Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji) 三杯鷄

Classic Taiwanese Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Recipe (San Bei Ji) 三杯鷄: tender chicken in fragrant, savory-spiced, slightly sweet secret sauce.

Have a taste of Taiwan with this Classic Signature Comfort Food – Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Recipe (San Bei Ji) 三杯鷄! One bite after another, you’ll be captivated by the tender chicken soaked in this fragrant, savory-spiced & slightly sweet secret sauce!

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Taiwan will always hold a special place in our hearts.

Taiwan - Taipei Liberty Square (Freedom Square)
Liberty Square (aka Freedom Square) 自由廣場 in Taipei, Taiwan

Taiwan is often known for bustling night markets filled with countless cheap street food & shopping. Definitely a battleground to challenge yourself with some haggle fun. 😛

Taiwanese Street Food Recipe: Taiwanese Corn on the Cob (台式烤玉米)

Or breathtaking scenes in famous destinations like Alishan 阿里山, Kenting National Park 墾丁國家公園 , or Sun Moon Lake 日月潭.

But, what captured my heart were the beauties in the Taiwan Old Streets 台灣老街.

Taiwan - Taipei Jiufen Old Street
JiuFen Old Street (九份老街) – one of our favorite places!

There are hundreds of Old Streets scattered around the country. Each with their unique culture, buildings, and stories.

Every time we stroll down an Old Street, I would be mesmerized.

It felt like each brick had a story to tell.

The red brick walls, the rigged cobblestone pavements, rusted fences, luring smell of classic street food…

It seemed like the time has frozen or perhaps we pulled a Marty McFly and traveled through time?

Old fashion kitchen and stove in Taiwan
A historic kitchen we saw in a nostalgia shop in JiuFen Old Street.

And of course, how can we miss having a nostalgic taste without FOOD?! 😉

Three Cup Chicken is one of the classic Taiwanese favorites! From homes to restaurants, this simple yet flavorful dish has won many hearts & tummies, young & old.

So, what’s the secret? Why the funky name 3 Cup Chicken?

It’s simple.

The fragrant sauce is the soul of this signature dish. Deliciously savory, slightly sweet with a wee bit of spice…

The traditional myth has that the inventor used 1 cup of Sesame Oil, 1 cup of Rice Cooking Wine, and 1 cup of Regular Soy Sauce. Hence the name 3 Cup Chicken.

However, be prepared for a heated debate if you raise the question about what’s the best or most authentic way to cook Three Cup Chicken!

Time for some Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)!

Classic Taiwanese Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Recipe (San Bei Ji) 三杯鷄: tender chicken in fragrant, savory-spiced, slightly sweet secret sauce.

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You’ll Enjoy Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Because:

  • Easy to make weeknight meal
  • Satisfying classic comfort food packed with flavors & fragrance
  • Very appetizing dish that goes very well with rice
  • The Sauce!! Uniquely savory, slightly sweet, with a wee bit of spice

Ingredients for Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken


Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Recipe Ingredients

Optional Thickener:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch + 2 tablespoons water

Tools for Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken


Step-by-Step Guide: Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken

Preparation


First, peel & thinly sliced the ginger. Then, peel & crush the garlic cloves.

Optional Step: chop the chicken drumsticks in pieces (as shown in photo below).

Three Cup Chicken Recipe: Chopped chicken legs

Pro Tip: The authentic Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken dish uses chopped chicken drumsticks. But, you can opt out from chopping if you like.

However, the chopped chicken came out more flavorful than the whole chicken drumsticks as we were testing this recipe. This is because the chopped chicken were able to absorb more flavors during the cooking process.

Step 1
Prepare Pressure Cooker


Heat up your pressure cooker over medium heat (Instant Pot: press Sauté button).

Instant Pot Saute

Make sure your pot is as hot as it can be (Instant Pot: wait until indicator says HOT).

Step 2
Sauté Ginger and Garlic


Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Recipe: Saute garlic and ginger

Add ¼ cup (63ml) sesame oil, 32g sliced ginger, and 14 garlic cloves in the pressure cooker. Sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant.

Step 3
Sauté Chicken Drumsticks


Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Recipe: Saute chicken drumsticks

Add in the chicken drumsticks. Then, sauté for 3 minutes.

Pour in ¼ cup (63ml) rice cooking wine and let it boil for a minute to evaporate some of the alcohol content.

Step 4
Pressure Cook Chicken


Add ¼ cup (63ml) regular soy sauce, 3 dried Chinese red chili, and 15g (1 tbsp) rock sugar.

Close the lid and pressure cook at

  • For Chopped Chicken Drumsticks: High Pressure for 5 minutes + 10 minutes Natural Release or
  • For Whole Chicken Drumsticks: High Pressure for 8 minutes + 10 minutes Natural Release

Open the lid carefully.

Step 5
Thicken Sauce


Place chicken pieces in a large serving bowl.

Heat up your pressure cooker (Instant Pot: press Sauté button), and bring the sauce back to a boil.

Add in roughly 1/2 tbsp (7.5ml) dark soy sauce to give it some color and sweeten it a little.

Optional: Mix 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water, and stir the mixture into the sauce one third at a time until desired thickness.

Step 6
Taste & Adjust Seasoning


Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with more regular soy sauce if necessary.

Pro Tip: be sure to taste & adjust the dish because different bottles of soy sauces have varying levels of saltiness (even from the same brand).

Stir in 10 – 16 fresh Thai basil leaves.

Step 7
Serve Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken


Pour the sauce into the large serving bowl with chicken. Mix well.

Serve immediately with your favorite side dish (it goes very well with white rice).

Classic Taiwanese Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Recipe (San Bei Ji) 三杯鷄: tender chicken in fragrant, savory-spiced, slightly sweet secret sauce.

Watch: How To Make Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Recipe

Can’t see the cooking video? Watch it here.

5 from 29 votes

Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji) 三杯鷄

Have a taste of Taiwan with this Classic Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Recipe (San Bei Ji) 三杯鷄 in a fragrant, savory-spiced & slightly sweet secret sauce.
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Servings 2 - 4
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Rate this Recipe

Ingredients

Optional Thickener:

  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water

Share this Recipe so We can create more yummy recipes for you.  Thank you 🙂

Instructions 

  • Prepare Pressure Cooker: Heat up your pressure cooker over medium heat (Instant Pot: press Sauté button). Make sure your pot is as hot as it can be (Instant Pot: wait until indicator says HOT).
  • Sauté Ginger and Garlic: Add ¼ cup (63ml) sesame oil, 32g sliced ginger, and 14 garlic cloves in the pressure cooker. Sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant.
  • Sauté Chicken Drumsticks: Add in the chopped or whole chicken drumsticks. Then, sauté for 3 minutes. Pour in ¼ cup (63ml) rice cooking wine and let it boil for a minute to evaporate some of the alcohol content.
  • Pressure Cook Chicken:
    Add ¼ cup (63ml) regular soy sauce, 3 dried Chinese red chili, and 15g (1 tbsp) rock sugar. Close the lid and pressure cook at
    For Chopped Chicken Drumsticks:
    High Pressure for 5 minutes + 10 minutes Natural Release or
    For Whole Chicken Drumsticks:
    High Pressure for 8 minutes + 10 minutes Natural Release. Open the lid carefully.
  • Thicken Sauce: Place chicken pieces in a large serving bowl. Heat up your pressure cooker (Instant Pot: press Sauté button), and bring the sauce back to a boil. Add in roughly 1/2 tbsp (7.5ml) dark soy sauce to give it some color and sweeten it a little.

    Optional: Mix 2 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water and stir the mixture into the sauce one third at a time until desired thickness.
  • Taste & Adjust Seasoning:
    Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning with more regular soy sauce if necessary. Stir in 10 – 16 fresh Thai basil leaves.
  • Serve: Pour the sauce into the large serving bowl with chicken. Mix well. Serve immediately with your favorite side dish.

Video

Notes

*Rate the Recipe: If you've tried the recipe, don't forget to Rate the Recipe in the Comments Section. Thank you!
Author: Amy + Jacky
Calories: 304kcal
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main
Cuisine: Asian, Taiwanese
Keyword: 3 cup chicken, instant pot 3 cup chicken, instant pot taiwanese recipes, instant pot three cup chicken, pressure cooker three cup chicken, san bei ji

Nutrition

Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 491mg | Potassium: 358mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1mg

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Classic Taiwanese Instant Pot Three Cup Chicken Recipe (San Bei Ji) 三杯鷄: tender chicken in fragrant, savory-spiced, slightly sweet secret sauce.
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