Instant Pot Coq au Vin means that the French classic has never been easier – or quicker! Frugal chicken legs braised in red wine become a flavor powerhouse, rich and luscious, in a thick homemade sauce studded with mushrooms, onions, and carrots.
An Easy French Chicken Dish to Make at Home
Okay, I can hear some of the skepticism out there. “Coq au Vin? Isn’t that one of those crazy-detailed, cordon bleu recipes that take forever to make?” Well, it can be sometimes – there are definitely versions out there with lots of steps and complicated instructions.
But originally, coq au vin was a simple, rustic way of cooking chicken with wine.
This version taps into that simple and rustic approach, with a super-easy cooking method (hint: just sauté everything) all in the Instant Pot (for a fast cook time!). And, when you taste the finished dish, you will rave over the fall-apart tender chicken in a rich dark gravy flavored with bacon, mushrooms, and carrots. In fact, this easy recipe is one the whole family will love, even your picky eaters! I hope 🤞
Why Is Coq au Vin Special?
If I had to sum it up, I would say: Julia Child. As with beef bourguignon, Julia Child helped those of us stateside to understand coq au vin’s legendary status in France, and the dish is now famous here, as well! But, it’s not just the beloved TV chef who made us fall in love with this dish.
It’s just a really delicious meal, made with dark meat chicken, bacon, mushrooms, and plenty of red wine. The chicken is supposed to braise in the wine until it’s good and tender, and its juices (along with all of the sauteed vegetables) mingle with the wine to make a savory sauce with layers of complex flavor.
What’s in Instant Pot Coq au Vin?
Okay, so traditionally, coq au vin is made with quite literally a rooster. Roosters are tough, and need a loooong slow cooking process to become tender. Regular chicken cooks much more quickly.
So, what do we do? First, trim off a lot of the cooking time. Second, use dark meat chicken for the most tender, moist results. If you must use chicken breast, you can, but it is more likely to dry out.
- Chicken: Thighs, drumsticks, or leg quarters are all great here.
- Wine: Burgundy is basically the standard for coq au vin, but any red wine will do. Make sure to use regular wine, not “cooking wine” treated with salt and preservatives.
- Onions: Cut up several small onions into quarters, or use a cup of peeled pearl onions.
- Stock: Homemade chicken stock is great, or you can use store-bought chicken stock. You can even just use water, because the bone-in chicken helps to make its own stock.
- Bacon: A chunk of bacon cut into small rectangles (lardons) is the classic style, but you can also use regular bacon or thick cut bacon, diced or cut into small strips.
- Oil: Sunflower oil, or any other high heat oil, for frying the chicken pieces.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted is fine.
- Mushrooms: I like to use baby bella mushrooms (crimini). Button mushrooms also work well. For larger mushrooms, cut them in half or even quarters.
- Carrots: Cut up several carrots into large chunks.
- Corstarch and Water: To make a slurry for thickening the sauce.
How to Make Coq Au Vin
Like traditional coq au vin, we’ll be browning and cooking each ingredient one by one, to build up the flavors of the dish. From there, we’ll pressure-cook the chicken to get it nice and tender.
- Marinate the Chicken. Before you can start cooking, you need to marinate the chicken in wine for at least 2 hours, but ideally overnight. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, season each piece with salt and pepper, and then put it into a deep baking dish. Add the onions and fresh thyme, and pour the wine over. Marinate in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.
- Cook the Bacon. Set the Instant Pot to sauté on medium heat. Add some oil, along with the bacon pieces, and cook the bacon until it is crisp. You may have to reset the timer if it runs out. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the bacon to a plate.
- Cook the Mushrooms. Add the mushrooms and butter to the Instant Pot, and cook until the mushrooms give up their liquid and begin to brown. This can take between 5 and 10 minutes, so be patient! Liquidy mushrooms will not build flavor into the dish.
- Cook the Carrots. Add the carrots to the browned mushrooms, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes to get a little color on them. Transfer the carrots and mushrooms to a plate.
- Brown the Chicken. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and pat each piece dry with paper towels. Add the remaining oil to the Instant Pot, and fry the chicken in 2 batches until each piece is brown and crispy. The chicken doesn’t need to be cooked through, it just needs to be browned on the outside. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot and set it aside on a plate.
- Make the Braising Liquid. Add the wine marinade and chicken stock to the Instant Pot. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom and sides of the Instant Pot, and stir them into the braising liquid. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, and cook it for about 5 minutes to reduce it by half.
- Pressure Cook. Once the liquid has reduced, add the chicken, onions, thyme, mushrooms, carrots, and bacon bits to the pot. Lock the lid in place, and set to Pressure Cook on Medium High for 15 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, and then move the sealing valve to “vent” for a quick release of the remaining pressure.
- Thicken the Sauce. While the chicken is cooking, mix the cornstarch and water together with a fork in a small bowl to make a slurry. When the chicken is done and the pressure is fully released, use a large slotted spoon to remove the chicken and vegetables from the pot, and pour the slurry into the braising liquid. Set the Instant Pot to saute again, and cook until the sauce thickens. Taste the sauce, and add salt if needed.
- Enjoy! Serve the chicken and vegetables in the sauce.
Tips and Tricks
When it comes to making coq au vin in your Instant Pot, there are a few helpful tips you should know! Read on for my best helpful hints. This deeply flavorful and nourishing recipe is going to rock your world!
- Temperature Check: Sauteing in the Instant Pot usually has a low, medium, and high setting, and runs on a timer. So when you begin to saute the vegetables, bacon, etc., make sure to choose medium or low to avoid burning your food, and set the timer for a fairly long time so it doesn’t quit cooking before you’re done. If you find that the temperature is too high, or the timer runs out, press “cancel” and then select “saute” again, resetting the temperature and timer.
- Use a Whole Chicken: If you would like to make a whole chicken instead of chicken legs, you can cut up a whole chicken into thighs, drumsticks, and breasts (don’t cook the wings in this recipe; they are too small). Follow the recipe as written, but pressure cook the breasts after cooking the thighs and vegetables.Breasts only need to cook for 8 to 10 minutes. Once all of the chicken is cooked, thicken the sauce and serve.
- Make It in the Slow Cooker: You can also make this in a slow cooker by browning the ingredients in the Instant Pot or on the stove, and then transferring the browned ingredients into the slow cooker. Add the wine marinade and chicken stock, and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, until the chicken is fully cooked and tender.
- Leave it Overnight: If you can, make this a day in advance, and allow it to chill overnight. Reheat the next day for an even more flavorful dish.
- Use White Wine: You can also make a delicious coq au vin with white wine such as Riesling, if you prefer.
What Should I Serve with Coq au Vin?
Because this is such a saucy dish, it’s usually served with something starchy to mop up all of the sauce! Mashed potatoes are a favorite, as is crusty bread. Here are a few of my favorite options!
- Mashed Potatoes: These Classic Creamy Mashed Potatoes are loaded with sour cream and butter, and gently seasoned with garlic powder, for a savory mash that can’t be beat.
- No-Knead Bread: A crusty slice of No Knead Dutch Oven Bread is the perfect textural contrast to the tender chicken and veggies, not to mention the red wine sauce! Plus, it’s super easy to make.
- Vegetable Gratin: Classic Zucchini Tomato Gratin delivers a veggie-packed side dish, complete with zucchini, potatoes, seasonings, and tomato sauce.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
- You can refrigerate leftover coq au vin in airtight containers for up to 3 days.
- To freeze, cool the coq au vin completely. Then, take the chicken off of the bones, and pack the meat, along with any sauce, into freezer bags. Keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- To reheat, place the desired portion in a covered skillet or saucepan, and heat on low until the chicken is piping hot all the way through. Immediately remove from the heat, in order to prevent the chicken from drying out, and serve.
Instant Pot Coq Au Vin
- Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
- 4 chicken leg quarters
- 3 cups red wine
- 3 small onions, cut in quarters (or use one cup of pearl onions)
- ½ cup low sodium chicken stock, or chicken broth
- 6 slices bacon, diced
- ⅓ cup sunflower oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 8 ounces baby bella mushrooms
- 3 to 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons water
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Season with salt and pepper.
- Place the chicken into a deep baking dish. Add the onions and fresh thyme, and pour the wine over. Marinate for a minimum of 2 hours, or overnight.
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté, medium heat. Add half of the oil and all of the bacon; cook until the bacon is crisp.Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to a plate.
- Add the mushrooms and butter to the Instant Pot, and cook until tender and slightly brown, and until most of the mushroom-liquid has evaporated.
- Add the carrots to the Instant Pot, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Add more oil if needed.Transfer carrots to a plate using a slotted spoon.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade – do not throw away the marinade – place chicken on a plate, and pat dry with paper towels. Add the remaining oil to the Instant Pot, and fry the chicken in 2 batches until just browned on all sides.
- Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot, and add the wine marinade and chicken stock to the Instant Pot. Reduce by half by cooking on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Once the liquid is reduced, add the chicken, marinated onions, thyme, mushrooms, carrots, and bacon bits.
- Lock the lid in place, and set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook on Medium High for 15 minutes. Let natural release for 10 minutes, and then move the sealing valve to “vent” for a quick release of the remaining pressure.
- While the chicken is cooking, mix the cornstarch and water together with a fork in a small bowl; mix until well-combined.
- Remove the chicken and vegetables from the Instant Pot. Add the cornstarch mixture to the wine sauce, and whisk to combine. Set Instant Pot to sauté mode and cook until the sauce thickens. Taste, and add salt and pepper as needed.
- Serve the coq au vin with mashed potatoes, and sprinkle with fresh parsley.
- You can use boneless chicken thighs and /or drumsticks, if you prefer.
- You can also use white wine instead of red.
- This Instant Pot Coq au Vin recipe is fast and easy, and total cooking time will take about one hour.