Easy Instant Pot Chicken – this chicken dinner recipe is done in under 30 minutes and is perfect every time. We love using our instant pot for chicken!
If you’re scared of using your instant pot, don’t be. I’m going to cover everything you need to know about making chicken in your pressure cooker so you can get dinner on the table – easy!
You may wonder…why do I need a pressure cooker if I have a slow cooker? If you ever look at the clock and realize it’s 4pm and you never turned on the slow cooker, than an Instant Pot is for you. (Hint: that’s me all the time!)
Pressure cookers of today are not our grandmother’s pressure cooker; they’re digital and electric and totally safe if you use them correctly. They can cook a wide range of things from chicken to beef, soup to stew, even cheesecake! (If you have a pressure cooker but are afraid to use it, I recommend this cookbook. It’s AMAZING!)
I find that I love the flavor of chicken breasts and pot roast better when it’s made in an Instant Pot. Something about the way it cooks ensures perfection every time.
This simple instant pot chicken recipe is a versatile chicken recipe good for any busy weeknight. It’s flavorful and goes great with so many side dishes!
This cooking liquid for this chicken is based off of my mom’s turkey baste. I absolutely love the flavors of soy and brown sugar that the sauce provides. Just smelling it reminds me of home.
Each pressure cooker works a bit differently, but the basics are the same.
- You have to have at least one cup of liquid in the pot for it to come to pressure.
- You have to lock the lid and make sure the toggle is in the position to hold the steam in.
- It takes about 10 minutes or so (depending on the recipe) for the pot to come up to pressure. Once it does, the timer counts down.
- After cooking, some recipes require quick release and some require slow/natural release.
All about Quick vs. Natural Release in the Instant Pot
Quick Release is when you flip the toggle open and the steam releases immediately. Quick release can be used for vegetables or chicken breasts or other items you don’t want to overcook. Always be careful when releasing pressure: use a utensil to flip the switch and stand back.
Natural Release (or slow release) is when you leave the toggle alone after cooking. The steam naturally releases from the cooker over time, which takes several minutes (at least 20-30). Natural release is best for things that will foam or bubble over, like soup, or for meat that should rest (like a roast).
Intermittent Release is a mix between the two. In an intermittent release you allow the pressure cooker to naturally release for about 10 minutes, then do a quick release. I often do this with roasts or other things I’m too impatient to wait for.
No matter what, follow the directions in your recipe. Be sure to read the recipe all the way through: a natural release on something that fills up an Instant Pot will take a long time to cook.
Now that we know how an Instant Pot works, let’s talk about how to make the best easy pressure cooker chicken recipe.
FAQ about Instant Pot Chicken
How does a pressure cooker work?
Each pressure cooker works differently because it has different settings. The basic concept of a pressure cooker is that it uses steam at high temperatures to cook the food at pressure.
How do you cook chicken in the instant pot?
Mix together the sauce ingredients and add it and the chicken breasts to the pot. Place the lid on the pot, make sure the toggle is in the correct position, and lock the lid. Turn the pressure to high for the desired amount of time, then do a quick release when it’s done.
How long do you cook chicken breasts in the instant pot?
The length of cook time depends on the size of the chicken breasts and if they start out fresh or frozen.
What kind of release do you do for instant pot chicken breasts?
Quick Release is when you flip the toggle open and the steam releases immediately. Natural Release (or slow release) is when you leave the toggle alone after cooking. Which method you use depends on the recipe, but I prefer natural release.
Fresh vs. Frozen Chicken Breasts
- Fresh chicken breasts: set the pressure cooker for 10 minutes and do a quick release. If you’re using organic (smaller) or thin sliced breasts, 8 minutes is a better option.
- Frozen chicken breasts: first, make sure they are not frozen together. I like using flash frozen breasts because they are frozen separately. If you have a big hunk of frozen chicken it’s not going to cook correctly. Frozen breasts take about 15 minutes on high and do a quick release.
I like to make a big instant pot of chicken on Mondays and eat off it all week long. This is the perfect and flavorful recipe for chicken!
Other Chicken Recipes that come in handy:
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- Oven baked chicken breasts
- Instant Pot Chicken Parmesan
- Crockpot Mushroom Chicken
- Easy Chicken Parmesan
- Oven Baked BBQ Chicken
- All my Chicken Recipes
Serve this chicken with these other dishes:
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Instant Pot Chicken
- 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken stock
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 pound chicken breasts, thawed
- Add soy sauce, brown sugar, chicken stock, and pepper to the insert of an instant pot or electric pressure cooker. Stir.
- Add the chicken breasts into the liquid.
- Place lid on the pressure cooker and lock. Make sure the pressure valve is set to keep steam inside.
- For fresh chicken breasts: Use poultry setting and cook on high pressure for about 10 minutes. When instant pot has finished, use a fork or utensil to do a quick release.
- For frozen chicken breasts: Use poultry setting and cook on high pressure for about 15 minutes. When instant pot has finished, use a fork or utensil to do a quick release. Make sure your frozen breasts are separated, not in one big ball of ice or it will take longer to come to pressure and longer to cook.
- Remove chicken from pot and slice. Drizzle with sauce and serve as desired.
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Mushroom chicken foil packets are easy to make!
Lemon Herb Chicken is an easy grilled recipe.
Baked Taco Chicken is my favorite!
Last Updated on May 13, 2020
All text and images © DOROTHY KERN for Crazy for Crust. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be accurate.
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Published on: September 11, 2018