Learn How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot in 30ish minutes. Perfectly tender and flavorful chicken ready to be used in a variety of dishes!
Table of Contents
- Why You Will Love This Recipe
- Ingredients for Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast
- How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot
- Tips for Best Results
- How Long to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in Instant Pot?
- Seasoning Ideas
- Ways to Use Cooked Chicken Breasts
- How to Store
- More FAQs
- More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot Recipe
Once you learn how to cook frozen chicken breasts in your Instant Pot with this easy step-by-step tutorial, it will change your weeknights! You will never be stuck wondering what is for dinner because you forgot to thaw chicken in the morning.
I hate to sound like a broken record but if you have been a regular reader on iFoodReal, you know I am obsessed with Instant Pot recipes. And this is one of my favorites!
Why You Will Love This Recipe
- 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 40 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!
Ingredients for Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast
To make Instant Pot frozen chicken breast you will need just 2 simple ingredients and seasoning, if you wish.
- Frozen chicken breasts: Up to 3 pounds 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 pounds depending on your Instant Pot’s size.
Close the lid, move pressure release valve to Sealing position.
Pressure cook frozen breasts in Instant Pot: Cook the chicken for 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.
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.
Rest and serve: Your Instant Pot frozen chicken breasts are now ready! Remove the chicken onto a cutting board, let rest for a few minutes and slice or make Instant Pot shredded chicken to enjoy or use in other healthy chicken recipes.
Tips for Best Results
Follow these tips for perfectly moist chicken breast every time!
- Instant Pot size matters: I have tested these cook times in 6 quart Instant Pot Lux and 8 quart Instant Pot Duo. 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 pounds 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 frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot.
- Patience: You must wait 5 minutes after the Instant Pot beeps Done, then Quick Release the pressure. 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 position a bit. Move it slightly back with a long spoon.
How Long to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in Instant Pot?
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. Here is a handy time chart for you to use:
|Chicken breast thickness
|Pressure cooking time
|Under 2.5″ thick
|15 minutes on High Pressure
|Over 2.5″ thick
|18 minutes on High Pressure
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.
If you have bone-in frozen chicken breasts, follow this recipe and just add 2-3 minutes to the pressure cooking time.
Seasoning frozen chicken breasts before cooking is optional. Seasonings do not stick to frozen meat that well though and will end up at the bottom of the pot, making a flavorful broth.
After you add chicken to Instant Pot, you can sprinkle it with 1-2 teaspoons of:
- Garlic powder
- Dried oregano
- Italian seasoning
- All purpose seasoning
- Taco seasoning
- Turkey breast rub
- Pot roast seasoning
- Salt and pepper
Ways to Use Cooked Chicken Breasts
- Serve as the main protein for dinner. It’s delicious plain or with your favorite sauce.
- Slice it and turn your spinach salad into a main dish salad.
- Add to salads that call for cooked chicken such as healthy chicken salad.
- Add it to soup and stew recipes.
- Shred and use in healthy chicken pot pie or healthy chicken enchiladas.
How to Store
This Instant Pot frozen chicken breast recipe is perfect for meal prep. You can buy quite a few pounds 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 with this recipe. Simply because you will use meat in other dishes that have additional flavors.
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 often come out tough.
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.
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.
Sometimes it happens. Instant Pot is basically a computer, so it’s not perfect. Altitude, pressure cooker size and type could be the factors. To fix it, close the lid and pressure cook for 2 more minutes.
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot stir fry
- Instant Pot chicken and rice
- Instant Pot barbecue chicken
- Instant Pot whole chicken
- Instant Pot chicken and potatoes
- Instant Pot Italian chicken
- Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos
- Instant Pot white chicken chili
Be sure to browse all of our Instant Pot chicken recipes!
How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot
- 2-3 pounds boneless chicken breasts fresh or frozen*
- 1 cup cold water
- To the Instant Pot, add cold water and trivet. Lay frozen chicken breasts in a single layer on top and 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 or Manual for 15-18 minutes. I would say chicken breasts under 2.5" thick in the thickest part – 15 minutes. Over 2.5" – 18 minutes.
- After 15 minutes your chicken is ready, Instant Pot will beep and display will say OFF. Wait 5 minutes, 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.
- 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.