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!
Hi! Haven't tried this recipe yet, but super curious as it sounds super convenient. Just a couple of questions...
1) I find that cooked chicken breast is usually too dry. Does cooking the chicken in an Instant Pot retain any moisture?
2) If not, does it need to be stored in its cooked juices in a container before or after dicing/shredding/cubing?
Hi Lex, In my experience, the chicken has always come out tender and juicy. Let me know how it goes when you do try the recipe!
Thank you for this easy recipe Natalya, I made this chicken for egg salad and came out perfect!
I am so happy it turned out great for you. It always makes me so happy when I receive feedback like this.
Oh this looks so delicious. There are so many great recipes you can use this chicken with.
Thank you, Tiffany! Glad you stopped by!
I love my instant pot. I use it all the time and it's such a life saver when I need something quick!
Yes, I love technology nowadays! Thank goodness!
I especially appreciate all the delicious ideas of ways to use this! Definitely a new go to!
Cathy isn't awesome how many recipes can be done with one dish! 🙂
Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve stopped even trying to cook chicken in my IP because I’m never happy with the results. Saving this post for sure!
Hey Chrissie, thank you for stopping by, I am glad you found this recipe useful.
Another great recipe for my Instant Pot, indeed! Will have to enjoy this with some tacos for dinner tonight!
Hey Sara, yes definitely for tacos or nachos! I love all the ideas I am getting on here.
Great. Usually I do chicken breast in instant pot for chicken sandwiches the same way you do:
croissants / chicken from instant pot / mayo / red grapes / celery /
Katherina, thank you for sharing that. It definitely gives so many options. 🙂