Likely the question I get asked the most: How do I make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken? Well, today is the day. Here is my go to method for ensuring tender, juicy shredded chicken that is delicious eaten straight from the pot or used in all your favorite recipes.
One of my family's favorite, FAVORITE recipes is this Mexican Inspired Crack Chicken (if you haven't made this yet, get it on your menu ASAP!). It was there that I first shared all my tips and tricks for making shreddable chicken in the pressure cooker, but it's time that this very basic recipe for Instant Pot Shredded Chicken had its very own post! Let's dive in!
HOW DO I MAKE SHREDDED CHICKEN IN MY INSTANT POT THAT'S NOT TOUGH AND CHEWY?
I swear I have tried all 599 methods I've researched on the internet and here is my conclusion (correct me if I'm wrong):
It's not going to be perfect every single time. It's the greatest mystery of my life, why it's perfection 95% of the time and then BAM! Chewy.
If you want a guarantee, use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Those thighs will not let you down ever! They are tender and juicy every single time. Since chicken breasts are still by far the most popular part of the bird used by society, let me share my technique:
MARCI'S BULLETPROOF METHOD FOR MAKING SHREDDABLE CHICKEN BREASTS AND THIGHS IN THE INSTANT POT
1) Use good quality chicken. I buy my meat from one meat department only because it gives me the best results. If you live locally that store is Smiths Market Place. They will prep all my meat for me too with big smiles on their face. I LOVE them! I also hear amazing things about Costco (so jealous of anyone who lives near a Costco).
2) Don't use giant chicken breasts. I find if they are thick breasts, they just don't work as well. I like to cut them horizontally through the center to make them thinner.
3) Season! Meat needs salt and pepper, period.
4) More time, not less. I know a lot of people say that if it's chewy, it's over cooked. Which makes sense, but if I want it to shred, I cook longer. My rule of thumb is 20 minutes.
5) Natural Release, Always.
6) Be cautious of stacking. Again, the consistency goes down when I start stacking a whole bunch of chicken on top of each other. I see people doing this all the time and wonder what magic they have discovered that I haven't!
7) How much liquid? For this recipe I only use 1/2 cup. For this amazing Chicken Enchilada Soup, the chicken is cooked in the liquid and comes out perfect every time. So for me, cook time makes a bigger difference than the amount of liquid.
8) For perfectly shredded chicken, I love to throw it in my food processor for about 5 pulses. I know a lot of people like to do it with a stand mixer, but I feel like it turns into mush. I MUCH prefer the chop of the food processor. (The image below is the Mexican Inspired Crack Chicken)
9) Once chicken is shredded, either use immediately or store it in the broth from the pot. This keeps the chicken moist and flavorful.
10) To freeze for another time, put 1 – 2 cups of shredded chicken in a freezer safe ziplock bag, add a couple of tablespoons of broth, remove as much air as possible from the bag, then seal shut. I often times use my Food Saver for this job.
BONUS – HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT CHICKEN BREASTS FOR SLICING:
That info can be found with this recipe for Instant Pot Hasselback Chicken Cordon Bleu or Buffalo Chicken Waffle Fries. It doesn't shred well, but this Rich Lum technique makes for a very moist chicken breast for slicing, dicing, or eating with a fork and knife.
Cami has an incredible use for this shredded chicken in her latest recipe for Healthy Chicken Salad. Later this week I'll be bringing you my personal favorite use for shredded chicken in the form of a Healthy Chipotle Ranch Chicken Wrap. It is phenomenal! Don't miss it!
Tools/Ingredients used to make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
Instant Pot or
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Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
Use your Instant Pot to easily make shredded chicken and use it for easy meals all week or divvy it into ziplock bags and freeze it for another time. So easy!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 4-5 cups 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- 2 – 2 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs (see note)
- kosher salt and pepper
- ½ cup chicken broth
- Add chicken breasts to the pressure cooker pot, placing them in a single layer across the bottom as much as possible. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use a natural release.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate and shred with two forks or place it in a food processor and pulse a few times for a smaller dice, being careful not to over process to the point that it turns to mush.
- Store chicken and broth from the pot in a sealed container in the fridge. Use the chicken within a few days or freeze in 1-2 cup portions for another time.
- If chicken breasts are quite large, cut them in half horizontally. I really feel like this helps them cook up more tender.
Keywords: instant pot, shredded chicken, easy meal