Original publish date July 10, 2015. Updated 2023 with expanded information.
It’s true: with Instant Pot, chicken breasts can magically transform into the world’s most effortless healthy dinner! This is the ultimate guide to pressure cooking chicken breasts. I have cooked many, many chicken breasts in the 8 years that I’ve been using my electric pressure cooker – frozen and fresh, from extra-large to tiny tenderloins, and everything in between.
Let your Instant Pot make it easier than ever to turn chicken into a healthy meal prep staple. Fuel up with lean protein that the whole family will enjoy – paleo, keto and gluten-free eaters included.
- Why to Use Instant Pot for Chicken Breast
- Step By Step: How to Cook
- How Long to Pressure Cook?
- Quick vs. Natural Pressure Release
- 10 Simple Sauce Options
- Meal Prep Ideas for Instant Pot Chicken Breast
- Double Decker Dinner with Insta-Chicken!
- Nutrition Insights
- More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
Why to Use Instant Pot for Chicken Breast
Most of the time, I love to cook. But some nights, I wish dinner would just cook itself.
Instant Pot to the rescue! With the magical tool that is an electric pressure cooker, chicken can miraculously braise itself into tender, juicy perfection with the help of whatever flavorful liquid your heart desires. Even when the chicken is straight out of the freezer!
On weeknights, cooking frozen chicken is a game-changer. On a busy night, I throw the chicken and sauce into the cooker and let my loyal kitchen companion do all the work while I figure out something easy to serve with it.
Or on weekends, I can take a couple of minutes while I’m at home to cook up some healthy protein that I can bank on later in the week. Instant Pot can make meal prep so much easier!
This recipe is SIMPLE. All you need:
Your choice of cooking liquid
This is my golden rule: 1/2 cup of something tasty, plus 1/2 cup of water to dilute.
1 cup is the minimum amount of liquid needed to bring a standard 6-quart Instant Pot up to pressure. Some sauces, particularly if they are thick or sugary, can cause Instant Pot to trigger a Burn/Overheat error when coming to pressure. By diluting sauces by half with water, you can confidently pressure cook without risk of burning.
For plain chicken, use 1 cup chicken broth or water. Or jump to Sauce Options for lots of quick flavor ideas.
Chicken Breasts or Tenderloins
The only other ingredient… chicken! It doesn’t matter if you use individually frozen cutlets, or stuck-together icy slabs, or fresh chicken if that’s what you have handy. Instant Pot can handle them all, but you will have to choose your cook time wisely.
Fresh chicken tenderloins can cook in as little as 1 minute, while extra large whole frozen breasts can take as long as 30 minutes. I’ve cooked chicken breasts of ALL shapes and sizes – jump to How Long to Pressure Cook? and I’ll walk you through exactly how to make that call!
Step By Step: How to Cook
Dump Chicken into Instant Pot
Start with chicken breasts. It’s difficult to tell, but this photo actually shows a single very large frozen breast that weighs a full pound.
Then decide what you’d like your chicken to taste like. Use 1/2 cup of something tasty, and 1/2 cup of water. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination, and I’m sharing some of my favorite flavor ideas below. But for this example I’m keeping it simple: storebought salsa!
After you mix in the water to make a full cup of liquid, pour it over the chicken in your pressure cooker. Close the lid and set the cooking time based on the size of your poultry portions (see table in How Long to Pressure Cook?)
Shred, Slice, or Serve
After the cook time is up, let the pot rest for 10 minutes to naturally release pressure before opening the lid and and removing the chicken.
If by chance you find that your chicken is undercooked, never fear – you can split the chicken into a couple of smaller pieces to speed things along, and return it to the pot with Slow Cooker or Saute mode turned on until it’s cooked through.
After cooking, the chicken can either be pulled into shreds using two forks, or chopped into slices, or served whole. It really is that easy!
How Long to Pressure Cook?
In the 8 years I’ve been cooking with my Instant Pot, I have made a LOT of chicken. Practice makes perfect, and I am here to share my original research on how long to pressure cook chicken breasts.
In my experience, the most important factor for determining the cook time is the size/thickness of the chicken pieces. It does not matter much if you are cooking one pound, two pounds, three pounds, or even a single breast… What matters is HOW BIG is each one of the pieces.
It also matters whether the chicken is frozen or fresh. I’ve heard some cooks say that it works to use the same cook times for fresh/frozen items, and it just takes longer for the cooker to heat up and reach pressure for frozen food. In my experience, this hasn’t worked for me. Instant Pot is able to heat up enough to pressurize, while the inside of the chicken is still frozen solid. I’ve found that frozen chicken needs a significantly longer pressure cook time to avoid cutting into a piece with the inside still raw.
Chicken breasts can be a tricky cut of meat; they can cook quickly, and when overcooked they can become dry and tough. When perfectly cooked, they are tender and juicy. Locking down in a pressure cooker makes it more difficult to get it just right, but I have been through enough trial and error to expect reliable results following the cook times in this table:
Instant Pot Pressure Cook Times (High Pressure)
- For fresh chicken, if you first brown the chicken with Instant Pot’s Saute mode, you can subtract 2-3 minutes from the pressure cook time. For example, a medium 8 ounce chicken breast can be fully cooked in just 2 minutes if sauteed on both sides first.
- These cook times are the average pressure cook times that I aim for – but you can get away with a couple of minutes of wiggle room higher or lower, which can be useful when cooking chicken together with another food like rice, pasta or veggies.
Quick vs. Natural Pressure Release
In quick pressure release, the valve is instantly opened to vent steam after the cooking time is complete. In natural pressure release, the cooker is left to cool down on its own (partially or fully) before the lid is opened.
Natural release is recommended when pressure cooking braised meats. Quick pressure release can cause chicken to shrink and become tough.
When you run your pressure cooker, the temperature inside gets very high – up to 244 degrees Fahrenheit, which is 32 degrees hotter than the boiling point of water. When you open the lid, rapid evaporation of liquid can leave your food dried out and shriveled.
I know it can be tempting to rush dinner to the table sometimes, but quick release is best to be avoided if at all possible. Let the pressure cooker naturally cool down for at least ten minutes before opening the valve to release any remaining pressure. It’s worth the wait!
Instant Pot Tips
Some older models of Instant Pot have a Poultry button, which is simply a preset cook time. It defaults to 15 minutes on high pressure, which is an appropriate cook time for frozen small chicken breasts.
The given cook times are appropriate for both 6-quart and 8-quart electric pressure cookers. The larger 8-quart models will take slightly longer to pressurize, but not enough to matter. For 8-quart cookers, it is recommended to use a minimum of 1.5 cups of liquid, so scale up your sauce accordingly.
3-quart Instant Pot Mini models are not the best option for fitting a decent amount of chicken; but for small pieces, you should still be able to follow the same time table.
This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, using either a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot. I suggest not scaling three liquid up at the same rate as the protein… for 2 pounds of chicken, I still use 1 cup of liquid; and for 3 pounds of chicken, 2 cups of liquid is sufficient. This is because a 1 pound batch swims in a bit of an excess of cooking liquid, since the cooker requires a minimum of 1 cup to pressurize.
Troubleshooting & Variations
Without watching over your shoulder in your kitchen, the most likely reason is overcooking. Pressure cookers are powerful, and it can be a fine line between perfectly done vs. too much. Longer cook times squeeze more moisture out of the tissue, leaving it drier and tougher.
Also note that sometimes, chicken breasts can have a defect known as “woodiness” that gives them a dreadful chewy texture, no matter how gently you cook them. Sometimes we’re just unlucky!
Bone-in chicken is thicker, heavier, and slower-cooking than boneless cuts. It is also more resistant to the perils of overcooking. You can still refer to the time table in How Long to Pressure Cook, but add about 3 minutes to the time given for a boneless breast of the same size.
Compared to breasts, chicken thighs have more fat and different types of muscle fibers which make them less prone to overcooking. Since you don’t have to worry about drying them out, longer cook times can make them more tender. For average sized thighs (about 6-10 ounces), cook frozen pieces for about 20-25 minutes.
Can I Cook it Together with…?
The ideal pressure cook time for brown rice is 20-25 minutes, which makes it a great match for cooking together with medium or large frozen chicken breasts. Use 2 cups of brown rice + 1.5 cups cooking liquid + 1 pound chicken for an easy one-pot meal.
White rice pressure cooks in about 3-5 minutes, so it is a better match for small or medium thawed/fresh chicken breasts. The same ratio will work here too: 2 cups of white rice + 1.5 cups cooking liquid + 1 pound chicken.
In the time it takes to cook frozen chicken breast, pasta will become quite overcooked. If you want both for dinner, it is better to cook your insta-chicken alone first, then take it out and cook the pasta. Make sure the pasta is submerged under the cooking liquid (add another slash of water if it isn’t), and set Instant Pot to cook on high pressure for half the number of minutes given on the pasta package. Slice or shred your chicken while the pasta cooks, then toss them together.
Thawed/fresh chicken pieces can be a better match for cooking together with pasta. My Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti recipe is a good example of how to cook them together deliciously!
Most vegetables pressure cook very quickly, so they are tough to pair with frozen chicken. Your best bet is to use larger, denser vegetables like halved butternut squash or sweet potatoes.
Using thawed/fresh chicken expands your options: medium breasts can share the pot with chunks of carrots, squash, mushrooms, kale or collards, onions or leeks.
The only way to cook chicken with very tender vegetables like broccoli, green beans, or zucchini without turning then into mush is to pair them with thawed chicken breast tenders.
Storage & Make-Ahead Tips
Following USDA food safety rules, leftover chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Refreezing previously frozen chicken can result in a less tender texture, but it is safe and it can help you prevent food waste if you aren’t able to eat your leftovers within 4 days. Cooked chicken can be stored in the freezer in an airtight container for up to 6 months for best results.
Instant Pot’s Slow Cook function is a gentle way to reheat frozen cooked chicken and avoid overcooking. Place frozen shredded chicken directly into the cooker and cover it with the glass lid. At 5 minute intervals, open the lid and toss/stir the chicken to facilitate thawing. Leftovers should be reheated to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
10 Simple Sauce Options
The real beauty of this technique: endless flavor possibilities. Variety is the spice of life, of course! Just remember the golden rule (1/2 cup of something tasty+ 1/2 cup water to feel confident you won’t get a burn error) and you can feel free to cook creatively.
Starting with the easy salsa chicken we walked through in the photos, here are 10 of my favorite flavor combinations that I’ve tried so far:
Simple Salsa: 1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup of your favorite salsa
BBQ: 1/2 cup water + 1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce + a splash of apple cider vinegar for extra tang
Teriyaki: 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup soy sauce + 1/4 cup orange juice + 1 Tbsp. brown sugar + a squirt of sriracha
Cuban Mojo: 1/2 cup water + 1/3 cup orange juice + juice from 1/2 lime + 1-2 cloves of minced garlic + 1/2 tsp. cumin + salt/pepper
Spicy Korean: 1/2 cup water + 2 Tbsp. gochujang + 2 Tbsp. honey + 2 Tbsp. soy sauce + 1 Tbsp. sesame oil + 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
Honey Dijon: 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup whole grain mustard + 1/4 cup honey + hot sauce (if desired)
Lemon Garlic Herb: 1/2 cup water + juice from 1/2 lemon + 2 cloves minced garlic + 1/2 tsp. dried basil + salt/pepper
Jamaican Jerk: 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup molasses + 2 Tbsp. lime juice + 2 Tbsp. orange juice + generous sprinkles of dried thyme/allspice/salt to taste + a handful of fresh sliced garlic and ginger (and hot peppers if desired). **2022 Edit: Years later, I’ve gone DEEP on Instant Pot Jerk Chicken! Pressure cooking is awesome for prepping juicy, flavorful bone-in chicken before throwing it on the grill or under the broiler.
Chile Verde: one 10-oz. can green enchilada sauce (no need to dilute with water)
Thai Curry: 1 cup canned coconut milk + 1-2 Tbsp. Thai curry paste of your choice (no need to dilute with water)
I’m going to continue to update this post with more simple sauces whenever I try one that strikes my fancy. Fellow experimenters, I’d LOVE to hear about your successes in the comments.
Meal Prep Ideas for Instant Pot Chicken Breast
When your Instant Pot cooks you a batch of chicken breast, meal prep gets really easy, really fast! If you’re hungry for inspiration, here are a few quick ideas:
- Salads: Raid your crisper and chop up a mountain of fresh veggies to put under your chicken. I have a particular weakness for restaurant-style ‘Chinese chicken salad’, with orange segments and toasted sliced almonds.
- Tacos & Burritos: Stuff your chicken into a tortilla with your favorite toppings – or into a pan of cheesy enchiladas.
- Sandwiches: Toast a piece of whole grain bread, and pile it high with chicken and fixings. Try pulled barbecue chicken with crunchy cabbage slaw, or jerk chicken with baby kale and caramelized onions.
- OR, simply load your plate with some easy cooked veggies like Insta Greens, Insta Beets, or Instant Pot Potatoes & Carrots.
Double Decker Dinner with Insta-Chicken!
Double Decker Dinner is a personal favorite Instant Pot recipe theme, all about finding the right combination of foods that pair together as a balanced meal and that can be stacked and cooked at the same time in the same pressure cooker. It’s one-pot wonderful!
Insta Chicken + Double Decker Dinner: a match made in lazy cooking heaven! If you know your way around a stackable pan, you can get your Instant Pot to cook a whole hands-off balanced meal for you.
Set a tall cooking rack right on top of the chicken to elevate a steamer basket or pot-in-pot (PIP) insert pan, and load it with a side dish that is a good match for the chicken’s cook time.
For frozen chicken breasts, choose longer cooking items like PIP brown rice (20 to 30 minutes), whole medium or large potatoes (15 to 30 minutes), or halved butternut squash (10 to up to 30 minutes if served mashed)
For fresh/thawed chicken, choose shorter cooking items like PIP white rice (5 to 7 minutes), PIP quinoa (5 to 7 minutes), or chunks of potato for mashing (3 to 10 minutes).
Food for thought, from your friendly neighborhood Registered Dietitian Nutritionist + food science buff!
Chicken breast is a very lean protein. It provides your body with building blocks to build and maintain your muscles and tissues.
One pound of chicken breast yields four 200 calorie servings, each providing 35 grams of protein.
For a balanced meal, pair chicken breast with lots of colorful vegetables and a source of healthy fat to enhance absorption of their vitamins and phytochemicals.
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
[Instant Pot] Chicken Spaghetti
Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti is my weeknight-friendly pressure cooker version of the familiar favorite southern casserole dish. It’s creamy and cheesy just like the original, and made from scratch with whole-food ingredients.
[Instant Pot] Saucy Chicken Tinga
If you’re up for just a little bit more prep time than good old Insta-Chicken, try my Instant Pot Chicken Tinga. It’s browned and braised with onions, garlic, tomatoes and smoky chipotle peppers… and it makes the BEST tacos and tamales.
If you’re looking for more food to cook up in your Instant Pot, check out my other healthy + delicious recipes here!
[Instant Pot] Insta-Chicken! Pressure Cooker Chicken Breasts
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts frozen
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup flavorful liquid of your choice ***see suggestions in post
- In a measuring cup or small bowl, mix together the water and flavorful liquid of your choice. Place the chicken in the Instant Pot liner, and pour the liquid over the chicken.
- Close the lid, with the valve set to sealing position. Use Manual mode to cook on high pressure, and adjust the time based on the guidelines in the recipe headnote (10-30 minutes for frozen chicken or 1-10 minutes for fresh chicken, based on size).
- When the cooking time is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then carefully open the valve to manually release any remaining pressure.
- Transfer the chicken breasts to a plate and chop into thin slices or shred into bite-sized pieces using two forks. While you slice/shred the chicken, you can optionally turn on Instant Pot’s ‘Saute’ mode to reduce the sauce if it is too thin for your taste. Return the shredded chicken to the sauce and toss to coat.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a comment and star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating. To follow along for more healthy Instant Pot recipes, you can subscribe via email or follow on Instagram 👍
202 thoughts on “[Instant Pot] Insta-Chicken! Pressure Cooker Chicken Breast”
Okay, I’m an instant pot newbie. 2 questions: can I do this but with 2# of meat? Also, can I just use all water for plain chicken? Thanks so much. The whole frozen to cooked thing is awesome.
Thanks for reading, I hope you’re having fun with your new kitchen toy! You can definitely use 2 lbs of chicken, you just might need to play around with the cook time (I haven’t tried a double batch myself – if anyone has, please comment?) One thing I would suggest, is to not double the liquid – it should still be saucy enough with 1-1.5 cups, 2 cups is not necessary.
For plain chicken, you can use all water, but I think it would taste better with chicken broth/stock. I often use Better Than Bouillon for things like this, a teaspoon stirred into the water would add seasoning (salt) and boost the chicken flavor. Good luck, let us know how it goes!
Thanks so much! I am enjoying it, and can’t wait to try the chicken. (In two days, I’ve done brown rice, black beans, cranberry beans, and corn on the cob. I’m obsessed)
Thank you so much, Mary. I have added maple syrup and white wine to my broth and it’s excellent.
I cooked the Teriyaki chicken for my family tonight. I used two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, doubled the teriyaki sauce (I added a bit of ground ginger too), but only used 1/2 cup water. I cooked it for 15 minutes. It turned out really good, but I think I could have used less water. It was still very yummy and my family really liked it. This meal is a definite do over. Thank you for sharing your ideas. I couldn’t figure out what to cook, and I didn’t have time to defrost anything. This was perfect!!
3lbs frozen chicken breasts + 1 1/2 c. Water + 30 minutes cook time in the instapot = awesome cooked chicken for casseroles, chicken salad, tacos, whatever! I love my instapot!
Tonight’s gonna be my first time trying out this recipe. Can’t wait!!!
I have about 3lbs of thawed chicken breasts. Shall the cooking time take 30 minutes or lesser? Can I add 1 cup of water instead of 1.5 cups? And for the salsa sauce, do I put the same amount as the cups of water too?
Woohoo! Definitely less than 30 minutes for thawed chicken – that’s the cooking time I use for very large frozen portions. The optimal time really seems to depend on the size of the chicken pieces, so you may need some trial and error. If they are standard 4-6 oz. thawed breasts, try starting with about 10 minutes? 1 cup salsa + 1 cup water sounds like a good amount of sauce for 3 lbs worth of insta-chicken. Hope it works out for ya! Happy pressure cooking!
Thanks for your quick reply!
The 3 lbs chicken breasts don’t seem to be thawing quick. I’ll say still more frozen than thaw. So, perhaps 30 minutes will do. Using the Poultry setting, correct?
Haha sorry for asking more. I’m quite new to Instant Pot! So, I am a lil more careful with all the settings etc. =)
Thanks a bunch!
No worries! As far as I can tell, poultry and manual settings both do the same job. But the timing really does depend on the size of the chicken breasts, so if they’re smaller portions, 30 minutes may be more than you need even from frozen. You can always cook more if they’re not done when you open it, but you can’t cook less!
Ah… that makes sense.
The chicken breast size is fairly big in my opinion. It is about 0.8oz per piece. Does that belong to medium or large?
If I need to cook longer after I open the pot, do I just use the ‘Saute’ function?
Do you mean 8 oz? If so, that’s fairly large but not as big as the giant one in the photos. I’d try starting with 20 minutes.. And yup, if undercooked you can partially shred into smaller chunks to move things along, and saute mode will finish the cooking pretty quickly. Then take note for next time, so you have a better chance of getting the timing just right! 🙂
Haha yes 8oz. Typo.
Cool! Looking forward to try it out tonight.. in just 2 hours. Yumz.
Thanks a bunch Mary 🙂
For sure – hope it worked out OK!!
thank you Kenna!
I frequently use spaghetti sauce, then once the chicken is done & shredded, throw a box of gluten free pasta in. Press Manual, time is half the amount is says on the box to cook the pasta. Definitely a family favorite and I’m only getting one (very easy to clean) pot dirty.
Robin, that is brilliant! Do you add the chicken back in to cook with the pasta, or just toss together at the end?
Oh if only she had answered. Lol.
For what it’s worth, I would cook the pasta just in the sauce and add the chicken back after 🙂 Still haven’t tried it yet though!
I did this yesterday – made a fairly mess-free pasta dish!
I did a quick saute of some mushrooms, and set them aside (left them a little underdone for my liking cause I was going to pop them back in later). Then threw in the chicken thighs (there was just over 1kg worth in there), added a whole jar of pasta sauce (cherry tomato/basil), a little red wine, and chicken stock. CAN’T remember how long I set it for, but I was a little under so I kept it in there a bit longer (on slow-cook mode).
When I was happy with the result, I removed all the chicken, and the remaining liquid was quite watery – but no fear! I threw in some fresh cherry tomatoes, those mushrooms from before, and all my penne pasta… after this I actually needed a little more liquid because I always find I underestimate the amount of liquid needed. I find the rule of “have the liquid just covering the pasta” doesn’t work for me – I usually need at least another cup on top of that.
Set the pasta to cook for half the time on the packet (rounded up to 5mins). Separated the chicken into bite-sized pieces, and by the time I was done with that, the pasta had finished. It was perfect. Stirred the chicken back in, added some olives, and also some baby spinach. And a little chilli powder. I know, I know. I’m sure I break all the rules by mixing all those flavours together, but it was a huge hit! Everyone went back for more. Yum.
This sounds delicious!! Not breaking any flavor rules in my book 😀
Hi Mary! I’m a newbie and looking over your recipes I’m getting sooo excited!!!! 🙂 I’ve only done the test to the IP so far, haven’t actually cooked anything.
I was thinking about making possibly some chicken alfredo in the IP. I have taken the chicken out to defrost, since I want to debone and take the skin off of it. If, I’m getting this right…
1. chicken + sauce+ 1/2 cup water=set IP to Poultry for 15 min. After it is done, do a quick release.
2. Remove the chicken, set aside, add the pasta to the IP, set it to manual and cook it for half the time it says on the box of pasta.
3. Add the chicken back, and you got dinner! Am I interpreting this right???
Hi Roiann, sorry if I’m too late for dinner!! The chicken breasts cook much faster if you thaw first – I think this recipe looks like exactly what you’re going for!
I have this One Pot Pasta on the menu every week. I use 1 lb of ground turkey or 1 package of Beyond Meat Beefy crumbles (depending how vegetarian I am feeling); 1 – 24 oz jar of pasta sauce; a little more than 24 oz of Vegetable broth; and 1 – 16 oz package of dry pasta ( I prefer Whole Grain). I first brown the meat in a little olive oil using the Saute function on the pot, then dump in the pasta sauce and chicken broth and stir until mixed well. I add the pasta in last and press it down just enough so that it is all covered in the liquid mixture, then I high pressure cook for half the suggested time on the pasta box. Turns out perfect EVERYTIME and I have left overs the next day 🙂 If you want to use chicken, you could cut it into bite-sized pieces , brown it, then follow the rest of the directions as is. BTW Mary, I love the Double Decker meals you have listed, the Parmesan Polenta and Chicken Marsala is one of my faves!
Hi Mary! I came upon this page while Googling for how best to take boneless skinless chicken breasts from frozen to poached in the Instant Pot. I needed them for a recipe that called for just poaching them in plain water, but I forgot to take them out of the freezer. And I hate thawing anything in the microwave, because no matter how careful I am, the meat always gets cooked and tough around the edges. What I was making was an enchilada recipe in which the shredded chicken would be mixed into a sour cream-based sauce, and that is not really something you can do in a pressure cooker.
Aimee asked if this could be done with 2 pounds chicken and plain water. The answer is YES! Since I was only using the water as a poaching liquid and was just going to dump it when the chicken was cooked, I went ahead and used two cups. I had two rather large boneless skinless chicken breasts that came to about two pounds. I set the IP on the Poultry setting for 30 minutes and let it rip. Came out perfectly cooked and ready for my recipe.
When I do want a flavored sauce, I will definitely try the ones you suggest. Thanks!
Excellent!! Thanks for sharing your experience!
Don’t dump that delicious water!! Save, freeze and use it for all kinds of soup!
Absolutely! When I’m on top of my game, I use the extra broth/sauce as liquid for cooking vegetables (inspired by An Everlasting Meal <- affiliate link to Tamar Adler's wonderful book) - eg. I'll saute broccoli, then throw in a splash of broth, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer a few minutes more. Delicious!
It took my Instant Pot 20 full minutes to even begin the cook cycle. I feel like I could thaw 2 chicken beasts in hot water faster than that, and then saute them on the stove in 10. In fact I can cook two frozen chocken breasts in a pan in 20 minutes. Instead I have 50 minutes of cooking time. Is this really how a pressure cooker handles frozen food? I brand new at this.
What I really like about this technique is the ease. I don’t have to deal with thawing out the raw chicken, monitoring the thawing/cooking, or washing the extra pans/utensils that would be involved. This pressure-cooking method is also more of a braise, yielding more moist and flavorful chicken than with basic poaching. Since Instant Pot does all the work for me, I don’t really care that I could potentially cook the food a little faster by doubling my labor 🙂
If your chicken breasts are already “single-serving” size (say, 4-6 oz. each) then you only need to set cooking time to 15 minutes. By the way, if you’re a stickler for food safety, thawing in hot water is not recommended.
I’ve got 2 medium/large (“Costco” sized) chicken breasts and it only took about 7 minutes to come to pressure. Not sure why it took Irene 20 minutes? The sauté thing is AMAZING! I’m literally cooking mine right now and it looks and smells like it’s going to turn out perfectly! Thanks for the great recipe (you saved me – I was NOT wanting to figure out the whole frozen-to-cooked thing on my own!)!!!
PS – as a RN, I also don’t recommend thawing ANYTHING in hot water…
I think its the volume of water/broth you used to cook the chicken. More water, more time it takes for the instant pot to reach the cook cycle. You could put boiling water to go faster if you have a kettle on hand and reduce the amount of liquid.
I usually set my pot to Brown with the liquid only, and let it get hot, it just takes a couple of minutes and then I add my chicken and set the pressure timer 🙂 Cuts way down on the time waiting to build pressure. Hope this helps!
This is brilliant! Lol
From my personal experience the chicken is much more tender than any other method… that is unless I beat it down to 1/4″ with a meat tenderizer, which is a mess and involves more cleanup than I want to do. I honestly just started using my IP a week ago and I’m truly amazed… my family has LOVED and RAVED about everything I have made in the IP (except the first time I used it I didn’t know about the sealed or venting position of the back valve. And I’m like Mary… I stock up on chicken when it’s cheap… and the breasts are incredibly large (Mary… my local grocery store sometimes sells 40# boxes at $1.29 per pound!… I trim them up and wrap them individually in saran and put a couple in a quart sized ziploc, trying to push out all air before sealing). Anyway, try it Irene, you’ll like it!
I used three really thick pork chops (about 1 1/2 inches) with bottle Szechuan sauce! De-Lish!!!! I used the meat button. I think it was 35 minutes.
Yum!! I can’t get enough szechuan 🙂
I own a pressure cooker for a couple of months now but haven’t tried to cook with frozen meat; I didn’t know I can do that! I am glad I saw this post while browsing the site of my friend. Thanks for sharing!
I just got an early Christmas present from my son and daughter-in-law – my very first ever pressure cooker,a 6-qt Instant Pot! I plan to make BBQ chicken tonight for my first foray into the wonderful world of pressure cooking. Since my chicken is already thawed (I bought it yesterday at the meat market in the grocery store) I’m going to try just the normal poultry setting and my own homemade BBQ sauce. Thanks to this post, I will dilute it with some water. I was wondering if I should do that since my sauce is thick and sweet. I thought it might burn, but diluting it makes me feel a little better. If you have any quick advice for me, I’ll be watching. Otherwise, I’ll let you know how it went!
Sounds like you’re on the right track! It mostly depends on the size of the chicken breasts; if they are thawed and 4-6 oz. each, like the average “smaller” breasts I mention above, the full Poultry program may be overkill – I think they may only take 8-10 minutes?
Thank you! I will certainly start with the lower time and see if it needs more. Thanks! I’ll be checking back for future ideas!
I just took 5 regular size frozen chicken breast cooked on poultry for 20 minutes in 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce and 1/2 cup of water came out very juicy and tender. Very easy!!
Do you think you can cook a whole frozen chicken?
Well, you could… I don’t think it will be 100% as tasty, mainly because you’ll have all that flabby un-browned skin (also not sure if the dark/white meat will cook evenly enough? never tried it myself). If you’re just planning to break it down for shredded meat, might not be bad, probably will take about an hour frozen depending on size. But in most cases I would rather use a recipe more like this one for a thawed whole chicken.
I’ve done a whole frozen chicken for chicken soup but I removed the skin before I started. I sautéed my vegetables added seasonings put the whole frozen chicken in and then covered it with chicken stock. Cooked in on the poultry mode for 50 minutes. Came out excellent! The only issue is you have to pick through for the bones. It did take a while to come up to pressure though. I’ve done the recipe since then with just chicken breast and it couldn’t be simpler and more delicious.
We do this all the time in our Instant Pot. The key is to make sure the bird is completely submerged (or almost submerged) in liquid – we use just plain water and throw in a carrot, onion and some celery for flavour, or whatever else we have hanging around, but you could use bouillon powder or a stock cube. You *cannot* safely cook a whole frozen chicken by steaming it with just a cup of water or sauce though, so don’t do that. We usually put it on for 45 minutes, after which time the chicken should be cooked through and falling apart (or at least any chicken that can fit in the Instant Pot when frozen should be). Remove the chicken, remove the skin (which will be fairly disgusting, it has to be said) and shred the chicken. You can then use the meat however you like – it will be tender and moist. You can also use the stock to make a delicious chicken soup. My Bulgarian mother in law’s recipe (which I am making right now) is as follows, picking up from once the chicken is cooked:
1. Melt a good chunk of butter (75g)? in a large pot.
2. Add 3 medium grated carrots and fry for 3-4 minutes to soften.
3. Add in the cooked shredded chicken to the pot.
4. Add the cooking liquid from the pressure cooker.
5. Bring to the boil.
6. Add 5 medium sized grated potatoes.
7. Simmer for 30 minutes.
8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
You can also add whatever herbs you like at the carrot stage – fresh or dried. My mother in law usually adds a few tablespoons of fresh parsley.
This sounds exceptionally simple but it really is a delicious and restorative chicken soup, and extremely easy. We grate the vegetables in our food processor, and this makes enough soup for 2 days for a couple EASILY…
I cook 3-4 whole chickens every week in my instapot. I put chicken broth, rough cut carrots onions, celery and garlic on the bottom and the little rack it comes with. The liquid only hits the bottom on the chicken. I season the chicken with Sea Salt and pepper, thyme sage and garlic powder. I set it for 25 minutes and head to the gym. I come back and chicken is still kept warm by the warming feature and its fall off the bone yummy. I make chicken gravy for the kids. They love it.
I serve with broccoli or asparagus and brown rice
We did a whole chicken from frozen the other day and it was awesome! Go for it! You can always throw it under the broiler if you must eat the skin, but we just peeled it off 😉
I got a Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker for Christmas. It doesn’t have a “poultry” setting. It has low pressure, high pressure, browning, saute, summer and keep warm. What is your recommended cooking time and setting for one pound of frozen boneless chicken breasts? The instruction book says only 5-6 minutes for 2 pounds of fresh on high pressure.
Try 15 minutes at high pressure (equivalent to the program above). After you try it once, you can add/subtract minutes as needed if you find it over/under-done.
I have the same pressure cooker and cooked about 2lbs of thawed breasts in it tonight. I cooked them for 20 minutes with 1 cup of water and some seasonings and they were a little rubbery and not falling apart like I expected. I would say cook them less time so they are more moist and falling apart, maybe 15 minutes or even 10. What do you think Mary?
You’re right, thawed chicken doesn’t take as long. It depends on the size of the chicken breasts, but with IP I do about 8-10 minutes.
make sure you do natural release for at least 10 minutes on meat. quick release tenses up the meat fibers = rubber.
I did 2lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts for 7 minutes in about 3/4 c broth. I let the pressure come down naturally and they were perfect. I sliced them up and used them in chicken enchiladas.
I was blessed to receive the same InstaPot for Christmas. I have been all over the internet looking for recipes and tips. This post of yours is THE BEST thing ever!!! Thanks so much for sharing this. I can see that is it is going to change my life, lol!
Just received my first instapot electric pressure cooker last night, so, in the process of taking it out of box and deciding recipe for tonight, have to say, this page is helping relieve some of worry, total newbie to pressure cooking, so I know it will take time to learn what works for me, interesting to read everyones comments/ideas/suggestions.
I to am a newby with my elite 8quart pressure cooker that does many things, i loke to cook simple but tastful i am going to try my famous backed chicken from frozen in cream of mushroom with onions and mushrooms and green peppers wish me luck i love this site..
How did you handle the cream of mushroom soup in a pressure cooker?
I adore my instant pot… i rarely cook on the stove or in the oven anymore….
I currently am just post surgery for breast cancer and am taking chemo, so my teenage son is learning to use the instant pot and he’s having fun. Tonight is his first night and he’s making Old Bay red beans and rice with smoked sausages. He sauted the smoked sausages in butter in the IP now he has the rice and red beans on in the IP using canned kidney beans that he’s going to add in after the rice is done with some butter and the smoked sausage. He has the rice on already and he’s so excited he’s on his laptop looking for an IP orange chicken recipe…
I love this, Lori! Really good son you’ve got there 🙂
Good for your son! Good luck with your chemo. Thanks for the recipe.
Just to hopefully give you some encouragement, I am a breast cancer survivor and June 6th, 2016 is my 11th year. I was in Stage 3. 4 months chemo, mastectomy and reconstruction. Just got my instant pot to replace my last PC and using it tonight. Best of Care to you and I’ll remember you on my prayers.
You have a wonderful son! Good luck with your chemo. God Bless!
I just received started using my new Hot Pot. I want to cook 3 unfrozen chicken breasts (3.5 pounds). I’m going to brown them first using the sauté funtion and I don’t want to shred them, I’d like to serve them whole or sliced. Do you have a recommended cook time?
The table in the guidebook says 8-10 minutes but doesn’t say if that’s per pound.
I’m not familiar with Hot Pot… If they get a head start by sauteing first, 8-10 minutes under high pressure will probably work. You can always add more time if they’re not cooked through at the end.
Hi could I use a jar of honey garlic sauce that equals a cup or is it necessary to dilute the 1/2 cup of water and sauce?
Be careful with sugary or thick sauces in the pressure cooker – they can overheat on the bottom and burn. That’s why I dilute!
Tried this with 1/4 cup cider vinegar, almost 1/4 cup soy sauce, tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 cup water, a yellow onion chopped into squares, and a seasoning mix that includes salt, tumeric, oregano, pepper
Mmmmm, nice cooking!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Now all the hunks of chicken relegated to the bottom of my freezer will now get eaten. 🙂 I only got my Insta pot yesterday- What drew me in was the yogurt function. I have been making my own yogurt for years, but have been lazy lately because it is labor intensive… First batch made overnight came out perfect…
So I had some chicken cutlet I froze in 1+ pound ziplocs with the marinade already on them. So I took one out that had lemon and garlic on it, stuck it in …it was totally flat like a piece of paper and stood up in the pot LOL… I added a cup of hot water (I upped this because the marinade was frozen on).. 15 minutes, 10 minutes cool then release. Chicken cooked, had to still break some of the cutlets apart, but I checked them- all cooked. Wowza!
Then I took the chicken and half the liquid out. (I didn’t need that much sauce) Turned on the saute function. Mixed a little oil with flour and added it to the pot. Stirred until it thickened, added salt, rosemary and a little garlic powder. Perfect. I was impressed at how quickly it came to a boil to thicken the sauce.
Thanks for your comment!! All sounds delicious. I’m totally with you on the marinated/frozen-flat idea, been meaning to try something like that for a while, so I’m glad to read your experience!
This is fabulous! A definite game-changer. I have had my InstaPot for a couple of years but haven’t ever tried cooking meat from the frozen state.
Just wondering, does the pressure cooking preclude the need for marinating? If I simply throw in the liquid that I would normally use to marinate the chicken will it still have decent flavor?
Thanks! That’s a good question; honestly, I don’t have a good basis for comparison (unless it’s a special occasion, ain’t nobody got time for marinating in my house) but I think the flavor is pretty decent! Especially since I shred and toss with the extra sauce, I don’t think I would taste a difference vs. marinating first.
It definitely does. Instead of marinade or brine, the pressure infuses the liquid and seasoning into the meat!
Can I do this with thawed meat? I actually remembered to thaw my meat (was planning on using the crock pot) but forgot to actually stick it in this morning. I got an instapot for Christmas and have yet to use it. I’m hoping it can save dinner tonight!
You can! Generally about 8-10 minutes, depending on how big the chicken breasts are.
Thanks! I went ahead and just tried last night. They were still partially frozen so I hit poultry and made it 12 minutes and it took way longer than that. It burned a little but was edible. I guess this thing has a learning curve. Off to do more research!
I’ve heard that you can put an entire frozen bird in and have it come out delectable. Thanks for your recipes and hints to get the job done.
Are you quick releasing or natural releasing? I think I missed something
Quick release. But if you leave it to release naturally, that’s fine too. If your chicken was over or under-cooked, it’s most likely because of the size of the pieces. Adjust up or down on the time to find the sweet spot for whatever size your grocery sells.
When I quick release, liquid escapes. Am I doing it right? Recipes for this pot are hard to find, so I am loving this.
Thanks! Did that happen with this recipe? I have only seen liquid sputter from the valve if the cooker is almost full, never with low levels of liquid like with this dish. You also need to be careful with quick release if it’s a starchy food (like rice or beans) because the starch can clog the vent. But I’m curious if you have the same problem in a recipe like this, let me know!
I made this with thawed chicken and cooked 2 breasts for 15 minutes and it was a little pink so I cooked for an additional 3 minutes. The chicken was tough. Help! What did I do wrong!
If it was only a little pink, the extra 3 minutes could have overcooked the chicken (things can go south fast at >11PSI and >240 degrees F!) If I find that chicken is a little undercooked after releasing pressure, I actually prefer to pull it into a few smaller chunks and switch to slow-cook (high) mode to continue cooking. It doesn’t take very long, and it’s easier to monitor when it’s finished. You can even briefly use saute mode if you’re really in a hurry.
Winner winner, chicken dinner!
I searched for dishes for the first chicken dish experience in our new Instant Pot. I loved the simplicity of the recipe and the variations to change things up when needed.
Thanks so much for the ideas. I am new to the instant pot…but am loving it. I have always loved making coca-cola chicken ( I use coke zero) , anyone tried this in the instant pot? I’m thinking the coke would be your liquid and just add ketchup and chicken. Can’t wait to try it from frozen after this post!
Yep Jennifer, that is all you do. I saw a recipe out there for coca-cola chicken in a pressure cooker. I never tried it, but the only liquid used was the coke and the ketchup.
Disgusting that you consume hormone laden chicken breasts that look like a freak show science project and you encourage people to do the same. You do realize those chicken breasts are that abnormally large due to growth hormones and steriods, right?? There is more than enough research that shows the ill affects of consuming such vile products. Cheap real chicken can be found at your local organic farms
To be honest, I no longer buy the chicken I described – finally bit the bullet and cut out factory-farmed meat (the good stuff is not cheap, but worth it).
However, if we want to respect the “truth,” I have to point out that steroids and hormones are not used in poultry farming. It’s a common misconception; if today’s profit-driven farming corporations could make a quick buck from pumping in extra growth hormone, I’m sure they would – but it’s ineffective, prohibitively expensive, and illegal in the US. The larger, more rapidly-growing chickens we see today are a result of selective breeding (not a good thing either – farmers are selecting for fast growth and large breasts instead of traits like taste or nutrition). So my decision to switch to organic wasn’t about hormones, but about the poor farming conditions and lack of genetic diversity in intensively produced chicken.
Here are a couple of relevant links:
Good for you, Mary, for your informed response!
Pastured poultry farmer here, and you’re absolutely right. No hormones allowed in poultry production in the US (not that we’d want to use them anyway!).
I once let a flock of pastured Cornish Cross broilers go an extra 10 days, and they had 1 pound breasts, too! They were healthy, happy, GIANT birds, as you say, a result of intense genetic selection.
Thanks for these great tips! I’m going to try frozen breasts with curry paste and water to see how that comes out. Really enjoyed this post!
I very rarely comment, but this was amazing! I had almost 3 pounds of frozen chicken tenders. Since I was mixing with a sauce later, I just put it at 15 min, thinking that slow cooking for a while would cook it the rest of the way. I mixed a half tsp of Better than Boullion into a cup of boiling water and poured that on. Pushed the poultry button. When it beeped, I did Quick Release and it was perfect! All i had to do was to mash it with a fork and it produced perfectly shredded chicken. I could use it in a soup, salad, etc. Anything I want. Thanks! I’ve been trying to figure out how to do this for ages, and finally have the answer. I love the idea of flavored water too.
Hello, just a question, I made the Korean style shredded chicken a few weeks ago and it was fantastic. I want to try the Cuban Mojo sauce this week- is there a problem with using broth instead of the 1/2 cup water?
Not a problem at all! More flavor ?
Sounds great! What did you do with the Korean chicken to round out the meal?
I’ve served it with brown rice and stir fried veggies, and also used it as a filling for lettuce wraps – ssam style, with rice and kimchi. So good!
Anyone tried with chicken thighs? I presume Same weight/time? Thank you!
Don’t go to Mexico and order “Mexican Chicken”, because they won’t know what you’re talking about. This recipe’s real name is Chicken Tinga, and it is a popular one in the southwest, and of course, Mexico. I’ve made it for oh, about 30 years in a slow cooker (just as good, just as easy) but I do now make it in my Instant Pot because of course it is fast, and I’m old and in a hurry. I add fresh sliced red or yellow bell peppers and onions to mine for both flavor and a nutrition boost. Dunk a few CORN (VERY much healthier than flour) tortillas into a half-inch of hot oil in a cast iron skillet for about 10 seconds to lightly fry on each side, drain on paper towels and place them into a lidded tortilla bowl. Repeat until you have filled the bowl. You will already have prepared refried beans on the side, maybe a corn pudding, or some Mexican rice. At the table: take a corn tortilla and put a couple or tablespoons of the Tinga in the middle and roll it up. I like to add a bit of Chipotle Tabasco to mine, as it adds a nice smoky flavor. My hubs likes to spread a layer of refried beans on his tortilla before he adds the Tinga, and it does make it a little less juicy. Whatever one prefers. Now we’re talking about a real Mexican meal.
Thank you for the article! Looking forward to trying this.
I was wondering about cooking pieces of chicken? That is, if I dice my chicken up first and then throw it in to cook – is it the same kind of thing? Would I cook it for less time? Or am I just better off cutting it after pressure cooking it as a whole (I’m talking about thigh fillets here, myself).
Another thing I wonder, is if it’s not frozen, do I need to sear it first?
Cheers to you! You’ll have to experiment with timing, but you can certainly slice the meat before cooking if desired. Once I tried a Thai-style curry in the Instant Pot with roughly 1-2 inch slices of thawed breast meat, which were fully cooked along with some veggies in about 5 minutes under pressure.
For non-frozen poultry, a little browning beforehand is always welcome!
Lovely, thank you for the response. I’m going to do a Filipino-style dish tonight… a take on Chicken Adobo using a recipe from the Flo Lum blog. Last time I cooked the chicken thighs whole. This time I’m going to do breast pieces just for less mucking around once everything is already cooked – the quicker we get to the serving, the better! Haha. I’m so excited already. Can’t wait to try your flavour combinations above as well 😀
I’m really wondering how this turned out for you? I want to use frozen diced chicken that I got in 1 pound portions in my freezer, and I wonder how to adjust time for that? They are frozen in one chunk in the bag but I assume they’ll thaw quickly and fall apart into loose diced chunks fairly quickly and would still overcook if I don’t adjust the time right?
I just wanted to write something I found quite interesting …Yesterday I cooked two chicken breast pieces (the full breast, so with other little bits hanging off it too, not the “clean cuts” that you sometimes find) in a pasta sauce (tomato and mushroom), which was beautiful. I added a little broth before I set the timer as well.
However, I found that a LOT of the time my meats come out quite tough, and no matter how much I play around with the cooking times, it always seems like its a little too much.
I checked Hip Pressure Cooking’s time charts and for whole boneless/skinless chicken breasts, she recommended 1 (yes, one) minute of cooking at high pressure, with a natural release. I have read elsewhere that with meats it is better to let pressure come down naturally anyway, otherwise it kind of “seizes” up as you’re doing the instant pressure release, so you will find that the meat will toughen then.
In any case, I thought, “What the hey, I’ll just try and in the worst case I’ll just have to keep on cooking it in saute mode or something”. Well. I did sear my chicken quickly first (just so the meat on the outside was basically white), and then I whacked it into manual mode and set it to one minute. (The chicken wasn’t frozen, but it was straight from the fridge.)
It came out PERFECT. Two whole chicken breasts … roughly 800-900g in total. A single minute with natural pressure release was enough to have gorgeous juicy chicken at the end of it – no pink in sight.
Just wanted to put this out there. I’m trying it again tonight to make sure it wasn’t a fluke!
Curious to know if anyone else has tried this before.
Thanks for this tip! My frozen breast keeps coming out chewy. I took the time down from 15 to 12 min and it was still chewy. I’ll try the 1 min natural release next time and see how it goes!
Yeah it’s amazing how quickly it cooks through – same results the following night, too. Mine weren’t frozen though, so maybe try 5 mins with natural release for frozen?
Let me know how you go; I’m curious!
I, too am experiencing dry chicken. Although the chicken falls off the bone, the taste is very dry.
Could it be that I am using low sodium broth? I’m doing 1/2 cup broth, 1/2 c. sauce (BWW Asian Zing), with 1.5 lbs thawed chicken breast (boneless, skinless) or thawed breast and drums (bone, skin). Poulty setting, natural release. Chicken has marinated in fridge for 1-3 in undiluted sauce.
I appreciate your suggestions.
I don’t have an insta pot but I just bought a Pressure Cooker XL. Would the recipe be the same? I am new to the pressure cooker world lol
I think so! I don’t know what the settings are like on those, but if you can manually use whatever mode is its standard “high pressure” setting, the cooking times should be equivalent. Any readers have a better answer for this?
Just made this with some broth (had leftover veggies as a side that came with their own sauce) – the chicken came out perfect, thank you!
Just wanted to say have taken notes of everybody’s recipes – thanks so much for sharing. This page was exactly the kind I was searching for. Must be good as the comments are still coming nearly a year later!! I can’t wait to try them all!
Can you cook rice at the same time as the frozen chicken?
I’m going to give this a shot sometime soon with brown rice – I’ll write back when I get a chance to try it!
Did this (rice & frozen chicken in Instant Pot) work for anybody? Frozen Chicken Breats and jasmine rice are a staple for our 3/4 of our home-cooked dinners. And Thanks for the original post, Mary. You made last night’s dinner so easy and delicious. Loving my new Instant Pot!
Thanks Chris, I actually just tried chicken & rice last night! I used 2 cups brown rice, 1.5 cups chicken broth, and nestled in two 8-oz. frozen chicken breasts. 22 minutes high pressure, natural release (which is my normal protocol for brown rice, with 1/2 cup less liquid to account for the juice that cooks out of the chicken). I will definitely make it again – very practical and tasty! I will just point out that you don’t get any “sauce” for the chicken, since we’re cooking it into the rice, so just be aware if you’re picky about “dry” chicken. And I think it would be a challenge to use white rice, which cooks so much faster than frozen chicken – I’m sticking with brown, and luckily I can find both brown basmati and brown jasmine rices in my local stores. Delicious!
I’m not a huge cook and I just got my instant pot. I had put a package of three chicken breast straight into the freezer. I made the teriyaki recipe for the 15 minutes on poultry. The temperature was about 145°, so I put it in for 10 more minutes. Out was a bit on the tough side. Did I cook for too long? Was it because the breasts weren’t in an air tight Ziploc? The sauce is great, just the chicken was tough.
Did you check the temp after the second round of cooking? It could have cooked for a bit longer than it needed to; things can go pretty fast under pressure.
Hi! Your teriyaki will be my first real meal in my IP! I’ve done plenty of sides and am totally in love. My question is, have you ever added veggies to your frozen chicken recipes? Id love to add broccoli….. Thoughts please? Thanks a bunch!
Good question! I wish I could find a way to make this work, but the problem is that most veggies cook much quicker than frozen chicken. Fresh broccoli, for example, is fully cooked in only about 1 minute. But maybe we can try some tougher veggies, like butternut squash?? If you have any success, please report back! 🙂
So happy to have found this site. Just received my Instant Pot and so far, I have only cooked a corned beef in it. I was a little disappointed in the results as it didn’t “fall apart” the way it does when I cook it in my crockpot. I cooked it on high pressure for one hour as all the recipes stated and then I used the quick release. It was definately edible, just not perfection and I’m wondering what I could do differently??? Any suggestions??
Thanks!! I’ve never cooked a corned beef, but I’ve done a braised brisket; I think it was about 2 pounds and it shredded easily after I cooked for 75 minutes on high pressure. The time chart on hippressurecooking.com also suggests 25 minutes per inch of thickness for beef roasts, so maybe consider that if your cut was extra thick?
I have never cooked corned beef or anything of the sort but one suggestion is to let the pressure come down naturally – not as a quick release! I read somewhere that the quick release and rapidly-decreasing pressure can make meats seize up.
If you’re still having trouble you may need to play with the cooking times. The “hip pressure cooking” site has good guidelines. Good luck!
Thanks so much. That is helpful!
I made this last night, and wrote about it on my blog http://pseudomestics.blogspot.com/. Thanks for sharing the recipe, it was great and I will definitely be making it again!
Can I use the instant pot to reheat/steam previously cooked chicken that is now frozen?
I’m certain you could! Never tried it myself, couldn’t tell you how long it would take.
Do you have to modify the recipe if you are using chicken thighs from butcher and not frozen? I tried last night with thighs from butcher and did 8min with quick release. Should I have done it for more? Chicken tasted fine but wanted to make sure.
Hi, I saw your post on reddit and responded with more details there! But the short answer: if it tasted good, you did it right 🙂
Appreciate you responding on Reddit and helping me navigate the world of instapot as the horrible cook that I am 🙂
Looking forward to reading and trying out your other IP recipes
Just wanted to share one of my favorite super lazy sauce ideas: Italian salad dressing. I sometimes add some additional dried herbs and minced fresh garlic.
I use boneless skinless chicken thighs for my recipes. Typically I add whatever sauce I’m using to a gallon size zip bag throw the chicken thighs on top. Zip the bag shut while pushing out the air. Throw the bag in the freezer. When I’m are ready to cook place in the Instant Pot add 1/2 a cup of water and it’s off to the races!
Thanks for sharing this idea, good tip!!
Sounds good! Can you give us an estimate of how much chicken? 1lb? 2lb? And also how long you cooked. Poultry button or manual on how many minutes? Thanks!
There are 7 in my family so I usually cook 7 to 9 chicken thighs at a time. I’m guessing it’s closer to 3lbs. I just use the poultry button. Nothing fancy.
I’m a newbie to pressure cooking and I thought this would be a good first meal for my brand new instant pot. I got home from work and popped two frozen chicken breasts in with 1/2 cup salsa+water. The chicken breasts are fairly small so I followed your instructions and set it to 15 mins on poultry. The timer just went off and my chicken is still 90% raw!
I set it for another 20 mins. Hopefully they won’t take much longer, my boyfriend and I are both starving lol.
Not sure what went wrong, any thoughts?
Did you do 1/2 cup of water and a 1/2 cup of salsa?
Also was the valve set to sealed when you started the Pressure Cooker?
I followed the directions exactly. 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup salsa. And I made sure the vent was set to sealed. The only thing I could think of was the two small chicken breasts were frozen together so I was unable to separate them before cooking. Not sure if that could have been the cause.
But they were done after an extra 20 mins and tasted delicious! Supper was just a little later than expected 🙂 lol.
I too can stock up on chicken when it’s on sale. A little trick I figured out for freezing it…after I cut off all the fat, I used to put portion sizes of the chicken into fold top sandwich bags. Then, the bags of portioned out chicken went into a big freezer bag to protect against freezer burn. It kept them separated in the freezer, and enabled me to easily grab out what I need :).
Those look like great simple recipes that are my kind of cooking! I have used the green salsa before and it is a once a week meal in our home, but I can’t wait to try your other variants. Thanks for sharing.
What if I want to do Italian dressing and bbq sauce? Would I still need to dilute it? When I bake it I used half a cup of both and I haven’t had to use water.
That will probably work fine, if that’s what you prefer. I just find that diluting still yields a flavorful sauce without having to use as large quantities (and it’s a good policy to avoid scorching if you’re using sauces that are especially thick).
Thank you so much for all of the flavor ideas! We’ve had our Instant Pot almost a year but I have only cooked a few dinners with it, I use it mostly for making beans from dry and brown rice–so much better way to cook it. You gave me a terrific base for frozen chicken and the family loved it–even my picky eater. I will put this basic way of cooking chicken into our regualr weekly rotation. Great for when I didn’t pull the chicken out of the freezer in time–even for the slow cooker. Thanks again! Made 3 large’ish boneless/skinless frozen breasts with 1/2 C hot green sauce and 1 1/2 C water + S&P and cumin. Maually cooked 40 minutes & let vent naturally–I ran a few errands. Shredded, added black beans, 2 C chopped fresh spinach (can’t taste it and adds veggie) & 1/2 C cream cheese (it was way too spicy). Stirred & Sauted for about 10 min and served in tortillas with grated cheddar cheese and avacado–terrific!
Ohh that sounds delicious with the veggies and cream cheese! Thanks for sharing!
Any idea why they say it’s necessary for frozen chicken to be completely submerged when pressure cooking?
I’d like to do some chicken/pasta-sauce, but with such a large base, I’d have to add so much water, it would come out like soup! I assume some would evaporate, but would love to just have the sauce (“Mom’s Spaghetti Sauce”) and just very little extra water!
I’ve read that page too – I love HPC, it’s a super valuable site, but I didn’t really know what to make of that article because I haven’t had the same experience she describes braising frozen meat. Chicken breasts are the only frozen meat I’ve pressure cooked, but with only 1 cup of liquid they have always come out evenly cooked and tender in my Instant Pot.
If you want to serve it with pasta, I would check out the comments on this page by Robin and Bobo – makes sense to use the pasta to soak up some of that extra moisture!
Hi there! I just got my instant pot in the mail and I’m excited to start trying out these recipes. I have a possibly silly question though. Does the chicken come out “soupy” or really saucy? My husband isn’t a fan of really saucy type foods so wanted to ask before I try these out.
Not a silly question! With this method, you do end up with a fair amount of thin sauce – it’s important to start with at least 1 cup of liquid to pressure cook properly, then the chicken releases some moisture too – but I generally serve the shredded chicken with tongs or a slotted spoon so it’s just lightly coated with the sauce. If you’re looking for a use for the extra “broth,” it makes a very flavorful cooking liquid for vegetables (Ctrl-F for “broccoli” to find another comment where I describe in more detail!)
Awesome. Good to know. Can’t wait to get started. Thank you!
Hi! Just got a pressure cooker and I wanted to make the salsa chicken. Can you put rice in with the chicken to cook at the same time? Or do you have to do it after? If you can do it at the same time, how much extra water would you add?
It can be done – here is an excerpt from another comment where I describe my experience with adding rice:
(note: if using 1/2 cup salsa, count that toward the liquid, meaning just 1 cup broth/water in the example)
Thank you for posting such a great sounding, easy to make recipe, that require just a few ingredients. Seems like most recipes I am finding for the IP require me to buy a dozen items, including some spices I may never use again. Recipes like this are right up my alley.
What a great article and Q & A. I have really gotten into cooking with the pressure cooker but always want to experiment. This article answered a few of my questions very well. But, here is one I wonder if anyone has tried. Can you cook chicken and pork together this way to make a pulled pork/chicken dish? I want to use some peach salsa & peach BBQ sauce for the liquid.
This technique is a game-changer for me. Tonight, I took two large frozen chicken breasts out of the freezer. I put them in the pressure cooker with 1 cup chicken broth and some spices. 45 minutes later (which includes the time coming to pressure), I had perfectly cooked shredded chicken. I sincerely thank you for generously sharing this technique.
Got an IP for Christmas. Has anyone made buffalo chicken with sauce & cream cheese? Just curious…
I have read other recipes that say don’t do a quick release because it makes the chicken tough. If you do a natural release, would you decrease the minutes of cooking time?
Very possible, I need to make some updates to this post when I have a chance – nowadays I prefer to let it hang for a natural release if I’m not in a major hurry. I find that I can keep the same cooking time regardless.
Thank you for writing this post, it helped me get the number of minutes close enough, and gave me some ideas for a future meal!
Tonight I’m doing Indian Butter Chicken and Rice.
1/2 jar (6 oz) of butter masala sauce from grocery store, a splash of olive oil, and frozen chicken breasts from Costco.
Instant Pot manual for 17 minutes.
Rice is in the rice cooker.
Love how quick these delicious meals can be.
Can the frozen breast be a mass of a few stuck together? Or do they need to be individually frozen?
If they are frozen together, you are more likely to get undercooked spots in the thickest parts. Better to use flash frozen portions if possible!
Mary you’ve forgotten the most useful button in the kitchen! The defrost button on the microwave!! Just take that piled up frozen together chicken caused by the lazy husband, (the lets separate those 50 chicken breast into only 2 gallon Ziploc bags ” But I did put the chicken in bags Honey!”) Anyway put the chicken on a microwave safe plate.. you know the fine china made by “Dixie”? LOL and hit the defrost for the poundage you have nuke just long enough to break the giant bricks apart, and TaaaDaaa!
I was going to try to do this with just one normal sized chicken breast that is frozen. Do I still use the same cup of liquid and just modify the cooking time?
1 cup is the minimum liquid IP recommends, so keep that the same. Choose cooking time based on the size of the chicken breast – I use the same cooking time regardless of how many pieces.
I just picked up chicken from Zaycon (fresh, not frozen) and wanted to do a few of these recipes to freeze for later. If the chicken is thawed, how should I adjust the time?
There are different schools of thought on this. A lot of people recommend cooking thawed chicken breasts for just 1 minute on high pressure, followed by a natural pressure release. The Instant Pot manual suggests 8-10 minutes. I have used the longer times, and never thought the chicken tasted overcooked.
I have had much better luck thawing chicken breasts before cooking them in the instant pot. In fact I am afraid to throw them in frozen because it is the only time my chicken hasn’t turned out good. Nevertheless, I’m excited about your cooking ideas and will use them with thawed chicken. thanks!
I’m new to using Instant Pot. I have the 5-quart size and and to try cooking chicken from frozen – love the ideas you’ve given here! My question is, if I want to add fresh veggies to the Instant Pot, how would I do that? I did try another recipe that did not include frozen meat – it was a chuck roast which I chopped into 2-inch pieces. I followed the recipe for cook times, which had me first cook the chuck roast, then at the end, purposefully vent the steam, add about 5 cups of 3/4 inch carrots, whole garlic cloves, zucchini, button mushrooms (whole) and the spices, then do an additional manual 10 min on High. I think I got good results: carrots could have been 3 times larger (cooked somewhat soft), zucchini the same, mushrooms were perfect.
So when cooking frozen chicken with the sauces you recommend, if one wanted to add several cups of fresh vegetables after the meat has cooked, how would one adjust the time for the chicken to cook (say, 1 lb or 2 lbs of meat), since the chicken will be subject to more cooking in the 2nd half? Thank you!
Hi Gwen, there are a couple of things to consider here:
1. As you found, most vegetables cook really quickly under pressure – and just how cooked you’d like them to end up is a personal preference (eg. I generally only PC broccoli for 1 minute).
2. Many people, as a rule, do not use quick release for meats, claiming it results in tougher texture. If you follow this school of thought, it complicates “splitting” cook times to allow adding veggies part-way through. And after the second round of cooking, if you want to use a natural release again to spare your meat, you’re more likely to end up over-cooking your tender veggies.
It’s sort of fiddly, so I typically cook my vegetables elsewhere. That being said, you could still give it some trials. Depending on the choice of veggie, you could subtract something like 2-5 minutes from the total cook time for Round 1, add veggies, and then punch in those subtracted minutes to finish.
I just got my instant pot, and would like to try this Friday night. My question is what happens if the chicken breast isn’t frozen, what time would I use then.
Love your site *almost* as much as I love my new Instant Pot! I have a 6 quart V3 (link at the end of this post)
and it doesn’t have a Poultry Button. Do I just use the Meat/Stew setting and keep the times the same?
Wow, quite the compliment, thank you! ;D Meat/Stew is probably close to the same program, or you can also just choose “Manual” and set the time – I have not noticed any difference in results using manual vs. poultry.
Dear Mary, Wow, here it is July 2017, I just got my Instant Pot, had frozen breasts thawing in the frig, and your simple recipe, ready for customizing, was just what I needed to throw it in and turn it on. Thank you so much!!! Looking forward to investigating more of your recipes:)
Thanks for that invaluable tip: “1/2 cup of something tasty, and 1/2 cup of water to dilute” and go for it. That makes things MUCH simpler. I’ve had my IP for about ten days now and I’m starting to feel a little overwhelmed with ideas/tips/recipes. This is already a very well stocked kitchen and it goes against the grain to have to go out and buy additional ingredients.
I tried this recipe though I tripled it with 3 large costco Foster Farms ck. breast. 2 breasts wouldnt have been enough for my hungry family. I assumed I needed to triple my time based on the poundage of the chicken (lol). I cooked it over an hour and wasn’t sure what I would get. Once it had cooked I had very nice moist chicken that was easy to shred but not mushy. I used part of the chicken to make a quick tortilla soup the next night, put it in husband’s lunch and made a chicken and rice dish. I am making it again since we need some chicken for burrito bowls for lunch. I love that it cooks itself with little minding and I can go do some other stuff, then WHA LA! Dinnner is ready!
That’s my favorite thing about it too 🙂 Next time you can probably cut down on the cooking time if you like – it’s more the size of the chicken breasts than the total poundage that dictates how long they take to cook through.
Followed your instructions with pesto as my “something tasty” — added just a little extra water since the pesto was thick — and served over spaghetti. Super easy, quick and delicious. Thanks for the tip!
Just tried the BBQ chicken recipe! Supper yummy! On to try cooking the Jamaican Jerk for later. Thank you for the ideas!
Jamaican Jerk was great! Tried the Thai Chicken and that was easy and just as great! Thank you so much for sharing!
I’m a year and 1/3 into my instant pot and this was one of the first sites I came across. I’ve used your insta-chicken recipe a gazillion times, most recently tonight with shredded chicken tacos.
I’m looking back at some of your pictures and I’m curious what the green sauce is in the picture of the rice, chicken, avocado (with mystery green sauce) in the white bowl on the straw mat. It looks like pesto but that can’t be right. What is it?
Good eye; that’s one of my very favorites, chimichurri! Recipe here: http://flavorrd.com/2015/05/chimichurri-in-a-hurry/
This “recipe” is life changing. So simple, so quick. The possibilities really are endless. I made it with some Italian salad dressing and then shredded and used that chicken in chicken noodle soup when my family was sick. Perfection.
This is a good recipe, but I’ve cooked up to six lbs. of chicken breasts at a time, I do make my own salsa, because it tastes better and has more spice than others, my kids are grown, so I can season for big people, as my kids used to say, I’ve put onion, and garlic, plus either sliced Serrano peppers or red pepper flakes for added kick, but that’s me. Thank you.
I shredded chicken, added onions green pepper and poblano. Went 10 more minutes then Added pineapple. Put on rice and a tortilla with sour cream.
This is a great recipe for making frozen chicken breast in an Instant Pot! I love that it’s so quick and easy, and that the possibilities are endless when it comes to adding flavor. What other flavors do you recommend adding to the recipe?