This Instant Pot BBQ shredded chicken became an instant favorite in my house. Some links in this post are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
My kids prefer to have variety for dinner. On busy nights with activities, I need something fun they’ll eat that doesn’t take time to make.
Bonus points that this Instant Pot BBQ shredded chicken can hold warm in the Instant Pot while we’re out and about and tastes just as good when the last person eats as when the first person does.
With this recipe, I make a quick rub for the chicken that I apply to maximize the flavor the meat absorbs. It takes just a few minutes, but it tastes so much better than just cooking it with BBQ sauce.
Speaking of BBQ sauce, I tend to use a Carolina style sauce to cook with, since it’s my daughter’s favorite. This is a thinner BBQ sauce, so if you use a thicker Kansas City style, you will want to thin it slightly with vinegar or chicken stock to ensure you don’t get the burn notice.
Looking for more great Instant Pot recipes? Check out my favorites at the end of this article.
Usually, I make my own BBQ sauce and use it. It’s surprisingly easy to do, and you can adjust it to your taste preferences. This works equally well with store bought sauce, however.
Make sure to put your chicken on the bottom and pour the BBQ sauce on top at the end. Do not stir it, as the sugars on the bottom may cause an issue.
I also like to slice onion, saute it with a bit of oil, and start with that at the bottom of my Instant Pot. If you don’t have any onion or want to save time, add a teaspoon of onion powder to your spice rub instead.
How to Make Instant Pot BBQ Shredded Chicken
Start with your spice rub. Add cocoa powder, brown sugar, smoked paprika, mustard powder, salt, and pepper to a small bowl. Stir together until combined.
Chop your half onion and set it aside. You don’t need to dice it finely, as it will basically melt and fall apart during the cooking.
Turn your Instant Pot to saute. Once it heats, add oil to the bottom of the liner. Add the onion and let it cook for a minute, then tun off the Instant Pot while you prep your chicken.
Pat the spice rub onto your chicken, and then rub it in to coat all sides. I usually use chicken breasts with this because my family prefers them, but if you like chicken thighs, use them instead.
Add the chicken to your Instant Pot. Add the chicken stock (do you make homemade chicken stock?), then drizzle the liquid smoke over it. Pour on the BBQ sauce last, then close the lid and seal.
Set your Instant Pot to cook for 13 minutes for thicker chicken breasts, 11 minutes for thin ones. Let it natural pressure release for 10 minutes before you open.
Return the shredded chicken to the liquid in the pot, and stir it with a wooden spoon to ensure the liquid coats all the meat. If you have a lot of liquid remaining, turn the Instant Pot to saute and reduce it for a few minutes.
Otherwise, serve your Instant Pot BBQ shredded chicken immediately. I love to toast a bun and put it on there with some extra BBQ sauce. My daughter prefers to eat it over a baked potato, while my son eats it any which way he can.
Try this with nachos, chilled on a salad, or as a southwestern burrito bowl with tomatoes and cheese. Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.
Have you ever made Instant Pot shredded chicken?
More of my favorite Instant Pot recipes:
- Tomato lime chicken
- Lemon garlic chicken
- Potato and corn chowder
- Chicken Paprikash
- Easy meatballs and sauce for spaghetti
- French onion soup
- Sweet and smoky baked beans
- Carnitas – perfect for tacos and burrito bowls
- Mashed potatoes
- Wisconsin cheese soup (stovetop recipe also available)
- Corn chowder
- Spanish rice (one of my most popular recipes!)
- Creamy chickpea tomato soup (with adaptation to make on stovetop)
- Easy peasy tomato soup
- Homemade chicken stock
- Updated (healthier) honey bourbon chicken
- Chicken curry
- Pulled pork
- Broccoli cheddar soup
- Chicken Tikka Masala
- Risotto with peas and lemon
- Cinnamon apples
- Chicken and rice soup
- Creamy polenta
- Beef with garlic sauce and veggies
- 1 t cocoa powder
- 1 T brown sugar
- 1 T smoked paprika
- 1 t mustard powder
- 1 t salt
- 1/2 t pepper
- 1 T oil
- 1/2 onion
- 1 1/2 lb chicken breasts
- 1/2 c chicken stock
- 3/4 t liquid smoke
- 1 c BBQ sauce
- Add cocoa powder, brown sugar, smoked paprika, mustard powder, salt, and pepper to small bowl. Stir to combine.
- Rough chop half an onion and set aside.
- Turn Instant Pot to saute. Once hot, add oil then onion and let cook for one minute, then tun off.
- Pat the spice rub onto chicken and rub in. Add chicken to Instant Pot. Top with chicken stock, liquid smoke, and BBQ sauce. Close lid and seal.
- Set your Instant Pot to cook for 13 minutes for thicker chicken breasts, 11 minutes for thin ones. Let it natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
- Shred chicken, then return to the pot and stir. Serve immediately.
- Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge up to 2-3 days.
- If you use a thicker BBQ sauce, thin it with vinegar or chicken stock before you pour it over to prevent the burn notice.
- I use chicken breasts because my family prefers them, but sub chicken thighs if you like.
- You can use this with frozen chicken, as well, though it's better with fresh. Increase the cooking time by 5 minutes for frozen chicken.
- If you have a lot of liquid remaining once you shred the chicken, turn the IP to saute and let it reduce for a few minutes.
- I add extra BBQ sauce when I serve this, but sauce it as much or as little as you prefer once it's cooked.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1 serving
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 187Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 586mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 1gSugar: 11gProtein: 22g
This site uses an outside source to provide nutrition. If you need exact details, please calculate yourself.
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