For those days when your energy level is at “cold cereal”, but you're craving “backyard barbecue”, this easy, satisfying Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken has got your back! Less than 30-minute meal comin' at ya!
But sometimes you just want a big ol' pile of juicy, shredded chicken, smothered in BBQ sauce that tastes like it has been simmered for hours, and you want it in less than 30 minutes with minimal effort.
I busted the code, it's here, your new favorite BBQ Pulled Chicken recipe.
I could sing this meal praises for days because not only is it easy, but the kiddos cheer for it, the hubby loves it, and my mom doesn't let it sit in her fridge until it can't safely be eaten anymore . . . It's a win all around!
So here we go: New favorite, make it in minutes, back pocket dinner recipe comin' at ya!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE INSTANT POT BBQ PULLED CHICKEN
- STRESS-FREE: Yes, we've been through this, but effortless, satisfying meals are a must. This is that meal!
- COOKED ALL DAY FLAVOR IN MINUTES: Whether you're using store bought or Homemade BBQ Sauce, the flavor is going to be there. A few extra ingredients are added to make sure the Instant Pot doesn't water down that intense, tangy, sweet flavor you expect in your BBQ.
- THE SLAW: I simply can't have BBQ anything without a slaw close by. Instead of a mayo-laden version, this tangy cilantro lime slaw is a light and refreshing addition. Keeping with the “easy” vibe, a bag of shredded coleslaw mix is absolutely okay.
- VERSATILE: This chicken served on a soft, cushy roll is of course a must, but it can do so much more. Pizza, tacos, stuffed sweet potato, loaded BBQ chicken salad – these leftovers will keep your dinner life easy all week.
HOW TO MAKE BBQ PULLED CHICKEN IN THE PRESSURE COOKER
- Throw the chicken and sauce ingredients into the Instant Pot to cook
- When done, shred the chicken into the sauce
- Mix up the slaw, you're done
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
- THE CHICKEN: Chicken breast or chicken tenderloins both work great here, but, if using chicken breast, cut it into tenderloin-shaped strips. This ensures it will be tender and flavorful. Chicken thighs can also be used, but the sauce will be a bit greasy.
- LAYER CORRECTLY: To keep the ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mustard from burning to the bottom of the pot, make sure to add the chicken and liquids first, then top with the sauces.
- THICKEN THE SAUCE: Due to the juices from the chicken, the sauce will be on the thinner side. If you want it thicker, you can simmer it or add extra BBQ sauce at the end after the chicken is shredded.
- COLESLAW HACK: Shredding your own cabbage is going the extra mile here. If you want it easy, buy a bag of coleslaw mix and add extra shredded carrots and cilantro to jazz it up.
- DOUBLE IT: The cook time is kept short by cutting the chicken into smaller pieces and keeping it in one layer to cook. This recipe will double great as long as you press the chicken into one layer as much as possible. If there is a little stacking it will be fine as long as the chicken is cut as instructed in the recipe.
HOW TO STORE, REHEAT, AND FREEZE
- Store: Cool leftovers and store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- Reheat: Leftovers can be gently reheated in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave until just heated through.
- Freeze: Cool leftovers and freeze flat inside a freezer safe bag. This will make it quick to thaw later. When ready to eat, let thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as directed above.
MAKE AHEAD TIPS
If making it for a party or gathering, the chicken can be cooked, shredded, and stored in the fridge up to 3 days in advance. I suggest reheating it gently on the stovetop or in the Instant Pot on saute to avoid drying it out in the microwave. To serve, set the Instant Pot on the low slow cook setting to keep it warm.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH BBQ PULLED CHICKEN
- Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
- Instant Pot Salt Potatoes
- Instant Pot Baked Potatoes
- Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot Vegetable Medley
- BBQ Ranch Pulled Chicken: Stir in a drizzle of your favorite ranch dressing after the chicken is shredded.
- BBQ Pulled Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potato: Pile chicken on a sweet potato and top it with the slaw.
- BBQ Chicken Pizza: Top a pizza crust with the chicken and sauce, add pineapple, onions, and cheese; bake.
- BBQ Chicken Salad: Crunchy romaine, BBQ Chicken, black beans, corn, grape tomatoes, and fried onions from a can topped with ranch dressing – my favorite variation.
Easy dinners save mamas (and papas, grandparents, college students, and more). I'm so happy to have this BBQ Chicken recipe in your hands to enjoy all year round.
Let me know what you think in the comments below after you make it. I love to hear from you!
MORE INSTANT POT CHICKEN RECIPES
- Instant Pot Crack Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
- Instant Pot Chicken Wings
- Instant Pot Coconut Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Cordon Bleu Pasta
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT BBQ PULLED CHICKEN
Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken
Easy, quick Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken with that “cooked all day” kind of flavor.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 6 minutes
- Total Time: 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
For the chicken:
- 2 – 3 pounds chicken tenderloins or chicken breasts cut into about 3 strips each
- ¼ cup chicken broth or water
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup ketchup
- ½ cup BBQ sauce – store bought or homemade
- 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the slaw:
- 4 – 5 cups shredded cabbage (green, purple, or both)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- fresh lime juice
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- fresh ground black pepper
For serving: Rolls or Hamburger buns
- Add chicken, broth, worcestershire sauce, and vinegar to the pressure cooker pot. Make sure the chicken is in a single layer as much as possible.
- Top chicken with ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Do not stir, this will prevent the thick sauces from burning onto the bottom of the pot.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 6 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, turn off the pressure cooker and let pressure naturally release for at least 10 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure.
- Shred chicken right in the pot.
- Prepare coleslaw by tossing cabbage, carrots, and cilantro with lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
- To serve, place chicken on a roll and top with a scoop of slaw.
- Cutting the chicken into slices ensures that it is tender and infused with flavor.
- Make sure ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mustard are on top of the chicken to pressure cook. This will prevent it from burning.
- This isn’t a super saucy chicken. If you’d like a thicker sauce, add extra BBQ sauce after the chicken has been shredded.
- To make quick work of the coleslaw, use a bag of pre-shredded coleslaw mix.
Keywords: BBQ Pulled Chicken, Pulled Chicken, Instant Pot Chicken
Welcome! I’m Marci, wife to my motorcycle dream man and mother of 3. I have a passion for creating and cooking delicious masterpieces in my kitchen and am ecstatic to share my discoveries on TIDBITS! I like my food tasty, wholesome, memorable, and always, ALWAYS followed by dark, salty chocolate.