Juicy, flavorful and tender Instant Pot Chicken Breast from fresh or frozen. 25 minutes from start to finish, simple ingredients and no searing required. Cooking chicken breast in the Instant Pot is so easy!

Instant Pot Italian chicken breast and Instant Pot BBQ chicken breast are my other go-to on a busy weeknight or a weekend!

Instant Pot chicken breast on a trivet inside the pot and broth at the bottom.

This Instant Pot chicken breast is easy, simple and forgiving.

Don’t you always have a pack of chicken breasts in your freezer?! Now you can make juicy chicken breast in Instant Pot from fresh or frozen in just 30 minutes.

I have been making slow cooker chicken breast for years. It’s a great recipe, the only downside is that you have to remove cooked chicken right away to avoid it being dry.

So, this easy Instant Pot chicken breast recipe solves the problem because chicken breast is done in 25 minutes or so. I just love Instant Pot! It makes the best Instant Pot rice and beans without soaking the beans, and Instant Pot lasagna with no need for a springform pan.

If you are not a blessed electric pressure cooker owner just yet, check out my baked chicken breast or chicken breast in air fryer recipes.

Instant Pot whole chicken breast and shredded chicken breast on a plate.

Why You’ll Love Instant Pot Chicken Breast

  • Quick and easy: All you have to do is rub chicken breasts with spices and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. With pressure build up and bringing it down, you are in for a maximum of 30 minutes cooking time. You don’t even have to saute your meat but you can, if you wish.
  • Cook from fresh or frozen: Forgot to thaw your chicken breasts this morning before going to work? No problem. Even frozen chicken breasts in Instant Pot are ready in 30 minutes!
  • Tender, juicy and flavorful chicken breast: I can guarantee you will end up with the best chicken breasts you have ever tried! Pressure cooker locks in all the moisture inside the meat resulting in mouthwatering tender chicken breast every time.

Ingredients You Will Need

Chicken breasts, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

To make Instant Pot chicken breast you really need only chicken breasts and water. Everything else is up to your taste and what you are planning to serve it with.

If you are adding cooked chicken breast to salads, quesadillas or tostadas, I would not worry about seasonings much. If you are planning to eat it alongside grains and veggies, I would pay attention to spices.

  • Chicken breasts: You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts, fresh or frozen.
  • Salt and pepper: Simple seasonings so your chicken is a ‘blank slate’ for recipes.
  • Garlic powder: If you wish, but not required.

Seasoning Tip

Of course, you can add more seasonings to taste. It will depend on how you plan to use the chicken once it is ready. Rub chicken breasts with some dried oregano, Italian seasoning, chili powder, smoked paprika, all purpose seasoning or taco seasoning. Or this turkey breast rub would be delicious on chicken as well!

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breast in Instant Pot

Step by step process how to cook chicken breasts in Instant Pot.
  1. Add water: Add 1 cup cold tap water and place trivet on top. You want to use cold water so warm water doesn’t reduce the cook time. If you don’t have trivet, just place breasts on the bottom of Instant Pot. Some readers like to use chicken stock or chicken broth instead, especially if cooking without trivet.
  2. Add chicken breast in Instant Pot: Lay chicken breasts in a single layer, sprinkle with spices and rub onto each other right inside the pot. You can also do so on a separate plate but I find it isn’t necessary.
  3. Pressure cook chicken breast: Depending on the model of your Instant Pot, you will have to press either Pressure Cook on High pressure or Manual button. Set timer for 10 minutes – for breasts under 2 inch thickness, 15 minutes – for over 2 inch thick breasts.
  4. Release the pressure: Now you want to wait 5 minutes aka do Natural Release for 5 minutes. Then turn the pressure valve to Venting position to release remaining pressure. Your chicken is ready. I find you do not have to rest the meat with chicken breasts cooked in Instant Pot.

Searing Tip

If you would like to sear your seasoned chicken breasts, press Saute and wait until it says Hot. Swirl a bit of olive oil and sear chicken on all sides for about 2 minutes per side. You might have to do so in batches. After when you add water, make sure to scrape away all browned bits because they can trigger burn notice. Cook seared breasts less than 2″ thick – for 7 minutes, and over 2″ thick – for 10 minutes.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot

Person showing how to cook frozen chicken breasts in Instant Pot.
  1. Add water: You always want to start with 1 cup cold thin liquid like water or broth when cooking in Instant Pot. Don’t add warm water because it will skew the cook time and your chicken will come out undercooked.
  2. Add chicken: When cooking frozen chicken breasts, it is very important to make sure each breast is separated. If you add a blob of frozen breasts, you will end up with raw meat inside and overcooked chicken outside. Place chicken breasts in Instant Pot in a single layer.
  3. Season it: You won’t be able to rub spices or sear frozen chicken, so just sprinkle seasonings on top.
  4. Pressure cook: Press Pressure Cook on High (Duo model) or Manual (LUX) for 15-18 minutes. I would say chicken breasts under 2″ thick in the thickest part – cook for 15 minutes. Over 2″ – cook for 18 minutes.

Check out my Instant Pot frozen chicken breast recipe for detailed info. And if you have an air fryer, you can cook frozen chicken breasts in air fryer as well.

Freezing Tip

When you bring fresh chicken from the store, line each breast with small piece of parchment paper before adding to a bag and freezing. Thaw for 5 minutes or run under cold water for easy parchment paper removal.

How Long to Cook Chicken Breast in Instant Pot?

With all the different sizes and models of this electric pressure cooker, you might be wondering how long to cook chicken breast in the Instant Pot?! And it’s a valid question.

You need to answer only 2 questions:

  1. Are you using fresh chicken breasts or frozen chicken breasts?
  2. How thick are they?

I have put together these cooking time charts for your quick reference:

Fresh chicken breasts thicknessCooking timeNatural pressure release
Under 2″ thick10 minutes5 minutes
Over 2″ thick15 minutes5 minutes
Frozen chicken breasts thicknessCooking timeNatural pressure release
Under 2″ thick15 minutes5 minutes
Over 2″ thick18 minutes5 minutes

Cooking Tip

As per USDA guidelines, your Instant Pot chicken breast is ready when a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part reaches 165 degrees F. Check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast.

Tips for Best Results

  • If you don’t have a trivet: It’s OK to place chicken breasts in water and cook without a trivet. I have tried it many times and it makes them even more juicy. I never got a Burn notice.
  • Don’t use Poultry button: Poultry setting has preset time that is not customizable to the size of your chicken breasts. Also poultry is a very large concept ranging from chicken tenders to bone-in whole chicken.
  • Don’t do Quick Release: If you release pressure right away after cooking, it will make your chicken breast dry. I recommend to wait 5 minutes and then turn valve to Venting.
  • Don’t throw away the liquid: It is basically Instant Pot chicken broth and is perfect for making soup recipes and Instant Pot soup recipes.
  • Make gravy: If you have seasoned your chicken breast with extra spices and seared it, then you will have flavorful cooking liquid sitting at the bottom of the pot. Make gravy with it. Press Saute button and in a small bowl, make a slurry with 2 tablespoons cold water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Pour it in, whisk and cook until gravy has thickened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Size of Instant Pot you can use: Any size of Instant Pot works for this Instant Pot chicken breast recipe. It comes in 3 quart, 5 quart, 6 quart or 8 quart. Same recipe. Same cooking time. Same water amount. Just make sure chicken breasts fit in a single layer.
  • If your Instant Pot is small: If you want to cook large amount of chicken breasts in 3 quart pot, do so in a few batches. Piling up chicken in a few layers will result in undercooked chicken.
  • Bone-in and skin-on chicken breasts: Cooking time remains the same. You do not need to cook them longer because 10-15 minutes of cook time along with about 10 minutes of pressure build up time, is enough to cook through thin chicken bones.
Instant Pot chicken breast, pico de gallo and tortilla chips served on blue plate.

What to Serve Instant Pot Chicken Breast with?

There are so many ways to answer the question on what to do with cooked chicken breast! It sure is a welcome addition to a variety of recipes like salads, enchiladas, casseroles and sandwiches.

Here are a few ways to turn it into a meal:

How to Store Leftovers

Store: Refrigerate leftover chicken in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Weekly meal prep: Refrigerate whole or cubed chicken breast and use throughout the week for lunches. Sub out your sandwich deli meat or use in salads.

Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container or resealable freezer bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in fridge or on a counter.

More FAQs

Do I have to saute breasts before cooking?

Many recipes online ask you to saute chicken breast before pressure cooking in an effort “to lock in most of juices”. I can assure you I have cooked chicken breast in Instant Pot over 20 times and it comes out juicy if you follow my recipe.

But you can saute it if you wish, of course. See notes above how to do so.

Can I stack chicken breasts in Instant Pot?

No. You can cook as many or as little instapot chicken breasts as you need, as long as they fit into a single layer. If you stack them, your chicken will end up with uncooked spots.

Can you overcook chicken in the Instant Pot?

Because the Instant Pot steam provides a moist environment for your chicken breast, this is difficult to do. If you are worried, be sure to measure your chicken breast’s thickness at its widest point so you know exactly how long to cook chicken breast in Instant Pot.

How do you fix a tough Instant Pot chicken breast?

If your Instant Pot chicken breast came out tough it could be due to the breast itself. Find the brand you like and use it. To fix tough chicken, shred it with two forks and mix with some cooking liquid from the bottom of the pot.

More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

Also be sure to check out these 20 healthy freezer meals you can cook from frozen in your Instant Pot. And here you can browse 45 other healthy Instant Pot recipes and our entire category of Instant Pot recipes.

Instant Pot chicken breast and shredded chicken on a plate.
Instant Pot chicken breast on a trivet inside the pot and broth at the bottom.

Instant Pot Chicken Breast

Juicy, flavorful and tender Instant Pot Chicken Breast from fresh or frozen. 25 minutes from start to finish, simple ingredients and no searing required.
4.99 from 104 votes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 295
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 17 minutes

Ingredients  

Instructions 

  • To the Instant Pot, add water and place trivet inside.
  • Lay chicken breasts in a single layer (if using frozen make sure they are separated) and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly with tongs or hands.
  • Close the lid and set pressure vent to Sealing. Press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 10 minutes (under 2" thickness) for fresh, or 15 minutes (over 2" thick) for fresh and frozen chicken breasts (any size).
  • Display will say ON, Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure, you will see a bit of steam coming out from a valve, then float valve will rise and countdown will begin.
  • After 10-15 minutes your chicken is ready, Instant Pot will beep and display will say OFF. Wait 5 minutes and do Quick Release by turning sealing valve to Venting position.
  • Open the lid and your chicken breasts are ready for meal prep, casseroles, salads etc. Shred or cube, and save the stock at the bottom for soup.

Video

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container or resealable freezer bags for up to 3 months. Thaw in a fridge or on a counter.
  • *If using frozen chicken breasts make sure they are separated. Think about it before freezing a whole tray, separate them with parchment paper.
  • Feel free to use chicken broth instead of water.

Nutrition

Serving: 1breast | Calories: 295kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 400mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: North American
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I didn’t have chicken breasts on hand but had bone in chicken thighs. I put them on the trivet. I sprinkled with onion powder, garlic powder and thyme. For the liquid, I used 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1/2 cup water. I set the setting for 15 minutes and then did the release. The chicken was delicious!!!

  2. 5 stars
    My favorite “Go To” supper – Instant Pot and Costco/Kirtland individually frozen chicken breast. I place then on vegetables with heaping teaspoon of Better Than Chicken Bouillon. The natural release is best on meats. Great way to make green chile chicken enchiladas.

  3. 5 stars
    My first new go-to recipe. I just bought my Instant Pot, so I was very happy that this dish came out tender, tasty, and healthy.

    Finding ifoodreal.com is like opening a treasure chest of ideas, recipes, inspiration, entertainment, and upbeat presentations by this very confident and accomplished cook. Thank you, Oleana! You are a pro, whether you claim to be or not.

  4. It doesn’t say when to add the 2 cups chicken broth in the instant pot chicken alfredo. Maybe the 2 cups of milk is suppose to be the chicken broth. I am so confused. Please help. I interpret 2 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of milk.

    1. Hello Sandra. Which recipe are you needing help with? You commented on the instant pot chicken breast (which calls for water).
      For the IP Chicken Alfredo, you add the broth in the first step (1.
      To Instant Pot, add chicken, stock, oil, salt and pepper.) Hope that helps.

  5. 5 stars
    Last week I used this recipe with frozen breasts and tonight I used it with thawed, turned out PERFECT both times! Thank you for making my life easier. ?

  6. 5 stars
    I i always use this recipe! It works! When I want shredded chicken I just throw my breast in the KitchenAid with the paddle and it’s shredded in about 1 minute!

  7. 5 stars
    This was the first thing I cooked with my new Instant Pot, and it turned out great! I cooked one chicken breast (it’s just me), and I just added a seasoning blend I already had. It was so juicy and delicious! I just wanted a basic recipe for cooking chicken breast because I knew nothing about how to use it, and all the recipes in the app were more complicated. I couldn’t find anything to tell me step-by-step how to cook just a chicken breast! So I got on Google, as you do now, and this was one of the first things that came up. I think I will be back very soon to learn how to cook other things!

4.99 from 104 votes (22 ratings without comment)

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