This pulled chicken pressure cooker recipe is so simple and delicious! Let your pressure cooker work its magic and make chicken that's juicy and full of flavor. You can make a batch of this pulled chicken and then use it for whatever you like such as sandwiches, tacos, a BBQ bowl, or just eat it on its own!
How to Make This - Step by step
- Turn on the pot. Turn instant pot to sauté and set for 7 minutes
- Sauté. Add olive oil and onions and sauté until onions are translucent
- Add the chicken. Add chicken stock and chicken, place chicken breasts flat on the bottom of pot
- Add the rest! Add remaining ingredients to the instant pot
- Build pressure. Turn instant pot off and then on again on High Pressure and set time to 15 minutes for frozen chicken breast and 12 minutes for thawed
- Cook! Seal and cook, it will take about 10 minutes for the pot to build pressure. If the instant pot gives you a burn notice, this means the liquid has been absorbed and the chicken is now burning. This is rare but can happen if the chicken is placed first before the chicken stock. If it happens to you, simply open the pot by using the manual pressure release and rearrange the ingredients (if there is still liquid) or add another half cup of broth or water (if there is no liquid left). Seal and continue letting it cook.
- Release pressure. After the cook time is up, allow for natural pressure release for 10 minutes. The timer will begin to count up from 0
- Keep going! After the natural release, quick release remaining pressure and carefully open the lid (lots of steam will come billowing out!)
- Shred. Using forks, shred chicken breasts in the pot and stir to coat in the sauce. Enjoy!
- Time to eat! Enjoy! You can enjoy this delicious shredded chicken on sandwiches and in wraps, on tacos and nachos, in a bbq chicken bowl (like this one), or just eat it plain!
Quick Facts and Common Questions
How long does this chicken keep?
This flavorful chicken should be kept for 3-4 days in the fridge and 2-6 months in the freezer.
Is pulled chicken freezer-friendly?
Yes! This chicken breast recipe should last for 2-6 months in the freezer in a sealed container. It’s best to store it in a glass or metal container as the BBQ sauce will stain a plastic container. Try these containers!
Is pulled chicken meal prep friendly?
This easy instant pot recipe is a great meal prep item! The best way to store the chicken is in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. Be sure to see our note above about why NOT to store in plastic.
What meals can be made with pulled chicken?
This chicken is great in many variations! First up, make pressure cooker shredded chicken tacos! Use the chicken as a base in a tortilla and top with your favorite things such as cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and salsa.
This easy recipe is great for making chicken sandwiches (I mean have you seen the photos in this post?!) for a delicious dinner or lunch. We love to add crunchy cabbage and spicy jalapenos to our shredded chicken sandwiches. Another great add is our Apple Slaw!
Lastly, this recipe is great for chicken salads! Top your lettuce with juicy pieces of chicken, tomatoes, and your favorite salad dressing.
What are the pros and cons of cooking chicken in a pressure cooker?
The biggest pro to cooking chicken in the instant pot is that it yields amazing flavor in a short amount of time! By adding all the ingredients to the pressure cooker, the pressure in the pot basically presses the flavor of the ingredients into the chicken, hence why we get crazy good chicken in under an hour! Plus, It doesn't require flipping the chicken such as when you grill or saute chicken. How easy!
Cons: none? But actually, the only con to this is that you are, in a way, cheating the system. Cooking the chicken low and slow for hours WILL result in more flavorful chicken but who has time for that?
What other types of food should I use a pressure cooker for?
Pressure cookers are great for cooking most meats, soups, and pasta. Basically, any savory dish that is cooked with liquid is great to make in a pressure cooker. Pork chops and other lean meats can be difficult to cook in the pressure cooker because of how quickly they will overcook. When cooking these meats, ensure you have plenty of sauce to keep the meat juicy! Try our Instant Pot Pork Chops for a delicious example!
What are some good recipes using a pressure cooker?
Try our favorite instant pot recipes: instant pot pressure cooker shepherd's pie and bbq bowl recipe!
Can I use a slow cooker instead of a pressure cooker to make pulled chicken?
Yes, but with caution. A slow cooker or crock pot heats by evenly spreading heat throughout the ceramic bowl. A pressure cook heats by building pressure inside the sealed canister, in turn, pressure cooking the food. When using the slow cook function on an instant pot, it will still build up pressure, just a lower pressure. If trying to use this setting, read through this post for step-by-step instructions.
All substitution options are a 1:1 substitution unless noted otherwise.
Chicken Breast: This recipe calls for thawed boneless skinless chicken breasts, but boneless skinless chicken thighs can also be used, reduce cooking time to 10 minutes for thighs. You can also use frozen chicken breast by increasing the cooking time to 15 minutes.
BBQ Sauce: Other sauces with fairly liquid consistency, such as Miller mustard and salsa can be substituted for barbecue sauce.
Mustard: your favorite mustard can be used, but we love using Koops Spicy Brown Mustard, this can also be left out.
Chicken stock: Half of a cup of water can be substituted for half a cup of chicken broth if 1 teaspoon salt is added to the water. You can also use half a cup of water with 3 tablespoons of bouillon.
Maple syrup: Honey can be used.
Yellow onion: You can use 1 teaspoon onion powder or this can be left out.
Chipotles in Adobo Sauce: 2 tablespoon Chili powder, 1 jalapeño, or 1 can of diced green chilies can be used. If you're looking for more substitutes, check out our post all about jalapeno substitutes!
Barbecue sauce typically uses one of four base recipes: vinegar, vinegar and tomato, sugar and tomato, or mustard. Everyone has their favorite one, even presidents! Presidents have been known to host BBQ’s on the White House lawn over the years. Some notable ones were Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter, and Andrew Jackson. And, Barack Obama was one of the few folks to be allowed to skip the line at the famous Autin’s Franklin Barbecue. (source)
Try these other delicious recipes!
- 3 chicken breasts
- 1.5 cups barbecue sauce paleo
- 2 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ yellow onion
- 7 oz chipotles in adobo sauce
- Turn instant pot to saute and set for 7 minutes
- Add oil and onions and saute until onions are translucent
- Add chicken stock and chicken, laying the chicken breasts flat
- Add remaining ingredients to the instant pot
- Turn instant pot off and then on again on High Pressure and set time to 15 minutes for frozen chicken breast and 12 minutes for thawed
- Seal and cook, it will take about 10 minutes for the pot to build pressure.
- After the time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. The timer will begin to count up from 0
- Release remaining pressure and carefully open the lid (lots of steam will come billowing out!)
- Using forks, shred the chicken in the pot and stir to coat in the sauce. Enjoy!