Instant Pot Make-Ahead BBQ Chicken Legs

As an Amazon affiliate, and affiliate with other businesses, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Legs make a fast and delicious appetizer or light dinner for a crowd, flavored with spices and your favorite barbecue sauce. 

A white plate on a napkin with a pile of BBQ chicken legs on top, with a white cup of fruit salad in the background

❤️ Why You’ll Love This Recipe: With only seven simple ingredients, you can make a satisfying family-friendly dinner. Best of all, you can pressure cook it in advance and warm and finish it on the grill at dinnertime.

Nothing says summer like sticky, sweet and just-spicy-enough BBQ chicken. However, no one likes to be stuck at the grill during a get-together—especially in the heat of the summer!

That’s why we decided to make sticky and spicy BBQ chicken legs in the Instant Pot! Cook them early inside, then take them out to the open flames to warm and finish them when you’re ready to eat. (And, of course, we have oven instructions for those of you who don’t have a grill.)

If you love Instant Pot chicken recipes, you’re going to want to make this quick chicken leg dish all the time. No matter when you make it, it will always remind you of summer!

Pinterest image that reads "instant Pot BBQ Chicken Legs: Make ahead and finish on the grill" on top of an image of a white rectangular platter, with finished chicken legs set in a straight single row

How to Make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Legs

This BBQ Chicken Legs recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant PotNinja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL

This simple recipe calls for just seven simple ingredients. Garlic powder, chili powder, and red pepper flakes add a bit of heat to the legs before cooking. To finish off the dish, coat the cooked chicken in your favorite barbecue sauce to coat the chicken legs. 

To get the sticky, caramelized coating on your chicken legs after pressure cooking, finish the legs on a grill. You can also do this in the oven under the broiler. If you use a broiler, be sure to keep a close eye on the chicken and turn the legs frequently to prevent burning. 

Using Other Cuts of Chicken

You can use this recipe to cook other pieces of chicken, such as thighs or breasts. 

For BBQ chicken thighs in the Instant Pot, cook for 9 minutes at high pressure and finish with a quick pressure release. 

For chicken breasts, cook at high pressure for 6 minutes, then finish with a quick pressure release. 

A hand picking up a chicken leg off of a white platter filled with lots of BBQ chicken legs made in the Instant Pot

What to Serve with Chicken Legs

You can round out your smoky barbecued chicken legs with other summery side dishes like:

A photo of a white round plate of cooked BBQ chicken legs, with an Instant Pot and a bowl of fruit salad in the background

More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

Here are more of our favorite weeknight chicken dishes to make in a pressure cooker:

Do you LOVE this recipe?
Leave us a review below to tell us why!

A head-on image of a rectangular white platter of BBQ chicken legs, with a fruit salad in the background

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Legs

Yield: 12 chicken legs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 minutes
Additional Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 29 minutes

Sticky, smoky, and spicy BBQ Chicken Legs in the Instant Pot is an easy summer recipe that you can make all year long.


  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 chicken legs
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce


    1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Add the chicken legs and toss to coat with tongs.
    2. Place a rack in the pressure cooking pot. Add 1 cup water and place the seasoned chicken legs on the rack, stacking them crosswise on top of each other.
    3. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 4 minutes cook time. When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and finish with a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
    4. If you intend to make them later in the day, Remove the chicken legs to a storage container and allow to cool. Refrigerate until needed.
    5. When you're ready to cook, place the chicken legs in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and coat generously with the barbecue sauce.
    6. Preheat a grill to medium heat. Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side until the sauce is caramelized and sticky. Baste with more sauce as desired. (Alternatively, finish in a very hot oven or under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes, watching carefully to prevent burning and turning the legs as necessary.)
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 517Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 328mgSodium: 684mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 0gSugar: 8gProtein: 62g

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


🥘 Browse our collection of the best pressure cooker / Instant Pot recipes.

💬 Follow Pressure Cooking Today on Facebook and Instagram for the latest updates.  

👥 Join our Electric Pressure Cooker Facebook Group. Our positive community of pressure cooking fans use all brands of electric pressure cookers, so it’s a great resource if you have questions about your particular brand.

🥧 If you’re interested in more than just Instant Pot recipes, follow us at Barbara Bakes. There we post amazing breakfasts, breads, and the best dessert recipes

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.