Instant Pot BBQ Chicken! Sweet, fall-apart tender and perfect for sandwiches, salads, BBQ plates and more!

close up shot of bbq chicken in instant pot


 

This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is an easy recipe you can make for a weeknight meal. You can use in so many ways!

I like serving it on buns for chicken sandwiches or for a delicious meal over rice. It is also one of my favorite recipe for meal prep!

It’s also delicious in a BBQ chicken salad with romaine, black beans, corn, tomatoes, avocado and ranch dressing. This chicken is versatile, easy and delicious!

However you serve it, this easy instant pot barbecue chicken is one of my favorite recipes for busy weeknights!

Table of Contents

Ingredients You’ll Need

This recipe uses a combination of boneless chicken breasts and boneless thighs. I like the texture when

Onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, brown sugar and grated onion give this chicken delicious flavor.

The flavor of this BBQ chicken really depends on what kind of BBQ sauce you use. Use your favorite bbq sauce for this instant pot bbq chicken recipe!

bbq chicken served on bun with coleslaw

How to Make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

This instant pot pulled chicken can be made in 4 easy steps.

  1. Place the ingredients in the instant pot in this order: chicken broth (or water), chicken, onion powder, garlic, powder, paprika, salt, BBQ sauce, grated onion, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. (Do NOT stir. You want the water to stay on the bottom of the pot so the instant pot comes to pressure.)
  2. Place the lid on the instant pot making sure the valve is in the sealing position. Press manual (high pressure) and set the cook time to 15 minutes.
  3. Let the pressure natural release for 10 minutes. Then quick release the venting position to remove the remaining pressure.
  4. Remove the cooked chicken and shred it. Reduce the liquid by pressing the “saute” button and simmering the sauce until thickened if necessary. Add the shredded meat back into the sauce.

Note: This recipe has been updated since the video was published. In recent years I’ve recommended add a cup of water or chicken broth, not stirring, removing the chicken and reducing the liquid, then adding the chicken back in. This ensures the instant pot doesn’t give you the dreaded burn notice!

overhead shot of bbq chicken in instant pot with white background

I like using a combination of chicken breasts and chicken thighs for the meat. The meat turns out so much more moist this way than compared to using all chicken breasts.

I used to make BBQ chicken in the slow cooker all the time, but now I prefer it in the instant pot. It is so easy to throw everything in and walk away. Plus it takes just a fraction of the time.

For an allergy-friendly meal, enjoy this on toasted gluten-free buns with a side of my favorite Dairy-Free Coleslaw! You also might like these bbq nachos.

image for pinterest - overhead shot of bbq chicken in instant pot with white background

Expert Tips and Tricks

Use Gluten-Free Worcestershire Sauce: Not all brands are gluten-free so check the label! I use Lea and Perrins which is gluten-free.

Choose a Good BBQ Sauce: The flavor of this chicken is highly dependent on what kind of BBQ sauce you use. I love the flavor of Sweet Baby Ray’s – but lately I’ve been using Stubbs Sweet Sticky BBQ sauce (such a good price on Amazon!) because it doesn’t contain high-fructose corn syrup. Use your favorite barbecue sauce!

Chicken Breasts + Thighs = Yum: I like using a combination of chicken breast and thighs in this recipe. The chicken thighs keep the dish moist and delicious!

More Instant Pot Recipes

I hope you like this recipe as much as we do! If you try it be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. I’d love to hear from you!

bbq chicken in instant pot with marble background and blue striped towel
4.96 from 266 votes

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken! Sweet, fall-apart tender and perfect for sandwiches, salads, BBQ plates and more!
Note: This recipe has been updated since the video was published. In recent years I've recommended adding a little more liquid, not stirring, removing the chicken and reducing the liquid, then adding the chicken back in. This ensures the chicken doesn't burn! This method has worked well for hundreds of reviewers!

Video

Ingredients

  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup grated onion plus juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Instructions 

  • Place the ingredients in the instant pot in this order: chicken stock (or water), chicken, onion powder, garlic, powder, paprika, salt, BBQ sauce, grated onion, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Do NOT stir. You want the water to stay on the bottom of the pot so the instant pot comes to pressure.
  • Place the lid on the instant pot making sure the valve is in the sealing position. Press manual (high pressure) and set to 15 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. Then quick release the venting position to release the remaining pressure and open the pot.
  • Remove the chicken and shred it. If necessary, reduce the liquid by pressing the "saute" button and simmering the sauce, stirring often, until thickened. Add the chicken back to the sauce before serving.
  • Add more BBQ sauce if desired. Shred and enjoy on sandwiches, salads, BBQ plates and more!

Notes

This recipe was UPDATED in June 2019 with new instructions to prevent the instant pot from burning on the bottom. By adding 1 cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the pot and not stirring it should come to pressure and not burn regardless of the thickness of your BBQ sauce. 
You may want to remove the chicken and reduce the sauce by pressing “saute” on the instant pot and simmering the sauce until thickened, stirring often. 

Nutrition

Calories: 564kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 196mg | Sodium: 1153mg | Potassium: 791mg | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 385IU | Vitamin C: 2.6mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 1.9mg

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Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I saved this recipe YEARS ago and come back to make it at least monthly. I make in the Instant Pot with frozen chicken breast and it consistently comes out amazing.

  2. I can’t wait to try this! If I double the recipe do I pressure cook for the same length of time or is it better to do 2 batches…

  3. 5 stars
    Is there a way to make this recipe on a stove top? I make it all the time in my InstaPot and absolutely love it, but I’m going to be camping without an InstaPot or CrockPot and want to know if it’ll work while out and about. Thanks!

    1. Hi Amy! I think this should work on the stovetop if you add a little extra water or chicken stock/broth. You can simmer the chicken for 30 minutes or so until it’s cooked through and then shred. I hope it works!

    2. Camping tip: Make this ahead of time at home, then freeze into ziploc bags and toss in your cooler/fridge for camping and reheat on your campstove! I do this when we go camping and it’s super convenient and no need to travel with raw meat!

    1. Yes leftovers will freeze great! Just let the chicken cool, then place it in an airtight freezer bag or container.

    1. You can keep the cook time the same when using frozen chicken. It will take longer to come up to temperature but the cook time is the same. Just be sure the chicken isn’t frozen into one big chunk. If it is I like to defrost it and break it up into individual pieces before cooking it.

  4. 5 stars
    This makes the best Bbq sandwiches we have ever had. This is my go to recipe and I will never use another! Idk how many times we have enjoyed this recipe and I have never had a problem with getting a burn error. Five stars!

  5. 5 stars
    Delicious! I increased the chicken stock to 1 1/2 cups and the BBQ sauce a little to accommodate my 8qt Instant Pot. Used the saute function to reduce and it all worked out perfectly.

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