Saucy Instant Pot Chicken and Olives with Greens

Instant pot chicken thighs olive and kale on a black and white plate and pink napkin

Not everyone has an Instant Pot tucked away in a kitchen cabinet, which is why I’m thoughtful about how many and how often I post pressure cooker recipes. That said, this Saucy Instant Pot Chicken and Olives with Greens was too good to pass up. It’s everything I love about Instant Pot cooking with nourishing and tasty results.

A Classic Combination

The combination of chicken with olives is a true classic. You’ll find it in cuisines all across the Mediterranean and into North Africa. Tinker with the seasonings and you’ll get a taste of the south of France, the shores of Italy, or the Moroccan countryside. Cooking it all with the ease of the Instant Pot gives it a decidedly modern turn. Add whatever leafy greens you have in your fridge lends a whole lot of good nutrition.

A Wealth of Instant Pot Recipes

The recipe is from Instant Family Meals, the latest cookbook by food writer (and friend), Sarah Copeland. This Saucy Chicken and Olives is among dozens of terrific recipes in her book that range from simple (Stovetop-Style Mac ‘n’ Cheese) to more sophisticated (Maple Cinnamon Squash Agrodolce). I’ve made the Cacio e Pepe Risotto more than once (always a hit) and have a soft spot for the Red Lentil Dal. There’s also a Deep Dark Chocolate Pudding recipe that’s next on my to-do list.

A Simple Instant Pot Chicken

As for the chicken, it’s as straightforward as can be. Get the skin good and brown in the Instant Pot, add the rest of the ingredients, pop the lid on, and let the machine do its magic. The result is a fork-tender chicken dish festooned with olives and enough pan juices to coat whatever you serve it on. If you happen to have a preserved lemon on hand, chop up the peel and add it to cooked dish. Alternatively, a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice over your Instant Pot Chicken and Olives makes a tasty finish.

What to Serve on the Side

In the cookbook, Sarah recommends serving the chicken over creamy polenta (she has a recipe in the book), cooked rice, or buttered noodles. I’ve also enjoyed it over lightly seasoned cooked farro. All delicious.

For more Easy Instant Pot Recipes:

Instant Pot Chicken in Salsa Verde

Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken and Vegetables

Instant Pot Farro Risotto with Mushrooms

Instant Pot Beef and Butternut Squash Chili

Easy Spinach and Chicken Enchiladas by Sara Haas

Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas Tacos by Hola Jalapeño

I’ll be doing a giveaway of Sarah’s book this week on Instagram. So follow me there for the details.

Saucy Chicken and Olives with Greens

Chicken and olives, a French classic that never gets old, performs beautifully under pressure, yielding a tender chicken and plump, juicy olives with an instant sauce. If you can plan ahead, give the chicken a quick dry cure by rubbing it with a mixture ofsalt, pepper, and red pepper flakes; do this up to 24 hours ahead of the cooking, and flavors of the dry brine will penetrate the chicken right down to the bone. Serve this over the cheesy polenta, with all the flavorful sauce from the pot.
Course Dinner
Cuisine French
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Resting and IP heating 45 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 550 kcal
Author Recipe by Sarah Copeland


  • 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs or legs (see Cook’s Note)
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Big pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot or 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch kale or chard, ribs and stems removed, roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup meaty green olives, such as Castelvetrano, pitted or unpittd (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small preserved lemon, diced (peel only, discard the fruity flesh) optional
  • Creamy polenta, noodles, or rice for serving


  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and lay out on a paper towel–lined tray or plate. Mix the salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes in a small bowl and rub the mixture all over the chicken. Set the chicken aside to dry-cure at room temperature, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or cover loosely with film or foil and refrigerate overnight. 

  2. Add the olive oil to the inner pot of the pressure cooker and set to Sauté. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook until beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes; in batches if needed. (Don’t bother flipping; only the skin side needs to render.) Add the shallot, garlic, kale, broth, vinegar, and olives. 

  3. Lock on the lid and Pressure Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. Release the pressure manually. Open the lid and add the butter and optional preserved lemon. Swirl to thicken the sauce slightly. 

  4. Serve the chicken on a bed of polenta, noodles, or rice. Spoon the saucy greens, olives, and juices over the top and sprinkle with the herbs and flaky salt.

Recipe Notes

What’s with the Pits? I love cooking with whole, unpitted olives. But be sure to warn your crowd that the pits are there, especially if there are kids involved. If your crew doesn’t care for the hassle, make this with pitted olives instead.

COOK’S NOTE: Leave the Skin On? Cooking skin-on chicken in a pressure cooker is a nice extra step, if you have the time. You can use the Saute function to brown the chicken, but once you seal the pot, know that the moisture inside prevents the chicken skin from staying crisp. It will still be deeply flavorful, however, with tender, juicy meat. If you want to make things even easier, opt for boneless, skinless pieces here, and skip the step of browning

Recipe reprinted with permission from Instant Family Meals by Sarah Copeland, copyright © 2020. Published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC.


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