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. Wow, great blog – format, typography, photography, recipes, everything! Definitely bookmarking, now that I have my very own pressure cooker :-)

  2. Well Hipsters, I initiated my new Kuhn Rikon pressure cooker with the Lemon Olive Chicken recipe. I was very pleased with the result – the chicken was delicious. Not only that, I used the leftovers in a favorite chicken salad recipe and we thought all the herbs that flavored the chicken made it the best ever. I do have a couple of suggestions that may make the recipe clearer and more foolproof.

    1. The recipe calls for the juice of 3 lemons. Lemons often differ greatly in size thus 3 large lemons will produce much more juice than will 3 small ones. I chose large lemons at the supermarket and after juicing one and a half thought, “That’s a lot of lemon juice. If I use all of my lemons the dish will be too piquant,” so I stopped at 1½ lemons—turned out to be the perfect amount. In the future how about telling us about how many ounces a recipe needs instead of how many lemons to use? We can alter the amount to suit our preferences if they differ from yours. Not a biggie, but reminding us to save a slice or two of the lemon for garnish before juicing would have been helpful.

    2. I’ve learned that when a savory recipe calls for white wine it usually means dry white wine but I know that not everyone knows that. In fact some readers might not even know what wines are dry and what wines are sweet. So how about a few suggestion for good wine choices for your recipes?

    3. You suggest placing chicken in a deep dish with the marinade, covering and refrigerating it. A technique that also works well and saves washing a dish is to put the chicken and marinade in a zipper plastic bag and refrigerating it. Insuring that all parts of the chicken spend time in the marinade is as simple as turning the bag over from time to time.

    4. I’ve never seen anything called “black gourmet salt-cured olives” – are you just saying, “don’t use those almost tasteless canned olives from the supermarket if you can find something more interesting?” I couldn’t find Taggiesche or French olives where I live, so I chose Kalamatas. I’m curious to know why you don’t add the olives to the pressure cooker when you begin to cook the browned chicken with the marinade. I think they’d maintain their integrity. Is it because it would make the dish too salty?

  3. Sigrid,

    1. For the lemons, you can never have too many in this recipe. The lemon juice is for the marinade so you will not be consuming all of them. What is important is to have enough to cover the chicken well. Great suggestion to mention saving a lemon for garnish, I have added that to the recipe.

    2. I have now specified “dry” white wine – as in not white, sweet dessert wine (which should never be used for cooking)! Use whatever you will be drinking and if in doubt, most wine labels in the back describe the flavor of the wine, note whether it is “dry” and some even have pairing suggestions!

    For this recipe, I would try a Nebbiolo (which means foggy) wine grown not far from Liguria in the foggy hills (and cliffs) of Piemonte. Even though it’s a white wine, it’s decisive tart flavor will not disappear in the shadow of the meat.

    3. Great suggestion on using a zip-loc bag for marinating.

    4. Yes. Do not use canned black olives for this recipe -they have been dyed black and taste of nothing. Attack the “olive bar” at your favorite gourmet market and get the best olives you can (even mix black and green if you like) because they are such an important part and flavor component for this dish.

    Olives usually, should not be cooked (though in the cacciatora recipe it’s OK because the meat is so gamey). Particularly in this recipe, if you were to add and cook the olives with the chicken, their flavor would dominate the dish and make it all taste the same. Adding them at the end (or at the end of a tomato sauce, etc.) lets you enjoy the chicken with pops and surprises of saltiness.

    Ciao and thanks for your detailed feedback. Glad to hear of the success stories!!!



  4. Dear,

    I just got your recipe of Lemon and Olive chicken. I have questions about the Wine and Olive. I live in Bangladesh, a east Asian country. So, I am afraid I will not able to find the wine and Olives. How about Chinese Cooking wine or Chinese Rice Cooking Wine ? Can I use it? Or do you know any Chinese “Dry White Wine name” ? Please suggest me the Brand name.

    In our country only below Olive are available in winter. Please see the picture in the below link and advise me if this kind of Olive will work for this recipe.

    “Black Olives”

    (( If it works for the recipe can I use dried Olives in the another seasons? ))
    Scientific Name: Olea europaea
    Origin: native to the Meditteranean, Asia and Africa
    Description: 1–2.5 centimetres (0.39–0.98 in) long; The difference between green and black olives are the maturity. Unripe olives are green, while ripe olives are black.
    Taste: uncured olives are intensely bitter
    Other Colors: green


  5. Susmita, welcome! I appreciate the spirit of your comment because I also have a difficult time accessing or identifying Indonesionan ingredients!

    Yes, Olea Europea is fine – the kind I mentioned (Taggiesche, Kalamata, etc. refer to a specific treatment). In fact, the Taggische olives are black, and have been dried in salt – and usually need to have the salt rinsed off. Their taste is salty and a little bitter at the same. “Fresh” olives are not edible and are always “canned” either in a tin can or glass jar in a “brine” which is a salty water with other spices (these are OK, too)! If you can, use black but green will also work.

    I am not familiar with Chinese wines and cooking wines – so I cannot comment on whether these are good substitutes, will post the question on my facebook page to see what some of my readers in the East Indies use!



  6. Susmita, I posed the wine substitution question to my facebook page and one of my readers said, yes! You can substitute Chinese Ricewine for white wine.

    Happy pressure cooking, and let me know how you like the dish!



  7. Dear Ciao, thanks for your reply. But what about the Olive ?


  8. Susmita,

    Read further up, where I answered your question! Let me know if you need any more information.



  9. So far so good with beans but chicken is always over done. I’ve brought the time down top 4 minutes but still tough. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know.

    Major bummer.

  10. Ian,

    What kind of pressure cooker are you using (model and size) and if it is a stove-top model, what kind of stove-top are you using it on?



  11. Thanks it is a medium size 6 or 8qt. I line the bottom of the cooker with lemon slices add a couple cups of warm liquid put in chicken bring to boil and put the pressure cooker top on. Then once the top rattles I put to low and set time to 4 minutes. The stove is electric unfortunately. I have tried it several times bringing the time down each time.

    The beans and soups I’ve done have been just perfect and fast. The slowest part now is the prep.


  12. Ciao Ian, I think the problem is that you are UNDER-cooking the chicken.

    Over-pressure cooked chicken is not tough but falls apart, and if over-cooked enough, eventually liquefies! Next time, please try it for the full 10 minutes… you will really like the results.



  13. Hi, I am waiting for delivery of my first PC, a Fagor, and found this recipe via their Web site. It looks great, and I can’t wait to try it! Reading the comment above from your follower in Bangladesh made me appreciate living in a cosmopolitan US city, where availability of international ingredients is a given. A good reminder not to take these things for granted!

    One further comment — I know you don’t control what they do on their site, but perhaps you could suggest to the Fagor folks that they include your full instructions, in particular the part about adding the olives. The olives appear in the ingredients list, but that’s the only reference — the recipe gives no hint about when to add them to the dish, much less about warning your guests to “mind the pits”.

  14. I made this a few days ago, following the recipe exactly except I omitted the olives. The chicken marinated 3 hours, and was a whole chicken cut up, skinned organic. When finished, the chicken was way too lemony. It was tart! The sauce was very nice though. We ate just a bit of it and I put the remains in the fridge. Last night I cut the meat off the bones, used it to make a leftover chicken skillet pasta dish and luckily it worked for that.

  15. Made this tonight – great success, but you might want to adjust the time predictions a bit – 10 min of pressure cooking, but you have to add in the probably 10 min of browning the chicken in batches and then 5 min to cook down the sauce. And you don’t want to know how long it took me to skin the chicken… time it’s going to be all skinless chicken thighs :-)

    1. You can also do this with skin-on chicken – and its delicious! Recipes are in different formats on this website (and this will change again soon as we change the back-end). The “newer” recipes have a little strip on top that indicate only the pressure cooking time – prep time will differ according to the skill of the cook.

      Thanks for your note!



  16. My lunch today was chicken Ligurian style. I reduced chicken only to 3 pieces of thighs. Perfect. I paired it with pressure cooker roasted potatoes. I need to perfect it a little.

  17. Hi Laura,
    I’ve been having trouble with your link on “How to Butcher a Chicken” above. They might have changed the location. Here is the one that works for me:

    Have patience….it loads rather slowly, at least in my browser.

    1. Rita, thanks for finding the right link! I have updated it in the article as well.



  18. Hi-Do you have any suggestions for alternatives to using wine in the chicken recipe? We can’t use any kind of alcohol.

  19. Made this for last night’s dinner.
    The reduction ended up almost black & I thought “Oh-Oh I’ve ruined this one”
    Still. It was dinner and there was no backup, so it went on the table.
    Glad it did. delicious as always. The only mistake I made was to team it with basmati rice. Not the best combination. I was expecting more sauce than I actually ended up with.

    @Arlene in RI With the extreme reduction here, I would be VERY surprised if there was any alcohol left by the time it hit the table. Yes there is some evidence that alcohol can survive in dishes for a surprisingly long time, but with this, the wine is reduced until there is almost nothing left. Then the whole thing is cooked.Any alcohol left after the first step will likely evaporate during pressure cooking and will dissipate as soon as the lid is removed. Finally, the sauce is drastically reduced yet again.
    Remember that alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, so will evaporate preferentially.

    Still if really must completely avoid the hint of alcohol, you could use water or stock. Or you could “tart up” (sorry I couldn’t resist) the water with a little good quality vinegar. NOT the stuff that comes by the litre in plastic bottles.

  20. what an excellent forum. I just got my PC and love reading the recipe and the comments. thank you for sharing.

  21. Made a variation of this recipe and we loved it. The rosemary flavor is infused into the chicken and the result is delicious!

  22. I was wondering if how this would be adapted to cook in the Smart Pot? Thank you!

    1. It is almost the same.
      The variations:
      Step 4. Use the Braise function on the IPS
      Step 10. Set the IPS to High pressure 10 minutes if you live near sea level, or a little more if you are above 3000 ft.
      Step 11. Cancel the “Keep Warm” function and release pressure manually
      Step 14,15. Switch back to Braise mode for these steps

      1. Thanks Greg!



  23. I had a batch of uncooked chicken thighs and drumsticks marinated in smoked paprika and other spices. I had roasted half of the recipe a couple of days ago and it was yummy, but I was in a real hurry and wanted to serve the second half of the recipe today. Instead of roasting, I used the Instant Pot with the bluetooth function, and it worked very well. I didn’t end up with crunchy skin like the roast chicken, but the sauce was so good! Each was fine, but today I appreciated the speed of the Instant Pot. Thanks for putting together the recipe!

    1. That sounds great – you can always slide the platter under the broiler for a few minutes before serving. It won’t give you the same as oven-roasting but the skin won’t be flappy, either. ; )



  24. Threw this together tonight for dinner. Great as I have come to expect. I did discover a couple of things.
    1. Using “Sear” on my Breville worked much better at browning the chicken than “Sauté” did. Must remember to use this for browning in future.
    2. While the text has been corrected, you still show a photo of a PC being cooled under water. You probably want to get rid of that. I understand the difficulty though it looks to be part of a tryptich.

  25. I made this tonight in my Fagor 8 qt. pc. It was a huge hit with the family. I substituted 6 boneless chicken breast over the cut chicken, and then used my 13″ saute pan to brown the breasts all in one session. Thank you for the warning that the amount of liquid would look skimpy in the pc. I trusted the recipe and there were plenty of chicken juices in there after cooking for the reduction.

    I have been pcing for over 10 years, but have never tried any chicken recipe like this. Kudos on such a great recipe.

    1. That should have been 5 stars, not 4. Phone keyboards are not finger-friendly.

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