Pressure cooker, Time Lapse Video, Weeknight dinner
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Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub

Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub |
Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub

One of my favorite French recipes is Poulet au Pot – chicken in a pot, simmered in broth until it falls off the bone. This is my weeknight version, when I need to get dinner on the table with as little actual work as possible. A pack of chicken legs, some dried herbs, and a half cup of water, and I have dinner on the table in about an hour, with most of the time spent staring at the pressure cooker. 1

Now, when I said “the least amount of work possible”, there is one part of this recipe that takes a little work – browning the legs. You can skip this step, but I don’t recommend it. Browning makes the skin taste much better, the browned bits on the bottom of the pot make a rich sauce, and browning renders some of the fat in chicken legs. It’s worth the extra 15 minutes.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub |
Ready to lock the lid

For those of you asking “can I substitute chicken breast?” – eh, if you insist, but chicken legs are perfect for this recipe. I’ve said before, I’m a fan of the dark side of the chicken. 2 Chicken legs are best when they’re fall off the bone tender; chicken breast is overcooked and a little stringy. (Also, chicken legs are shockingly cheap when I can get them on sale at my grocery store.)


Recipe: Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub

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Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6 chicken legs 1x


Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub recipe – hands off chicken legs with pan sauce from the pressure cooker.


  • 6 chicken legs (aka “chicken leg quarters”)
  • 3 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon per leg)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried Italian Seasoning (1/4 teaspoon per leg)
  • ¾ teaspoons garlic powder (1/8 teaspoon per leg)
  • ¾ teaspoons fresh ground black pepper (1/8 teaspoon per leg)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup water (or chicken broth)


  1. Season and brown the chicken legs: Sprinkle the chicken legs evenly with the salt, Italian Seasoning, garlic powder, and fresh ground black pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in the pressure cooker over medium heat (sauté mode in an electric pressure cooker) until shimmering. Brown the skin side of the chicken legs in batches – each leg should lay flat in the pot. In my 6 quart Instant Pot, I can fit two legs in the pot, skin side down. Cook each set of legs until the skin is browned, about 4 minutes. Move the browned legs to a bowl, then repeat with the remaining legs. Pour the chicken fat out of the pot.
  2. Pressure cook the chicken legs: Pour ½ cup of water into the pressure cooker pot. Over medium heat (or sauté mode), bring the water to a simmer, scraping any browned bits on the bottom of the pan into the liquid. Once all the browned bits are scraped up, add the chicken legs and any chicken juices in the bowl. Lock the lid and pressure cook on high for 30 minutes in an electric pressure cooker, 25 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 more minutes. Serve, passing the liquid in the pot on the side as a sauce.


If you have the time, de-fat the sauce. Pour the liquid from the pot into a fat separator and let it rest for a few minutes, so the fat floats to the top. Then, pour the de-fatted sauce into a serving bowl.

  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub |
Pressure Cooker Chicken Legs with Herb Rub

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  1. Katie says

    I made this tonight and oh. Em. GEE! I added extra liquid so I could use the remnants in the rice I was serving with it! Woohoo delicious, thank you!!

  2. Myriam Windham says

    Tried this tonight. Sooooo good. My extremely picky eaters ate it up and asked for 3rds. This never happens (unless mac n cheese is on the menu of course)!

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT. I cooked 4 huge leg quarters exactly as described. Also added lemon slices, and it turned out so juicy and tender. ?? Served it over white rice and used the juices as gravy to pour over rice. THANK YOU

  4. Susan in Las Vegas says

    Hi Mike – Suggestion – do NOT pour off the fat from the pan after browning the chicken. Leave it there and continue as the recipe states. When done, remove the chicken and pour all the liquid into a fat separator. I got about 2 cups of concentrated broth and about 3/4 cup chicken fat. A lot of flavor is in the fat. I then used the chicken meat, broth and fat in THIS recipe. I used chicken fat rather than butter to make the roux, and plan to use frozen chicken fat in the dumplings next time!

    • Kristina says

      I just realized that I forgot to pour out the fat. It was excellent! Loved the recipe. So easy and really good! My hubby loved it too!

  5. Cindy says

    Forgot to add I’m a very new IP user with rubs and veg beef soup under by belt so far!

  6. Valerie says

    I am new to using a pressure cooker, just bought an Instant Pot. I am going to try this recipe tonight but only with 2 legs. Do I still cook it for 30 mins?

    • Yes. The cooking time is based on the individual pieces of meat – how long it takes to cook a chicken leg through – not how many legs there are.

  7. Jessica says

    Thanks so much for this recipe! It was literally fall off the bone good! And super easy. I’m new to cooking with pressure cookers so I really appreciate your easy to understand instructions.

  8. Roberta says

    SO flavorful and tender! Thanks for another great recipe

  9. Larry Main says

    Hey Mike, have you ever put a layer of potatoes in the bottom of the pan? The recipe is great! But I’m wondering if I’d need more liquid with the taters! Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  10. Kath says

    Thanks Mike. I tried 20 and it was perfect for about 800 g drumsticks. I have a 40 year old French Stainless Steel 8 litre SEB stovetop pressure cooker and I have been observing it seems to lose a bit of water in steam. So I added another quarter of a cup of water and it was just on the point of starting to catch when I stopped it. Perfect really as was able to add a little bit more water. If I ever add a bit much can reduce it.

    Having a lot of fun with your recipes. Today made the New York cheesecake and was absolutely amazed at how well it turned out!! First time I have ever cooked a New York cheesecake and I could get a knife through the crust. Bought ones often have rock hard crusts too.

  11. KathrH says

    How long would you keep pressure up if using drumsticks rather than whole legs?

  12. Hannah says

    Do chicken legs in a pressure cooker taste boiled?
    How many legs do you think I can fit in a 14 qt pressure cooker? Can they be stacked till the top and still have the flavor permeate the top layers?
    I’m considering buying a cooker but only want the largest size and wondering if it will do the job for my family of 7.

    • You’ll be able to fit a lot of legs in a 14 quart pressure cooker. Stack them as loose as you can and they will cook up fine. (The flavor is from the rub – the amount of legs doesn’t matter as much. )

    • Steve Turton says

      To also add flavour…once cooked as per these cooking instructions, take them out of the PC….put them on a lined cookie sheet, paint them with BBQ sauce, put under the oven broiler for 3 or 4 minutes on each side…turn out great for me.

    • Tcemt says

      Wow! Made this tonight, with quartered potatoes on the bottom, and it was a hit with the family (I did use 3/4 cups of water instead of the 1/2 cup). My husband normally doesn’t eat dark meat and he was impressed. The potatoes had enough flavor in them that I added only a tablespoon of butter, a bit less than a quarter cup of heavy cream and then used the chicken juice to thin them out a bit, delicious!

  13. Mike Brady says

    I made this last weekend in my Instant Pot. It tasted great, but the leg quarters did not come out in one piece as shown in the picture. The meat was falling off the bone, which was kind of a mess. Was that your experience?

    • They are fall-off-the-bone tender, yes. That is what I aim for with chicken legs. If you lift them out carefully with tongs, they hold together. (Or, cut 5 minutes off the cooking time – but the legs will not be as tender.)

  14. I made this last night and it turns out great- I just used two leg quarters and still used half a cup of liquid to have it come up to pressure.

    After removing the chicken, I threw a tub of baby spinach into the remaining liquid, and tossed with some lemon and breadcrumbs to wilt the spinach. It made a great healthyish side and was super flavorful.

    It was about the easiest dinner I’ve ever made on a weeknight and I will totally do it again.

  15. Jorge says

    Mike did warn you he loves the darkside. Part of that is the half a cup or less of water. I agree with him, the food produces plenty of extra liquid usually.

  16. Mark J says

    Instantpot instructions say to never use less than one cup of liquid. Yet you only use 1/2 cup. I’m confused.

    • 1/2 cup is enough water to come up to pressure. You can use 1 cup if you want – the recipe will still work – but the pan sauce that comes out will be a little thin.

  17. Chris L says

    Looks good! How would you adjust this recipe if you only wanted to cook two leg quarters?

  18. Carol Pavlik says

    Mike you were right. I do love my instant pot. My favorite chicken part is boneless skinless chicken thighs. So flavorful and just as versatile as breasts.

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