Instant Pot BBQ Shredded Chicken

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This six-ingredient Instant Pot Shredded Chicken with BBQ sauce is a 30-minute one-pot weeknight dinner that makes excellent leftovers and is delicious enough to serve for entertaining!

Pulled BBQ Chicken sandwich in front of an Instant Pot with carrots and potato chips plated in the foreground

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: This Instant Pot BBQ chicken recipe is one of the EASIEST on our site. It’s easy to pair with your favorite barbecue sides, makes delicious sandwiches, and is totally kid-approved. 

This easy pulled chicken recipe is the one we recommend to first time Instant Pot users. (If you’re new, we have a step-by-step breakdown of this recipe.

It’s a simple recipe that helps you get to know the main buttons on your new pressure cooker, and it also plays to the device’s strengths: juicy, tender, shreddable chicken ready in under 30 minutes.

Still not confident, even with this beginner’s recipe?

We teach this recipe in Week 1 of our Instant Pot 30-Day Jumpstart course for beginners. Now OPEN for enrollment, classes start January 10, 2022.

Click here for details and learn how to register.

pinterest button that reads "Instant Pot Pulled BBQ Chicken: Easy Beginner's Recipe" overlaid on two photos. The first of chicken breast and onions in the cooking pot, and the second of a BBQ chicken sandwich plated with potato chips and carrot sticks.

How to Make Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken

This Instant Pot Shredded Chicken recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

This 3-minute shredded chicken recipe uses just six ingredients. We make this recipe all the time for family meals. It’s adapted from a recipe in our cookbook The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook

You can use any BBQ sauce you like for this recipe. If you like, make your own! For added flavor, a dash of liquid smoke goes a long way. The garlic and onion will become soft and tender when pressure cooked. So when you remove the Instant Pot lid, you’ll have juicy chicken in a super flavorful barbecue sauce to dice or shred. 

Using Frozen Chicken Breasts

One of the best things about an Instant Pot is that you don’t have to thaw your meat first! If you’re using frozen chicken breast for this recipe, simply add three minutes to the cook time. 

Doubling the Recipe

Feel free to double the recipe for BBQ pulled chicken to feed a crowd. No need to change anything in the recipe or cook time, just be sure not to fill your pressure cooking pot past the “Max Fill” line. 

If you’re using an Instant Pot mini or want to half the recipe, go right ahead. No need to make any changes to the cooking time!

Bone-In Chicken Breast

You can also use bone-in chicken breast. Because you want them to become fall-apart tender and release from the bone easily, I recommend a 12 minute cook time at High Pressure, followed by a 5 minute natural pressure release, then finish with a quick pressure release. 

How to Serve Pulled Chicken

You can serve this Instant Pot BBQ Chicken straight from the pot with a hearty side like Creamy Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes and Pressure Cooker Corn on the Cob.

Or, make sandwiches with toasted rolls (we love these Dinner Rolls from Barbara Bakes) and toppings like extra sauce, pickles and slaw. You can also serve this pulled chicken as a salad over greens or make a bowl with cooked grains.

BBQ Chicken on a platter with metal tongs, with extra barbecue sauce in a small dish and potato chips on the bottom right of the shot

Storage Suggestions

You can store leftover shredded chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. It makes great sandwiches for lunch the next day. 

For longer storage, keep the chicken in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months. Let the chicken defrost in the fridge overnight, then reheat in the Instant Pot or on the stove to serve. 

A 45 degree shot of a BBQ chicken sandwich, with carrots and potato chips in front of an Instant Pot with additional shredded chicken in a white bowl in the background

More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

We love whipping up fast chicken dinner recipes in the Instant Pot / pressure cooker. Try these family favorites next:


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Leave us a review below to tell us why!


A 45 degree shot of a BBQ chicken sandwich, with carrots and potato chips in front of an Instant Pot with additional shredded chicken in a white bowl in the background
Yield: 8 servings

Instant Pot BBQ Shredded Chicken

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Additional Time 20 minutes
Total Time 31 minutes

I’ve adapted one of my 30-minute meals, the Shredded Barbecue Chicken recipe from my cookbook, The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook. I often use this chicken for both sandwiches and salads—it’s one I often keep on hand.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, plus more as desired
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 3 smashed cloves of garlic
  • 1 large onion, quartered
  • 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts.

Instructions

  1. In the pressure cooking pot, stir together 1 cup barbecue sauce, 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon liquid smoke, and 3 smashed cloves of garlic. Add 1 large onion, quartered, and 4 large boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  2. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 6 minutes cook time.
  3. When the cook time ends, turn off your pressure cooker. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
  4. After 5 minutes, use a quick release to manually release any remaining pressure.
  5. Turn the lid to the unlocked position. Carefully remove the lid, pointing it away from your face.
  6. Remove the chicken from the cooking pot to a plate. Dice or shred the chicken, as desired.
  7. Strain the cooking liquid and discard the solids. If you like maximum BBQ sauce flavor, stir together up to 1 additional cup of barbecue sauce and 1/2 cup of the cooking water and combine with the chicken.
  8. For barbecue chicken sandwiches, toast some sandwich rolls and top with additional barbecue sauce. Or make a wonderful barbecue chicken salad with chopped romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, corn, black beans, and shredded cheddar cheese, along with a drizzle of barbecue sauce and ranch dressing.

Notes

I freeze any leftovers in individual servings for quick lunches.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 170Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 412mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 1gSugar: 13gProtein: 19g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

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