Juicy, succulent Instant Pot pulled chicken in BBQ sauce is a delicious, easy chicken recipe that is perfect to make ahead or when you’re serving a crowd.
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This easy Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe is one of my go-to’s. Not only is it always a family favorite (my kids could eat this all day, every day) but it’s also fantastic to meal prep ahead. I often make a big batch and freeze it in portions for quick meals. It’s great when you’re entertaining because you can make the chicken a few hours ahead and keep it in the pressure cooker on the warming setting until you’re ready to serve. Cooking time will also need to be increased if using bone-in pieces or a whole chicken. If you wanted to make shredded chicken to use in chicken salads, buffalo chicken dip/dips, soups or sandwiches, follow the same directions but leave out the bbq sauce and use spices/seasonings you like.
- Chicken. I used boneless skinless chicken breasts but any cut of chicken can be used. You could use frozen chicken breast for this recipe but the cooking time will need to be adjusted slightly. Boneless chicken thighs are also delicious. Bone-in chicken pieces deliver great flavor but require a bit more work when shredding the chicken.
- Chicken broth/chicken stock.
- BBQ sauce. I used my own homemade BBQ sauce recipe but you can use any sauce of your choice. You could use a jar of salsa – the chicken will just be less sweet.
- Fresh garlic cloves.
- Spices: I used smoked paprika and garlic powder. Other spices like onion powder, chilli powder, cumin, taco seasoning etc. can all be used to add more flavor if preferred.
- Salt and black pepper.
How to make pulled chicken in an Instant Pot
Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of your Instant Pot pressure cooker. Close the lid and make sure the seal is in “sealing” position. Pressure cook on high pressure for 12 minutes then quick release the pressure. Remove the chicken from the pot, discard the cooking liquid and shred the chicken with two forks. Another great way to shred chicken is in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or with a hand mixer.
Pour a cup of bbq sauce over the pulled chicken, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve the pulled chicken your preferred way. We love it on fresh bread rolls with coleslaw and dressed arugula/rocket.
Can I make this ahead?
The bbq chicken can be made and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave until hot throughout. The chicken can be frozen in freezer bags or freezer-proof containers for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating and serving.
What to serve with Instant Pot Pulled Chicken
Pulled chicken is super versatile and can be served in everything from sandwiches with coleslaw, burritos and chicken tacos or with salads as an easy dinner.
Shredded chicken recipes
I am partnered with Instant Brands South Africa and this post forms part of our partnership. I used my Instant Pot Pro for this recipe.
Instant Pot Pulled Chicken
- 2 cups chicken broth/chicken stock
- 1 kg (2lb) chicken breasts
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 2-3 cups bbq sauce
- Combine the broth, chicken, spices, onion, garlic and one cup of bbq sauce in the bowl of your Instant Pot pressure cooker.
- Close the lid and make sure the seal is in "sealing" position.
- Pressure cook on high pressure for 12 minutes then quick release the pressure.
- Remove the chicken from the pot, discard the cooking liquid and shred the chicken with two forks.
- Another great way to shred chicken is in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
- Pour 1-2 cups of bbq sauce over the pulled chicken, taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
- Serve the pulled chicken your preferred way.