by Olena

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
5 from 38 votes

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

Learn how to cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot in only 25 minutes. Perfectly tender and flavorful chicken ready to be used in a variety of dishes! Plus you will never be stuck wondering what is for dinner because you forgot to thaw chicken in the morning.

Got fresh ones? See Instant Pot chicken breast, or if you have a whole frozen chicken, follow the recipe for Instant Pot frozen whole chicken.

Cooked Instant Pot frozen chicken breast in pressure cooker liner.

Once you learn how to cook Instant Pot frozen chicken breasts with this easy step-by-step tutorial, it will change your weeknights!

The chicken breast comes out moist, juicy, tender and it simply melts in your mouth. I am 100% honest!

I hate to sound like a broken record but if you have been cooking my recipes for a while, you know I am obsessed with my Instant Pot. Cooking frozen chicken has never been easier!

Cooking meat from frozen is the best feature of this magic machine. You can even thaw Instant Pot frozen ground beef or any ground meat fast. It just works!

Perfect Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breasts

  • No thawing required: Yes that is correct, cook from frozen! You will never wonder at 5 o’clock what is for dinner because you forgot to thaw chicken in the morning!
  • Quick: Ready to use as is for dinner or in a recipe in less than 25 minutes.
  • 2 ingredients: Only the frozen chicken and water, so easy.
  • Juicy breasts: All the steam and moisture is locked in in the pressure cooker resulting in the most juicy chicken breast ever. If you follow the recipe of course, I promise!
  • Perfect for meal prep: Use all week in a variety of healthy dishes!

Ingredient Notes

Two frozen chicken breasts on a plate.
  • Frozen chicken breasts: Up to 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts.
  • Water: 1 cup cold water. You can use chicken broth, pineapple juice or apple cider but it will mostly flavor the broth not the meat.
  • Seasoning (optional): You can sprinkle chicken breasts with garlic powder, dried oregano, Italian seasoning, or salt and pepper. Seasonings do not stick to frozen meat that well though and will end up at the bottom of the pot, making a flavorful broth.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot

Cooking frozen chicken breasts Instant Pot is one of the best features of the electric pressure cooker. It’s so easy, they’re moist and never overcooked.

Six frozen chicken breasts on a tray.

Separate frozen chicken breasts: I can’t stress enough how important it is to make sure your frozen chicken breasts are separated. Just like pictured above.

If you add a blob of frozen breasts stuck together, they will not cook inside and overcook outside.

Adding a cup of water to pressure cooker with trivet.

Add cup of liquid and trivet: Make sure to place meat on a trivet, it just comes out better this way.

However, you can still cook frozen chicken breasts in Instant Pot without a rack. Meat will come out more boiled.

Four frozen chicken breasts in instant pot on a trivet.

Add frozen chicken breasts: You can fit as many chicken breasts as you can in a single layer. Do not double stack them. Usually it is 2-4 lbs depending on your pot’s size.

Close the lid, move pressure release valve to Sealing position.

Instant Pot display shows 18 minutes manual cooking time.

Pressure cook frozen breasts: 15-18 minutes depending on thickness. Display will say ON, Instant Pot will take about 10-15 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.

Instant pot display says 5 minutes on keep warm function.

After wait 5 minutes then Quick Release: When done cooking Instant Pot will beep and display will say off. Wait 5 minutes, then release by turning valve to Venting.

Four cooked Instant Pot chicken breasts in pressure cooker pot.

Open lid to reveal perfectly cooked chicken breasts: Your chicken is now recipe ready!

Size Matters

Chicken breasts can range in size quite a bit! The actual time needed to cook your frozen chicken breast will depend on how large the breast is before you cook it.

The easiest way to determine the cooking time is by measuring the thickest part of the breast.

Frozen chicken breasts under 2.5″ thick in the thickest part need 15 minutes of cook time on High Pressure. Over 2.5″ thick add 3 minutes totalling 18 minutes of cooking time.

Contrary to popular belief, cooking frozen meat in Instant Pot does not need longer cooking time. Electric pressure cooker just takes longer to come to pressure because inside inner pot temperature is lower.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

Turn your cooked breasts into Instant Pot shredded chicken! Save a bit of cooking liquid to rehydrate when shredding. You can shred with forks or in a bowl of stand mixer.

What If The Chicken is Not Cooked?

Sometimes it happens. Instant Pot is basically a computer. So, it is not perfect. Altitude, pressure cooker size and type could be the factors.

The best way to check is to poke the thickest part of the breast with a fork or insert an instant read thermometer. If juices are a bit pink or internal temperature reads below 165 degrees F, cook 2 more minutes.

This time Instant Pot will come to pressure much faster because its contents are hot. Also make sure valve is set to Sealing.

Tips to Remember

Follow these tips for perfectly moist chicken breast from frozen!

  • Instant Pot size matters: I have tested these cook times in 6 quart LUX and 8 quart Duo Instant Pot. I recommend to add 3 minutes cook time to 3 quart models because it comes to pressure faster.
  • Set time according to thickness not quantity: Whether you are cooking 1, 2, or 3 lbs of chicken breasts time is determined by the size of your chicken breasts not the number you are cooking. With 99% of all Instant Pot recipes it is not about the amount of food but rather its thickness.
  • Don’t use the poultry button: This is a predetermined time setting which will not work for cooking these frozen chicken breasts. Follow the directions here on how to manually cook them for perfect results.
  • Patience: You must wait 5 minutes after the Instant Pot beeps done, then Quick Release. This allows the chicken to rest for juicy results. But watch the time, you do not want to Natural Release as that results in overcooked chicken.
  • Steam during cooking: It is OK to see a bit of steam coming out from pressure valve in the beginning. It might have moved from Sealing a bit. Move it slightly back with a long spoon.

Serving Recommendations

Very often chicken breasts are used for meal prep and to be added to other dishes. The uses for Instant Pot frozen chicken breast are endless!

Storage

This Instant Pot frozen chicken breast recipe is perfect for meal prep. You can buy quite a few lbs of chicken breasts and cook them in 2-3 batches while prepping other ingredients or just relaxing.

The key is to let chicken cool first, then shred or slice, and refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze in portions for up to 3 months.

I would not worry about any seasonings especially for a meal prep because you will use meat in other dishes.

More FAQs

Can you overcook frozen chicken breast in Instant Pot?

Yes. Cooking any poultry on high heat (or high pressure) for a long period of time will break down the proteins/collagen making the meat more tender. And at same time “remove” more water out of the meat, making it more dry.

Why are my Instant Pot chicken breasts tough?

There are 2 possible reasons. They are either overcooked, for example, your chicken breasts are smaller and should have been cooked for shorter amount of time. Or it’s the brand of chicken.

I buy organic chicken breasts in Costco and never had an issue with tough meat. I understand it’s not in everyone’s budget, then I recommend to buy fresh meat. I found previously frozen store-bought chicken breasts come out tough often.

To fix tough chicken, shred or cube it and place back in a cooking liquid. It will absorb the broth and rehydrate the meat within 5 minutes.

How long will bone in frozen chicken breast need to cook?

Just add a few minutes to the cooking time.

Can you have skin on for cooking frozen chicken in Instant Pot?

Yes, but it won’t be crisp. You could cook in Instant Pot, transfer to oven safe pan and broil for a few minutes to get skin crispy.

More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

Sliced chicken breast on a cutting board with Instant Pot in background.
How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot

Learn how to cook frozen chicken breast in Instant Pot in only 25 minutes. Perfectly tender and flavorful chicken ready to be used in a variety of dishes!
4.98 from 38 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Instant Pot
Cuisine: North American
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 17 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 195kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2-3 lbs boneless chicken breasts fresh or frozen*
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  • To the Instant Pot, add water and place trivet inside.
  • Lay frozen chicken breasts in a single layer. Make sure they are separated.
  • Sprinkle with spices if using any. Toss to coat evenly with tongs or hands.
  • Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High (Duo model) or Manual (LUX) for 15-18 minutes. I would say chicken breasts under 2.5" thick in the thickest part – 15 minutes. Over 2.5" – 18 minutes. Display will say ON, Instant Pot will take about 10-15 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 15 minutes your chicken is ready, Instant Pot will beep and display will say OFF. Wait 5 minutes to allow chicken to rest.
  • Then 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.

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.
  • Separate them: If you add a blob of frozen breasts stuck together, they will not cook inside and overcook outside.
  • How long to cook 1 lb, 2 lbs, or 3 lbs for? The same amount of time! With 99% of all Instant Pot recipes it is not about the amount of food but rather its thickness.
  • Seasonings are optional: Use what you like but seasonings will not stick to frozen meat well and will end up at the bottom of the pot, making a flavorful broth which then could be made into Instant Pot chicken stock or use in healthy soup recipes.

Nutrition

Calories: 195kcal | Protein: 24g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 73mg

Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes without permission. Nutritional info is approximate.