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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

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Quick, easy, and flavorful, this saucy Instant Pot BBQ Chicken recipe is perfect for any occasion! This recipe makes for a sweet and tangy fall-apart, tender shredded chicken that’s perfect for sandwiches, salads, BBQ plates, and more. It’s great for feeding a crowd or meal prepping.

Tender, juicy, and flavorful, this instant pot bbq chicken recipe is my go-to whenever I’m not sure what to make! It’s not complicated and only needs a few simple ingredients to whip up.

A platter of instant pot bbq chicken.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • I love shredded chicken. It’s such a versatile dish as you can serve it in sandwiches, salads, BBQ plates, and more. One of my favorite ways is literally air fried on a slice of bread with cheese. Leftovers make for such an easy dish throughout the week. They’re great for nachos as well or in a baked potato!
  • It’s so easy to make! I love making this shredded bbq chicken in the Instant Pot when I’m looking for a low-effort recipe that’ll last me for a few meals.
  • It’s easily customized! Add some heat for a spicier dish. Add more sugar for a sweeter recipe. You can even add a bit of salsa to it to change it up!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Ingredients needed to make instant pot bbq chicken.
  • bbq sauce — use your favorite barbeque sauce. Some days I crave a tangier sauce, but other days I prefer a sweeter sauce. For a fun change, I use a spicier sauce.
  • brown sugar — I love the sweetness that brown sugar adds to the bbq sauce. Feel free to use light or dark brown sugar. You can also add more or less, depending on how sweet your bbq sauce is.
  • seasoning — I add salt, garlic powder, and onion powder. Feel free to add your favorite.
  • Worcestershire sauce — I love adding a bit of Worcestershire sauce for that hit of umami flavor.
  • chicken stock — feel free to use chicken stock or chicken broth. I like to use Better than Bouillon.
  • chicken breasts — I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts but you can use chicken thighs as well.

How to Make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Set of two photos showing sauce mixed and chicken added to the instant pot.
  • In a small bowl, combine the bbq sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.
  • Add the chicken stock to the Instant Pot and add the chicken breasts.
Set of two photos showing bbq mixture added to the instant pot and pressure cooked.
  • Add the bbq sauce mixture on top of the chicken breasts. Do not stir.
  • Place the lid on, turn the knob to sealing, and pressure cook (HP) for 10 minutes.
  • Natural pressure release for 10 minutes before quick releasing.
Set of two photos showing chicken shredded and sauce cooked down.
  • Remove the chicken breasts and shred them.
  • Meanwhile, turn on saute mode and allow the liquid to cook down so it coats the shredded chicken better. Allow it to cook down to your desired consistency.
Set of two photos showing before and after shredded meat coated in sauce.
  • Add the shredded chicken back to the sauce in the Instant Pot and toss to coat.

Recipe Tips and Notes

  • My chicken breasts were larger than usual! The four chicken breasts came out to be around 2½ pounds. If you have smaller chicken breasts, you can pressure cook them less. The rule of thumb is 6 minutes per pound.
  • I deviated from my general 6 minutes per pound because I wanted less spray from quick releasing the pressure, so I did 10 minutes high pressure and 10 minutes natural release.
  • Add cayenne pepper and red chili flakes for some extra heat.
  • Don’t wait too long between the chicken breasts being cooked and shredding – chicken breasts shred easiest when they’re warm.
  • You can use a KitchenAid mixer with the paddle attachment on to shred your breasts quickly and easily.
  • I don’t mix the sauce before pressure cooking to help lower to chances of getting a burn notice. This is important if your bbq sauce is on the thicker side.
  • While you can use frozen chicken breasts, I prefer not to. When frozen in a block, the parts of the chicken breasts that are frozen together tend not to cook through and you’ll have to pressure cook it a second time if it ends up undercooked.

Make Ahead Tips

  • Meal prep: store the cooked shredded chicken in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.
  • Freezer: allow the instant pot bbq chicken to cool before transferring it into a freezer-safe airtight container or freezer-safe bag before storing them in the freezer.
Instant Pot bbq chicken shredded in a meal prep container.
How do you shred chicken?

You can shred your chicken with two forks, pulling the breasts apart. You can also use these shredding claws, or the whisk attachment in a mixer.

What if I want a thicker sauce?

If you want the barbeque sauce coating the chicken to be thicker, you can add a cornstarch slurry to the liner when you simmer the liquid. To make the slurry, combine 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 1 tablespoon cold water, mix until combined, and add to the simmering mixture. You can also add additional barbeque sauce to help the thickening process.

Shredded instant pot bbq chicken in the pressure cooker.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Quick, easy, and flavorful, this saucy Instant Pot BBQ Chicken recipe is perfect for any occasion! This recipe makes for a sweet and tangy fall-apart, tender shredded chicken that’s perfect for sandwiches, salads, BBQ plates, and more. It’s great for feeding a crowd or meal prepping.

5 from 2 votes

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Prep Time: 10 mins

Cook Time: 10 mins

Natural Pressure Release: 10 mins

Total Time: 30 mins

Servings: 5 servings

Ingredients

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, combine the bbq sauce, brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt.

  • Add the chicken stock to the Instant Pot and add the chicken breasts.

  • Add the bbq sauce mixture on top of the chicken breasts. Do not stir.

  • Place the lid on, turn the knob to sealing, and pressure cook (HP) for 10 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes before quick releasing.

  • Remove the chicken breasts and shred them with two forks.

  • Meanwhile, turn on saute mode on the Instant Pot and allow the liquid to cook down so it coats the shredded chicken better. Allow it to cook down to your desired consistency.

  • Add the shredded chicken back to the sauce in the Instant Pot and toss to coat.

Notes

  • My four chicken breasts were around 2½ pounds.
Tried this recipe?Did you make this recipe? I’m always so happy to hear about it! I’d love to see how it turned out. Tag me at @CarmysHungry on Instagram so I can see it! If you enjoyed the recipe, I’d really appreciate a comment with a 5 star rating! ♥

Nutrition Per Serving

Calories: 242kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 58mg | Sodium: 987mg | Potassium: 554mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 158IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg

Author: Carmy

Course: Main Course

Cuisine: American

More Chicken Recipes to Try

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