Instant Pot Shredded Chicken is an easy chicken dinner in 30 minutes! In this post you’ll learn how to use the pressure cooker to make shredded chicken from frozen or fresh!
Use the shredded chicken for dinners or lunches all week – this is a great meal prep recipe.
If I’ve found one thing that helps me eat healthier it’s meal planning and prep. If I don’t have my meals planned for the week I will make unhealthy meals or grab takeout; if I don’t have my lunches prepped I’ll eat bread and cheese.
I decided that I’m going to make an effort every week to do some meal prep. I started last week and it worked: I never wondered what was for lunch and getting dinner on the table was easy.
(Of course then I came down with a horrible cold and this weekend slept instead of meal prepping…but I’ll get back to it in a few days, ha!)
Chicken is the protein that we eat most often, so that’s where I started for my meal prepping. Having a large batch of shredded chicken in my fridge makes it so easy to make lunch and dinner.
Table of Contents
Why an Instant Pot?
First of all, y’all need an Instant Pot if you don’t have one. Any electric pressure cooker is fine, but if you don’t have one yet, go with the real thing. (I have another brand and don’t like it near as much as my Instant Pot.) I know it’s a pain to have so many kitchen appliances, but this one is worth it.
I know that you can make slow cooker shredded chicken but trust me when I say that it tastes better in the pressure cooker.
I also find that crockpot shredded chicken gets drier and overcooked faster than when you do it in a pressure cooker.
I have another instant pot chicken recipe that’s really great for sliced chicken. I wrote this recipe especially for shredded chicken and it’s perfect for using in meals all week long.
Need shredded chicken recipes? Check out my list below.
This easy instant pot shredded chicken comes together in just a few seconds really, then cooks on its own. The key to making good chicken is seasoning, no matter what appliance you’re using!
How do cook chicken in the Instant Pot?
Really, the new electric pressure cookers are SO easy to use. There are just a few things you have to remember:
- Use enough liquid (rule of thumb: 1 cup of liquid)
- Don’t use thickeners (no cornstarch or flour or any spices or mixes that contain thickeners)
I add a cup of chicken broth or stock and ¼ cup of pineapple juice. The juice adds a little sweetness to the mix. If you don’t have pineapple juice you can omit.
Also be sure not to overcrowd your instant pot – I’d say do at most 4 large breasts or 6 small.
How long do you cook shredded chicken in the Instant Pot?
I set my instant pot to HIGH pressure and set it for 10 minutes. Then I do a natural release for 10 minutes after the timer has counted down.
Frozen chicken in the instant pot
Yes! That is the genius of the electric pressure cookers: you can make shredded chicken in the Instant Pot from frozen chicken!
Tip: make sure your chicken breasts are frozen as singles (i.e. not a block of frozen chicken breasts). The pot may have trouble coming to pressure and/or cooking the chicken all the way if it’s in a big clump.
The only difference when making thawed chicken vs. frozen chicken in the Instant Pot is the time it takes to come up to pressure. Still set it for 10 minutes; the pot will just take longer to come up to pressure with frozen chicken.
Once you’ve naturally released your chicken for 10 minutes, remove it and shred it. Serve it or prepare it for meal prep or future dinners.
How to shred chicken
There are a few ways you can shred your chicken, so let’s go through each one and why I like or dislike it:
- With two forks – just use two forks to pull the chicken apart, it should come apart easily. **this is my favorite method**
- With a knife – you can also cut the chicken but then it won’t be in pretty shreds.
- With a mixer – you can add all the chicken to the bowl of your stand mixer and run it with the paddle attachment BUT I’ve found this method to dry it out quite a bit.
Storing shredded chicken
The best way to store your shredded chicken is in an airtight container in the refrigerator in some of the cooking liquid to keep it moist. You can keep this in one big bowl or portion it into servings, just add some liquid to the bottom of the container.
Last minute tips:
- Get yourself a pressure cooker or Instant Pot.
- Make sure to use enough liquid in the bottom.
- Season your chicken! Seasoning makes all the difference.
- Thawed or frozen, cook it the same amount of time and use a natural release.
- Store it in a bit of the cooking liquid to keep it soft.
Ways to use shredded chicken
- BBQ Chicken Pizza
- BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad
- Spicy Italian Pasta Salad
- Mushroom Chicken Soup
- Leftover Chicken Pot Pie
- Penne Pasta Casserole
- Macaroni & Cheese Casserole
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Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- 1 cup chicken stock or broth
- 1/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (thawed, for frozen see note)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Place chicken broth and pineapple juice in the bottom of Instant Pot insert. You don’t need to use the rack for this recipe.
- Stir together all seasonings and sprinkle generously over both sides of the chicken. Place chicken in the liquid.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and lock, make sure the seal is set to closed so the steam will stay in. Press “pressure cook” or “on” and set the pressure to high for 10 minutes. On newer models, turn off the “warm” setting so the machine will start.
- It will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure, then the countdown will start for the 10 minute timer. When the machine is done, let it naturally release for 10 minutes.
- Use a kitchen utensil to open the valve and let any steam out of the pot. Unlock the lid and remove the chicken. Shred with two forks.
- Store chicken in an airtight container with some of the cooking liquid to keep it moist. Will keep up to 3-4 days in refrigerator.
- This is a great recipe to use to meal prep lunches and quick dinners during the week.
- For frozen chicken: I recommend that you freeze your chicken breasts in singles. (If the chicken breasts are just one big block of frozen chicken the machine may have trouble cooking it properly or coming to pressure). Instead of seasoning the frozen chicken breasts, just add the spices to the liquid in the pot. The cook time will still be 10 minutes but it will take longer to come to pressure.
- If you don’t have pineapple juice you can just add more chicken broth, or omit.
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
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Instant Pot Shredded Chicken is an easy chicken dinner in 30 minutes! Use the pressure cooker to make enough shredded chicken for dinner all week use it for meal prep to eat healthier lunches!
Last Updated on March 5, 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: March 18, 2019