I love this recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Breasts because I can use fresh or frozen chicken, it’s completely hands off, and yields perfectly cooked chicken in about 25 minutes.

I love the ease of cooking chicken this way, and there are so many ways to enjoy it, like in chicken enchiladas, white chicken chili, or BBQ chicken pizza.

Four cooked chicken breasts resting in the bottom of an instant pot.

Have you tried cooking chicken breast in your Instant Pot yet? It is so easy and yields juicy chicken breast you can enjoy for dinner, meal prepping, or use in any recipes that call for cooked or shredded chicken. Once you try it, there’s a good chance you won’t go back!

For this recipe I’ve simply seasoned the chicken with salt and pepper but you can add whatever seasonings or spices that will enhance the flavor of the dish you are preparing.

The ingredients needed for instant pot chicken breasts including raw chicken, salt and pepper and chicken broth.

How to cook fresh or frozen chicken breast in the Instant Pot:

  • Place inner pot into the instant pot and place the trivet in the bottom.
  • Add 1 cup of liquid to the instant pot (water, chicken broth, pineapple or apple juice).
  • Place chicken breasts on top of the trivet in a single layer.
  • Add salt and pepper or desired seasonings.
Two process photos for adding liquid and chicken breasts to an instant pot to pressure cook.
  • Secure lid and make sure the vent is set to “sealed”. Pressure cook on high for 8-10 minutes for fresh chicken breast, and 10-12 minutes for frozen chicken (depending on the thickness of the breasts). Cook time stays the same no matter how much chicken you add to the pot; the pot will just take longer to come to pressure.
  • Allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, then turn the valve to “venting” to release any remaining steam.
Four cooked chicken breasts on a plate with an instant pot in the background.

Can I cook frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot?

Yes, follow the same steps above, but pressure cook for 10-12 minutes. Make sure that the frozen breasts are all separated and not in a clump when you put them in the instant pot.

How do I know how long to cook the chicken breast?

The cook time for chicken breast is determined by the size of the individual breasts, not the total amount of chicken. Here is a general rule to follow: for chicken breasts that are under 2” thickness, cook for 8 minutes. For chicken breasts that are over 2” thickness, cook for 10 minutes. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees before you eat it. If you’re not sure if it’s cooked through, test with an instant read thermometer.

Should I use the poultry setting on the Instant Pot?

Be wary of the poultry setting on the instant pot. This setting is based on an average chicken breast, so looking at the thickness of your own chicken breasts will yield a more accurate cook. Cook the chicken on manual high pressure setting based on the thickness.

Do I need to use a trivet?

If you have the trivet that the instant pot comes with, it is best to cook the breasts in a layer on top of it. This will ensure the chicken is steamed and kept juicy instead of boiling in the liquid. But, if you are without a trivet, putting the chicken breasts directly into the liquid will work just fine, or you can make a rope of aluminum foil and use that as a make-shift “rack” on the bottom of the pot.

Should I add seasoning to my chicken?

Chicken breasts in the instant pot can be customized to whatever dish you are planning to put them in. Mexican food? Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Italian dish? Add some Italian seasoning or garlic. Or consider topping them with a simple teriyaki sauce.

For simple, versatile, chicken breast that can be used in meal prep, salad, etc, just add some salt and pepper along with your chicken broth or water. You can also use different juices for your liquid (such as pineapple or apple) for some added sweetness to the chicken.

What size of instant pot should I use?

You can cook chicken breasts in whatever size instant pot you have. Just make sure you add at least 1 cup of liquid, and then place the chicken in the pot in a single layer. If you have a smaller instant pot, simply cook your chicken in batches so you can keep it in single layers. If you have a larger instant pot, keep in mind it will take a little longer for your instant pot to come to pressure before cooking begins.

Pro Tips:

  1. Save the liquid at the bottom of your instant pot after cooking for a yummy and flavorful homemade chicken broth!
  2. For shredded chicken: Remove the trivet after cooking, and leave about ½ cup of liquid at the bottom of your pot. Put your chicken back in the pot with the liquid after it rests, and shred with a handheld mixer. Easy and quick shredded chicken!
Mixers shredding cooked chicken inside an instant pot.

Storing and Freezing Instructions: 

Shred the chicken with forks or a hand mixer and freeze it in individual bags to easily add to any weeknight dinner. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Or, chop the chicken and refrigerate to add to lunches throughout the week.

Recipes for leftover cooked chicken:

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Recipe

Four cooked chicken breasts resting in the bottom of an instant pot.
Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins
Total 25 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
  

  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast , fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup liquid (water, chicken broth, apple, or pineapple juice)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Instructions
 

  • Place your inner pot into the instant pot and place the trivet in the bottom.
  • Add 1 cup of liquid to the instant pot (water, chicken broth, pineapple or apple juice).
  • Place chicken breasts on top of the trivet in a single layer and season with salt, pepper or any seasonings you like.
  • Secure the instant pot lid and make sure the vent is set to “sealed”.
  • Pressure cook on high for 8-10 minutes for fresh chicken breast, or 10-12 minutes for frozen chicken (depending on the thickness of the breasts). Cook time stays the same no matter how much chicken you add to the pot; the pot will just take longer to come to pressure.
  • When timer beeps, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes, then turn the valve to “venting” to release any remaining steam.
  • If desired, test chicken with a thermometer; it should reach 165 degrees. (If it’s just shy, place the lid back on and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. If the chicken is still not cooked to at least 160 degrees, secure the instant pot lid and cook for 1-3 minutes longer, on high pressure.)
  • Allow the chicken to rest 5 minutes before cutting, or shredding.
  • For shredded chicken: Remove the trivet after cooking, and leave about ½ cup of liquid at the bottom of your pot. Place chicken back in the pot with the liquid after it rests and shred with a handheld mixer. Easy and quick shredded chicken!

Notes

Chicken will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days, or place in freezer bags and freeze for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 388kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 72gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 218mgSodium: 979mgPotassium: 1259mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 102IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg

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RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

Photography by Nikole from The Travel Palate.

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About The Author

Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. I seem to have a lot of the chicken liquid after I cooked the chicken ( which by the way was delicious ) can I freeze it to be used in soup later ??

  2. 5 stars
    Great way to cook chicken. My chicken breasts were thawed so I just cooked 8 minutes and let them release naturally like you said. Took the chicken out and tore it in smaller pieces. Put it back in, added a jar of gravy and let it heat. We had it served over orzo with fresh asparagus on the side. Thanks for the help.

  3. Today I was in a mild hurry and decided to try using frozen chicken …….. Yeah . Do not use frozen chicken. It was still raw in the middle and had to add another 10 minutes to the instapot.

    Ah well

  4. I’ve done this before, but always forget the time. Your method is perfect, my only hesitation is using metal mixers in the bowl, afraid of scarring the finish. I put the chicken and broth in the stand mixer ( one more dish to clean LOL). Have you noticed any problems using metal utensils in the pot?

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