I’m not gonna lie. This is never going to beat a deep fried piece of breaded chicken smothered in cheese in terms of taste. Never. It’s just not possible. Everyone loves fried chicken.
Despite that, this chicken is very lightly breaded with flour and comes out tender and juicy. Maybe it should be called something other than chicken parmesan in order to avoid the disappointment of no fried chicken.
After playing with my Instant Pot for a couple days, I asked my daughters what they’d like me to try making for dinner, and my middle daughter requested chicken parmesan.
“I can’t fry chicken in the Instant Pot,” I informed her and her face dropped.
“Okay, okay… I can try to make it, but I don’t think it will be crispy.” She was fine with that.
Instead of regular spaghetti noodles and knowing that she loves experimenting with different textures and tastes and begs me endlessly to make zucchini noodles again, I decided on spaghetti squash. Plus it’s a lot healthier for all of us.
Spaghetti squash is amazingly easy to do in the Instant Pot. I struggled with cooking this previously in the oven or the microwave, just an endless headache. Not anymore.
Cut the squash in half. I’ve heard that the strands of the squash go either horizontally or vertically depending the squash, the region, I don’t know. Mine makes the longest “noodles” cut this way rather than length wise. It also makes it easy to fit into the Instant Pot.
High pressure or manual for 5 minutes. It will be “al dente” at this point which is what we want, it will soften while cooked with the chicken.
When the squash is done, remove from pot and allow to cool. Please use silicon protection here! I use silicon mitts. Empty Instant Pot of excess moisture.
The amount of your chicken breasts and how you handle them will depend. I got two very giant chicken breasts here and sliced them in the middle to reach about a 1/2 inch thickness. If you have smaller breasts, you may not need to slice them horizontally but could also smash them a bit. Not required.
In one bowl, add egg. In a second bowl, mix flour, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder.
Drop chicken pieces into egg and then flour mixture.
Turn the Instant Pot on sauté mode. Add olive oil and when the pot is hot, add chicken and brown on both sides, about 3-5 minutes.
Once the chicken is browned on both sides, remove from pot and set aside.
Add chicken broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot. Work out the delicious parts that might have gotten stuck on the bottom.
Take each half of the squash and shred the strands directly into the pot. If the squash is still hot, use silicon gloves! Stir into broth.
Add sauce to pot and top with chicken. Close the lid, set to sealing and cook on high or manual for 5 minutes.
When done, quick release and open when ready. Be careful as there may be some splatter!
Top with mozzarella and then parmesan cheese. The cheeses will melt after a few minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.
All my daughters were happy with this recipe. While it will never be as good as fried chicken smothered in cheese and sauce, it’s definitely a healthier version your tastebuds won’t complain about.
Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash
Ditch the noodles for spaghetti squash in this healthy version of chicken parmesan.
- 1 spaghetti squash
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce
- shredded parmesan
- shredded mozarella
Cut spaghetti squash in half. Scrape out seeds.
Add trivet to Instant Pot and 1 cup of water. Place spaghetti squash into pot, close lid, set to sealing and cook 5 minutes. Quick release when done.
While spaghetti squash is cooking, prepare other ingredients.
Either cut or pound chicken to about 1/2 inch thickness and into serving size pieces. This will depend on the size of your chicken breasts. I used two very large pieces.
Mix flour, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder in a zip lock bag.
Crack egg into bowl and break yolk. Dip each chicken piece in egg then place into bag. Once all the chicken has been put into the bag, shake it to coat.
When spaghetti squash is done cooking, carefully remove and set aside to cool. Pour remaining liquid out of the instant pot and select sauté.
Add olive oil and brown chicken on both sides, about 3-5 minutes each side. May need to work in batches. Set aside when done.
Turn sauté mode off. Slowly add cup of chicken broth and scrape the brown bits at the bottom of the pot.
Using a fork, scrape the spaghetti squash “noodles” into the pot. Mix with the chicken broth sauce.
Add jar of spaghetti sauce and place chicken on top.
Select pressure cook and cook for 5 minutes. Quick release when done. Top with mozzarella and then parmesan cheese.