This Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken recipe makes a sweet and zesty pulled bbq chicken that's great for sandwiches, American-style taquitos and quesadillas, and as a pizza and flatbread topping. The Instant Pot makes it easy— cooked in only 8 minutes, you get a big pot of zesty pulled chicken fast!
Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken is a set it and forget it recipe— throw all the ingredients into the pressure cooker and walk away!
This even includes staying away from the pot when the cooking is done. Leave it to do a natural release, which keeps the chicken juicy and tender.
Chicken is mixed with barbecue sauce, dressing, garlic powder and salt + pepper and pressure cooked for a short 8 minutes. That's all it takes to create an irresistible and juicy barbecue chicken that the whole family will enjoy.
Instant Pot pulled bbq chicken can be made with your favorite barbecue sauce and Italian dressing for a flavor you're guaranteed to love.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
One of the most popular uses for pulled chicken is as a sandwich stuffer. But it doesn't need to be reserved just for sandwiches. It has many uses, such as on pizza and flatbreads. Use pulled bbq chicken as a filling for non-traditional tacos, taquitos, quesadillas, and even nachos.
It's also delicious on top of a big baked sweet potato if you're looking for a low-carb dinner.
Pulled barbecue chicken is incredibly tender, so it's also a great option for young kids who still have difficulty chewing tough meats or have texture sensitivities.
How To Use Pulled Barbecue Chicken
- as a sandwich stuffer
- to make barbecue chicken pizza or flatbread pizza
- as a filler for quesadillas
- as a filler for taquitos, mixed with mozzarella cheese
- in place of traditional Mexican-seasoned beef to make nachos!
- mix into rice bowls
- as a filler for lettuce wraps
- Chicken breasts: or a combination or breasts and thighs, fresh or frozen
- Barbecue sauce: your favorite, good quality sauce
- Italian dressing
- Garlic powder
- Salt + pepper
🔪 Step-By-Step Directions
- Add 1 cup of water, the chicken, barbecue sauce, Italian dressing, water, garlic powder, salt and pepper to the pot. Do not mix.
- Seal the lid and set the pressure cooker to high for 8 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure. Let complete a full natural release when finished.
- Remove the chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Return to the sauce and mix to coat the chicken fully.
- If sauce is too watery for your preference, thicken it prior to returning the chicken to it. To thicken, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to ¼ cup of cold water. Stir to dissolve, then add to the sauce and stir. Wait 5 minutes and repeat if necessary.
Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken
- Instant Pot
- 1 cup water
- 1 lb boneless chicken breasts *see notes
- 2 cups barbecue sauce
- ¼ cup Italian dressing
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Add water to the Instant Pot, followed by the chicken, barbecue sauce, Italian dressing, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Do not stir. Seal the lid and set to pressure cook on high for 8 minutes. The pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure.
- Allow to complete a full natural release when cook time has finished. Then transfer chicken to a cutting board and shred with a fork. Thicken sauce by adding ¼ cup of cold water mixed with 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to the sauce, if desired. Stir and return chicken to the pot.
- Serve on sandwiches, pizza, flatbreads, mixed into rice bowls or use as filling for quesadillas and tacos.
💭 Expert Tips
- The exact cook time depends on how much chicken you use. 6-8 minutes is the recommended time per 1 pound of chicken. Use a thermometer to ensure the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. You can see the official Instant Pot cooking time guidelines here.
- If using frozen chicken breasts, extend the cook time to 10 minutes.
- Extra sauce can be reserved for later use as a marinade. Freeze for up to 6 months.
🍲 How To Store
Fridge: store in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Freezer: freeze for up to 6 months.
Defrost in the fridge overnight or use the microwave for a quick thaw.
I hope you enjoy this easy barbecue chicken recipe and will let me know how it turns out in the comments below!