Instant Pot BBQ Chicken! Sweet, fall-apart tender and perfect for sandwiches, salads, BBQ plates and more!
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!
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!
How to Make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
This instant pot pulled chicken can be made in 4 easy steps.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Let the pressure natural release for 10 minutes. Then quick release the venting position to remove the remaining pressure.
- 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!
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.
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!
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
- 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
- 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!
Awesome recipe! I use smoked paprika and added about 1/2 TBSP of chili powder, reduced the brown sugar to 1 TBSP. Family loves it!
So easy and the chicken came out so tender. Was practically shredding itself when I took it out of the pot!
Turned out good, there was a lot of liquid after i took the chicken out to shred so I turned it on high sauté while shredding. Used boneless thighs and chicken too.
This was sooo good! Want to make it for a party of 30. How does it reheat? I want to make a large foil pan of this the night before and heat up in the oven before the party. Can you make this a head? Thank you
Hands down the best BBQ shredded chicken recipe I have ever made. I don’t usually leave recipe review – but for this one I had to do so. After reducing the sauce it was totally perfect! I don’t like a ton of heavy sauce on/in my BBQ pork or chicken – it masks the flavor of the protein, IMHO. This recipe fits the bill – served on brioche buns (can find them at Aldi) paired w slaw and green beans – can’t be beat!! Thank you for sharing this recipe
I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Glad it worked well to reduce the sauce!
Soooo what do you do with all the water that’s leftover? This recipe was confusing to me..
Can this recipe be mad using just boneless chicken breast? Should cooking times be adjusted to ensure the meat doesn’t dry out?
Yes this can be made with chicken breast just fine. The cooking time will stay the same!
Cooked this at the firehouse and it’s always a hit. I used to get a lot of teasing for cooking in crockpots and instapots but once we’re on a fire for hours, it’s either done and staying warm in crock or done by the time everyone is cleaned up. I never thought one of the things I’ll miss most was cooking for the crew.271 days to go and I’m outta here!
I’m so glad the recipe works well for your crew! Thanks for the comment 🙂
Thank you for your service as a firefighter 🙂
Thank you for your service
Does the time need to be adjusted for frozen chicken?
Would this turn out just as good in a crock pot?
Yes this works great in the crockpot! You can cook it on low for 4-5 hours.
Would doubling (or 1.5x) this recipe call for a longer cook time? Thanks!
Nope! The cook time will remain the same.
Just made this, it came out great… I didn’t add the brown sugar and used sugar free BBQ sauce. I used the saute function to thicken the sauce with a little corn starch while I was shredding the chicken. It was perfect… Definitely a new recipe to add to our busy weekday menu.. Thank you!!!
Tried this last night. It was amazing.
I have a question on the nutritional information. Where would the 35 grams of carbs come from? Seems kinda high to me based on the ingredients.
My guess would be from the BBQ sauce and other sauce ingredients. I’m glad you liked the recipe!
This recipe will now be on rotation in our kitchen; thank you for sharing!
I’m glad you enjoyed it! 🙂
Made this last night. I added 2tbs apple cider vinegar & 1/2 seeded jalapeño. I used 3 frozen chicken breasts cooked for 15 min with a 10 min release. The extra juice absorbs when you shred your chicken and you can hit sauté at the end to help reduce the juice. It came out perfect.
Very easy recipe to follow! There was too much liquid at the end, but luckily I saw the comment about sautéing at the end to thicken up the sauce and it worked! All the family liked it! Even the picky eater!!
I love this technique for pulled chicken! And I’ve become much more a fan of pulled chicken as opposed to pulled pork How much time should I add if I’m using frozen boneless skinless chicken thighs (I prefer using exclusively thighs w/o the addition of breasts)? They’re thawed enough to break them apart, but still pretty much frozen solid. Thanks!