Instant Pot Bourbon Barbecue Chicken

All it really takes is for you to say the word “bourbon” and my ears perk up like a dog being asked if he wants to catch a frisbee.

So when I received a copy of Michelle Fagone’s (aka CaveGirl Cuisine) new cookbook “I Love My Instant Pot Cookbook” (you can buy it here) and came across her Bourbon Barbecue Recipe, I KNEW I had to make it in my Instant Pot!

This one is CRAZY EASY and makes your chicken SO tender and fall-off-the-bone, not to mention has a sauce that is to die for.

It’s like that perfect barbecue chicken but taken up a notch! PERFECT for any gathering, game day or grill-less barbecue!

Here’s How I Made It!:

Let’s make that amazing sauce first.  Start off with (what else?) bourbon…

…maple syrup…


…dijon mustard…

…garlic powder…

…onion salt…

…and some paprika.

Whisk together until it becomes a lovely shade of delicious…

…and be sure to reserve some of the sauce separately for a later step.

Now we’ll take a bunch of chicken legs/drumsticks…

…put them in a large Ziploc bag…

…and add the sauce from the larger bowl.

Shake it up!

And then let it sit in the fridge to marinate for a little bit.

When ready to cook, add the trivet and some water to the Instant Pot.

Remove the chicken from the fridge and the bag…

…and one-by-one place the chicken on the trivet, meat side down/bone side up.

We’ll so this so all the chicken is resting/leaving against one another and then pour the rest of the sauce from the Ziploc bag over the chicken….

…so it looks like this when done.  Secure the lid and cook on high pressure.

When done, it will look like this and we will transfer our chicken from the Instant Pot…

…to a serving or casserole dish.

Now we’ll take the rest of that reserved sauce from earlier and baste it onto our chicken…

…so when it’s all done, it looks absolutely irresistible!

Feel free to eat it as is or pop in the oven (if using a casserole dish or baking sheet) to broil for a few minutes so the sauce caramelizes onto the chicken!  


Instant Pot Bourbon Barbecue Chicken
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Bourbon Barbecue Chicken

Instant Pot Bourbon Barbecue Chicken

Drumsticks done to fall-off-the-bone goodness in a tangy bourbon barbecue sauce? Yes, please. Feel free to finish it off in the oven or air fryer for a caramelized glaze.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 3 pounds of chicken legs/drumsticks (about 10-12), skin on
  • 1/4 cup of bourbon whiskey
  • 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup of ketchup
  • 1 tbsp of Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp of onion salt
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp of paprika


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients (except the chicken) to make the sauce. Reserve about 3 tablespoons of the sauce for later (this is important for the final step!)
  2. Using a large zip-top bag, add the chicken and coat with the sauce from the bowl. Any remaining sauce that is stuck to the bowl, you can scrape and add to the reserved sauce for the final step. Make sure you mix the chicken up real good with the sauce in the bag – this part is fun!
  3. Refrigerate the sauce-coated chicken in the bag for one hour or more (but one hour is fine)
  4. Once the chicken is done refrigerating, insert the trivet into the Instant Pot and add 1 cup of water. Arrange the chicken so it rests upside down on the trivet (meat part facing down and bone facing up towards the lid). They should rest against one another for support. Dump any remaining sauce from the bag over the chicken (but do NOT reserve this as well – it was mixed with raw chicken. Discard the bag when done).
  5. Secure the lid and press the “Poultry” button and set for 15 minutes (which is the default time). It will take a little time to come to pressure, so go and do something fun!
  6. When done, allow a 10-minute natural release followed by a quick release
  7. Take the wings out with the tongs and place in a serving dish. Use the reserved sauce and brush on the chicken so they become coated with that delicious, sticky and sweet sauce!
  8. Enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

love a good ole messy chicken to eat – it’s part of the territory! BUT, if you want the final applied sauce from step 7 to be a little less messy to eat with and the skin to be a little firmer, once coated with the reserved sauce bake in an oven set at the broil temperature for about 3-5 minutes so the sauce caramelizes.

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