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Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken

Instant Pot barbecue chicken is the easiest way to make the summertime favorite. This barbecue chicken recipe results in the perfect shredded chicken for sandwiches, tacos, salads and more. Make it the next time you need a quick dish to feed a crowd or for meal prep.

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken

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Good barbecue chicken is definitely a warm weather staple. You can’t beat the bold, smokey flavor of chicken on the grill smothered in sweet, spicy sauce. YUM!

The only thing with barbecue chicken on the grill is the weather has to be good and you have to have the time to make it. Grilled barbecue chicken is perfect for a beautiful, lazy summer Saturday but not so much for a quick meal on a rainy weeknight.

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Until now thanks to the handy dandy Instant Pot. This Instant Pot barbecue chicken has the quickest, least fussy prep ever. And it’s ready in about 30 minutes and totally kid friendly. Not kidding at all on that- both my garbage disposal son that eats everything and my EXTREMELY fussy daughter who lives on air alone ate these sandwiches happily. Major Mom win. #happydance

Ingredients for Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken

Ingredients for Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken: Chicken, spices, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, and water

Ingredients for Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken: Chicken, spices, brown sugar, barbecue sauce, and water

You need a few basic things for this yummy pulled chicken recipe. To make it you need:

  • Chicken- For this recipe, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts. You could also use chicken thighs if you prefer. If you have frozen chicken, thaw it first or adjust your cook time to account for the fact that it’s frozen.
  • Spices- Even though you will be using barbecue sauce, I like to add extra flavor so the bbq flavor isn’t diluted. A mix of garlic, smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin and salt and pepper provides the boost of flavor.
  • Brown Sugar- The brown sugar gives it extra sweet heat that makes bbq so yummy.
  • Water or stock- You need some sort of liquid to pressure cook the chicken.
  • Barbecue Sauce- Use your favorite store bought sauce (this is mine) or you can make your own. This pineapple barbecue sauce from my pineapple barbecue burgers would be fantastic. So would this beer barbecue sauce.

How to Make the Best Barbecue Chicken in the Instant Pot

Chicken with barbecue sauce and spices in the Instant Pot

Chicken breasts and seasonings in the Pot. Make sure to keep the sauce on top of the chicken and not underneath the chicken so you don’t get a burn notice.

This is one of the easiest I’ve ever made. To make it, just set the chicken on the trivet in the inner liner of the pot. Then pour water or stock into the inner liner of the Instant Pot. Now season the chicken. Pour on about half of the barbecue sauce. Now secure the lid on the pot and make sure the valve is set to sealing. Then pressure cook on high for 15 minutes. Once the Pot beeps, let the pot do a natural release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the valve to open so you can quick release any of the remaining pressure.

Barbecue chicken in the Instant Pot

This is how it will look when the chicken is done cooking before you shred it.

At this point, you can shred the chicken. Then you can mix the remaining barbecue sauce into the chicken directly in the Pot.

Shredded Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken

Shred the chicken. Add it back to the Pot and add more BBQ sauce.

Once the barbecue is mixed into the chicken, you have three options:

  1. Turn the Pot on Saute mode and letting the liquid in the Pot cook down and thicken slightly.
  2. Spreading the chicken out onto a baking sheet lined with foil and pop the chicken under a broiler for 3-5 minutes or until a few of the edges begin to caramelize.
  3. Serve as is!

    Shredded Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken

    You can see the charring starting to happen on some of the chicken edges if you broil it. You could let it go another minute or you could serve now.

I do recommend broiling it if you really want to replicate that smoky grilled flavor, but if you don’t want to bother with it the chicken will still be delicious. Broiling just makes it next level good.

Serving Suggestions for Shredded Barbecue Chicken

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

You can do so much with shredded barbecue chicken! We made into barbecue chicken sliders and I also used it to top a baked sweet potato. Other ideas:

  • Use it to create a zippy barbecue chicken salad.
  • Serve it in a flour or corn tortilla to make barbecue chicken tacos.
  • Top a baked potato or sweet potato with it.
  • Serve it on top of a classic macaroni and cheese recipe.
  • As a pizza topping. Nom nom nom.
  • Barbecue. Chicken. Nachos. Mic drop, hair toss.

    Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

    Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

How would you serve this Instant Pot barbecue chicken? Make it today and leave me a comment or tag me on Facebook or Instagram @seasonedsprinkles and let me know how you like it and how you served it.

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Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken


  • Author: jfletcher
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes plus time to come to pressure and release time
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x

Description

Instant Pot barbecue chicken is the easiest way to make the summertime favorite. This barbecue chicken recipe results in the perfect shredded chicken for sandwiches, tacos, salads and more. Make it the next time you need a quick dish to feed a crowd or for meal prep.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2.5 to 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2/3 cup of water or stock
  • 1 tbs chili powder
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1/2 tbs cumin
  • 1/2 tbs cayenne*
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 4 cloves of pressed garlic
  • 1 tsp salt**
  • 1 tsp black pepper**
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1.5 c of your favorite barbecue sauce, divided

Instructions

Put the chicken onto the trivet and put the trivet into the inner liner of the Pot. Then pour water or stock into the inner liner of the Instant Pot. Season the chicken well with the brown sugar, spices and garlic.  The chicken shouldn’t be directly in the liquid. Pour on about half of the barbecue sauce. Now secure the lid on the pot and make sure the valve is set to sealing. Then pressure cook on high for 15 minutes. Once the Pot beeps, let the pot do a natural release for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the valve to open so you can quick release any of the remaining pressure.

When the pressure has released, open the lid of the Pot and carefully remove the chicken. Shred the chicken on a plate and toss it any of the remaining liquid in the Pot. Add the extra barbecue sauce and stir.

At this point, either serve as is or turn the Pot on saute mode and cook the liquid down slightly prior to serving.

For best results and some barbecue caramelization, spread the shredded chicken out onto a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil and sprayed with nonstick spray. Broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until the edges of the chicken begin to char slightly.

Serve immediately in sandwiches, salads, taco, on pizza…

Notes

*The cayenne will add the slightest bit of heat to this. Omit it if you want mild bbq.

**Feel free to adjust the salt and pepper to your taste.

Store any leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

  • Category: dinner, meats and poultry
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot barbecue chicken, Instant Pot bbq chicken, pressure cooker bbq chicken, shredded barbecue chicken

Recipe rating

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