The instant pot is a great tool when you need dinner and you need it fast. With summer on our heels, it's a great time to make some bbq recipes. Our instant pot BBQ chicken recipe is great for weeknights when you need something easy and quick, but also delicious.
The shredded chicken is juicy and full of tangy bbq flavor. We chose to make bbq chicken sandwiches, but the chicken could easily be re-used for tacos, bbq pizza, or even mini sliders. You could even double the recipe and make enough to meal prep for the entire week.
How to Make BBQ Chicken in the Instant Pot
When we say this is an easy recipe, we mean it. Everything is cooked in one pot and the prep time is less than five minutes. The cook time is about 15 minutes, making the total time from start to finish less than 30 minutes.
First, add one cup of chicken broth to the instant pot. Next add 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, salt, and black pepper. Once everything is added, give the mixture a good whisk. You need to make sure to add the liquid first to ensure the pot doesn't overheat or give a burn notice.
Next, add the chicken thighs in one layer. Once everything is added, put the lid on the instant pot and turn the knob to the sealing position. Program the cooking time for 16 minutes at high pressure.
Once the cooking time has ended, let the instant pot naturally pressure release for 10 minutes. After that, you can quick release to release any remaining pressure. You don't need to do anything at this point, except leave it alone for those 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the knob to the venting position. Once the steam has fully released, carefully open the lid. There will still be a lot of liquid, but we'll take care of that.
Remove the cooked chicken to a cutting board and use two forks to shred.
To reduce the liquid in the pot, simply turn on the saute button. After about 5 minutes, the liquid should reduce by half or more. Once reduced, add 1/2 cup bbq sauce and the pulled chicken.
Now that you have your bbq pulled chicken, you're ready to make sandwiches. We suggest piling it high on a toasted burger bun. Feel free to add some more bbq sauce and coleslaw for a more filling sandwich.
- If you like a spicy kick, feel free to add 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne. If you prefer a sweeter bbq sauce, you can add some brown sugar.
- If you don't have chicken broth, you can use one cup of water.
- If you don't have a pressure cooker, you can make this in a slow cooker. Instead of being ready in 30 minutes, it would stew for about 3-4 hours.
- You can use frozen chicken but it would increase the cooking time. If using frozen, pressure cook for 18 minutes and do a natural release of 10 minutes.
We use chicken thighs because they stay nice and moist during the cooking process, but you can use chicken breasts. Chicken breasts are lower in cholesterol and total kcal, so feel free to use those as a healthier swap. The nutritional information for using thighs will differ slightly is using chicken breasts. If you serve this as a sandwich you can expect more carbohydrates. We suggest serving this with sweet potatoes as the starch if you want to be healthier.
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 cups BBQ sauce divided
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt use ½ if using water instead of broth
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- burger buns for serving
- Pour the liquid into the instant pot, followed by the seasonings. Add the chicken thighs and close the lid. Cook on high pressure for 16 minutes, followed by a 10-minute release.
- Remove the chicken and shred. Saute the remaining liquid in the pot until it's reduced and add the remaining bbq sauce. Add the chicken and stir until combined.
- Serve on a sandwich or store in an airtight container in the fridge.