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Some of my favorite staples to make ahead are large batches of shredded chicken, barbacoa beef, or pulled pork. I used to use a slow cooker for recipes like this, but then I discovered that it’s so much faster to make Instant Pot chicken breast and make shredded chicken with it It’s become my favorite healthy Instant Pot recipe.
I totally adore this method now. If you’re on the fence about pressure cooking chicken, now is the time to try it. The prep is as care-free as a slow cooker, but done in less than 15 minutes. And this quick and easy Instant Pot shredded chicken breast recipe is not only simple, it’s also versatile for any use just like Instant Pot turkey. If you want a complete meal, try Instant Pot chicken and rice, next.
Why You’ll Love This Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipe
- Juicy, flavorful shredded chicken with the perfect texture
- Super easy to make
- Fastest way to make shredded chicken
- Ready in less than 15 minutes
- Works with fresh or frozen chicken breast
- Simple ingredients
Ingredients You’ll Need
This section explains how to choose the best ingredients for Instant Pot shredded chicken, what each one does in the recipe, and substitution options. For measurements, see the recipe card below.
- Chicken Breast – Use boneless skinless chicken breasts. Fresh or frozen will both work great; the cook time will just be different (see the time chart below). Boneless skinless chicken thighs are also fine to use.
- Italian Seasoning – I like to make my own homemade Italian seasoning, but store bought is fine as well. This is technically not required, but highly recommended for the most flavorful Instant Pot shredded chicken, and I find that most recipes benefit from these flavors. If you’ll be using the chicken for a recipe in which Italian seasoning would not go well, feel free to omit this.
- Sea Salt & Black Pepper – You only need 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, because the chicken broth (below) has added salt. If your broth is low-sodium, you’ll need more salt.
- Chicken Broth – The Instant Pot requires a minimum of 1 cup of water or liquid for sufficient pressure to build, plus the broth adds flavor and makes your chicken moist and juicy. Some people make shredded chicken with water, but you get a lot more flavor using chicken broth. You can also use any other type of broth you have on hand, or even bone broth.
TIP: Feel free to customize the spices in this Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe.
I used Italian seasoning because it goes with pretty much anything, but you can also try garlic powder, taco seasoning, or dried herbs.
How To Make Shredded Chicken In The Instant Pot
This section shows instructions for shredding chicken in the Instant Pot, with step-by-step photos and details about the technique, to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Prep. Place the chicken in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Season with Italian seasoning, sea salt, and black pepper (or any other spices you like). Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the chicken (no need to stir).
TIP: Pour the broth around the chicken, not over it.
This way, there’s enough liquid for the Instant Pot, but you won’t wash off the seasonings.
- Pressure cook. Close the lid and select the either the “Poultry” or “Manual” setting (for high pressure). Set the time based on the amount of chicken you have — use the time chart further below in this post.
- Release pressure. Let the pressure naturally release for at least 5 minutes. After that, you can turn the valve to “vent” for quick release if you’re in a hurry, or continue natural release for the most tender texture.
- Shred. There are a few different ways to shred chicken — see the options below.
How Long To Cook Chicken Breast In The Instant Pot?
A good rule of thumb for Instant Pot shredded chicken is start at 4 minutes for 1 pound, and add an extra 1-2 minutes for each additional pound.
After testing each weight amount (and over 20 pounds of shredded chicken later!), I have created an Instant Pot chicken breast time chart to show you exactly how long to cook chicken in an Instant Pot depending on the amount you have:
|Amount of Chicken Breast by Weight||# Servings On Recipe Card||Instant Pot Cook Time|
| Instant Pot Cook Time|
|1 lb||5||4 minutes||9 minutes|
|2 lb||10||5 minutes||10 minutes|
|3 lb||15||6 minutes||11 minutes|
|4 lb||20||8 minutes||13 minutes|
|5 lb||25||10 minutes||15 minutes|
- What these times mean: These are the times you enter on your Instant Pot, and do not include time required to build pressure.
- How to scale the recipe: The chart above includes a column for “# Servings On Recipe Card” — this is what you’d set on the recipe card (at the bottom of this post) in the Servings section, to scale the ingredients to the amount of chicken you have.
- Do not adjust the amount of broth. You always need 1 cup of chicken broth for this pressure cooker chicken recipe, whether you’re making one pound, five pounds, or anything in between.
- A note on chicken breast size: How long to pressure cook chicken can vary a bit depending on how big your chicken breasts are. This recipe is based on typical 8-ounce chicken breasts. If yours are larger, you will need to increase the time by a couple of minutes.
FYI: One pound of chicken will yield 2 to 2 1/2 cups of shredded chicken.
You can make up to 5 pounds of shredded chicken in the Instant Pot at once (assuming a 6-quart pot), preferably no more than 4 pounds.
How To Shred Chicken Breast?
Once you’ve made your Instant Pot shredded chicken, it should already be very tender and easy to shred. You can use these methods to do so:
- Two Forks – You can use forks to shred chicken breast directly in the Instant Pot. Hold a piece of chicken steady with one fork, then pull and tear away the shredded pieces with the other fork. Repeat the process until all your chicken is shredded. (You can also use meat shredding claws like this, which work the same way as forks but faster, since they are larger and have more tines.)
- Hand Mixer – A hand mixer is faster than using forks, and you can use it directly in the Instant Pot as well. Drain some of the liquid temporarily, to prevent splattering, then place the beaters into the Instant Pot and turn on the mixer to shred. If your hand mixer has a slow start feature, like this one that I have, that is helpful to reduce splattering.
- Stand Mixer – A stand mixer works the same way as a hand mixer, except you’ll need to transfer the chicken into the mixer bowl.
TIP: The pressure release mechanism will impact how easy it will be to shred your Instant Pot chicken.
Natural release results in the most tender meat and the most effortless shredding, so use that if you can. At the very least, use the natural release for 5 minutes prior to using the quick release option.
- Store: Keep the chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. To retain moisture, store it with the broth or juices. I like to meal prep a big batch and keep one-pound portions in the fridge to use in different recipes.
- Freeze: Instant Pot shredded chicken is the ultimate freezer staple! Let it cool to room temperature first, then portion out into plastic bags and freeze flat. Once solid, you can store the bags upright in the freezer for 3-6 months.(Alternatively, you can freeze in batches using a vacuum sealer to make it last even longer without freezer burn.)
Ways To Use Instant Pot Chicken Breast
Once you make this Instant Pot shredded chicken breast, it’ll be so convenient to have it on hand for all kinds of recipes. Here are some of the top ways to use it:
- Soups – Chicken breast can often be cooked as part of a soup recipe, but it saves time if you already have shredded chicken on hand. Try it in spaghetti squash chicken soup or chicken detox soup.
- Salads – Use shredded chicken for hearty chicken salads, such as Mediterranean chicken salad or avocado chicken salad, or use it for topping leafy salads, such as green goddess salad or cobb salad.
- Sandwiches – Use shredded chicken on your favorite sandwich (melting cheese on top can help hold it together). Add sugar free BBQ sauce to make BBQ chicken sandwiches.
- Mexican Dishes – Shredded chicken is great for chicken tacos, a burrito bowl, or enchiladas. Serve them up with your favorite salsa. If you’ll be using the chicken for lots of Mexican recipes, you could swap the Italian seasoning in this shredded chicken recipe with taco seasoning instead, but I usually make it neutral and add the Mexican spices separately for the dishes that need them.
- Casseroles – Chicken needs to be precooked for virtually any chicken casserole, and cooking chicken breast in the Instant Pot is one of the fastest ways to do it. Try it in chicken bacon ranch casserole or chicken cordon bleu casserole.
- Mains – Having Instant Pot shredded chicken pre-made makes chicken stuffed peppers, chicken crust pizza, or stuffed poblano peppers super fast.
- Dips – Add some protein to your crack dip or queso dip, or use it in your buffalo chicken dip.
Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipe
Instant Pot Chicken Breast (Shredded)
Learn how to make shredded chicken in the Instant Pot in just 10 minutes — fresh or frozen! This Instant Pot chicken breast recipe is so easy.
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Tap underlined ingredients to see where to get them. Please turn Safari reader mode OFF to view ingredients.
Tap on the times in the instructions below to start a kitchen timer while you cook.
Place the chicken into the pressure cooker. Season with Italian seasoning, sea salt, and black pepper (or any other spices you like). Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the chicken.
Close the lid and select the either the "Poultry" or "Manual" setting. Set the time to 8 minutes for fresh chicken breast, or 13 minutes for frozen chicken breast — or use the time chart in the post above to cook other weights. (These times are for typical 8 ounce chicken breasts. If yours are larger, add a couple of minutes.)
When done, let the pressure naturally release for at least 5 minutes. After that, you can turn the valve to "Vent" for quick release if you're in a hurry, or continue natural release for the most tender texture.
Unplug the pressure cooker and use two forks to shred the chicken. (I prefer to do this right in the pressure cooker, mixing with the juices.) Drain if serving right away, or store with the broth to retain moisture.
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Serving size: 1/2 cup
Check the chart above to see how to scale this pressure cooker chicken breast recipe to any weight from 1 to 5 pounds!
Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy. Have questions about calculations or why you got a different result? Please see our nutrition policy.
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