Instant Pot BBQ Chicken made with boneless chicken seasoned with an easy dry rub and the best homemade BBQ sauce. This Instant Pot BBQ chicken is delicious all on its own, but it also makes the absolute best BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches!
I absolutely love my Instant Pot. It makes dinner time quicker and easier, especially on days that I have not planned ahead or I have forgotten to defrost my meat.
This juicy and tender, melt-in-your-mouth pulled chicken smothered in tasty, zesty and smoky BBQ sauce is definitely one of our favorite meals to make in the Instant Pot.
This quick and simple Instant Pot chicken recipe cooks in about 10 minutes and can be made from fresh or frozen chicken which makes it the perfect meal for busy weeknights.
Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Ingredients
One of the best things about pulled chicken is obviously the BBQ sauce. For convenience, I often buy barbecue sauce instead of making my own. This time, I decided to make a simple homemade BBQ sauce instead.
I am glad I did! This easy BBQ sauce is absolutely delicious and is made directly in the Instant Pot. Dump in the ingredients, simmer for 3 minutes and the sauce is done. The chicken is then added and cooks until fall apart tender.
For this IP chicken recipe you will need:
- Boneless and Skinless Chicken Breast or Chicken Thighs
- Spice Rub
- Chicken Broth
- BBQ Sauce
- To Serve: Bread buns, coleslaw, pickles (optional)
The Easy Homemade BBQ Sauce
Tangy, sweet and smoky with a mild hint of spiciness from the chipotle peppers, this easy barbecue sauce has the right combination of ingredients and complex flavors for the most delicious BBQ pulled chicken.
- Dark Brown Sugar
- Chipotles in Adobo Sauce (optional but highly recommended)
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fresh Garlic
- Dried Mustard, Paprika (sweet or smoked), Ground Black Pepper.
Spice Rub For Chicken
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Salt and Ground Black Pepper
How To Make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
- Season the chicken breast on both sides. Set aside.
- To make the sauce, turn the pressure cooker to saute. Stir in the BBQ sauce ingredients. Simmer for about 3 minutes. Hit cancel to turn the saute function off.
- Place the seasoned chicken pieces in the instant pot. Close the lid, seal and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes. When the cooking is done, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes then, open the valve and release the remaining pressure.
- Remove the chicken breast pieces from the pot. Turn the pressure cooker to saute and allow the sauce to simmer for 3-4 minutes until it thickens to your taste.
- Meanwhile, shred the chicken breasts and return the shredded chicken to the pot and toss to coat with the sauce. Turn off the Instant pot.
Can I Make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken With Chicken Thighs?
Yes. Although we used boneless and skinless chicken breast for this recipe, chicken thighs can also be used. Chicken thighs are very juicy and they turn out perfect when cooked in the pressure cooker. To make Instant Pot BBQ chicken thighs, cook the chicken on high pressure for 14 minutes.
Can Frozen Chicken Be Used For This Recipe?
Yes, you can certainly cook frozen chicken in your Instant Pot/Pressure cooker. To make shredded BBQ chicken from frozen, simply add a few additional minutes to the pressure cooking time.
- To make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Breast with frozen boneless chicken, close the lid, seal the pot and cook on high pressure for 14 minutes followed by naturally releasing the pressure for 10 minutes. If your chicken breasts are small (5 – 6 ounces), reduce the pressure cooking time to 12 minutes.
Easy BBQ Chicken Serving Ideas
- Our favorite way to serve barbecue pulled chicken is on buttered toasted buns! There’s nothing quite as irresistible as a BBQ Chicken Sandwich topped with pickles and creamy coleslaw.
- Baked Potatoes, top a steamy tender baked potato with a pile of BBQ shredded chicken, scallions, cheese and sour cream.
- Nachos, BBQ Chicken nachos are absolutely delicious and kid friendly!
- Pressure Cooker BBQ chicken can also be used to top salads, pizzas and to make quesadillas and tacos.
You have questions? We have answers!
Does BBQ Sauce Counts As A Liquid In The Instant Pot?
To be honest, it depends on how thick your BBQ sauce is. Most likely, you will need to have a combination of barbecue sauce and broth. In the Instant Pot chicken breast recipe below, the sauce has been thinned out with chicken broth so you should not have any issues when making this recipe.
Can I Use Store-Bought BBQ Sauce To Make Pulled BBQ Chicken?
Absolutely! Although we love this easy Instant Pot chicken recipe and the smoky and zesty homemade BBQ sauce as written in the recipe below, you can use any store bought sauce if you wish. Just make sure that the sauce is thin enough for the IP to work. Remember that you can add broth if needed.
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe Tips
- Instant Pot BBQ chicken can be stored covered in the refrigerator for 2 days.
- BBQ pulled chicken can be frozen for up to 2 months stored in a freezer-safe bag or an airtight container.
- You can replace the chicken broth with cola.
- This recipe can be made in a 6 Qt Instant Pot or bigger.
Take A Look At These Other Instant Pot Recipes:
- Charro Beans
- Instant Pot Carnitas
- Pressure Cooker Ribs
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Instant Pot Brisket
- Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken
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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
For the Chicken
For the Barbecue Sauce
- ½ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons chopped chipotle chile in adobo sauce optional
- 1 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 garlic clove grated or minced
- ¾ teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon dry mustard powder
- Buns, coleslaw, pickles (optional)
- Season the chicken with salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and ground black pepper. Set aside.
- For the barbecue sauce, set the pressure cooker on the sauté function. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, Worcestershire, chipotle chile, vinegar, and garlic. Stir in the paprika, black pepper, and dry mustard, and simmer for about 3 minutes. The mixture will slightly thicken. Add the chicken broth and stir to combine. Turn the saute function off.
- Place the seasoned chicken into the Instant Pot. Cover, seal and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes for chicken breasts and 14 minutes for chicken thighs. If you are using a combination, then cook for 14 minutes. When the cooking is done, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Then open the valve and release the remaining pressure.
- Open the lid and using kitchen tongs, transfer the chicken to a large bowl, leaving the sauce in the pressure cooker. Set the cooker on the saute function and simmer the sauce until it has thickened to taste (remembering that it will continue to thicken as it cools), 4 to 6 minutes. Meanwhile, shred the chicken. Return the chicken to the pressure cooker and toss to combine.
- When cooking the barbecue sauce, don’t reduce it for too long or it will turn into a paste.
- Stir in the shredded chicken back into the pot and mix until the chicken is coated with the sauce.
- You can make this recipe in the crock pot. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 5 hours.
- If using store bought BBQ sauce, you may need to add additional broth depending on the thickness of the sauce.