This Instant Pot chicken is a game-changer for meal prep. In this ultimate guide, you will be able to make awesome chicken dishes in a fraction of the time.
From fresh to frozen, I will share with you all the information you need to make chicken on the fly in an Instant Pot. I’ll also answer the most frequently asked questions we have received regarding this awesome appliance.
Chicken is single-handedly one of the best things to cook in an Instant Pot. You can make a large batch of it and either refrigerate or freeze if for meals to come. It is one of the best ways to meal plan. Let’s get started!
Ways to Use Instant Pot Chicken
Whether you need a whole breast or some shredded chicken, the Instant Pot has your back. I like to shred a bunch of chicken and freeze it to have on hand for soups, sandwiches, salads, etc. I have listed some of my FAVORITE recipes to incorporate Instant Pot chicken in. But, seriously, the possibilities are endless.
- Chicken Bacon Canapes: Have guests coming over last minute and need a quick appetizer? Whip up some chicken bacon canapes and please the whole crowd.
- Sesame Chicken Salad: This is one of my favorite weeknight dinners. It’s crispy, crunchy and super refreshing. Make the sesame chicken in the Instant Pot and have a restaurant-style salad on the table in no time.
- Mushroom Chicken Salad: Cook some chicken in the Instant Pot. Allow it to completely cool. Cube it up and toss it with the wonderful ingredients in this salad. It’s great on crackers or spread on your favorite bread for a hearty sandwich.
- Breakfast Quesadillas: Having shredded chicken on hand is perfect for quick breakfast quesadillas. One of my sons’ favorite weekday breakfasts!
Cooking Fresh Chicken in an Instant Pot
Here is a detailed guide for boneless fresh chicken. It is important to keep in mind that cooking times may vary depending on the thickness of the cut and that those listed below are approximations. To be sure your chicken is fully cooked, check that the internal temperature has reached 165 °F. Investing in a meat thermometer will be one of the best moves you ever make in the kitchen!
Instant Pot Cooking Times for Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
When cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it takes about 60 seconds per ounce of meat and 10 minutes of natural release to get the internal temperature to 165 °F. For example, an 8 ounce chicken breast would require 8 minutes of cooking and 10 minutes of natural release.
Instant Pot Cooking Times for Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
When cooking boneless, skinless chicken thighs, it takes about 2 minutes per ounce of meat and 10 minutes of natural release to get the internal temperature to 165 °F. For example, an 8 ounce chicken thigh would require 16 minutes of cooking and 10 minutes of natural release.
Cooking Frozen Chicken in an Instant Pot
Most of the questions we get about using the Instant Pot stem from cooking frozen chicken. There seems to be a lot of confusion here, but trust me, it is quite simple! In short, frozen chicken just takes a bit longer to cook. Here are all our tips and tricks:
Instant Pot Cooking Times for Frozen Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
For frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts, it takes about 2 minutes per ounce and 10 minutes of natural release to get the job done. This means an 8-ounce frozen breast would take 16 minutes of cooking and 10 minutes of natural release to reach 165 °F.
Instant Pot Cooking Times for Frozen Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
For frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs, it takes about 3 minutes per ounce and 10 minutes of natural release to reach doneness. So, for an 8-ounce frozen thigh, you would set the cooking time for 24 minutes and use a 10-minute natural release.
Do You Quick Release Chicken in an Instant Pot?
If you are running short on time, it is perfectly acceptable to use the quick release. Don’t know what I am talking about? Well, when you are using an Instant Pot, you have two different ways to depressurize the cabin of the appliance — the quick release or the natural release.
The quick-release requires you to cautiously turn the pressure valve to “venting”. It is great to have in your toolbelt if you are worried about overcooking, or, like I said above, if you are on a time crunch. This method is messier, and to be honest, at times alarming. A lot of pressure will release at once, causing some of the hot liquid to spurt out! So, take care and remember to place a towel on top of the valve, turn it slowly and keep a safe distance.
The natural release is my preferred method. Once your cooking time is up, the Instant Pot will naturally begin the process of depressurization. As noted above, I allow 10 minutes of natural release for chicken. Once 10 minutes are up, I use the quick release method to get any remaining pressure out. By this time, so much pressure has seeped out of the cabin naturally that using quick-release is much less scary!
Storing Instant Pot Chicken
Chances are that you are using the Instant Pot because you like to meal prep. Well, if you just cooked a huge batch of chicken (and I hope you did!), you might be wondering how to store it. You came to the right place:
Freezing Cooked Chicken
Using either an airtight container or a Ziploc bag, freeze your chicken for 2-3 months. If you are using a Ziploc bag, make sure to remove all the extra air out of it before sealing to prevent freezer burn. Thaw your chicken in the fridge overnight before chowing down.
Refrigerating Cooked Chicken
Using an airtight container or a Ziploc bag, store cooked chicken in the fridge for up to a week. Dice it, cube it and shred it! Use it whichever way you like to get a wholesome and speedy meal on the table. 😃
- Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper.
- Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot, insert the trivet. Place chicken on top of the trivet.
- Set the Instant Pot to high pressure for about 60 seconds per ounce of chicken, plus about 10 minutes of natural release. For example, a 16-ounce chicken breast would require 16 minutes of cooking and 10 minutes of natural release. (see recipe notes for frozen chicken)
- Once done, shred the chicken apart by using a fork or a blender. Enjoy with your favorite dish!