One Pot Dish Recipe

Chinese 5 Spice Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

REAL Tasty and REAL Easy

Pressure Cooker 5 Spice Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

This recipe is famous throughout Asia and common in many Vietnamese restaurants.  Sometimes it is call other names but you will recognise the look at taste. 

Making this in an Instant Pot is super easy

Jump to the online recipe here.
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Instant Pot chinese 5 spice sticky chicken drumsticks
What is Instant Pot 5 Spice Chicken?
Hoisin Sauce, Chinese 5 Spice and Sesame Seed Oil  when added to chicken makes a really unique flavored dish.  The great thing when we made this in an instant pot then we did not need to marinate it for hours or overnight - the pressure helped to infuse the asian flavor right through the dish. 
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Key Spices for Sticky Chicken Drumsticks

Chinese Five Spice

Chinese Five Spice is based on the five elements – fire, water, wood, earth and metal. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the five elements are manifested in different parts of the body and when there are imbalances in these elements, illness can result.  It is also said Chinese Five Spice Powder is a seasoning mix that is considered to be the perfectly balanced combination of the five key flavors in Chinese (and other Asian) cooking:  sweet, sour, bitter, salty and spicy.

These flavors are made up of five unique ingredients that make up the blend: cinnamon, cloves, fennel, star anise, and Szechuan peppercorns

Hoisin Sauce

Hoisin sauce is a thick and fragrant sauce commonly used in Chinese cuisine. Often as glazing for meat or as dipping sauce. It is darkly-colored in appearance and sweet and salty in taste. Although many variants exist in different regions of China and Asia, hoisin sauce usually includes soybeans, fennel, red chili peppers, and garlic.

Sesame Seed Oil

Sesame oil is a key ingredient in any Essential Chinese Pantry Ingredients. It’s one of those Asian key additives that has made its way out into the mainstream. Today it is commonly found in regular grocery stores.  It has a strong smell and taste so use it as per the recipe instructions

Step by Step Instructions

These tips can really help you build up a good amount of confidence - so look at the pictures as well as the words.
chinese 5 spice sticky chicken ingredients

Step 1 - Assemble All Ingredients

It really does help to get organised by getting or your ingredients assembled. Why - because then you can focus on following the recipe rather than having to pause and go off to find another spice or something.

For ingredients that can be measured - I really to like to weigh them out also so again there is one less thing to do when you actually start cooking. These small white bowls I use are really cheap and you can get them on amazon for just a few dollars. 

Saute Settings Instant Pot

Set the Instant Pot to High setting - which is shown here as more. Let the the instant pot get to temperature before putting in the oil and chicken
instant pot to saute
use tongs on chciken drumsticks in instant pot

Use Tongs

Place the Chicken into the hot instant pot and use tongs to set the position. Do not keep turning the chicken - rather leave it for about 3 minutes so that it gets brown before you move it to another side - that way you get the nice color and the juices are seared in.

Browing the Chicken

Here you can see the chicken is seared nicely adding flavor and sealing in the juices

The next step is to turn off the instant pot and add the rest of the ingredients.

Then Put on the lid and set the pressure cooker as per the method
Browning chicken in pressure cooker
instant pot chinese spice chicken

After Cooking in the Instant Pot

Now after you have safely removed all the pressure you can see the chicken is nicely cooked and looking tender and tasty.

Take out the Chicken and place in a bowl. 

The next step is to reduce the loverly sauce.

Reduce the Sauce

The next step is reducing the remaining sauce.

Set the sauté to high again and bring to the boil and for around 5-8 minutes boil until the sauce becomes sticky enough to drizzle over the chicken drumsticks without just running off.

The next step then is to plate up with your favorite site dish and condiments for a nice professional look.
reducing sauce in pressure cooker method
Instant Pot chinese 5 spice sticky chicken drumsticks

Ready to Serve 5 Spice Sticky Chicken Drumsticks made in an Instant Pot

We used some spring onion, cilantro and toasted white sesame seeds as a garnish and rice as a side dish.

Notice how the chicken looks shiny - that is because the sauce sticks to the chicken after it has been reduced.

Instant Pot Recipe

Chinese 5 Spice Sticky Chicken Drumsticks - Recipe

instant pot chinese spice chicken
Preparation 30 minutes
Cooking 23 minutes
Serves 6 people
155 calories 


1 tablespoon canola oil
8 chicken legs
⅔ cup (160ml) hoisin sauce
½ cup (125ml)orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 ½ teaspoon Chinese 5 spice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoon tomato sauce/ketchup
4 cloves garlic crushed
Pinch of dried chili flakes
1 tablespoon brown sugar


Heat the canola oil in the pressure cooker on sauté high when it is up to temperature add the chicken

Let the chicken brown for a 2-3 minutes on one side before turning to the next side. Turn Off Instant Pot

Add the remaining ingredients stirring gently to mix and dissolve them. With tongs move the chicken to make sure that it is coated well with the sauce. Also, try to get the chicken meat resting in the sauce as much as you can.
Put on the lid and cook for 23 minutes at high pressure.
After the cooking use the pressure relief button to release the pressure.
Remove the chicken from the instant pot bowl and onto a plate.
Set the instant pot to sauté again and boil the sauce to reduce by about half or until thicker so it can per poured over the chicken when it comes to the serving.
Place the chicken on your plate and drizzle the sauce over the chicken and plate it up with a side dish of your choice.


This dish can be served with rice, mashed potato, or really any side dish you choose.