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!
Table of Contents
- Why You’ll Love Instant Pot Chicken Breast
- Ingredients You Will Need
- How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breast in Instant Pot
- How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot
- How Long to Cook Chicken Breast in Instant Pot?
- Tips for Best Results
- What to Serve Instant Pot Chicken Breast with?
- How to Store Leftovers
- More FAQs
- More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipe
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.
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
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- Season it: You won’t be able to rub spices or sear frozen chicken, so just sprinkle seasonings on top.
- 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.
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:
- Are you using fresh chicken breasts or frozen chicken breasts?
- How thick are they?
I have put together these cooking time charts for your quick reference:
|Fresh chicken breasts thickness||Cooking time||Natural pressure release|
|Under 2″ thick||10 minutes||5 minutes|
|Over 2″ thick||15 minutes||5 minutes|
|Frozen chicken breasts thickness||Cooking time||Natural pressure release|
|Under 2″ thick||15 minutes||5 minutes|
|Over 2″ thick||18 minutes||5 minutes|
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.
What to Serve Instant Pot Chicken Breast with?
Here are a few ways to turn it into a meal:
- Instant Pot shredded chicken: Shred meat with 2 forks, refrigerate and use to make chicken salad or healthy white chicken chili.
- Diced chicken breast: Chop it up to add protein to cottage cheese pasta, vegetable soup or borscht.
- Low carb meal: Make my favorite ratatouille recipe to have with chicken for a complete meal.
- With sauce: Combine shredded chicken with healthy barbecue sauce or teriyaki sauce.
- With salad: Serve with Instant Pot potato salad.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Instant Pot chicken and rice that we make every month!
- Instant Pot chicken and potatoes everyone will love, trust me!
- Instant Pot white chicken chili is creamy and made healthier.
- Instant Pot frozen whole chicken – rotisserie style whole chicken.
- Instant Pot whole chicken – any mom’s best friend.
- Butter chicken in the Instant Pot comes out just like the restaurant’s!
- Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos with only 3 ingredients.
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
- 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.
- 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.