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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken has tender chicken breasts cooked in a sweet and tangy BBQ sauce. This versatile pressure cooker chicken recipe is ready in under 30 minutes and is perfect for sandwiches and wraps or served over rice or mashed potatoes.

instant pot with bbq shredded chicken

My favorite way to serve Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is shredded for sandwiches where it’s just dripping with sauce. On the side we usually have air fryer tater tots, potato chips, Hashbrown Casserole, Mac and Cheese, or Red Potato Salad. It’s one of my family’s favorite meals, and I love how fast and easy it is.

For a lot of years, I only made BBQ chicken in the slow cooker, but using my pressure cooker is just so much faster and the meat is a lot more moist.

I also have been known to just serve it over rice, make ahead mashed potatoes, or stuffed into baked potatoes.

Ingredients for Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

  • Chicken breasts – You can use chicken breasts, chicken tenders, or even chicken thighs, as long as they are boneless. The reason this recipe is so quick is because there’s no bone to deal with. I like to use both breasts and thighs because the chicken just comes out so moist and tender.
  • Chicken broth – One of the great things about the instant pot is that it really infuses the meat with flavor as it cooks. Use a low sodium chicken broth so you can control the amount of salt in the final recipe.
  • Seasonings – You don’t need a lot. Besides salt and pepper, I use garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika.
  • BBQ Sauce – My favorites are Sweet Baby Ray’s and Stubbs. If you’re looking for gluten-free, choose Stubb’s. The BBQ sauce is where you get most of the flavor for the chicken, so choose one you love.
  • Italian dressing – Again, your favorite brand is fine here. This is my secret ingredient and it adds a tangy and totally unexpected flavor to the sauce.
shredded instant pot shredded barbecue chicken sandwich a black plate with pickles

How to make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

I use my Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Recipe as the base for my BBQ Chicken. Since BBQ sauce has a lot of sugar, I wait to add the majority of that until the end to avoid the burn message.

Make the sauce. Whisk together chicken broth, Italian dressing, and ½ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, then pour into the instant pot. Mixing the BBQ sauce with the other ingredients helps to disperse the sugars in order to avoid the burn notice.

Season chicken. Season the meat with my all-purpose Chicken Seasoning and add them to the Instant Pot. If the chicken is especially thick in places I recommend lightly pounding it to help with even cooking.

Cook. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook using the manual function button or the pressure cook function. It will take about 5-10 minutes to come up to pressure, then cook for 10 minutes. Once cooked, allow steam to release naturally for 5 minutes, then finish with a quick release.

Add more BBQ Sauce. Once all the pressure is released, you can remove the lid and shred the meat in the pot. Mix in the remaining BBQ sauce and prepare to serve.

instant pot with shredded chicken, bbq sauce and a wooden spoon

Serving Suggestions

  • Pile the BBQ chicken onto sandwiches and top with sliced pickles or crunchy coleslaw.
  • Wrap chicken in tortillas with lettuce, cheese, and tomatoes, and a drizzle of ranch dressing.
  • Stir the BBQ chicken into a big pan of creamy mac and cheese with some caramelized red onion and cilantro.
  • Spread BBQ sauce on pizza crust and top with mozzarella cheese, BBQ chicken, and red onions.
  • Add to salads with corn, tomatoes, and tortilla strips.
  • Stuff into baked potatoes and top with shredded cheddar cheese and bacon.

Recipe Tips and Notes

  • I used breasts in this recipe, but I also like to use thighs for Instant Pot BBQ Chicken. The meat stays tender and moist and super flavorful. If you use thighs, add about 7 minutes to the cook time.
  • While you can use frozen chicken, I always recommend thawing first. It just guarantees it will cook through without drying out. For frozen chicken, it will take longer to come up to pressure and you’ll need to add 5 minutes to the cook time.
  • It’s important to pour the sauce in first so there is liquid on the bottom of the instant pot. If chicken is the first thing to touch the metal, you’ll end up with a burn notice.
  • To double the recipe: Add 5 minutes to the cook time. It will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure, then cook for 15 minutes, then natural release for 5 minutes and finish with quick release.

Storage and Freezing

Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Use freezer safe bags or containers to freeze for up to 6 months.

Reheating: Thaw completely in the fridge overnight, then reheat in a saucepan on the stove or in the microwave. It’s also great cold.

More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

instant pot bbq chicken social media image

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is an easy shredded chicken recipe perfect for wraps or sandwiches!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker


  • 1 ½ cups bbq sauce divided
  • ½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Italian Dressing
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken breast
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
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  • In a small bowl, whisk together the broth, dressing, and ½ cup of the bbq sauce. Pour into the bottom of the instant pot.
  • Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika and add to the pot.
  • Seal the instant pot and make sure you've closed the pressure valve. Cook the chicken on HIGH pressure for 10 minutes. Natural release for 5 minutes then quick release the remaining pressure.
  • Once all pressure is released, add remaining bbq sauce and shred with two forks. Serve as desired.


  • You can swap breasts for boneless, skinless thighs, just add about 7 minutes to the cook time.
  • For frozen chicken, it will take longer to come up to pressure and you’ll need to add 5 minutes to the cook time.
  • To double the recipe: Add 5 minutes to the cook time. It will take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure, then cook for 15 minutes, then natural release for 5 minutes and finish with quick release.


Keyword crockpot bbq chicken


Calories: 379kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 37gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 1590mgPotassium: 878mgFiber: 1gSugar: 36gVitamin A: 290IUVitamin C: 2.7mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 1.3mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.


Amanda blogs at Old House to New Home where she shares easy ways to eat, create, and decorate, all while raising two young girls! Amanda is a Spanish teacher, wife to a great husband, and mommy to the two most beautiful little girls! Amanda loves food, traveling, and transforming their 115 year old house into their home.

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  1. Ray Piwetz says:

    I’m going to try and make the instant pot bbq chicken tomorrow for supper. Hope it come out the way it looks. Wish me luck. Lol

    1. Kristin says:

      Hi Ray, let us know in the comments if it’s a keeper. Thanks for stopping by.

    2. Ray Piwetz says:

      It came out pretty good. I just added little more iltallian dressing like 3 table spoons more and half cup water. But over all it was delicious ?