pressure cooker chicken with lemons and olives recipe

Lemon and Olive Ligurian Pressure Cooker Recipe (Lesson 5)

pressure cooker chicken with lemons and olives recipe

This recipe uses all of the pressure cooking techniques you learned in the previous lessons and tacks on a couple more, to help meat reach maximum velocity flavorage!

If the finely chopped herbs and garlic in the marinate remind you of pesto, you would be in the right culinary region. Dishes from this Northern Italian region are often made with lots, and lots of herbs and garlic and this chicken dish is no exception.

When making chicken dishes in the pressure cooker, I prefer o use a whole chicken, because, I get three recipes out of one chicken. I cut it up and save the skin and carcass for the stock and incorporate the giblets into a pate’. If you don’t want to make stock right away, put the carcass in a ziploc bag and store it in your freezer for your next stock-making session (see the chicken stock-making lesson). You can freeze the giblets until you have eaten enough whole chickens to make pate’ (though I usually cannot wait that long, and often add my the giblets to a nice big package of chicken livers)! To learn how to cut pieces from a whole chicken, follow the directions from my favorite instructional video purveyor: Free Culinary School: How To Butcher A Chicken.

Pressure Cooker Braising

Braising is a method of cooking with a small amount of liquid, with the meat partly immersed in – as opposed to boiling where the meat is completely covered or steaming where the meat does not come into contact with the liquid at all.

With regular cooking methods you need 1-4 hours of cooking time for a proper braise that will  soften the ligaments and cartilage of tough cuts of meat. In the pressure cooker you can obtain the same results in under an hour – some, like the recipe to illustrate this technique below, in just 10 minutes!

For the perfect braise…

  • Time Check.  Although the rule of thumb is to go about 1/3 of your regular recipe time, it really depends cut per cut.  So check the recommended cooking time for your specific cut of meat in your instruction manual or my Timing Chart and to find the time listed for your meat.
  • Liquid Infusers. The braising liquid is the star here and will infuse the meat with boundless flavor.  The liquid could be wine, beer, water, broth, milk, tomato sauce, and peppered up with various herbs and spices (see more tips, below).
  • Minimum Liquid.  Use the least amount of liquid recommended for your pressure cooker model, usually 1-2 cups of liquid.  Remember, the meat will release its own juices, too! What liquid remains after cooking can more quickly be reduced. Any other liquids in this recipe (tomato sauce, juice, marinade, soy milk) can count towards this minimum.

Maximum Flavor and Glaze

When combining traditional cooking techniques with pressure cooking, you can have the most beautifully browned, tender and flavorful meat – fast!

You don’t  need to do all of these things at once, though the recipe below uses most of them, but just adding one or two of these techniques to your next pressure cooked meat dish will bring you amazing flavor results!

My tips for delicious meat from your pressure cooker:

  • Check for size, really! There is nothing more disappointing than bringing home a beautiful cut of meat with plans for quick-cooking and then discovering that it does not fit in the pressure cooker. Unless bones are an issue, cut it to smaller pieces or squeeze in as much as you can (without exceeding the maximum capacity). The good news: it will shrink.
  • Fresh Herbs. Whenever possible use fresh! Pressure cooking has a tendency to infuse the flavor of every ingredient in the cooker, together. You want the herbs to give their fresh oils and water to your recipe, instead of trying to absorb it. You can also toss them in whole, stems and all, before closing your pressure cooker and let the cooking pick the leaves. Just remember to fish out the woody stem before serving!
  • Marinate. If time allows, marinate meat before cooking. It’s a great way to fully coat the exterior and get the tenderizing process underway. You can make a marinade out of any combination of herbs, spices, garlic, fat and acid, plus salt and pepper:
    • Herbs Like: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Fennel, Mint, ect.
    • Spices Like: Cumin, Paprika, Hot Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, ect.
    • Fats Like: Butter, Oil, Lard, Mayonnaise (which contains oil),
    • Acids Like: juice from any citrus, wine (only white, unless you want purple meat), vinegar, mustard (which contains vinegar), buttermilk, ect.
  • Brown and Sear. This, and broiling, are the only steps during pressure cooking that will add nice color and flavor to the meat. Even when making soups or stews, never skip this step (read more about browning in the pressure cooker)!
  • Braise.  Use just a little flavored liquid, (see description above).
  • De-glaze. To incorporate flavor and un-stick meat from the cooker prior to pressure cooking (read more about de-lgazing in the pressure cooker).
  • Reduce Glaze or Gravy it.  When finished cooking, let the meat rest in its serving dish, tented with tin foil for a few mintes.  In the meantime you can reduce the cooking liquid. Reduce to about half and thicken with potato starch or butter and flour for a gravy. Reduce even more, to about 1/4 of the original quantity into a syrupy consistency and put meat back in the cooker to coat the meat with this syrupy, sticky meaty goodness.
  • Broil. This is the best-kept secret in pressure cooking. Put all of your meat on a heat-proof serving dish and put it under the broiler in your oven for just a couple of minutes to add that beautifully “singed”, look and taste. You will see this technique in action, to caramelize the top of a cake, in the last lesson of this series!


Pressure Cooker Accessories Pr. Cook Time Pr. Level Open
6 L or larger none 8-10 min. High(2) Normal

3.9 from 8 reviews
Lemon and Olive Ligurian Pressure Cooker Chicken Recipe
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Serving size: ⅙th (or 1½ pieces)
  • Calories: 204.8
  • TOTAL Fat: 12.2g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 3.1g
  • Sugar Carbs: 0.7g
  • Sodium: 449.5mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 0.3g
  • Protein: 17.8g
  • Cholesterol: 61.6mg
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
For Marinade:
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of Fresh Rosemary (two for chopping, one for garnish)
  • 2 sprigs of Fresh Sage
  • ½ bunch of Parsley Leaves and stems
  • 3 lemons, juiced (about ¾ cup or 180ml)
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1½ cups water - or your pressure cooker's minimum liquid requirement
Remaining Ingredients:
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into parts or package of bone-in chicken pieces, skin removed (or not)
  • ½ cup (125ml) dry white wine
  • 3.5oz (100g) Black Gourmet Salt-Cured Olives (Taggiesche , French, or Kalamata)
  • 1 fresh lemon, for garnish (optional)
  1. Prepare the marinade by finely chopping together the garlic, rosemary, sage, and parsley. Place them in a container and add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix well and set aside.
  2. Remove the skin from the chicken (save it for a chicken stock), place the chicken in a deep dish and cover well with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap, and leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours.

  3. In the preheated pressure cooker, with the lid off, add a swirl of olive oil and brown the chicken pieces on all sides for about 5 minutes.
  4. If you have a large, wide pressure cooker you can do these pieces all at once. Otherwise, brown half at a time and then pull them all out and set aside.
  5. De-glaze cooker with the white wine until it has almost all evaporated (about 3 minutes).

  6. Add the chicken pieces back in - this time being careful with the order. Put all dark-meat (wings, legs, thighs) first, and then the chicken breasts on top so that they do not touch the bottom of the pressure cooker.
  7. Measure the remaining marinade to see if it meets your pressure cooker's minimum liquid requirement (1½ cups for electrics or 1 cup or less for most stovetops), if not add water to reach this. Pour the liquid on top, and don't worry if this does not seem like enough liquid, the chicken will also release its juices into the cooker, too.
  8. Close and lock the lid of the pressure cooker.
  9. For electric pressure cookers: Cook for 10 minutes at high pressure.
    For stove top pressure cookers: Turn the heat up to high and when the cooker indicates it has reached high pressure, lower to the heat to maintain it and begin counting 8 minutes pressure cooking time.
  10. When time is up, open the cooker by releasing the pressure through the valve.

  11. Take the chicken pieces out of the cooker and place on a serving platter tightly covered with foil.
  12. Reduce the cooking liquid in the pressure cooker, with the lid off, on medium-high heat to ¼ of its amount, or until it becomes thick and syrupy.
  13. Lower the heat to medium-low and put all of the chicken pieces back into the pressure cooker to warm up. Mix and spoon the thick glaze onto the chicken pieces and simmer it in the glaze for a few minutes before serving

  14. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary, olives and lemon slices.
    When serving, caution your guests that the olives still have their pits!

Pressure Cooker Braised Chicken
Pressure Cooker Braised Chicken with Black Olives and Lemon

Try the next Beginner Basics Lesson: Chicken Broth – Making Chicken Stock or view the entire Beginner Basics Course outline!

Now that you can braise, you can try..


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  1. How would you double this recipe?

    1. Lindsay, you can double everything in the recipe except for the cooking liquid – you should still bring the cooker to pressure using the minimum amount needed (you will get LOTS of extra liquid since you’ll have twice the meat).



  2. Would be terrific to have a print out link for the recipe alone. It’s hard to run back and forth from my kitchen to the computer. Writing it out by hand is crazy in today’s world too. ;) This looks wonderful enough to try, though. :)

    1. Kate, under the heading “Comment & Share” there is a little picture of a printer. Click on that and it takes you to PrintFriendly. All you need to do is click-away the intro and pictures and all that is left is just the recipe for you to print out. : )

      Go for it, you can do it!!



  3. Just writing to mention that my new Fagor 10 qt came with this recipe included in their recipe book with attribution. Unfortunately, they did a horrible job editing it so that the instructions are all out of order. I threw away the book because most of the recipes are written so poorly.

    As the author, though, maybe you should tell them to get their act together. Meanwhile, I’ll go back to your site for well written recipes.

    1. Thanks for sharing, Damon. To be fair that’s a pretty complicated recipe – I’ll more carefully vet what I send to Fagor as well. We’re collaborating on a new recipe collection and the focus is, of course, ease!



  4. So the olives are just a garnish?

    1. They’re added later because the olives are usually not cooked in Italian cuisine. Especially in the pressure cooker, this allows them to keep their “zing” with little pops of salt and savory while you eat.

      The fresh lemon slices are garnishing. : )



  5. Do you need to increase the time when increasing the recipe?
    I need to cook for a crow and most recipes seem to be for 4 people!

    1. No. But you do need to pay attention to the maximum levels. In a six quart pressure cooker (the most common size) you can only cook 4 quarts worth of food at most. Less if grins/pulses are involved.

      1. Thanks for letting me know. I have the 8 qt. so works well for a crowd not a (crow]}!!

  6. Hi Laura: what a delicious meal. The lemon chicken was cooked just right with the light taste of lemon. the gravy type liquid that remained was like liquid gold. Accompanied with your risotto and broccoli it was a meal made in heaven. Thanks again for all the great recipes. You are the pressure cooker queen for sure.


    This is a 5 star recipe just in case the stars don’t attach.

    1. The recipe rating worked! So glad you enjoyed this recipe and to read you are eating so well!!



  7. FAKE NEWS! This took FOREVER.
    25 minutes in what universe?

    Step 2: marinate for 2 to 4 hours!!!!

    That notwithstanding good luck prepping this without a food processor.

  8. Can you use boneless chicken breasts?

    1. I personally don’t think that boneless and skinless chicken breasts do well under pressure – but if you wanted to try it, anyway, you should lower the pressure cooking time down to 1 minute.



  9. This tasted fine, but it’s a lot of effort and time for the result. Although the pressure cooking time is only 10 minutes, this took me at least an hour of active work. It would be useful if amounts of ingredients were specified in grams in addition to qualitative amounts like sprigs and cloves.

  10. I paired it with your recipe for pressure cooked brown rice and we just finished and it was excellent. I used 4 lemons in order to get 3/4 cup of lemon juice. The chicken marinated for 3 hours and and had a tangy bite, and paired nicely with the rice and some good olives. I combined all the marinade ingredients in the food processor, by the way, so the prep time was not bad at all. Thank you for another winning recipe!

  11. Laura, I am new to the pressure cooking world. I have an instant pot duo 6 quart. I have tried some chicken recipes and a pork recipe from other sites with disappointing results. I am confused because those recipes called for only 1/2 cup of liquid. You stress using the amount of liquid specified by the manufacturer of the cooker which in my case is 2 cups. I was afraid that using only 1/2 cup of liquid was going to damage the pot or burn the ingredients, So I used the manufacturers recommended 2 cups and ended up with overcooked
    boiled chicken thighs. In the case of the pork, following the recipe in the book that came with my cooker, I had very dry pork because the recipe called for only 1/2 cup of liquid. If using only 1/2 cup of liquid isn’t recommended how do you avoid ending up with boiled chicken thighs. Is it ok to follow a revipethat only calls for 1/2 cup?

    1. Linda, there is a cheat where you can use liquid from the meat itself or additional veggies to help you reach your cooker’s minimum liquid amount. They will release liquid ad the cooker is coming to pressure. Here is a detailed explination – if you get a chance, watch the whole Pressure Cooking School series:

      BTW, in my experience, the minimum liquid needed for the Instant Pot is just 1 1/2 cups.



      P.S. Apologies for the late response I was in the hospital during the holidays. Everything’s OK, now. : )

      1. I love your website, the recipes & instructions are great. Although I have not tried this recipe, I intend to in the near future (if I can remember it).

        My Instant Pot Duo 6-qt instruction manual only calls for 1 cup of liquid, which is what I always go by & it has been perfect. It seems that is the miminum needed to come to pressure.

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