Easy Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken


I don’t like cooking, the Instant Pot changed that. 

After going non-stop all day, knowing I have to come home and cook, makes me make a face like the one emoji with the squinty eyes and zigzag mouth. It’s even worse when I get home from whatever after-school activity or appointment ready to make chicken and realize I DIDN’T DEFROST THE CHICKEN!

I dreaded those days the most until I started using my Instant Pot. 

Before the pandemic, I received an Instant Pot. It sat in my pantry for months because I thought, “There is no way I am going to figure out how to use this.” I was wrong.  

Then pandemic life hit. With the kids doing school from home during a global pandemic, I felt I had even less time and less headspace to figure out dinner. I was one Mom…I need help…zoom isn’t working again away from my head exploding. 

One day I was scrolling IG and saw someone cooking with an Instant Pot and talking about how it saved them because they could cook WHILE doing everything else. 

I was desperate for anything that would make “unprecedented times” easier. I was determined to figure this out.

Before I knew it, I was a multitasking maven. I could cook dinner while doing everything because I didn’t have to be by the stove. If I couldn’t make it in the Instant Pot, it wasn’t happening. 

Long story longer, the Instant Pot became my kitchen best friend (so did my air fryer, but that’s a story for another time). I am here to tell you that this mom who doesn’t like cooking is now a super chef (well, I feel like one anyway, lol). No more dreading cooking because of how time-consuming it is, no more SMH because I forgot to defrost things. 

If I can do it, anyone can.

Below is one of my favorite go-tos that gets me from “Oh no, I forgot to defrost chicken” to “time for dinner” in roughly 30 min. Let’s get to it!

Ingredients for BBQ Pulled Chicken
The ingredients for BBQ pulled chicken

Easy BBQ Pulled Chicken

  • 4 Boneless, skinless, large chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken broth, vegetable broth, or water
  • Salt, pepper, Adobo, or other seasonings you like
  1. Grab 4 medium chicken breasts out of the freezer and place them in the inner pot of the Instant Pot. Some Instant Pots come with a trivet; you can use it, but you don’t have to (the chicken breasts can be on top of one another but make sure they aren’t stuck together). 
  2. Add 1 cup of chicken broth or water to the pot.

    Adding chicken broth to the chicken in the Instant Pot
    Add broth or your choice of liquid Here is a link to some cooking and liquid ration tips. 
  3. Add salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you like on bbq chicken (see more chicken ideas below).
  4. Close the lid and turn the Instant Pot valve to sealed. 
  5. Press pressure cook and set to cook on high for 14 minutes. 
  6. Set pressure release to natural release.

    Setting the time and pressure on the Instant Pot
    Buttons vary on each model set. Mine is the Instant Pot Max.

7. Press start and wait for the chicken to cook and release naturally. It takes about 30 min total, including preheating and depressurizing. (If you are in a rush, once it’s cooked you can change the release to quick pressure release). 

8. Open and use a hand mixer to shred chicken (Be careful the liquid is hot and splatters). 

9. Mix in your favorite BBQ sauce. I like to do this after cooking because everyone wants different levels of bbq “sauciness.”

10. Serve on or off buns with sides of your choice.

A BBQ pulled chicken sandwich served with roasted potatoes and a salad
Dinner is served!

Extra Tips:

  • This recipe works for all various chicken breast recipes. 
    • I usually add things like Adobo, garlic powder, or onion powder if I want plain chicken.
    • If I am making Italian chicken, I add Italian spices.
    • If I am making it for tacos, I add paprika and cumin.
  • For less chicken, it can be around 10-12 minutes. Have no fear; if you open the pot and they are still raw, seal again and cook for a couple more minutes (the liquid quantity stays the same).
A plated BBQ chicken sandwich
A plated BBQ pulled chicken sandwich

Cooking the chicken breasts this way leaves them super tender and juicy. Air fry some fries and add some crudités or salad, and ta-da dinner is ready!

Love the Instant Pot? Check out my IP recipes for pot roast and my take on chocolate lava cake!

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Rachelle is a public relations manager turned SAHM. She is Miami born but spent most of her life moving between Florida and Colombia, finally moving back to Florida in 2017 with her husband and 2 kids. Her postpartum depression inspired her to become a maternal mental health advocate, and she started The Plentiful Cup because no mom should feel alone or unsupported. Rachelle shares her story in hopes that other women will feel more comfortable speaking up, asking for help, and practicing self-care to support their mental health. Moms gladly do everything for our families, but then what happens to us? She wants moms to know that they shouldn’t feel guilty about practicing self-care. We cannot fill anyone’s cup if ours is empty!