This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken recipe makes easy pulled chicken in the pressure cooker in about 30 minutes. A quick dinner for busy weeknights! Your whole family will love this easy recipe, and it's also perfect for meal prep!
This easy Instant Pot BBQ chicken is one of my favorite Instant Pot recipes for a busy day. Seriously, this recipe is incredibly simple and makes the best pulled chicken in just 30 minutes.
If you're looking for quick and easy dinner recipes, this one's for you! Barbecue pulled chicken is also a big hit with the kids. Even my picky eater likes it!
I have an awesome recipe for pulled BBQ chicken in the Crock-Pot , but making BBQ chicken in the pressure cooker is so much faster. And since I don't always plan ahead, this is why I love Instant Pot dinner recipes.
Plus, it's a very versatile recipe. You can use it to make chicken sandwiches, sliders, wraps or quesadillas. You can even use the shredded meat to top nachos, baked potatoes or salads.
You only need a handful of simple ingredients for this Instant Pot barbecue chicken recipe. If you don't already have them at home, you can find them in your grocery store:
- Olive oil
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Sea salt
- Garlic powder
- Your favorite barbecue sauce -- Use 1 cup BBQ sauce plus more after cooking, if desired
- Water or chicken broth
How to make pulled BBQ chicken in the Instant Pot
This Instant Pot shredded chicken is pretty much a dump and go dinner. First, add a little olive oil or non stick spray to the bottom of the pot.
Next, add water or broth to your electric pressure cooker. You can also add the water first, if you prefer.
Then, all you do is add the boneless skinless chicken breasts to the pressure cooker, season them and top them with your favorite BBQ sauce.
Do not stir the sauce--leave it on top of the chicken breasts. Otherwise, the sugars in the BBQ sauce could burn at the bottom of the pot.
You have to add water or chicken broth, since BBQ sauce is so thick. I tried to get away with using only a quarter cup water the first time, but I got the dreaded burn notice and had a messy pot to clean afterwards.
Half cup water works much better! If you are using an 8 quart Instant Pot, add 1 cup of water.
I have made this chicken recipe hundreds of times now, and I have never gotten another burn notice!
You can always drain the extra liquid out of the pot after pressure cooking, but if you don't add enough liquid, the pot won't come to pressure.
Pressure cook the chicken for 10 minutes on high pressure followed by a 10 minute natural pressure release.
You can do a quick release for the remaining pressure after that or allow a full natural release.
If your chicken breasts are very thin, you can cook the chicken for 8 minutes with an 8 minute release.
When the chicken is done, I usually shred it with an electric hand mixer. You can do it with two forks, but the mixer is much faster.
My kids have fun helping with this part!
You can add more BBQ sauce if you need to. I usually serve BBQ sauce on the side in case people want to add more.
You guys, this easy Instant Pot BBQ chicken recipe is a lifesaver, especially on crazy busy days!
You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of boneless chicken breasts, if you prefer. The cook time for boneless thighs remains the same.
You can also make tender Instant Pot BBQ chicken using frozen chicken breasts or frozen chicken thighs. Frozen chicken works best if it is in a single layer and not a large clump.
Pressure cook frozen chicken for 15 minutes. If you do have frozen chicken stuck together, cook it for to 20 minutes.
Be sure that the internal temperature is at least 165 degrees. If not, you can add another 5 minutes to the cooking time.
You can also vary the seasonings. Sometimes, I add minced onions or onion powder, brown sugar or smoked paprika.
How to Store
Store any leftover BBQ chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where it'll last for about 4 days. For longer storage, freeze it an a freezer safe container.
Reheat individual portions in the microwave. Leftover shredded chicken tastes great sandwiched between brioche buns, as part of a BBQ chicken salad, or enjoyed on its own!
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts about 2 pounds
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- ½ cup water
- Add olive oil to inner pot of pressure cooker, and place chicken in pot
- Add water, and sprinkle sea salt, garlic powder and pepper over chicken, then pour BBQ sauce over chicken. Do not stir!
- Place lid on pot, turn vent to Sealing position, and hit PRESSURE COOK for 10 minutes. Pot will take a few minutes to pressurize, and chicken will cook for 10 minutes
- After pot beeps, allow a 10 minute natural release, then do a quick release to release remaining pressure. When pin drops, remove lid, and use hand mixer or 2 forks to shred chicken before serving
Recipe first published in 2018 and updated in 2022 with more information and tips.
I hope you enjoy easy Instant Pot barbecue chicken as much as we do! This easy weeknight meal is a family favorite chicken dish--it's a super simple recipe that packs a tasty barbecue flavor.
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