Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

updated Mar 11, 2021
Snapshot Cooking
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

This saucy shredded chicken can be made with boneless chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination of the two.

Serves6 to 8

Prep5 minutes

Cook35 minutes

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bbq chicken sandwich sits on a plate with pickle spear and chips
Credit: Photo: Tara Donne; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Whipping up a big batch of Instant Pot BBQ chicken is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. The saucy, shredded meat can be used in countless ways throughout the week: stuffed into sandwich rolls, piled into soft tortillas, added to salad, or served with roasted vegetables and rice (to mop up the extra sauce, of course!). No matter how you enjoy it, this sweet-smoky meat is downright delicious.

Credit: Photo: Tara Donne; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Start with Chicken Breasts, Thighs, or a Combination

What I love most about this recipe is its versatility. It gives you the option to use boneless chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination of the two. All three options work incredibly well, require the same cook time, and produce a delicious and saucy (although slightly varied) result. Here’s what to expect from each cut of chicken.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: This chicken comes out juicy and tender, and falls apart into thick shreds with just the slightest touch. Because this cut is so lean, it also has the most mild-mannered flavor of the three versions.
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs: Expect a more rich and flavorful batch of shredded chicken when using boneless thighs. Like chicken breast, the meat is super tender and falls apart easily, although the pieces are considerably thinner.
  • Combination of chicken breast and thighs: This is my favorite version of the three! The meat falls apart easily, with a nice balance of thin and thick shreds, and a balanced, super-flavorful taste.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

This saucy shredded chicken can be made with boneless chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination of the two.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 35 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 cup

    barbecue sauce

  • 1/3 cup

    water

  • 3 pounds

    boneless, skinless chicken thighs, breasts, or a combination

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Place 1 cup barbecue sauce and 1/3 cup water in a 6-quart or larger Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker and stir to combine. Season 3 pound boneless, skinless chicken all over with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Place on top of the sauce in an even layer, but do not stir.

  2. Lock the lid on and make sure the pressure valve is set to seal. Set to cook under HIGH pressure for 15 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes to come up to pressure.

  3. When the cook time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure. Use 2 forks to shred the meat in the pressure cooker, then stir into the sauce.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.