Fesenjan (Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken) for Multicooker or InstantPot® Recipe

Fesenjan (Persian Pomegranate and Walnut Chicken) for Multicooker or InstantPot®

Serves 6

This popular Persian stew gets its flavor from pomegranate molasses, ground walnuts, and warm spices. Pressure cooking speeds up the braising process and makes meltingly tender chicken.


  • 2 cups walnut pieces
  • 1 Tbsp ghee, butter, or avocado oil
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut in half
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 small onion, chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1 Tbsp honey, more to taste
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils, for serving
  • Fresh cilantro, whole leaves or chopped, for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Spread the walnuts on a sheet pan. Place in oven for 6-8 minutes, shaking the pan a couple of times during cooking, until nuts are fragrant and toasty. Cool. Set aside half of the nuts for garnish. Pulse remaining nuts in food processor until ground. (Don’t over-process or you will make nut butter.)
  3. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Using sauté or browning function, heat ghee in multicooker until shimmering. Add half of the chicken in a single layer and sauté; brown on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. Repeat with the remaining chicken and remove to plate.
  4. Add the onion to the multicooker and sauté, stirring often, until soft and golden. Add turmeric, cinnamon, and cardamom and stir for about one minute, until fragrant. Stir in ground walnuts, chicken stock, pomegranate molasses, and 1 Tbsp honey, scraping the bottom of the pot to dislodge and mix in any browned bits.
  5. Return browned chicken and any juices on the plate to the multicooker.
  6. To pressure cook, lock lid in place and set pressure release valve to seal. Select high pressure-cook function and set for 15 minutes.
  7. Press cancel/turn off multicooker. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Manually release remaining pressure according to manufacturer’s directions. Remove lid, allowing steam to escape away from you. Turn off multicooker.
  8. With slotted spoon, remove chicken to a warm serving dish. If sauce is thin, set multicooker to sauté function and simmer until reduced and thickened. Taste sauce and add more honey or salt as needed. Spoon sauce over chicken.
  9. Serve hot, topped with reserved walnuts, pomegranate arils, and fresh cilantro. Serve with rice or cauliflower rice, if desired.


Amount Per Serving (based on 6 servings)
Calories: 540
Fat: 35 g
Saturated Fat: 4 g
Cholesterol: 135 mg
Sodium: 530 mg
Carbohydrates: 21 g
fiber: 4 g
Sugar: 12 g
Protein: 37 g
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