Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken is sweet and tangy and so easy to make. You need four ingredients and about 30 minutes. That’s it!
Making instant pot ribs is a nice treat but when you want a quick dinner with the same flavors, try pulled chicken. (Yes! Chicken!) This chicken is great served on buns and topped with dill relish or pickled jalapenos.
- Easy: You only need four ingredients to make this recipe.
- Taste: Bold and flavorful thanks to the barbecue sauce and sauteed onions.
- Time: Takes about 30 minutes
- Perfect for: Quick weeknight meals.
Ingredients for Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken
Chicken: Use either boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts. They’re tender and flavorful and shred easily.
Seasoning: Before cooking the chicken, season it with a dry BBQ spice blend, like Penzey’s Northwoods. If you don’t keep that on hand, season the chicken with salt, pepper, and a little smoked paprika.
Onion: Adding a sauteed onion to the premade barbecue sauce boosts the flavor.
Barbecue Sauce. Use whatever barbecue sauce you love.
How to Make BBQ Shredded Chicken with the Instant Pot
Note: The original version of this recipe cooked the chicken in the barbecue sauce. I’ve updated it to add the chicken to the barbecue sauce after cooking. This ensures that the Instant Pot can easily reach pressure and it allows for flexibility. You don’t have to add all the shredded chicken to the sauce. You can save some for other uses.
- Cook the chicken. Season the chicken and cook it under high pressure in your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. When the cooking time completes, release the pressure. (This is called a “quick release.”) If the pressure releases naturally, the chicken can overcook.
- Make the barbecue sauce. While the chicken cooks, saute an onion and add the barbecue sauce. Allow this to simmer for the best flavor.
- Shred the chicken. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add about a half cup of the cooking liquid and shred the chicken. (To do this quickly, use a handheld mixer.)
- Sauce the chicken. Add the chicken to the skillet with the barbecue sauce and stir to combine. At first, it won’t seem like enough sauce. It is.
Serving Suggestion: BBQ Shredded Chicken Sandwiches
Serve the bbq shredded chicken on toasted buns. Top the shredded chicken with additional barbecue sauce and dill relish. You can also top it with pickled jalapenos or coleslaw.
What to Serve with BBQ Shredded Chicken
Instant Pot Easy BBQ Pulled Chicken
Pressure Cooker Pulled Chicken is quick and easy way to enjoy the flavor of BBQ all year round. Serve on toasted hamburger buns topped with dill relish or pickled jalapenos.
- ¾ cup water
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 teaspoon dry BBQ seasoning, like Penzey's Northwoods*
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely diced
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce, plus more for serving
Place a rack into the Instant Pot cooking insert. Add the water. Place the chicken breasts onto the rack and sprinkle the BBQ seasoning onto each chicken breast.
Lock the lid into place. Set the pressure valve to the "sealing" position. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
Prepare the sauce. While the chicken cooks, prepare the sauce. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the diced onion. Cook until soft and lightly brown. Add the barbecue sauce. Stir. Reduce heat to low.
When the cooking time completes, quickly release the pressure by turning the pressure valve to "venting." Open the lid away from your face and remove the chicken from the pot with a pair of tongs. Place the chicken into a large bowl and add one cup of the cooking liquid.
Shred the chicken, using either an electric mixer or two forks. Add the chicken to the barbecue sauce and stir to combine. Cook for about two minutes. Serve.
Ingredient Note: Dry BBQ Seasoning
Use a dry BBQ seasoning like Penzey's Northwoods to coat the chicken. If your BBQ blend does not contain salt, salt the chicken breasts with 1/4 teaspoon of salt before cooking.