Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Breast

Saucy and tender Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Breast is an easy recipe ready in 30 minutes! It’s simple to make with chicken breasts and your favorite BBQ sauce, then use for sandwiches, salads, parties or potlucks.

This simple recipe is a favorite along with even more simple Instant Pot chicken breast.

Instant Pot BBQ chicken breast is truly a delicious recipe! It combines Instant Pot shredded chicken with barbecue sauce and is both flavorful and family friendly.

It’s easy, mouthwatering and comforting after a busy day.

Once you’ve made a big batch of pressure cooker bbq chicken, you can use it in almost everything. From sandwiches, sliders and wraps, to chicken burritos and salads. Some days, I eat it as a side dish along with brown rice or quinoa.

It’s the perfect make ahead meal which makes meal prep for the week a breeze. During warmer weather, it’s one of my favorite ways to serve a crowd.

You could also make slow cooker BBQ chicken when you have more time to spare.

My other favorite pulled chicken recipes are these Instant Pot chicken tacos. And if you love pulled chicken, I bet you will also love Instant Pot pulled pork.

You can even cook the chicken from frozen making this one of our favorite Instant Pot chicken recipes!

Ingredients and Notes

7 simple ingredients make this easy Instant Pot BBQ chicken recipe versatile to what you have on hand. Not to mention easy to make on busy weeknights.

  • Chicken: You can use boneless chicken breasts, boneless chicken thighs, or a combination of both. You can also use bone-in chicken breasts. They do release more juices during cooking but we drain them at the end anyways.
  • Barbeque sauce: I used my simple homemade BBQ sauce but you can use your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce. We like Stubb’s. I suggest using your favorite barbecue sauce!
  • Seasonings: Garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. You can also add smoked paprika for a smoky taste or chili powder for more kick.
  • Chicken broth: This will help thin out your BBQ sauce to prevent burn message. I use low sodium chicken stock, you can also use water but it will make breast meat less flavorful.

How to Cook BBQ Chicken in Instant Pot

You can use a 3 quart, 6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot to make this Instant Pot barbecue chicken. Cooking time will remain the same regardless the size of the pot.

  1. Seasoning chicken breasts: Place chicken breasts on a large plate and sprinkle evenly with half the onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then flip and sprinkle on the other side with remaining spices.
  2. Add to Instant Pot: Now add chicken stock and only half the BBQ sauce to the bottom of Instant Pot. No need to stir but if you did, it’s OK. Then add chicken breasts in a single layer.
  3. Pressure cooking chicken: Close the lid and turn pressure valve to Sealing position. Press Pressure Cook on high pressure or Manual for 10 minutes for chicken under 2″ thickness, or 15 minutes for breasts over 2″ thick. After do natural pressure release for 5 minutes and then turn pressure valve to Venting and quick release remaining pressure.
  4. Saute to thicken: Remove cooked chicken on plate and drain all the liquid into a cup or separate bowl. Press Saute and wait until display says Hot. Return the chicken, top with remaining 1/2 cup BBQ sauce and Saute for a few minutes or until sauce has thickened.

Recipe Tip

You can serve cooked BBQ chicken breast in Instant Pot whole or sliced. Or turn it into pulled chicken. Simply shred chicken breasts right in the bottom of the pot and stir with the BBQ sauce.

Tips for Best Results

  • Shred chicken with an electric hand mixer: It literally shreds in seconds. Sure, with a little splatter but it’s definitely a time saver. Otherwise, of course, you can use two forks.
  • Type of chicken: Cook time remains the same for boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs. Cook chicken tenders for 10 minutes only.
  • Choose a good BBQ sauce: And one that your family loves! When I don’t make my own, I use Stubb’s. The flavor of your Instant Pot barbeque chicken is dependant mainly on what sauce you choose to use.
  • Double the recipe: Perfect for feeding a crowd. You can double this recipe in a 6 quart Instant Pot or 8 quart Instant Pot.
  • Prevent dreaded burn notice: Barbecue sauce contains sugar and those sugars can lead to dreaded burn. To prevent this add your chicken broth first and sauce last. Don’t stir until after your chicken is done.

Serving Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Breast

A classic BBQ chicken sandwich will always be a favorite! I like to serve it in chicken sandwiches on brioche buns with some Greek yogurt coleslaw.

But here are a few other ideas on how to add some dinner time variety with this easy Instant Pot BBQ chicken breast recipe.


Does BBQ sauce count as liquid in Instant Pot?

No. Because BBQ sauce does contain sugar, there is the potential that your pressure cooker will give you the Burn message. Adding some chicken broth to your Instant Pot first will help prevent this from happening.

Can I use frozen chicken breasts?

Yes. It is easy, safe and quick to cook frozen chicken breasts in Instant Pot. Just make sure your breasts are separated. The cooking time remains the same. For extra large and thick chicken breasts, increase the cook time to 18 minutes.

How to store and reheat leftovers?

Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days in refrigerator or freeze for up to 3 months in a freezer.

Thaw on a counter for at least 6 hours or longer in the fridge. Reheat in a pot by simmering on low with a tiny splash of broth.

Can I make it ahead?

Yes. The best way is to cook Instant Pot BBQ chicken breasts as per recipe and refrigerate leftovers for up to 5 days. Then reheat in a pot with a bit of chicken broth, in a microwave or in Instant Pot on Saute mode. You can always add more barbecue sauce at the end.

Servings 6 servings

Calories 214

Diet Low Fat

Diet Low Fat

Prep Time 5 minutes

Cook Time 20 minutes

Pressure Up & Down Time 20 minutes

Total Time 45 minutes

  • Place chicken breasts on a plate and season with onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper on both sides. Set aside.
  • To Instant Pot, add chicken broth, 1/2 cup barbecue sauce and chicken breasts. Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 15 minutes.
  • After wait 10 minutes, then turn valve to Venting to release remaining pressure. Remove chicken onto a plate and drain any liquid.
  • Press Saute and wait until display says Hot. Add cooked chicken, remaining 1/2 cup barbecue sauce on top and cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
  • Store: Leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: Up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight. Reheat in a pot by simmering on low with a tiny splash of broth.
  • Frozen chicken breasts: Just make sure they are separated and cooking time remains the same.
  • BBQ sauce: We like to use healthier ones like Stabb’s or homemade.
  • Pulled chicken: You can also shred breasts with 2 forks and return to the pot with sauce and some saved cooking liquid.

Calories: 214kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 816mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g