: In her recipe, Ann cleverly turns to just chicken thighs, which saves both time and money. “Unlike white meat, which may turn stringy and dry when braised, thighs emerge from the pressure cooker beautifully succulent and fall-apart tender.”

Save your money: Ann recommends an inexpensive (read: $10-or-less territory), medium-bodied red wine like a Beaujolais Villages for the braising liquid.

Prevent sauce disappointment: To avoid a thin, watery sauce (a commonplace IP complaint because of the lack of liquid evaporation in the vessel), Ann shares two tips: “First, use a modest amount of liquid (here, one cup of wine). Second, after you've pressure-cooked the chicken, thicken the sauce with a beurre manié (or, ‘kneaded butter’) made of equal parts flour and butter. Beurre manié is extremely easy to make: Just use a fork to mash butter and flour together (to save time, you could even prepare a large quantity and store it in the freezer, divided into 2-tablespoon portions). When you need to thicken a sauce, simply throw a frozen lump into your boiling braising liquid and whisk away.”

Fall-apart tender dark meat in well under an hour, plus springy, eggy noodles to help sop up all the sauce? This may just be the Instant Pot purchasing excuse you’ve (I've) been waiting for.

Featured in: 41 Best Instant Pot Recipes for When You Want Slow-Cooked Flavor, Fast, 10 Instant Pot Chicken Recipes for Comforting Dinners All Week Long and 10 Quick & Easy Dinners the Whole Family Will Love.

Notes: Sauces are one of the pressure cooker’s weak points, as liquid cannot evaporate and reduce while it is sealed. Flour or other starch added to the pressure cooker before sealing could burn on the bottom or clog the vent holes. Given these factors, the sauce of a dish braised in the pressure cooker is thin. It’s up to you, then, to thicken it.

A classic beurre manié—or “kneaded butter”—is the perfect solution. Composed of equal parts flour and butter that have been mashed together, the paste is whisked into hot braising liquid at the end of the cooking time, turning the sauce thick and glossy, without lumps.

Beurre manié is extremely easy to make—just use a fork to mash butter and flour together on a plate. But to save time, you can prepare a large quantity in the food processor. Divide it into 1-tablespoon portions and store them in the freezer. When you need to thicken a sauce, simply throw a frozen lump into your boiling braising liquid and whisk away.

This recipe is a part of Wine Week—seven days celebrating all things wine—presented in partnership by our friends at Bread & Butter Wines.Food52

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Instant Pot Chicken in Red Wine Sauce
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil, plus more if necessary
  • 3 or 4 slices bacon (about 3 ounces / 85 grams), cut crosswise into ½-inch (1.25 cm) lardons
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, about 5 ounces (140 grams) each, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 cup (250 milliliters) red wine, such as Beaujolais Villages
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pinch fine salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 pound (250 grams) button mushrooms, quartered if large
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup to ½ cup (60 to 120 milliliters) low-sodium chicken stock (optional)
  • Buttered broad noodles, for serving
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in the pressure cooker using the sauté function. Add the bacon and cook until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate. You should have about 3 tablespoons of rendered fat left in the pressure cooker—if necessary, add an additional 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towels and add them to the pressure cooker. (You may need to do this in batches.) Cook until golden on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Turn off the sauté function.
  3. Add the wine and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the garlic, tomato paste, thyme, and bay leaf. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Return the bacon and the chicken thighs to the pot, along with any juices from the plate, arranging the chicken skin-side down to absorb more color from the wine. Cook on high-pressure for 25 minutes.
  4. While the chicken cooks, in a medium skillet, melt 2 tablespoons (30 grams) of the butter over medium-high heat until foamy. When the foam has started to subside, add the mushrooms and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
  5. In a small bowl, mash the flour into the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 grams) butter until it forms a smooth paste (this is the beurre manié).
  6. When the chicken has finished cooking, manually release the steam. Transfer the chicken to a plate, leaving the liquid in the pot. Discard the bay leaf.
  7. Using the sauté function, bring the cooking liquid to a simmer. With a wire whisk, beat in the beurre manié until the sauce becomes glossy and coats the back of a spoon. If the sauce becomes too thick, add the stock, starting with 1 tablespoon. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding more salt and pepper as desired.
  8. Return the chicken, along with any juices from the plate, and mushrooms to the pressure cooker and heat them through in the sauce. Serve with buttered broad noodles.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • borntobeworn
  • Shari Barker
    Shari Barker
  • Scotty
  • Christine Gilpen
    Christine Gilpen
  • Lauren Balog
    Lauren Balog
A proud Southern California native, Ann currently lives in Paris and Washington DC. Ann's cookbook, Instantly French, is the first French cookbook for the electric pressure cooker. Her new novel, Jacqueline in Paris, will be published in Fall 2022.

36 Reviews

kduest March 7, 2023
The whole family loved this! So delicious and easy. I didn't have red wine, so I used a dark Belgium beer instead. The chicken was fork tender and the sauce was sublime. This will definitely be going into our regular rotation.
dloofooloo January 20, 2022
One of the best things I've made in the Instant Pot! I added some carrots. Very important to separately saute mushrooms in butter.
ChefMom216 December 15, 2021
I made this tonight and Oh My Goodness! So good! My picky 6 year old even loved it. Only thing I would change is to make more sauce next time if possible. We didn't have enough sauce for our noodles.
borntobeworn November 2, 2021
Excellent! Will be making this on a regular basis
LM October 16, 2021
Oh my, this was delicious. I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about the instant pot as we were making it, but it turned out beautifully. We swapped turkey bacon and since it doesn’t make the same amount of bacon grease, had to add a little extra oil, but no problem. We made it about eight hours in advance, refrigerated it, and then put it in a baking dish and slowly reheated it at 325 for about 30 minutes. Took the foil off, and let it go for another 10 minutes so that the chicken skin crisped up up a little bit. Served with simple garlic green beans and buttered egg noodles. Just delicious.
Shari B. May 9, 2021
This was spectacular. I really enjoyed it. The sauce was great.
Lori L. November 28, 2020
Loved this! I made on the stovetop and it was gorgeous loved the rich flavors will absolutely make again
Scotty September 15, 2020
Made it using one flat bottom wok instead, and it's just as good as the Instant Pot with more straightforward steps, for lazy people, don't need to separate and put back the chicken and bacon, just dump it all in one pot "one after another", and simmer for at least 30 minutes with low heat, use chicken thigh for more tender texture.
Scotty September 15, 2020
Made it using one flat bottom wok instead, and it's just as good as the Instant Pot with more straightforward steps, for lazy people, don't need to separate and put back the chicken and bacon, just dump it all in one pot "one after another", and simmer for at least 30 minutes with low heat, use chicken thigh for more tender texture.
Carina March 20, 2020
Made it last night and it was absolutely delicious!
Christine G. February 20, 2020
Hi could this recipe be adapted for a crock pot?
Ann M. February 20, 2020
I'm sure it could but I've never cooked in a crock pot! I bet there's a version out there in Google.
frances S. March 18, 2019
What adjustments would you recommend for chicken breasts? I just don't like dark meat although I know it slow cooks much better. Thank you.
Ann M. March 18, 2019
Hi Frances, You could check the website of Hip Pressure for an idea of how long to cook chicken breasts. They have a chart with cooking times here:
Raquel S. February 21, 2019
This recipe is a HIT!! The depth of flavor that you can get from these ingredients is terrific. I made it for my husband for Valentines Day and he loved it. It is not low in calorie, but the taste is worth every one of those calories.
Ann M. February 23, 2019
I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks, Raquel!
Rose D. January 18, 2019
Definitely good enough for company! Great flavor! Served each thigh with sauce over a half cup of brown rice to add a healthy grain. Nutty flavor of the rice paired well.
Ann M. January 24, 2019
Brown rice sounds like a delicious accompaniment. Delighted you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks for your comment!
Lauren B. January 4, 2019
Set out to make this and I was out of tomato paste and bacon - however this recipe totally prevailed (with the aid of some tomato soup)! Everyone loved it and I can't wait to make it again as written. Also the beurre manie worked so good I have extra in my freezer now! Thanks for posting such a great recipe!
Ann M. January 6, 2019
I'm so happy you prevailed and enjoyed it!
Ruth B. December 30, 2018
this recipe is easy and the results are delicious! My husband pronounced it 'fit for company', which is his term for a winner! I found the instruction and techniques perfect. Thank you!
Ann M. January 6, 2019
I'm so happy you and your husband enjoyed it!
lynx60489 December 3, 2018
Any guidance on how to modify this recipe for a dutch oven or slow cooker?
Ann M. December 3, 2018
This recipe for sheet pan coq au vin looks amazing!
Jen V. November 4, 2018
Thanks, Ann! I really enjoyed this recipe and coincidentally shared it w my sister, Julie, who recently worked for your husband at USUN. Turned out delicious! Congrats on the new cookbook and thank you!
Ann M. November 5, 2018
What a fun coincidence! I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe, Jen!
KLD1967 October 31, 2018
Can you use skinless and/or boneless thighs?
Ann M. November 1, 2018
I haven't tried it, but you'd probably want to dramatically decrease the cooking time and be prepared for the meat to fall apart in the sauce – which can also be delicious! Good luck!
Emma November 1, 2018
Of course you can but some of the flavor is coming from the skin and bones, so be aware of that also.
Emma October 28, 2018
I made this tonight; it was yummy. I used a Chilean merlot malbec blend. Only real change I made was to thinly slice the mushrooms. And I sauted in a large pan instead of the Instant pot. Pressure cooked as given. Eight small thighs was just enough for four people. The chicken was good but I Loved the mushrooms.
Ann M. October 29, 2018
I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe!