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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Breast

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is our latest meal on repeat. The chicken is so juicy and flavorful from the bbq sauce, and the Instant Pot makes it all so easy!

It’s perfect for quick lunches or dinners! Plus, leftovers reheat well too.

A fork full of Instant Pot BBQ Chicken.

Friends, we’ve been eating this several times a week as planting season and ball seasons are in full swing. See what I did there…full swing???!? A little sports humor for you…

This time of year we’re keeping things as simple as possible. Versatile recipes like shredded chicken tacos, Instant Pot Whole Chicken and Instant Pot pulled pork can go a long way when you get creative.

In the case of this shredded bbq chicken, it’s a great protein to top salads, add to cheesy chicken quesadillas, or make bbq chicken wraps for lunches or on the go dinners.

Or, serve it on a bun like I’m doing in the video below!

Ingredients

Simple ingredients, friends! I’ll stand behind them everytime!

chicken breast – we’re using boneless, skinless chicken breast here. You could also sub the equivalent amount of boneless skinless thighs.

salt

lemon pepper seasoning – this is optional, but is truly a nice touch.

onion powder – garlic powder can also be used in its place.

paprika – both sweet paprika or it’s cousin smoked paprika work in this recipe. Depending on which one you use, the flavor will change slightly. Use whichever you have on hand in your spice pantry.

celery seeds – these little guys are an underutilized ingredient, in my option. You’ll be able to taste them, but barely. Your picky eaters likely won’t even notice they’re there.

chicken broth – you can use store bought or make your own rotisserie chicken broth.

BBQ sauce – whatever is in your fridge or pantry. If you want to make your own bbq sauce, you totally can, you overachiever! I usually grab the bottle of Sweet Baby Rays or Stubbs hanging out in our fridge.

Ingredients laid out on a countertop in white dishes.

How to Make Shredded BBQ Chicken in the Instant Pot

Remove your chicken breasts from the package and use a few paper towels to pat them dry. This will help the spice blend adhere better.

Step by step photos of how to make instant pot bbq chicken.

Grab a small bowl and mix up your spices. Give it a little stir, then sprinkle the seasoning on both sides of the chicken breasts. Give it a little rub and then add the chicken to the Instant Pot. (I used a 6 quart in the photos below.

Tip: Use a fork to puncture each chicken breast in several places. This lets the seasonings sink into the protein as it cooks.

Add the chicken broth and the BBQ sauce and we’re done with our meal prep! Close the lid, making sure the silicone ring is set in place.

Cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes, then let the pot hang out for 15 minutes or so.

This is a great time to prep whatever sides you’re serving alongside your chicken.

Shred the chicken and stir back into the BBQ sauce.

That’s it! Easy peasy, right??!

Variations

Use sugar-free bbq sauce if you’re watching your sugar intake.

Top with some grilled pineapple slices.

What to make with Shredded BBQ Chicken

Instant Pot full of shredded bbq chicken.

Grab some brioche buns and add some shredded bbq chicken on top. Heck, heap a scoop of coleslaw on while you’re at it! They’ll seriously be the the best BBQ chicken sandwiches you could ever want.

Throw in some potato chips, air fryer sweet potato wedges or french fries and you’re good to go! Oh, and maybe a side of Mexican fruit salad to round things out.

If you’re looking for a non-bun alternative, how about adding the shredded chicken to your Tater Tot Nachos??

Tips

 After shredding the chicken, I like to add it back in the sauce in the Instant Pot to coat all the pieces with the juices. It will have a subtle BBQ flavor and then your diners can add their own favorite BBQ sauce.

How to freeze for later

You can freeze the leftovers in a safe freezer bag. Be sure to label the bag and remove as much as air possible to ward off freezer burn. It’s really helpful if you save portions in 1, 2 or 3 cup measurements.

Lay it flat to freeze solid and freeze up to 3 months.

FAQS

Can I use frozen chicken breasts?

Absolutely! For those of you on the fence about an instant pot, this is a game changer! You don’t need to thaw the chicken, and the cook time will remain the same. You’ll need to allow a few extra minutes for the pot to come up to pressure initially.

How can I make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken for a crowd?

You can double or triple the recipe. I have an 8 quart electric pressure cooker that I use for big batches of shredded bbq chicken. Just be sure not to fill past the “fill line” as marked on the sides of the pot.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken for Two

We’ve got a few options here if you’re cooking this recipe for 1 or 2.

Option 1: Make the recipe as instructed and freeze the leftovers for later.

Option 2: Reduce the recipe by half by cooking 1.5 pounds of chicken. For the spice blend, you can make as is and save the leftover spice blend of another batch.

Click here for more meals on the go!

made with love, Deanne
Yield: 8 servings

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

A fork full of Instant Pot BBQ Chicken.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is our latest meal on repeat. The chicken is so juicy and flavorful from the bbq sauce, and the Instant Pot makes it all so easy!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless and skinless chicken breast. (about 3 large breasts)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce of your choice (plus more if you like more sauce when serving)

Instructions

  1. Pat the chicken breasts dry using paper towels. Place on a place and set aside.
  2. Make the seasoning blend by combining your salt, lemon pepper, onion powder, sweet paprika, and celery seeds in a small bowl. Use a spoon to mix until all combined.
  3. Sprinkle the mixed spices on both sides of the chicken breasts and gently rub them into the chicken..
  4. Place the chicken breasts in the Instant Pot. Use a fork to puncture each chicken breast in several places. 
  5. Add the chicken broth and the BBQ sauce. Close the lid, set to seal, and cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes.
  6. Do a natural release of pressure for 15 minutes.
  7. Use 2 forks to shred the chicken (you can keep it in the pot or remove it to a large bowl to shred. Place the shredded chicken back into the BBQ sauce mixture in the Instant Pot. Stir to combine; add more sauce as serving time if desired.

Notes

After shredding the chicken, I like to add it back in the sauce in the Instant Pot to all the shredded pieces to be coated with the sauce.

To make as a freezer meal

You can freeze the leftovers in a safe freezer bag. Be sure to label the bag and remove as much as air possible to ward off freezer burn. It's really helpful if you save portions in 1, 2 or 3 cup measurements.

Lay it flat to freeze solid and freeze up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 207Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 919mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 12gProtein: 27g

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