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 chicken breasts? Make Instant Pot chicken breast, air fryer chicken breast or Instant Pot barbecue chicken.
Table of contents
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! Now you can also cook frozen chicken breast in air fryer too!
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!
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 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!
Ingredients and Notes
To make Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breasts you will need just 2 simple ingredients and seasoning, if you wish.
- 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, all purpose seasoning or just season with 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.
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 lbs depending on your pot’s size.
Close the lid, move pressure release valve to Sealing position.
Pressure cook frozen breasts: 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.
Open lid to reveal perfectly cooked chicken breasts: 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 shred to enjoy or use in other recipes.
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 position a bit. Move it slightly back with a long spoon.
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.
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.
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!
- 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.
- Cut into cubes and use in healthy chicken alfredo.
- Shred and use in healthy chicken pot pie or chicken enchiladas.
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, with this method of cooking frozen chicken. Simply because you will use meat in other dishes that have additional flavors.
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.
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.
Just add a few minutes to the cooking time.
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
- Instant Pot butter chicken
- Instant Pot chicken and rice
- Instant Pot whole chicken
- Instant Pot chicken and potatoes
- Instant Pot frozen whole chicken
- Instant Pot shredded chicken
- Instant Pot Italian chicken
- Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos
How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot
- 2-3 lbs boneless chicken breasts fresh or frozen*
- 1 cup water
- 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.
- 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.
I never leave reviews. Ever.
This was by far the best way to cook chicken ever, and from frozen is the absolute best.
I had 2 large chicken breasts, I put them in for 16 minutes and natural released for 10 (mainly because I forgot about them) and they are absolutely perfect! Fully cooked all the way through, which is always a concern for me, and the juiciest chicken I’ve ever made.
So glad you enjoyed it!
I have not made my chicken yet. I just want to say that your tutorial was the best I read and studied. It answered a lot of questions. Thank you
Thank you Karen! Enjoy the chicken and let us know how it goes!
I have used this recipe a number of times and it is great. I have refrozen the cooked chicken with no problem. I love all of your recipes and have learned how to use my instant pot from your recipes and information. I have shared you link with several friends
So glad you have loved everything and thanks for sharing the site!
I cook for one person using a 3 quart instant pot. This is one of my favorite meats to cook because of the variety of meals I can make. I purchased the frozen chicken breast in large Packaging and usually can only fit one large chicken breast at a time in the pot, this allows me to chop part of it to make chicken fried rice and have plenty left to put in a food processor to make chicken salad for sandwiches to take to work.
So glad to hear it is a regular in your rotation Jim!
It came out perfect.
So happy to hear this!
Are you saying you can re-freeze priorly frozen chicken? I thought that was not recommended. Now you are saying different. Have you done that? How did the chicken taste after being frozen, thawed, cooked & re-frozen?
It will be fine and works great for meal prep. I would not freeze again after thawing the cooked.