Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

Ready for the best-tasting, juiciest chicken you’ve ever had? This Instant Pot Shredded Chicken recipe is completely delicious and versatile! Use it in a sandwich, inside tacos or enchiladas, or just straight from the bowl. Plus, it takes less than 20 minutes to prepare so you can’t ask for an easier dinner idea. So, grab that pressure cooker, and let’s get cooking!

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

Why I Love This Recipe

I don’t know why, but I put off purchasing an Instant Pot for ages. I’m never one to hop on a cooking trend because I don’t want cabinets full of single-use appliances. The same happened when air fryers took over the world, but now here I am obsessed over my air fryer and creating new air fryer recipes every week! When I finally made the jump into the Instant Pot world, I definitely loved the convenience of it.

Especially when it comes to cooking protein that needs to be shredded, the Instant Pot really shines. So much faster than my slow cooker. My friend, anytime I can make dinner that is both super delicious and healthy in 20 minutes, it gets added to a “favorites” list. And that is what happened when I created this Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe. We ate it on buns as sandwiches, then made more for tacos the next week!

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Ingredients & Tools

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Bay leaf
  • Chicken stock
  • Instant Pot
  • Hand mixer for shredded or two forks
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

How to Make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

If you have 20 minutes, you can have an amazing and healthy dinner on the table!

Time needed: 20 minutes

How to Make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

  1. Place the chicken inside the Instant Pot

    You can use either fresh or frozen chicken meat, as well as thighs or breasts. I prefer thighs because they naturally have more flavor, as well as being juicier.

  2. Add the seasonings

    The recipe calls for basic seasoning. Just kosher salt, black pepper, garlic, onion, and bay leaf. Feel free to add more regional seasonings in as well.

  3. Add the chicken broth

    While you could use plain water, the use of chicken broth just adds more flavor to the finished shredded chicken so if you have it, use it.

  4. Close the Instant Pot

    Be sure the rubber gasket is clean and set properly inside the lid. Close and lock the lid, then set the gasket to “sealing.”

  5. Cook the chicken

    Use the manual setting on high and cook the chicken for 10 minutes. If you are using frozen chicken meat, increase the cooking time by 3 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to get hot enough inside to seal and start building pressure. The appliance doesn’t start the cook time until that sealing takes place.

  6. Release the pressure inside the Instant Pot

    You can either let this happen naturally, which will take about 10 minutes, or you can release the pressure valve on top to do it right after it finishes cooking.

  7. Remove the bay leaf and some of the broth

    You don’t want to eat the bay leaf so remove it from the pot, along with about 3/4 of the broth inside. Save the broth for any other recipes you will be using chicken broth in!

  8. Shred the cooked chicken into small pieces

    You can use a hand mixer on low right inside the Instant Pot and it will be done in just a couple of minutes. Or, you can use two forks and pull it into pieces manually.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

Recipe FAQs

Why is my Instant Pot shredded chicken rubbery?

Most likely, you cooked the chicken too long, or didn’t use enough liquid in your Instant Pot. Both of these will result win rubbery chicken. This is also a reason to use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast meat. It is naturally more tender, juicy, and flavorful than chicken breast meat. Or, you can do half and half as well.

Can you overcook chicken in an Instant Pot?

Yes, you can overcook chicken in an Instant Pot. And you’ll know when that happens because the cooked meat will be dry and rubbery, despite being cooked with liquid.

Should I use chicken breasts or thighs?

For me, this is a no-brainer. I use thigh meat every time I make Instant Pot shredded chicken. Not only is it more flavorful and juicy, but it also shreds up easier and is super tender. While thigh meat does have a bit more calories and fat compared to breast meat, the difference is minimal compared to the taste and eating experience!

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken with Frozen Meat

Yes, you can make Instant Pot shredded chicken using frozen chicken breasts or thighs. Follow the recipe as directed below, but add an additional 3 minutes to the cook time.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Recipe Variations

The beauty of being a home cook is that provides the freedom to experiment with recipes, personalizing them to how your family loves your food. Any of the following variations would be delicious takes on this Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe.

  • Make it spicy by adding a squeeze of your favorite hot sauce or a few shakes of red pepper flakes in with the seasonings.
  • Make it sweet with a squeeze of honey in with the broth, or add your favorite BBQ sauce to the finished shredded chicken.
  • Use Mexican seasonings such as cumin, chili powder, and a can of green chiles.
  • Use Asian seasonings such as soy sauce, black bean garlic sauce, and sweet chili sauce.

Looking for More Easy Chicken Recipes?

If this Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe was exactly the type of food you love, be sure to check out these other delicious recipes. Go grab them now or I know you will forget!

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Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

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Ready in 20 minutes and completely versatile for however you want to use it!

  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x

Ingredients

Scale

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 bay leaf

1 cup chicken broth

Instructions

  1. Place all the ingredients inside the liner of your Instant Pot. 
  2. Close and lock the lid. Set the pressure control to “sealing.”
  3. Use the manual setting on high for 10 minutes.
  4. It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to get hot enough to seal and then the 10-minute cook time will begin.
  5. Once the cook time is finished, either let it release the pressure naturally, which will take about 10 minutes, or use the valve to release it right when it finishes cooking.
  6. Remove the bay leaf and about 3/4 of the broth. Save the excess broth for another recipe!
  7. Use your hand mixer or two forks to shred the meat.

Notes

For frozen chicken, use the same recipe but increase your cooking time by 3 minutes.

  • Author: Carole Jones
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8
  • Calories: 156 kcal
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Sodium: 181 mg
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 1 g
  • Trans Fat: 0 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 22 g
  • Cholesterol: 110 mg

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Carole Jones

Carole Jones is an Arizona-based cookbook author & food blogger. She's authored The 30 Minute Cooking From Frozen Cookbook and the self-published Take 5: Chicken e-cookbook. For the past 15 years, Carole has shared her culinary adventures cooking and baking for her six brutally honest children here on My Kitchen Escapades. Hot, crusty bread is Carole's love language, but her two adorable grandchildren are a close second. Yes, second. Don't judge.

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