Instant Pot Fireworks (Sweet n’ Spicy) Chicken

I love fireworks. ? They’re so pretty when they explode and burst in the sky with colors and glitz spanning out every which way.

And with the 4th of July fast approaching and feeling a bit patriotic, I was inspired to take to my Instant Pot to create what a firework might taste like in our mouths…except without it actually getting blown off.

Not only will your mouth be safe, it’s going to thank you!

This chicken dish couldn’t be easier to make and the chicken is going to be so moist, tender and outrageous with a sauce so sweet, savory and zesty, you’ll be singing Yankee Doodle Dandy while breathing fireworks of your own! ?

Here’s How I Made It!:

I started off with about 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and run with some cajun seasoning.

Add 2 tbsp of vegetable oil to the Instant Pot, hit Sauté and let it heat up and then add the chicken (about 2 pieces at a time) and sear on each side for about 1 minute.  It shouldn’t be fully cooked yet!

When done, set aside on a plate.

Add chicken broth to the IP and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pan from the cajun seasoning leftover from browning the chicken. Then add the hot sauce, garlic, apple cider vinegar, crushed red pepper flakes and bring to a bubble.

One it bubbles, turn the pot off and reserve 1 cup of the sauce (leave the rest of it in the pot!), add about 1/2 cup of honey to the reserved sauce and put it in the fridge so it slightly thickens (it won’t get cold though so don’t worry).

Add the chicken back to the pot, secure the lid and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes and perform a quick release.  Meanwhile, turn on the oven broiler.

Put the chicken on a foil-lined pan and using a basting brush, coat with the reserved sauce that was in the fridge.  Sprinkle sesame seeds and pop into the oven for 3-5 minutes (ovens vary so keep an eye on it).

Remove the chicken, place in a serving platter and pour the rest of the reserved sauce over it.BOOM BOOM BOOM!

Instant Pot Fireworks (Sweet & Spicy) Chicken
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Fireworks (Sweet n’ Spicy) Chicken

Instant Pot Fireworks (Sweet n’ Spicy) Chicken

I named this recipie Fireworks Chicken because the slightly spicy and pleasantly sweet flavor pops in your mouth so wonderfully, it calls for a celebration worthy of a holiday.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 pounds of chicken thighs (I used boneless, skinless which I suggest)
  • Cajun seasoning, for rubbing on chicken
  • 2 tbsp of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of chicken broth (1 tsp of Chicken Better Than Bouillon + 1 cup of water)
  • 1 cup of Hot Sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)
  • 1.5 cups of light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of crushed garlic
  • 1/2 tsp – 1 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • Sesame seeds, for topping


  1. Lightly rub each piece of chicken with the cajun seasoning – but don’t overdo it!  A gentle rub is enough.
  2. Add the oil to the Instant Pot and hit “Sauté” and “Adjust” so its on the “More”/”High” setting.  When it reads “Hot”, add the chicken a few pieces at a time and cook for 45-60 seconds on each side to lightly sear.  The chicken should NOT be fully cooked when done.  Remove chicken and place on a plate lined with a paper towel to absorb excess oil and set aside but keep the “Sauté” setting as it is because we’re gonna make the sauce!
  3. Add the chicken broth and deglaze (scrape) the bottom of the pot so the excess brown cajun seasoning blends in with the broth and then add the hot sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, garlic and red pepper flakes.  Stir and bring to a boil so the sugar infuses nicely into the liquid.  After boiling for a few moments, hit the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button
  4. Remove 1 cup worth of the sauce and place in a little bowl or pyrex measuring cup, add the honey to it, mix and place in the fridge to cool.  We will use this to glaze our chicken later
  5. Add the seared chicken back to the pot with the rest of the sauce and layer so it covers the bottom.  Secure the lid and hit “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 10 minutes (and pre-heat your own to broil).  Follow with a quick release when done
  6. You can either discard the sauce in the pot that the chicken cooked in or refrigerate/freeze for making it again in the future
  7. Carefully transport and place the chicken onto a baking sheet lined with foil, remove the reserved sauce from the fridge and, using a basting brush, generously glaze each piece with it (the sauce shouldn’t be too thick – just enough to nicely glaze piece of chicken and you’ll still have some leftover for the final step).  Sprinkle sesame seeds over each piece of chicken when done
  8. Pop the chicken into the oven for about 3-5 minutes (3 minutes was perfect for me as I use a gas one – just watch it and make sure it doesn’t burn – a nice lightly brown is what we want).  Transfer to a serving dish when out of the oven
  9. Drizzle/pour the rest of the reserved sauce over the chicken and add more sesame seeds if you desire
  10. Enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

This will go GREAT over rice or mashed potatoes and a side of corn on the cob!

Want it spicier?  Add more crushed red pepper flakes or even 1/4 tsp of Cayenne Pepper to the sauce to REALLY make it intense!

Want to breathe fire? Sprinkle on some more crushed red pepper flakes along with the sesame seeds after glazing and before popping into the oven!

Want the sauce even thicker?  Add another 1/2 cup of honey to the reserved sauce.

Reader Interactions


    • Christine

      I have made this several times. One of my “go to” recipes that is quick, easy & tasty! I set my over broiler to high and broil for 2-3 minutes. Keep watch — every oven is different. My previous oven took 3 minutes – but the oven I have now only takes 2 minutes.

  1. Debby Shadoff

    This was delicious! I adjusted a bit and used pineapple hot sauce; 1/2 c reg honey and 1/2 c hot honey. I also added pineapple and yellow peppers. I omitted the red peppers but will add them next time – I wanted to gauge the level of heat first. This is a keeper and so easy!

  2. Tata

    My oven doesn’t work so I had to air fry. I did 475 degrees for 4 minutes. It was a little dry. Any suggestions on the air fry setting?

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