Instant Pot Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
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A quick and easy version of “stir fry,” no pan or stovetop required! Sticky and dense noodles, tender chicken, and crunchy vegetables, ready in about 20 minutes!
Holy moly, this month has been a whirlwind at our house! I haven’t shared a NEW recipe with you in 3 weeks because moving completely kicked our butts.
Anyone else hate moving but then forget why you hate moving?
It’s the unpacking. The unpacking is the absolute worst because now you have one million things to put in one million new places and you wind up rearranging things several times before you find their Goldilocks spot and even then, it needs a bit more time…
Not to mention, we went from 1100sqft to about 1500sqft + a basement so now we have all the space in the world, an extra bedroom, hardwood floors (who knew picking out an area rug was so hard??), and more windows than we know what to do with, so we’ve been hanging curtains, assembling furniture, and rearranging rooms left and right, and we don’t even actually have anything hung on the walls yet.
Add in nesting + a toddler to entertain through all of this and you’re looking at WE ARE SLEEPY and still trying to find everything we “know was in that box with that _____.” Thank goodness I know exactly where my InstantPot is, because MAMA’S GOTTA EAT.
My Instant Pot saved us in the few weeks before we moved. It allowed us to prep some things (yes, we had plenty of steel cut oats and HB eggs for breakfasts and snacks) and also keep most of our cookware packed up. I
made a couple random meals I found around the web (this GEM from my bloggy friend Monica– I turned it into an Instant Pot recipe pretty easily) and thus my Instant Pot single-handedly allowed us to keep eating while living a shambly life for a bit.
This was one of those recipes that I just sort of winged. Wung?
((What the heck is the past tense of that? Someone get me the real answer.))
I took some notes on things I have read in my Instant Pot FB group (yep, that’s a real thing) and used some experimentation to get to this end product, and it was SO GOOD that I had to make it again and photograph it for the blog.
Listen up: if you own an Instant Pot and you’re into stir fry, this is a must have recipe.
STIR FRY WITHOUT THE FRYING
So while this is obviously not a traditional stir fry as you’re not using a wok or large pan to “fry” anything, it’s got all the things that you’d find in said stir fry.
We’ve got a scratch stir fry sauce made from water, soy sauce, olive oil, white vinegar, and a touch of brown sugar.
Spices include fresh garlic and a little chili powder. For the meat, chicken, obviously, and the veggies? Whatever you’re feeling.
“STIR FRY MIX” MAKES THIS MEGA EASY…
I love the “stir fry mix” that our grocery store carries that includes broccoli, carrots, onions, water chestnuts, sugar snap peas, and red pepper.
However, I feel there aren’t nearly enough bell peppers in the mix, so I actually added my own pepper in addition to the mix. Sliced thinly, because we aren’t actually cooking these veggies.
…BUT VEGGIES GO IN AT THE END
I learned the (very very) hard way the first time I made this that the veggies got super mushy in the Instant Pot. Adding them in at the end while the meat and noodles are still hot was key in par cooking everything and maintaining the crunch factor. Texture perfection!
The rest of the ingredients?
Thinly sliced chicken and uncooked rice noodles. And yes– this really does cook chicken pieces in 3 minutes. I know because I’ve done this a handful of times over the last few weeks.
Just trust the process and put the thought out of your head that your chicken will go from raw to cooked in 3 minutes. I would not steer you wrong on chicken here, folks!
INSTANT POT NOODLE SCIENCE
Now I do have to admit one thing… And here’s where some science is going to kick in. Because we’re doing noodles in the Instant Pot, we aren’t giving the starches a chance to “wash” off. The starch is going to stick right on these noodles like white on rice.
They. Are. Sticky. But also…
They. Are. Wonderful.
If you’re looking for soft and silky noodles, the Instant Pot is not where you get them. It’s just not going to happen.
You will add a bit of water after the cooking process to help thin out that starch, but it’s not really going anywhere. But this is not a bad thing at all.
Think sticky rice– all the taste and texture with a little something extra. Plus, it took you 3 minutes to cook everything and you didn’t have to stand over the stove to get dinner done.
Worth it? I think so.
Oh. AND. Not only was this toddler approved, it lasted us so many meals. I’m pretty sure Matt and I both were able to have it for lunch 3 or 4 times the week we also had it for Sunday dinner. This is a meal to feed a family, for sure!
Seriously, I’m so excited for you to try this. Make it ASAP and report back, please?
Instant Pot Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry
- 2 cups + 3/4 cups water divided
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons distilled white vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 8 oz rice noodles uncooked
- 1 pound raw white meat chicken small dice1
- 1 bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 bag (1 pound) frozen stir fry vegetables thawed2
- In a small bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the water (set aside 3/4 cup for the end), soy sauce, olive oil, vinegar, and brown sugar. Pour the mixture into the Instant Pot. Add the garlic and chili powder and give the mixture another quick whisk. Add the noodles and chicken.
- Put the lid on your Instant Pot and make sure the lever is pointed to "sealing." Press "manual," and use the "+" or "-" button to set the timer to 3 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for your Instant Pot to come to pressure.
- When the timer beeps, immediately and carefully release the steam. When it stops hissing, carefully remove the lid. Using oven mits, remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot.
- Add the raw bell pepper, stir fry vegetables, and additional 3/4 cup of water. Using tongs or a large spatula, stir everything together, being sure to get the noodles from the bottom of the pot into the mix. Serve immediately. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator, covered tightly, up to 5 days. Add a little water to each portion before reheating (about a Tablespoon).
- It is imperative your chicken is cut into fairly small pieces in order to cook in the 3 minutes. See photo above for what I did.
- Alternatively, you can cut your own vegetables to make 1 pound. I suggest broccoli, carrots, water chestnuts, sugar snap peas, and onion. Be advised, you will need to cook all of these vegetables before using them.
All nutritional values are approximate and provided to the reader as a courtesy. Changing ingredients and/or quantities will alter the estimated nutritional calculations.
Oh, this looks SO good – I hear you on the craziness of moving! We are slated to move from Belgium back to the US this summer, and I am actually thinking I’ll buy an IP right when we get back, for similar reasons as what you described in your post – it can keep us fed until the rest of our kitchen arrives a couple months behind us! Definitely will save this recipe to try then! And you know I’m so glad you loved the cashew curry chicken! xo!
I forgot to tell you we made it again this weekend when we had Leah (from Grain Changer) and her family over for dinner! It was loved by all 🙂 and YES, and IP will save you in a move. I don’t know what I would have done without it. I think we’d have eaten our weight in PB&J otherwise!
AYOOOOO! You know how much I love the IP, and we’re biiiiiig Stir Fry fans around here, so I’ll be making this (with coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce!) just as soon as we’re back from vacay next week. Which means in a weird way I’m already looking forward to coming back from vacay – yes, this recipe looks THAT enticing!
Haha, enjoy your time away with your parents! Let me know if you decide to make this! 🙂
So you don’t cook the raw bell peppers and thawed stir fry vegies? Maybe I misunderstood.
Correct– you put them in after everything else is cooked. If you put them in with the raw noodles and raw chicken, they will turn to mush!
I tried this tonight and was pleasantly surprised. This was amazing! The noodles turned out fantastic, all the vegetables cooked perfectly. It truly was a great meal out of the instapot. Funny thing too, we just moved as well and our kitchen is being torn apart so the only cooking utensil I have is an instapot. I found your recipe at a great time and much appreciated it! Great way to meal prep too. The only thing I changed was I added sombol and hoisen for extra flavor and kick.
Awesome! I”m so glad you liked it, Suzie! Thanks for the feedback and I hope you settle into your new home nicely 🙂
Is there enough liquid in the instant pot. Don’t we have to pour water until the noodles are covered ?
Hi, Reena! There is definitely enough liquid. The IP works differently than other cooking appliances and it will create steam to cook the noodles. I promise!
Tried it today and it did not go well. I followed the directions to a T but the noodles didn’t cook well at all.
I’m sorry to hear that, Anna. I and a lot of others have had success with this recipe.
Do you use low or high pressure?
I use manual, but I think it defaults to high!
I made this for the first time and followed the recipe perfectly, but unfortunately I got the “burn” notification before my Instant Pot even came to pressure. I was able to salvage most of the noodles and chicken, so I’m going to try and make more sauce and mix it in with the noodles and veggies. I’ve re-read the recipe multiple times but I can’t figure out what went wrong.
Hey, Jenessa– I’m so sorry to hear that! I’ve made this recipe so many times and I’ve had a lot of readers make it too. No one has mentioned any burning issues. Did you put all of the liquid in?
I read the reviews about the burn notice, but decided to try this recipe anyway… I just got the burn notice and followed the recipe exactly. With so many similar experiences, you may want rover consider taking another look at the recipe or try it again? Not sure why that’s happening-maybe something to do with the rice noodles being on the bottom? Just thought I’d pass my experience along as it does not appear to be a coincidence. Thanks!
Hey Sarah, I’m sorry to hear about your experience. There’s actually only ONE other mention of a burn notice in the comments section, and that reader didn’t respond to me, so I can’t say what the issue was. I’ve also never gotten a burn notice on my IP, so I don’t even know how to troubleshoot the issue, regardless of the recipe. Technically, all of the liquid should be on the bottom of the pot, so the noodles are sitting in liquid and not directly on the bottom of the pot.
This recipe is on a regular rotation at our house, so I can confidently say that the recipe is correct as written, and it doesn’t need any changes or adjustments. In fact, I made it as recently as the Christmas break. I’m not sure what to tell folks who are having issues. Sorry!
I made this last night and followed the instructions completely. A couple of things- my noodles were a little clumped at the end, and a few were quite brown and stuck to the bottom. Also, I had cut my chicken in advance and put it in a bowl. I just plopped it in. If I were to make again I would ensure the noodles and chicken were more spread out, still ensuring there was liquid on the bottom. For me this lacked flavor. I think I might sub out some of the oil for sesame oil or chili oil and maybe add fresh green onions and sesame seeds to the top. That said my 2 year old granddaughter slurped up lots of noodles just fine.
This was delicious! I followed the directions and it came out perfectly. 3 minutes on high and released pressure as soon as it was done. Chicken was tender and noodles were perfect. I did turn it on saute when completed to help cook the veggies since mine were still cold when I added them. This is a keeper!
Thanks so much for your review, Jolene! I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
just wondering about the need for distilled white vinegar as opposed to just vinegar
Distilled white is a less pungent flavor. It adds to the umami without tasting too vinegary.
This worked exactly the way she said to do it, except I didn’t need the extra water in the end. I put my noodles on top of the chicken which was on top of the liauid and had no problems.
Thanks so much, Melissa! The water at the end is mostly to remove some of the extra starch that doesn’t wash off like it would if you cooked the noodles on the stove and then drained them. But I’m glad you enjoyed it and thank you for leaving the review!!
I liked the recipe but next time I’ll make the noodles separately and fold then in at the end. They turned out too sticky.
Hey, Karen! So the purpose of doing everything in the InstantPot is to expedite the process and eliminate some hands-on time. If you’re going to do the noodles separate from everything else, it’s best just to do a regular stir fry and not bother getting out the InstantPot.
Except that the Instant Pot helps to keep the chicken from ending up dried out. I have a real issue with that, so I am excited to try your recipe this week. Although the noodles sound delicious, I might try rice instead of noodles (in another IP, YES, I have two!).
Hey, Suzanne– I’ve made this lots of times and the chicken is never dried out! If you leave out the noodles, I don’t know that your chicken will achieve the same non-dry texture, as I’ve never made it not as written. Let me know how it goes if you try it!
I made this instapot chicken stir fry /noodle dish last weekend and it was really good. I made the mistake though of using the real thin rice noodles and it kind of clumped together and doesn’t look pretty but still real good. I’d recommend the thicker noodles vs thin.