Perfect Seared Chicken Breasts
Here’s the problem: Despite the pot’s high-moisture environment, boneless, skinless chicken breasts dry out and turn to shards in a multi-cooker. So here’s our solution: Brown them first, then set them on a rack (or the machine’s trivet) to keep them off the insert’s superheated bottom when they undergo all that pressure. After cooking, a modified quick release lets them then sit in the steam a bit, so they can plump as they reabsorb some of their natural liquids.
Notice that these boneless skinless breasts are a bit larger than those sold in bulk bags at the supermarket. Notice, too, that you should brown the meat thoroughly. The chicken needs good color for the best flavor.
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
Servings Prep Time
4servings 10minutes
Cook Time
  • 2tbsp solid or liquid fatChoose from butter, lard, rendered bacon fat, schmaltz, or an oil of almost any sort: olive, avocado, vegetable, corn, canola, safflower, grape seed, walnut, almond, or pecan — or a 50/50 combo of a solid fat and a liquid fat.
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts10-12 ounces each
  • 2tbsp dried herbs or a seasoning blendChoose at least two or many to make up the total amount from any dried herb like thyme, oregano, or parsley; ground cinnamon, ground dried ginger, or ground dried turmeric; a curry powder of any sort, herbes de Provence, or any dried spice seasoning blend from Cajun to Italian, French to Greek.
  • 1/2tsp table saltoptional
  • 1 1/2cups liquidChoose from water, broth of any sort, beer, wine of any sort, dry vermouth, dry sherry, unsweetened apple cider, unsweetened pear nectar, or a 50/50 combo of water or broth and wine.
  1. Press Saute, set time for 15 minutes.
  2. Melt the fat or warm the oil in the cooker. Season the chicken breasts with the dried herbs or seasoning blend and salt
(if using). Set 2 breasts in the pot and brown well, turning once, about 6 minutes. Transfer these to a nearby plate and brown the other 2 breasts in the same way before getting them onto the plate.
  3. Turn off the SAUTÉ function. Set a heat- and pressure-safe trivet in the pot. Pour in the liquid. Set all the chicken breasts on the trivet, overlapping thick ends over thin ends as necessary. Lock the lid onto the pot.
  4. Optional 1 Max Pressure Cooker
    Press Pressure cook on Max pressure for 6 minutes with the Keep Warm setting off.
  5. Optional 2 All Pressure Cookers
    Press Meat/Stew or Pressure cook (Manual) on High pressure for 8 minutes with the Keep Warm setting off.
  6. Use the quick-release method to bring the pot’s pressure back to normal — but do not open the cooker. Set it aside for 3 minutes with the valve open but the cooker off. Unlatch the lid and open the pot. Serve at once.
Recipe Notes

• You must halve the recipe for a 3-quart cooker.
• After cooking, garnish the breasts with lots of ground black pepper.
• You’ll get even better results if you brine the breasts: Buy chicken breasts that have not been injected with “a solution that may contain. . . .” (read the package). Whisk 2 tablespoons kosher salt into 8 cups cool water until dissolved, then submerge the breasts in the brine for at least 20 minutes but no more than 40 minutes. Discard the brine, pat the breasts dry, then proceed with the recipe.
• Or buy kosher boneless skinless chicken breasts. They’re essentially prebrined!