Real Food

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Breast (Fresh or Frozen)

instant pot chicken

Fresh chicken breasts take 6 minutes to cook and frozen chicken breasts take 12 minutes to cook.  If that sentence didn’t just seal the deal on why you need an Instant Pot…read on.


How many times have you asked yourself, what am I going to make for dinner?  Chicken breast in the Instant Pot makes getting dinner on the table a breeze!

Between working and shuffling kids to and from activities or shuffling yourself to and from meetings, life can get SO busy and dedicating time to cooking wholesome meals can go by the way side.

This does NOT have to be the case!

I find it fun to get fancy and try something new in the kitchen sometimes. But simple and basic is also delicious.

I come back around to my most simple and basic recipes more often than not.

Because when you’re pulling in the driveway at 5pm after a long day and wondering what you are going to make for dinner….Instant Pot chicken saves the day! 

The Instant Pot is an electric pressure cooker that cooks juicy, tender chicken breasts, every time!  The Instant Pot cooks food 70% faster than conventional methods.

I have the 6 quart Instant Pot (it has over 24,000 customer reviews on Amazon with 4.5 stars! If you are a Prime member you get it in 2 days!)


How to Use the Instant Pot for a Fast Dinner

Rice, beans (no need to soak), chicken, roast, baked potatoes, hard boiled eggs…and the list goes on, can all be cooked to perfection within minutes in an Instant Pot.

Having a large batch of cooked chicken in the fridge or freezer is one of my BEST staples to getting quick meals on the table.

Instant Pot chicken breast meal ideas include: Barbecue chicken, salsa chicken, honey dijon chicken, chicken quesadillas, chicken for salads, chicken sandwiches, chicken for wraps and the list goes on.

**In all of these recipes chicken broth can be used in place of water for more flavor!  I always use a low sodium chicken broth for cooking chicken breasts.  Then I shred the chicken in the liquid used.

Instant Pot chicken

6 Meal Ideas for Instant Pot Chicken

For 3 – 4 chicken breasts add the totals below to the Instant Pot.

  1. Barbecue Chicken  (1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup barbecue sauce)  Shred chicken and discard liquid. Add additional 1/2 cup barbecue sauce to the shredded chicken. Serve on a whole wheat bun.
  2. Teriyaki Sauce Chicken  (mix 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce)  Shred chicken. If sauce is too runny, remove chicken, turn pot to saute function, mix 1 TBSP water with 1 TBSP corn starch and add to sauce in bottom of pot stirring constantly until thickened.  I add steamed/cooked broccoli at the end, mixing it in the chicken and sauce and serve over brown rice.
  3. Salsa Chicken (1/4 cup water, 1 cup salsa)  Poor salsa on top of chicken and cook. Remove cooked chicken with salsa on top to a bowl and add 1/2 cup liquid from pot for shredding. This is a very easy way to make quesadilla meat or soft tacos.
  4. Honey Dijon Chicken (1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup dijon mustard,  1/2 cup honey)  Shred or cut chicken in chunks and serve with honey dijon sauce over noodles, with a vegetable on the side.
  5. Chicken Tacos (1 cup water, 3 Tbsp Homemade Taco Seasoning Mix) Mix taco seasoning with chicken broth or water before adding to the Instant Pot.  After shredding, switch cooker to “saute” and cook liquid down.
  6. Shredded Chicken Sandwiches– (1 cup water) Shred chicken and discard liquid.   Add 1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 3 TBSP (1 packet) of ranch seasoning mix and 1 teaspoon of hot sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve on a whole wheat bun.


  Instant Pot chicken

A Few Quick (and important) Tips

  • Be sure to seal your vent to “sealing” on your pressure cooker for the correct amount of pressure to build.
  • Pressure will build before switching to cooking mode. This typically takes 7-8 minutes.  You can speed up this process by hitting the “saute” button while you are seasoning and getting chicken ready. This allows the Instant Pot to begin warming. Then hit off and turn on the poultry setting when ready to add the ingredients. Or you can warm the “liquid” you use in the microwave so that the cooker already begins with a warm liquid instead of cold.
  • It is best to allow a natural release for 5 minutes, but a quick release can be done if really in a rush.

Related Posts:

How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs in an Instant Pot

9 Hacks that Will Help You Lose Weight

If you intend to shred the chicken–you can use a fork or an even quicker method is to use a hand held mixer.

**When I make the above recipes I remove the liquid, then use 1/2 cup of the liquid for shredding, while reserving the rest.  Sometimes I need to add the reserved liquid for moisture, and sometimes it makes the recipe to runny.  Use your discretion. Discard any remaining liquid. 

If you want to take flavor to an all new level….I used pineapple juice recently and the chicken breasts were SO juicy and flavorful!  The pineapple juice adds so much flavor so don’t overlook that secret ingredient if you want a really flavorful meal.  But chicken stock and water both work.




 instant pot chicken


-2 pounds chicken breasts- (usually amounts to 3-4 breasts depending on size)

-1 cup chicken broth, pineapple juice or water (chicken broth or pineapple juice adds more flavor)

-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

-1/2 teaspoon salt -(1 teaspoon if using water)

-1/4 tsp pepper

*** If using one of the chicken recipe ideas listed above in the post, use the amount of liquid listed in the recipe.



Directions for Instant Pot Chicken

  1. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper and garlic powder. (if using water add additional 1/2 teaspoon salt to the liquid)
  2. Pour in chicken broth or pineapple juice and place chicken breast in the Instant Pot. (the one I use) 
  3. Close lid and turn vent to sealed.
  4. For Frozen Chicken, cook on poultry (or manual) setting on high pressure for 12 minutes.
  5. For Fresh Chicken, cook on poultry (or manual) setting on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  6. Allow to release naturally for 5 minutes, and then do a quick release if needed.
  7. If slicing or dicing, remove chicken and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting. This will seal in the juices.
  8. If shredding, remove 1/2 cup of liquid and reserve.
  9. Shred chicken in the instant pot with remaining 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
  10. Return the reserved liquid from step 8, if needed for your recipe.

Serve chicken breasts plain, on a salad, or use in recipes.

**Keep a small amount of liquid on your chicken that you put in the refrigerator or freezer.  It will keep the chicken tender and juicy so it doesn’t become dry.

To freeze, allow chicken to cool completely, divide into portion sizes for your family and then seal in freezer safe bags to freeze for future use.

Keeps in fridge for 3-4 days.



Disclaimer/Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Read more about my disclaimer and disclosure here.


Leave your comments below and let me know how your Instant Pot chicken turned out or if you have any questions!

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