Skip to Content

Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken

This Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken is such a delicious recipe that makes a filling meal. You’ll enjoy every juicy bite of shredded chicken smothered in a delicious zesty barbecue sauce.

Save time and mess by skipping the grill and make this tender Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken. Grab your spices and a couple of pounds of chicken breasts and you’ll have this tender meal prepared in no time.

Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken sandwich.

Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken recipe.

 

Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken Recipe

We all know barbecue chicken is always a hit during the summer, especially for serving a crowd for a party. This meal will serve your entire family and friends at your backyard barbecue, pool party, game days or any fun get-together.

Why you’ll love this recipe:

  • Pressure cooking is the quickest way to make shredded BBQ chicken because the meat is cooked with high pressure. Where as using a slow cooker will take hours.
  • Easy prep for an easy dinner.
  • Ready in less than 30 minutes.
  • Tender and juicy, the Instant Pot doesn’t dry out the chicken.
  • Makes the best BBQ chicken sandwich.
  • One pot meal with easy clean up.

Not to mention the fact that this easy weeknight meal is a phenomenal option to use for meal prep with minimal effort.

Two shredded bbq chicken sandwiches in a plastic serving basket lined with parchment paper. Served with tater tots and cole slaw. Instant pot in the background.

Is Shredded BBQ Chicken and Pulled BBQ Chicken the Same?

Yes, shredded and pulled chicken are the same thing. Depending on where you’re from, you might describe the recipe one way or the other. But no doubt, pulled BBQ chicken is the same recipe.

More Favorite Instant Pot Recipes

Instant Pot Shrimp Scampi

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken Dip

Instant Pot Chicken Fajita Soup Recipe (Easy!)

Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce

Kitchen Tools

You only need a few items to make Instant Pot pulled BBQ chicken:

Instant Pot

Measuring Cup

Measuring Spoons

Mixing Bowl

Whisk

Meat Shredders or Two Forks

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll need to make Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken:

CHICKEN BREASTS: This recipe calls for 2 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts, which is approximately 4-5 chicken breasts.

BBQ SAUCE: I use Sweet Baby Ray’s Original barbecue sauce, I love the flavor, thickness and despite the name, the original isn’t very sweet. As always, use your favorite barbecue sauce or your own homemade BBQ sauce recipe to get the flavor you enjoy.

CHICKEN BROTH: Chicken broth will help tenderize and keep the chicken meat juicy.

BROWN SUGAR: Optional ingredient. If you like a sweet sauce, then adding brown sugar is for you.

SPICES: The spices make this easy recipe flavorful.

  • Chili Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika
  • Pepper
  • Salt

ENGLISH MUSTARD: English mustard has a stronger flavor, but you can easily substitute with a spicy mustard or yellow mustard if you prefer.

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: Apple Cider Vinegar adds a tangy taste to the sauce.

WORCESTERSHIRE SAUCE: It may be hard to say, but it’s important for this pulled chicken recipe, so don’t skip it.

Instant pot shredded BBQ chicken ingredients displayed on counter top in small bowls with raw chicken on a plate. Instant Pot in the background.

 

Recipe Instructions

Here are the step-by-step directions for this simple recipe:

STEP 1: Make the sauce. In medium-sized bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients: BBQ sauce, chicken broth, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Whisk together until well blended. 

 

Glass mixing bowl of BBQ sauce with all recipe spices dumped on top with a wooden spoon inside the bowl.

 

STEP 2: Optional – for a sweeter sauce, add brown sugar and stir well. If you do not like sweet BBQ sauce, skip this step.

BBQ sauce in a glass bowl with a half cup of brown sugar dumped on top with a wooden spoon in the bowl.

 

Here’s how the barbecue sauce will appear after all ingredients are well mixed.

All BBQ suace ingredients stirred together in a medium bowl with wooden spoon.

 

STEP 3: Place your chicken breasts inside the bottom of the pot in a single layer. A little bit of overlap is fine.

Four raw chicken breasts in a single, even layer on the bottom of the Instant Pot.

 

STEP 4: Next, add in your BBQ sauce mix on top of the chicken breasts.

Barbecue sauce poured into the instant pot on top of the chicken breasts.

 

STEP 5: Secure the lid onto the Instant Pot. Cook chicken on the Poultry setting for 20 minutes.

STEP 6: Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure.

STEP 7: Once finished, remove the cooked chicken from the Instant Pot and place in a separate bowl. Shred chicken using meat shredders or two forks.

Shredding cooked chicken in a glass bowl with two forks.

 

STEP 8: Place the chicken back in the Instant Pot to warm and coat thoroughly with sauce.

Shredded chicken inside the instant pot with sauce.

 

Serve up as BBQ chicken sandwiches on a brioche bun. Add more BBQ sauce on top of the chicken for a juicer sandwich.

Two pulled bbq chicken sandwiches stacked on top of each other in a black plastic basket lined with parchment paper. The instant pot showing in the background.

 

Tips

Here are a few tips to make the best instant pot pulled chicken:

  • Use chicken breasts that are all the same thickness so they cook evenly.
  • Try not to stack the chicken in the Instant Pot. Place in a single, even layer so all the pieces of chicken get the same amount of high heat and pressure.
  • If using extra thick chicken, add a few extra minutes to the cook time.
  • Use a meat thermometer to make sure the thickest part of the chicken reaches 165 F to ensure they are fully cooked.

Variations

You can make variations to this easy instant pot BBQ chicken recipe to match your tastes:

  • Sweetness: If you like a sweeter sauce you can add a little more brown sugar or use a sweeter BBQ sauce such as Sweet Baby Rays Honey BBQ Sauce.
  • Spicy Sauce: Use spicy mustard or add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (make sure to omit brown sugar).
  • Juicier Chicken: Substitute 1 chicken breast with 1-2 boneless skinless chicken thighs to add dark meat to the mix.
  • Spices: Change them up to your liking.

Adding mustard to the medium bowl of BBQ sauce.

 

Can I use Frozen Chicken Breasts?

Yes, you can make Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken using frozen chicken breasts.

Make sure the chicken isn’t all clumped together. You may have to let them thaw just a little in order to pull them apart if they are stuck together.

To pressure cook frozen chicken breasts you’ll also need to adjust the cooking time by adding 5-6 minutes.

Can I Use a Quick Release?

You can, but you risk having less flavorful and tender chicken. Once the chicken is done cooking, you should allow the pressure to naturally release.

This means, instead of moving the quick release valve and having the steam shoot out the top, you’re allowing the pressure to naturally dissipate and continue cooking the meat. Plus, with the natural release, the flavors get a chance to marinate and simmer for longer amongst the heat.

Natural pressure release is more gentle on the chicken inside the pot and will help it stay tender.

How to Serve BBQ Pulled Chicken

Instant Pot Shredded BBQ chicken can be served in a lot of yummy of ways! Here’s a list of ways to enjoy it:

  • Make BBQ chicken sandwiches on hamburger buns / brioche buns.
  • Make BBQ chicken sliders for serving a crowd.
  • Keep it healthy and serve it as is with side dishes.
  • Wrap it up as lettuce wraps.
  • On top of a salad.
  • Make BBQ chicken nachos.
  • Add it on top of a baked potato.

How to Store Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken

If you have leftover shredded chicken, you can keep it in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in an airtight container.

Upclose view of a shredded bbq chicken sandwich on a brioche bun.

 

 

This Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken recipe was a joy to create and I seriously recommend you try this if the urge strikes to fire up the grill and you just can’t do it. This dish has so much flavor and using an Instant Pot is truly the easiest way to get this delicious dinner on the table.

Yield: 6

Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken

Shredded BBQ chicken in the instant pot.

This Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken is such a delicious recipe that makes a filling meal. You'll enjoy every juicy bite of shredded chicken smothered in a delicious zesty barbecue sauce.

Save time and mess by skipping the grill and make this tender Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken. Grab your spices and a couple of pounds of chicken breasts and you'll have this tender meal prepared in no time.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lb Chicken Breasts, approximately 4-5
  • 1 1/2 cups BBQ Sauce
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons English-Style Mustard, or Dijon or yellow, if preferred
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, optional

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized bowl, combine all the sauce ingredients: BBQ sauce, chicken broth, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Whisk together until well blended. 
  2. Optional: add brown sugar and stir well. If you do not want a sweet BBQ sauce, skip this step.
  3. Place chicken breasts inside the bottom of the pot in a single layer.
  4. Add in the BBQ sauce mix on top of the chicken breasts.
  5. Secure the lid onto the Instant Pot. Cook chicken on the Poultry setting for 20 minutes.
  6. Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure.
  7. Remove cooked chicken from the Instant Pot and place in a separate bowl. Shred chicken using meat shredders or two forks.
  8. Place the chicken back in the Instant Pot to warm and coat thoroughly with sauce.

Notes

See recipe post for variations and tips.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 506Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 161mgSodium: 1291mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 1gSugar: 39gProtein: 60g

Nutritional values are estimates and not exact.

Let's Be Social

Follow along on Pinterest for more great recipes!

Sharing is Appreciated!

Skip to Recipe