Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is easy to make with chicken breasts, directly from the freezer or refrigerator, plus a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. Use it to make different recipes throughout the week, from pasta for dinner, to wraps for lunch!

Shredded chicken coated in BBQ sauce in a white bowl with a spoon.

The very first recipe I posted after joining the Instant Pot revolution in January was a simple recipe for Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken. Seriously it’s buffalo sauce + chicken y’all, so simple! The thing I love about it is that you can make a big ol’ Instant Pot of it at the beginning of the week and use it for different recipes throughout the week.

With everything from Buffalo Chicken Taco Cups to Buffalo Chicken Cheesy Penne, it’s like you’re getting an entirely new meal every night, but made in no time with the Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken you made earlier in the week!

I now took this concept and made Instant Pot BBQ Chicken. Same simple two ingredient recipe, chicken breasts + bbq sauce, made into so many meal possibilities throughout the week!

The best part about this recipe is that it can be made using fresh or frozen chicken breasts, bone-in or boneless chicken and chicken breasts or thighs. This makes it a truly versatile recipe, no matter what chicken you have in your fridge or freezer. I like using bone-in chicken breasts, because the bone gives the chicken more flavor. And as a bonus, it’s usually cheaper than boneless, skinless chicken breasts!

My other favorite way to use this recipe is to cook frozen chicken breasts that I forgot to defrost. Yup, we’ve all been there! Luckily, there’s no need to defrost chicken before adding it to the Instant Pot. Just pop it right in and let the pressure cooker do the work!

Shredded BBQ chicken in an Instant Pot with a spoon.

Instructions

  1. Add the chicken and bbq sauce to an Instant Pot. For every pound of chicken, you’ll want to add ¾ cup of bbq sauce to the Instant Pot. For this recipe, I used two pounds of chicken and 1 ½ cups bbq sauce.
  2. Pressure cook. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the steam release is set to “sealing”. For bone-in chicken breasts, frozen chicken breasts or chicken thighs, set the timer on the Instant Pot to HIGH pressure for 12 minutes. For fresh (not frozen) boneless chicken breasts, set the timer to 10 minutes.
  3. Release the pressure. Once the timer beeps, allow the Instant Pot to pressure down for 10 minutes, then move the pressure valve from “sealing” to “venting” to release any remaining pressure. Once all of the pressure has been released, remove the lid from the Instant Pot.
  4. Shred the chicken. Use two forks to pull apart the chicken. Then toss it with the bbq sauce.

Pro tips

  • Season the chicken breasts first with my famous Chicken Seasoning, or your favorite BBQ rub, for even more flavor.
  • If your BBQ sauce is very thick, or you’re concerned about it burning in the Instant Pot, add 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pot with the chicken and sauce.
  • One pound of chicken will give you approximately 2 cups of shredded chicken. Chicken breasts vary in size greatly, so when determining how much shredded chicken you’ll need for a recipe, I recommend going by weight NOT the number of breasts or thighs.
  • This recipe can be made with 1 pound of chicken, up to 6 pounds of chicken, using a 6 quart Instant Pot. For every pound of chicken, you’ll want to add ¾ cup of bbq sauce.
  • Cooked, shredded chicken will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the shredded bbq chicken in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
Shredded BBQ chicken in a white bowl with a spoon.

What to make with BBQ chicken

The possibilities really are endless when it comes to the ways you can use this bbq chicken. From a simple chicken wrap, to chicken quesadillas, bbq chicken sliders and more!

This is the perfect recipe to make as part of your meal prep routine. You can make a big batch on Sunday, then eat it several different ways throughout the week.  I’ve listed how many cups of bbq chicken you’ll need for each recipe below.

You can use this guide to determine how much Instant Pot BBQ Chicken you’ll need to make for a weekly menu of bbq chicken goodness!

  1. BBQ Chicken Mac & Cheese
    • You’ll need: 2 cups bbq chicken
    • Serves 4-6
    • Time to make: 20 minutes
  2. BBQ Chicken Salad Sliders – great for summer BBQ’s, picnics or beach days!
    • You’ll need: 2 cups bbq chicken
    • Serves 12 sliders
    • Time to make: 10 minutes
  3. BBQ Chicken Peach Cheddar Quesadillas
    • You’ll need: 2 cups bbq chicken (sub for the grilled BBQ chicken)
    • Serves 4
    • Time to make: 45 minutes
  4. Baked Spaghetti with BBQ Chicken & Bacon
    • You’ll need: 2 cups bbq chicken
    • Serves 4-6
    • Time to make: 45 minutes
  5. BBQ Chicken Ranch Wraps
    • You’ll need: 2 cups bbq chicken
    • Serves 4
    • Time to make: 20 minutes
    • Recipe: add bbq chicken to the middle of a tortilla. Top with cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing. Roll up the wraps and eat immediately, or pack them up in a lunch to go.
  6. Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Pizza
    • You’ll need: 1 cup bbq chicken
    • Serves 4
    • Time to make: 29 minutes
    • Recipe: Start with your favorite dough, top with 1 cup of bbq chicken, 1 cup mozzarella cheese and sliced red onions, bake for 15 minutes at 400°F, top with fresh cilantro.
  7. Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Tacos
    • You’ll need: 2 cups bbq chicken
    • Serves 4
    • Time to make: 10 minutes
    • Recipe: Add the Instant Pot BBQ Chicken to your favorite corn or flour tortillas, or crunchy taco shells, with shredded cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes. Drizzle with ranch dressing if you’d like.

With these 7 handy recipes, you’ve got a recipe for every day of the week to make for lunch or dinner!

Shredded BBQ chicken in a white bowl with a spoon.

More Instant Pot recipes

Pressure cookers are the best appliance for foolproof meals! Check out these other super easy recipes.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is easy to make with chicken breasts, directly from the freezer or refrigerator, plus a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. Use it to make different recipes throughout the week, from pasta for dinner, to wraps for lunch!
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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is easy to make with chicken breasts, directly from the freezer or refrigerator, plus a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce. Use it to make different recipes throughout the week, from pasta for dinner, to wraps for lunch!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken, breasts or thighs, boneless or bone-in (see notes below)
  • 12 ounces BBQ sauce

Instructions

  • Add the chicken and bbq sauce to an Instant Pot. 
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the steam release is set to “sealing”.
  • For bone-in chicken breasts, frozen chicken breasts or chicken thighs, set the timer on the Instant Pot to HIGH pressure for 12 minutes. For fresh (not frozen) boneless chicken breasts, set the timer to 10 minutes.
  • Once the timer beeps, allow the Instant Pot to pressure down for 10 minutes, then move the pressure valve from “sealing” to “venting” to release any remaining pressure. Once all of the pressure has been released, remove the lid from the Instant Pot.
  • Once the lid is removed, shred the chicken with two forks and toss with the bbq sauce.
  • Remove from the Instant Pot and serve immediately with your favorite bbq chicken recipe, or place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for later use.

Notes

  • If your BBQ sauce is very thick, or you’re concerned about it burning in the Instant Pot, add 1/2 cup chicken broth to the pot with the chicken and sauce.
  • This recipe can be made using fresh or frozen chicken breasts, bone-in or boneless chicken and chicken breasts or thighs.
  • Season the chicken breasts first with my famous Chicken Seasoning, or your favorite BBQ rub, for even more flavor.
  • One pound of chicken will give you approximately 2 cups of shredded chicken. Chicken breasts vary in size greatly, so when determining how much shredded chicken you’ll need for a recipe, I recommend going by weight NOT the number of breasts or thighs.
  • This recipe can be made with 1 pound of chicken, up to 6 pounds of chicken, using a 6 quart Instant Pot. For every pound of chicken, you’ll want to add ¾ cup of bbq sauce.
  • Cooked, shredded chicken will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the shredded bbq chicken in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Nutrition Facts

Serving 6cupsCalories 270kcal (14%)Carbohydrates 23g (8%)Protein 33g (66%)Fat 4g (6%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Cholesterol 97mg (32%)Sodium 758mg (32%)Potassium 691mg (20%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 19g (21%)Vitamin A 172mg (3%)Vitamin C 2mg (2%)Calcium 26mg (3%)Iron 1mg (6%)
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