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+ servings
bbq chicken in instant pot with marble background and blue striped towel

Meaningful Eats

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

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!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 cup chicken stock or water
  • 2 lbs chicken thighs
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups BBQ sauce
  • ½ 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!



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. 


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