Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken is easy to make, versatile, and perfect for meal prep! Learn how to cook the best tender, juicy shredded chicken in the Instant Pot. Use fresh or frozen chicken breasts or thighs.
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
When I know we are going to have a busy week, I try to do some meal prep on the weekend to save time cooking on weeknights. One of my favorite foods to make ahead is a batch of shredded chicken. With this healthy protein cooked and ready in the refrigerator, it’s easy to throw together quick dinners and lunches.
You can add cooked, shredded chicken to salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, burrito bowls, wraps and casseroles. Serve it with pasta or rice and a vegetable for a quick, nutritious meal. Or toss shredded chicken with BBQ Sauce to make pulled chicken sandwiches or BBQ Chicken Sliders.
I like to season my chicken breasts before cooking them to give them the best flavor. This Instant Pot shredded chicken is seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and dried oregano. These flavors are versatile and this Instant Pot shredded chicken works well in most recipes that call for cooked chicken. You can use other seasonings that you enjoy. Try Taco Seasoning, Cajun Seasoning or Italian seasoning.
I have been making this every week for meal prep. Thank you!Carly
Learn more about How to Use an Instant Pot.
How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Instant Pot
This Instant Pot shredded chicken is an easy, hands-off way to cook chicken breasts for shredding or slicing. Here’s how to make it:
Add all ingredients to the pot. Place the boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the Instant Pot. Pour in 1 cup of chicken broth. Then sprinkle the seasonings over the chicken.
Pressure cook. Close the lid on the pot, move the steam valve to the sealing position, and pressure cook at high pressure. Smaller chicken breasts will cook faster than larger pieces of chicken:
- Cook small (6-8 ounces each) chicken breasts for 10 minutes.
- Cook medium (9-10 ounce) chicken breasts for 12 minutes.
- Cook large (12 ounce) chicken breasts for 15 minutes.
The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and then the cook time will start counting down.
Natural release. When the cook time ends, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes. A natural release means that you just leave the Instant Pot alone so that the pressure can start to naturally dissipate. After 10 minutes, quick release any remaining pressure by using the handle of a long spoon to move the steam release valve to the venting position.
Check that it’s done. I always do a quick check to make sure that my chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165° F. Using an instant read thermometer is a good way to accurately check that your meat has cooked to a safe temperature.
Shred the chicken. Let the chicken cool for a few minutes and then shred it while it’s still warm using two forks, your hands or a stand mixer. See 3 easy methods for How to Shred Chicken for tips.
Add some of the juices. Finally, stir some of the juices from the pot back into the shredded chicken for moisture and flavor.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
Cooked shredded chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Freeze extra shredded chicken in 1-2 cup portions so you can easily defrost the amount that you need for a meal or recipe.
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Recipe Tips
- Don’t skip the natural release. It helps to keep the chicken tender, juicy and flavorful.
- You can scale this recipe up or down to cook more or less chicken. Be sure to always use at least 1 cup of broth so that the Instant Pot can pressurize. You can scale the seasonings up or down as desired. Keep the cook time the same.
- Cooking the chicken in chicken broth adds flavor, but if you don’t have broth you can substitute water.
- Chicken shreds easiest when it is warm.
- If you plan to slice your chicken instead of shredding it, wait and slice it right before you plan to use it. Slice against the grain for the most tender chicken.
- Want to make it in a slow cooker? Use this Crockpot Shredded Chicken recipe.
Can I use frozen chicken?
Yes, you can use frozen chicken breasts in this recipe. If your chicken breasts are frozen, add 2 minutes to the pressure cooking time and follow that with a 10 minute natural release. Be sure that the chicken breasts are frozen as individual breasts, not clumped together in one large mass, as that would take much longer to cook through.
Learn more about how to cook frozen chicken in the Instant Pot.
Can I use chicken thighs?
Yes, the dark meat on chicken thighs is extra flavorful and moist and makes delicious shredded chicken. Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cook them for 14 minutes. If they are frozen cook for 18 minutes (be sure they are not frozen into a large mass). Check that the internal temperature has reached 165° F after cooking.
Shredded Chicken Recipes
Looking for ways to use shredded chicken? Here are some of our favorite shredded chicken recipes:
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts*, or boneless skinless chicken thighs*
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Place the chicken in the Instant Pot. Pour in the chicken broth. Sprinkle the dried oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper over the chicken.
- Seal the lid and move the steam valve to the sealing position.
- Pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes for small (6-8 ounce) chicken breasts, 12 minutes for medium (9-10 ounce) chicken breasts, or 15 minutes for large (12 ounce) chicken breasts. The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and then the cook time will start counting down.
- When the cook time ends, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes by leaving the Instant Pot alone. Then quick release any remaining pressure by using the handle of a long spoon to move the steam release valve to the venting position.
- Wait for the steam to release and the pin to drop down. Then, carefully open the lid of the Instant Pot. Check that the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165° F using an instant read thermometer.
- Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot, leaving the broth in the pot. Let the chicken cool slightly and then shred the chicken. Stir in about ½ cup of the broth from the pot for flavor and moisture.
- If using boneless, skinless chicken thighs pressure cook for 14 minutes. If they are frozen cook for 18 minutes (be sure they are not frozen into a large mass). Check that the internal temperature has reached 165° F after cooking.
- If your chicken breasts are frozen, add 2 minutes to the pressure cooking time and follow that with a 10 minute natural release. Be sure that the chicken breasts are frozen as individual breasts, not one solid mass. Check that chicken is cooked to at least 165 degrees F.
- You may use this same recipe to cook less chicken. Scale down the seasonings as desired, but use the full 1 cup of liquid and keep the cook time the same.
- Store cooked shredded chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months. Cool completely before freezing, and freeze in an airtight container labeled with the use-by date.