This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is so easy to make, and pressure cooks in 10 minutes – shred and toss with BBQ sauce, then serve with coleslaw and burger buns for a full meal!
Ingredients in Instant Pot BBQ chicken
I use boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs for this recipe. Thighs have more fat and therefore more flavor and are more moist. Don’t be afraid of this fat. It’s the healthy kind that has nutritional benefits.
However, if you want to avoid the extra fat and calories, you can use chicken breasts.
Always use the boneless skinless variety of meat. You don’t want to have to remove the skin and bones after cooking.
The only other ingredients you will need to make the chicken are water and BBQ sauce!
I like to make coleslaw to go with this. Besides the coleslaw mix, I also use these ingredients to make it more interesting:
- Apple cider vinegar
- Canola oil
- Dijon mustard
How to make Instant Pot BBQ chicken
This recipe is super simple. It gets even easier and quicker when you use your Instant Pot!
- Add water to the bottom of the Instant Pot. This is how the Instant Pot creates pressure. You can’t use the Instant Pot without liquid in the bottom.
- Place your trivet in the Instant Pot and put the chicken on it. While you need the water for the Instant Pot, you don’t want your chicken to sit in it. The trivet comes with the Instant Pot, and you always want to use it for recipes like this.
- Set the Instant Pot to cook for eight minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally. Essentially, you don’t need to do anything after the eight minutes of cooking. Letting the pressure release naturally allows the chicken to continue to cook while the Instant Pot comes back to normal pressure.
- Shred the chicken.
- Toss with BBQ sauce.
The easiest way to shred chicken
Chicken is much easier to shred after it has cooked than raw. Don’t wait until it has cooled. Warm chicken is easier to shred. You can use any of these methods to shred your BBQ chicken breasts:
- Use a knife and fork to pull the chicken apart.
- Use two forks to pry the chicken apart.
- Put the chicken in a bowl and use a hand mixer with a paddle attachment.
- A few pulses in a blender will shred the chicken.
- Pull it apart with your hands.
Ingredient substitutions and notes
It’s easy to double a recipe in the Instant Pot. The pots are large and can hold a lot of chicken. Just increase the time by five minutes. It will take longer for the pot to come to pressure when it is full, but it doesn’t take much longer to cook.
This method for making shredded chicken is versatile. After cooking and shredding the chicken, you can add it to any other dish. It’s a great prepared ingredient to keep in your refrigerator all the time. You can toss it with any kind of sauce you like. BBQ sauce is a suggestion but any other sauce of dressing will work.
What kind of BBQ sauce to use
Types are BBQ sauce are largely dependent on the region in which you live. Essentially, there are four main kinds of BBQ sauce.
- Tomato based sauces are the most prevalent in grocery stores nationwide. These are sweet, tangy and thick, usually heavy with ketchup as the base. This kind of BBQ can be used on any kind of meat.
- Vinegar based sauces are usually labeled North Carolina BBQ sauce. They are thinner and spicy. This is most often used on pulled pork.
- Mustard based sauces are also thin and spicy and used mostly on pork.
- White BBQ sauce is mayonnaise based. It is usually thinned with vinegar and lemon juice. It tastes fantastic on chicken.
How to serve BBQ chicken
The most popular way to serve this Instant Pot BBQ chicken breast is on a sandwich. But there are lots of other ways you can use this meat.
- Topping for baked potatoes
- Deluxe nachos
- Spicy pasta
- Mini pizzas
Storing and reheating
You can store cooked shredded chicken in the refrigerator for five days.
To reheat, you can put it in the microwave for a minute or two, or heat it with the meal you plan to serve it with.
Freezing Instant Pot BBQ chicken
After cooking the Instant Pot BBQ chicken, you can divide it into individual portions and freeze. It will last for four months in the freezer.
This makes it great for meal prep. You can make a large batch of shredded chicken on the weekend. Store what you plan to use that week in the refrigerator. For everything else, put it in the freezer. You will have cooked chicken ready any time.
More Instant Pot chicken recipes
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- The trivet that comes with your Instant Pot
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this recipe into leftovers
- I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Get a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken is cooked through before shredding
Instant Pot resources
If you’d like some more help with your Instant Pot, then you’ll love my free resources! Sign up for free below when you get my weekly newsletter:
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
- 1 cup water `
- 1 lb chicken breasts or boneless thighs
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 1 bag coleslaw mix
- 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 tsp dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper
- Add water and trivet to Instant Pot and place chicken breasts on top. Press the pressure cook button and select the high setting, then set to cook for 8 minutes.
- Instant Pot will take about 5-10 minutes to preheat then the 8 minutes to pressure cook. Note: to double recipe, add 5 more minutes cook time.
- Let the pressure naturally release once chicken has finished cooking (should take 15-20 min), then open lid when safe to do so.
- Remove chicken and shred with a fork and knife. Drain water from the pot and then toss chicken with BBQ sauce. Serve on toasted burger buns with coleslaw and enjoy!
- Mix all ingredients for coleslaw together in a large bowl. Serve on the side of the BBQ chicken.