Easiest Instant Pot City Chicken
Imagine this: assorted cubes of meats, each lightly coated in a layer of breadcrumb and skewered together like mini culinary treasure chests, all set for a magical transformation in your Instant Pot. Yes, we are about to make Instant Pot City chicken, it’s a new take on the classic City Chicken, but with a modern, healthier twist!
City Chicken is The Chicken Meal That Is Not Chicken!
As these mini-kabobs sizzle and sear under pressure, something wonderful happens. The meat becomes not just fork-tender but infused with an explosion of flavors, all while ditching the unwanted greasy aftermath of traditional frying. Get ready for a dish that’s not just about tantalizing your taste buds, but also about a healthier, cleaner, and utterly satisfying cooking experience!
And before we keep on moving through the recipe for city chicken in an Instant Pot, do note that this can be pressure cooker city chicken, meaning any pressure cooker you prefer, not just the branded Instant Pot! So keep reading.
Table of Contents
In Case You’re New to City Chicken…
- Origin Story: This hearty dish hails from the Great Depression era, a creative response to the high cost of chicken.
- Simple & Economical: Made with budget-friendly meats like pork or veal, skewered to mimic chicken drumsticks, then breaded and cooked.
A Bit More About Classic City Chicken
City Chicken, contrary to its name, rarely features chicken. It’s a slice of culinary history, born from necessity and thriftiness, where less expensive meats were transformed into comforting, satisfying meals. This dish is a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of past generations, particularly in the American Great Lakes and Appalachian regions (Pittsburgh, Cleveland, etc)
And Now, for a Twist on the Classic.. My Instant Pot City Chicken
Noticing the traditionally high oil content and the less-than-healthy aspects of frying in the original City Chicken recipes, I decided to put a modern, healthier spin on this classic.
Enter my Instant Pot City Chicken – a blend of the old and the new. This version sticks to the roots – no chicken, but a choice of breading or sometimes just flour.
What’s different is how it’s cooked: with or without skewers, using an Instant Pot for a cleaner, healthier preparation that still packs all the traditional flavors.
So, get ready to dive into this updated twist on a timeless favorite. You’re about to experience all the heartiness of traditional City Chicken, but with a contemporary, healthier approach that’s just as delicious!
Why You’ll Love City Chicken In An Instant Pot
There are countless reasons to fall head over heels for this Instant Pot City Chicken recipe, and I’m sharing the WHYs right here:
- Simplicity at Its Best: We’re talking minimalist ingredients that come together to create meat so tender, it practically melts in your mouth.
- Accessibility is Key: Every item you need is just a grocery aisle away – no treasure hunts needed.
- Flexibility with Your Meat Choices: Whether it’s chicken, pork, beef, or veal, there’s no right or wrong here. Pick your favorite cuts and get cooking!
- Goodbye, Greasy Frying: With your trusty Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker), you can kiss the days of frying in vats of oil goodbye.
- Skewer Options Galore: Whether you stick with the traditional wooden skewers provided in ‘city chicken’ meat packages or decide to go skewer-less, the choice is yours.
- Diverse Coating Choices – And Egg-Free Too! You’re not limited to just one coating option, and guess what? They’re all eggless, making this dish even more inclusive!
Kitchen Essentials For Instant Pot City Chicken
Instant Pot City Chicken is something I might not ever have encountered had my family never transferred from Illinois because it is definitely a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania thing, as well as a few other states, but not Illinois!
- Electric Pressure Cooker (Hello, Instant Pot!): The star of the show. This isn’t just a pot; it’s your ticket to perfectly cooked City Chicken without the hassle.
- Large Mixing Bowl: Think of it as your culinary canvas where all the meat cubes magically transform into fork-tender
- A Trusty Fork: Sometimes, the simplest tools are the most effective. Your mixing, flipping, and testing go-to.
- Wood Skewers (Optional but Handy): Often included with your city chicken meat cubes, these skewers add that authentic touch. But hey, going skewer-less is totally cool too.
Ingredients For The Instant Pot City Chicken Recipe
You are probably wondering what ingredients to make this updated classic recipe for city chicken right?
Ready to gather your troops for this non-fried twist on City Chicken?
Here’s a little insight into each ingredient and why they’re crucial for this healthier yet delicious rendition:
- City Chicken Meat Cubes: Whether you snag a ‘City Chicken’ pack or curate your meat cube mix, these are your main act – no deep frying needed!
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Just a smidge is needed here. It’s not about deep frying; it’s about using a healthier fat for a light sauté, ensuring our meat browns without sticking.
- Salt and Pepper: These classic seasonings bring out the natural flavors of the meat, without overpowering it.
- Breadcrumbs (Traditional, Italian, or Panko): Choose your breadcrumb style! Each type offers a different texture and flavor – traditional for a classic feel, Italian for a herby kick, or Panko for extra crunch.
- Flavor Master: This isn’t just about color; it’s about adding a rich, savory depth to your meat, enhancing the overall umami.
- Water: Plays a humble yet vital role in pressure cooking, helping to tenderize the meat and meld all the flavors together inside the Instant Pot.
How To Make Instant Pot City Chicken
Step 1: Set Your Skewers Aside (If You’re Using Them)
First things first, if you’re using wooden skewers, keep them nearby. We’ll be skewering the meat after breading, so just set them aside for now.
Step 2: Prep the Instant Pot with Olive Oil
Don’t turn on your Instant Pot just yet. Pour in a touch of olive oil, but hold off on turning it on. We’re going to get those meat cubes ready first.
Step 3: Prep the Breading and Egg Wash
Time to get your breading station ready. Whether you choose breadcrumbs, flour, or another coating, lay it out alongside your egg wash. This is where the magic starts.
Step 4: Bread Each Cube
Take each cube and give it a good roll in the egg wash, then in your breading. Make sure each piece is well-coated – this step is key for that delicious crust.
Step 5: Skewer Each Breaded Cube Evenly
Now, gently skewer the breaded cubes. Aim for about 3-4 cubes per skewer, spacing them evenly. Remember, if skewers aren’t your thing, you can go commando and skip this step.
Step 6: Sear in the Instant Pot
Turn your Instant Pot to sauté mode. Once hot, sear each skewer (or unskewered cubes) quickly on all sides. This step isn’t just for show – it locks in those incredible flavors.
Step 7: Add Water and Flavor Master
Post-searing, add a splash of water and the all-important Flavor Master (formerly Gravy Master) to the pot. This duo works together to create a moist cooking environment and adds a rich depth to your dish.
Step 8: Lid On, Seal, Cook, Wait, and Enjoy the Aroma
Seal your Instant Pot, set it to the meat/stew setting, and let it do its thing. As the aroma fills your kitchen, get ready for a mouth-watering meal.
Comparing Breading Before Skewing vs. Bread Crumbing After Skewing
When it comes to skewering and breading the meat for your Instant Pot City Chicken, both methods have their pros and cons, but in terms of efficiency and ease, here’s my take:
Breading then Skewering:
- Pros: This method allows for an even and thorough coating on all sides of the meat cubes, ensuring each piece is perfectly breaded before it’s skewered. It’s also less messy since you’re not handling the skewered, breaded meat multiple times.
- Cons: It can be a bit more time-consuming, as you need to handle each piece of meat individually both for breading and then again for skewering.
Skewering then Breading:
- Pros: This method is quicker and more straightforward. Once the meat is skewered, you can roll the entire skewer in the breading, which speeds up the process.
- Cons: It might be challenging to get the breading evenly distributed, especially between the meat cubes. There’s also the risk of the breading getting a bit smudged as you handle the skewers.
Overall Recommendation For Breading Your City Chicken Meat Cubes
Given the nature of the Instant Pot cooking and the importance of having a well-breaded piece of meat for texture and flavor, I would lean towards breading the meat cubes first and then skewering them. This method might take a bit more time, but it ensures a consistent and satisfying result with every bite.
However, the best method might also depend on personal preference and the specific context of your cooking. It’s all about finding that sweet spot between efficiency and the desired outcome of the recipe. Why not try both methods and see which one works best for you? It could even be a fun experiment for you to try and figure out Which method YOU prefer.
What Do You Pair Instant Pot City Chicken With?
Ultimately this is all about what you think tastes great with this fabulous update of the classic recipe for city chicken, not what I think!
- Mashed potatoes
- Buttered Elbow noodles
- Scalloped Potatoes
- Mac and Cheese
- Egg Noodles and sauteed onions
- Sweet Potato Fries
How To Reheat & Store Instant Pot City Chicken Leftovers
Let’s get this wrapped up because leftovers are awesome!
Best Way To Store Leftover City Chicken in an Instant Pot
Make sure to place the leftover meat cubes in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
How Long Will The Instant Pot City Chicken Last?
When packaged properly, this entree will last up to 5 days in your refrigerator.
Can I Freeze City Chicken? YES!
If you are not planning on eating the leftovers within 5 days you should place the meat inside a plastic zipper bag and you can store it in the freezer for up to 6 months!
When it is time to reheat it from the refrigerator, I suggest taking the meat off the skewer and then heating it up in the microwave according to your ‘heat’ preferences.
If you are taking this out of the freezer, you will want to place it in the refrigerator 6-8 hours before to allow it to properly defrost and use the microwave to heat up your leftovers, again off the skewers. Air fryers are fabulous for reheating the Instant Pot city chicken.
Hot Tip for Reheating Instant Pot City Chicken That Was Frozen in an Air Fryer: Brush each piece with a little bit of olive oil, and then air fry, it won’t be dry! The air fryer will crisp the exterior while the interior will be soft and tender.
FAQ’S City Chicken In An Instant Pot
Are There Things Should I Know About Instant Pot City Chicken Before I Make it?
YES! Just as with any recipe, before you make it, you need to learn about it, so you know what you can expect as the end result and achieve such!
Can I Buy The City Chicken Meat That Is Already On Skewers?
YES! Absolutely you can shortcut and buy the meat already on skewers, thereby eliminating a step in the prep work!
Do I have to put the city chicken meat on skewers?
NO! That’s the beauty of this recipe, there is no right or wrong way to do this. While you will see most recipes sharing that they use skewers, I’ll tell you that if I cut my own cubed meat, I don’t take the time to skewer it!
Does it matter what type of breadcrumbs I use?
No is the short answer.
Is there chicken in this recipe?
No. You won’t find any chicken in this recipe, but you can form the meat together to look like a chicken leg that has been fried.
Instead, most city chicken skewers are made with pork, veal, and beef cubes. That’s the beauty of City Chicken, it’s a combination of many types of meat, not just one.
A Chicago Girl’s Reaction to City Chicken
My parents were from Pittsburgh and transferred to Chicago and back. Gramma Stella, my mom’s mom, prepared City Chicken, however, it was fried.
Yet, another one of my aunts, prepared the stack of meat cubes in a simple baking dish rather than frying it.
Oil and a frying pan are not the norms, but I do have an incredible Fried Chicken recipe you should try if you love fried eats!
Rolling with our new lifestyles and technology, the Instant Pot provides the perfect way to upgrade, and update this meal!
City Chicken is assorted cubes of meat placed on a skewer and it can be made to resemble a chicken leg, generally fried in oil.
However, my version of Instant Pot City Chicken is not fried, making it a healthier alternative to the original recipes that circulate.
This is The Easiest Instant Pot City Chicken Recipe: Yummy Simplified!
For those who have experienced City Chicken, you just can’t help falling in love with the taste of each bite.
As mentioned, I’ve given this recipe a revamp, because cooking with oil is just so yesterday!
Instead of frying, I converted the recipe to an easy, no-spatter mess, with a healthier twist. Get ready for a simple city chicken recipe that offers fast gratification, small messes, and simple ingredients resulting in meat cooked right. Translation: the Instant Pot City Chicken recipe creates meat that just falls off the wooden skewer.
This simple to recreate recipe is worth its weight in gold.
Rather than baking and producing the tougher meat that often resulted in the scraps of meat pulled together as a series of meat cubes on a wood skewer, you’ll find my city chicken recipe to be easier, tastier, and a healthier alternative. By my cooking standards, I’ve kept it simple, savory, and authentic, without wasting time from pot to plate!
Never worry that this won’t turn out moist and delicious just worry about making enough!
When using an Instant Pot or other brands of electric pressure cookers, you can rest assured the meat will be moist as the juice is sealed in!
Enjoy Your Delicious City Chicken – Tips!
Instant Pot city chicken is fast and fabulous and you will be using a light dash of some sort of oil in the liner to ‘sear and seal’ the skewers but not anywhere NEAR what you would use if you were frying.
If you don’t use the oil, the meat and breading WILL stick to the Instant Pot liner and that causes other chaos (let’s just say I already tried this for you! )
Next, do not overfill the water with this recipe, instead just enough like a level or slightly less than level with the meat. More is not better it is just more.
Your secret to success is in this bottle and trust me it will do its thing and the meat will be super tender and taste amazing.
Don’t Forget To Come Back and Let Me Know How Your Instant Pot City Chicken Turned Out
- 1 1/2 C Bread Crumbs
- 3 Tablespoons Gravy Master (By Flavor Master)
- 4 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 C Water - 3/4 Water no more
- 12 Skewers of City Chicken Meat, 3 Cubes Each 6"
- 2 pounds of meat approximately, your choice, chicken or pork
- Dash of fresh pepper is optional
- *Optional Eggs for Breading - for those that want to use an egg for breading, you can.
- Simply whisk an egg, and dunk the meat into that first, then the breadcrumb mixture.
- Skew Meat Cubes - about 3 healthy cubes per skewer.
- Fill a bowl with the bread crumbs.
- Next, use tongs and pick up a skewer of meat, turning meat and coating as you turn.
- When you are done you will have a platter stacked and waiting to be prepared.
- Don't worry the Instant Pot can take this task on easily, you will be doing this in segments.
- This is the part that takes the most time and it's about 5 minutes total to get these all turned and seared, that's it!
- Remove each coated piece to a platter. Continue to coat all skewers and return to the plate. It's now about to be all about the Instant Pot.
- The breading takes just minutes, and do make sure to shake off any excess, that is why I use tongs, not fingers, it is quicker and cleaner.
- Alternatively, you could use a baggie to bread (do be mindful the skewer could poke a hole in the baggie!)
- Turn the Instant Pot On to Saute and put Olive Oil in the liner.
- Now, transfer about 6 skewers at a time into the Instant Pot. You are going to saute these, sealing in the juices, and turn to all 4 sides, just quickly sauteing.
- Remove the first batch of six and place it on a platter.
- Next, you may need to add more olive oil (add 2 more tablespoons if necessary).
- Once all the skewers have been seared/sauteed, transfer from the plate and replace all into the Instant Pot.
- Now it is time to do an 'S' formation across the meat with the Gravy Master.
- This just means, starting at the top of the meat in the pot and going to the bottom, working right to left, and creating a design of an 'S' across the meat with the gravy master.
- It evenly distributes it this way.
- *** Alternatively, just put the Gravy Master into the pot between the meat.
- Either way, add in the water.
- Turn off the mode from Saute.
- Place lid atop Instant Pot.
- Last, choose Meat/Stew and use the minutes that show as 24 minutes. That is all you have to do.
- When the meat is done cooking, you can choose to use the Natural Release Method, or force release with a wet washcloth covering release so steam does not spew everywhere.
- Serve and enjoy!
You can replace breading and instead dredge through flour, very much a personal choice.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1138Total Fat: 59gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 36gCholesterol: 457mgSodium: 749mgCarbohydrates: 41gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 104g
DanaVento.Com is not a dietician or nutritionist; any nutritional information shared is simply an estimate. Use a nutritional calculator if you need exact estimates of nutrition, and note that the brands you use in your recipe may differ slightly or significantly from those brands of items you use, creating a variance in nutritional content.