Whether cooking fresh or frozen chicken breast, this Instant Pot Chicken Breast recipe produces perfectly cooked, tender, juicy chicken every single time.
This recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Breast, along with Instant Pot Chicken Thighs and Instant Pot Whole Chicken, uses a fool-proof method for preparing perfectly cooked chicken using an electric pressure cooker.
This is the ORIGINAL and best recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Breast. Literally, millions of happy readers have made it over the years, returning to this recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Breasts time and time again!
With fabulous reviews and one key ingredient that makes this recipe stand out above the rest, you can guarantee this is the only recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Breast you will ever need!
why this recipe is the best
- Pineapple Juice. The key ingredient to my recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Breast that makes it SO much better than any other recipe is PINEAPPLE JUICE! The pineapple juice may sound like an odd addition for cooking savory chicken breast, but it adds a nice subtle flavor to the chicken and more importantly, the pineapple juice helps to tenderize the chicken.
- Perfected Timing. This recipe for instant pot chicken breast includes timing based on the size of the individual chicken breasts, ensuring perfect customized results.
- Incredibly Tender. The combination of using pineapple juice along with the correct timing for cooking Instant Pot Chicken Breast makes this a WINNING recipe! No more tough, rubbery, or dried-out chicken breast!
- Versatile. You can use this recipe for fresh or frozen chicken breasts. Instant Pot Chicken Breast also is great for meal prep, served as an entree, or for shredded chicken.
- Fast. Whether fresh or frozen, you can whip up Instant Pot Chicken Breast in record time, making dinner a breeze!
Notes on Ingredients
- Chicken Breasts: Fresh or frozen, small or large, you can use any boneless, skinless chicken breasts you have on hand. You will determine the cooking time based on the size of the chicken breast.
- Pineapple Juice: Don't worry, the pineapple juice will not make your chicken taste sweet. It gives it a subtle flavor while tenderizing the chicken. However, if you don't have pineapple juice on hand use store-bought chicken stock, homemade chicken stock, or Instant Pot chicken stock.
- Seasonings: Salt and minced garlic are the perfect complements to the chicken and pineapple. But you can use Seasoned Salt, Taco Seasoning, or any other combination of your favorite seasoning blends to amp up the flavor if desired.
How to Cook Chicken Breast in the Instant Pot
While this recipe is incredibly simple to make, if you are unfamiliar with cooking in an instant pot or the functions of your instant pot, be sure to start with How to Use an Instant Pot for the best results on this and future recipes.
- Place the chicken breasts into the inner pot of the instant pot and season the chicken with salt.
- Pour the pineapple juice, or chicken broth, over the chicken.
- Sprinkle the minced garlic over the chicken breasts.
- Place the lid on the instant pot and be sure the vent knob is pointed towards sealed.
- Set thepressure cooker to the cooking time based on the size of the individual chicken breast. NOT how many chicken breasts you are cooking.
- 6-ounce chicken breast: 6 minutes on high pressure for fresh/ 10 minutes on high pressure for frozen chicken
- 8-ounce chicken breast: 7 minutes on high pressure for fresh/11 minutes on high pressure for frozen chicken
- 10-ounce chicken breast: 8 minutes on high pressure for fresh/12 minutes on high pressure for frozen chicken
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before doing a quick release of pressure. This is key to keeping your chicken breasts tender--don't be tempted to do a quick release of pressure.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the liquid and let the rest for 5-10 minutes before serving or shredding. This also ensures they stay nice and tender and juicy.
You determine the cooking time for Instant Pot Chicken Breasts based on the size of individual breasts, not the total weight. Keep in mind it is best to cook chicken breasts that are approximately the same weight, so they all cook up evenly.
You don't need a kitchen scale to determine the weight of each chicken breast. Most organic chicken breasts will be about 6 ounces, most fresh chicken breast you purchase at the grocery store is about 8 ounces, and bulk chicken breasts are typically about 10 ounces in size.
How to Determine Weight
If you want to be exact, you can use a kitchen scale to measure the size of chicken breasts or divide the number of ounces in your package of chicken breasts by how many chicken breasts are in the package.
For example, if you have a package of 4 chicken breasts that weighs 1.5 pounds, or 24 ounces, you would divide 24 by 4, resulting in 6. That means each chicken breast weighs about 6 ounces, and you would set the cooking time based on 6-ounce chicken breasts.
Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast
The process for cooking frozen chicken breast in the Instant Pot is not much different than cooking thawed or fresh chicken breast. But there are two things to keep in mind.
- You will need to add 4 minutes to the cooking time.
- If chicken breasts are frozen together, they need to be separated in order to cook evenly. If your chicken breasts are frozen together, I suggest placing them in a bowl of cold water for a couple of minutes until you can break them apart into individual breasts.
What if the Chicken is not Cooked?
Chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before being safe to consume.
Once your cook time has elapsed and pressure has been released, check the internal temperature of your chicken breast. If less than 160 degrees F, place the lid back on the pressure cooker and cook for an additional 2-5 minutes on high pressure.
If the chicken has reached 160 degrees F, it should reach 165 degrees F as it rests.
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
I love using shredded chicken for recipes like Cheesy Chicken and Rice and Homemade Chicken Pot Pie, and it couldn't be easier to make tender shredded chicken than by using the Instant Pot.
- Cook the chicken as the recipe directs.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed and pressure has been released, remove the chicken breast from the instant pot and place it into a large mixing bowl along with ½ cup of the cooking liquid.
- Shred the chicken, using two forks, a handheld mixer at medium speed, or a stand mixer at low speed. Alternatively, you can shred the chicken right in the inner pot of your instant pot using 2 forks or a handheld mixer.
Once cooked and slightly cooled, store leftover cooked chicken breast in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Alternatively, you can freeze the chicken breast whole, sliced, or shredded, in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
∗ important to remember ∗
We covered A LOT of tips! To recap, here are the most important things to remember when cooking chicken breast in the Instant Pot.
- Set the cooking time based on the size of the chicken breasts--NOT how many chicken breasts you are cooking.
- Don't use the Poultry Setting! The poultry button is a PRE-Determined time based on AVERAGE chicken. Not chicken breast, not chicken thighs, not a whole chicken--just chicken. You need to control the time you cook your chicken breast yourself! Instead, I always recommend cooking on high pressure using the manual or pressure cook setting to adjust the cooking time yourself. Read more about Instant Pot Functions to know how to properly use your Instant Pot.
- Be patient. It is always best to let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes when cooking meat to keep it from becoming tough.
If you do better learning through visual instruction and video, be sure to check out my YouTube Video for Instant Pot Chicken Breast.
The uses for Instant Pot Chicken Breast are endless. Use your favorite recipe or one of the suggestions below.
- Serve the chicken breast as the main entree. It is delicious plain or with barbecue sauce.
- Slice up the chicken breast and serve over a salad.
- Toss sliced or cubed chicken breast with BBQ sauce or Buffalo Sauce and use for Buffalo Chicken Salad or BBQ Chicken Salad.
- Cut the chicken breast into chunks and use it to make a Chicken Salad Sandwich.
- Shred the chicken breast to use for Creamy and Cheesy Chicken and Rice, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Enchiladas, or Parmesan Chicken Casserole.
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Whole Chicken
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken
If you enjoyed this Instant Pot Chicken Breast recipe, please be sure to take the time to leave a comment and a review.
Instant Pot Chicken Breast
- 3 pounds chicken breasts (fresh or frozen) see notes on timing
- 1 cup pineapple juice or chicken broth use 1.5 cups if using an 8 quart instant pot
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon if using chicken broth
- Place chicken breast(s) into the inner pan of the Instant Pot. Sprinkle the chicken with salt. Pour the pineapple juice over the chicken breast and add the minced garlic. (Use 1 cup of liquid for a 3 or 6-quart Instant Pot and 1.5 cups of liquid for an 8-quart Instant Pot.)
- Close the lid and turn the vent to the closed (sealed) position.
- Set Cook Time BASED on Size of the Largest Chicken Breast (The cook time is for what each chicken breast weighs--not what the TOTAL weight is)Small Chicken Breast (6-ounce chicken breasts) set time for 6 minutes on high pressure for fresh/ 10 minutes on high pressure for frozenMedium Chicken Breast (8-ounce chicken breasts) set time for 7 minutes on high pressure for fresh/11 minutes on high pressure for frozenLarge Chicken Breast (10-ounce chicken breasts) set time for 8 minutes on high pressure for fresh/12 minutes on high pressure for frozen
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally on its own for at least 10 minutes. Then do a quick release of pressure if needed.
- Remove the chicken from the liquid and rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve as desired.
To Shred Instant Pot Chicken
- Prepare chicken as the recipe directs above. Once cook time has elapsed and pressure has been released naturally for at least 10 minutes, remove the cooked chicken breast from the instant pot and drain off all but ½ cooking liquid. Add chicken and reserved liquid back into the inner pot or a large mixing bowl and shred with two forks or a handheld mixer on medium speed. You can also shred in a stand mixer on low speed.
This recipe was updated with a new video and step-by-step pictures in 2022, but the recipe has not changed. The old picture for reference is below.
This is a great , easy recipe. I made it once, and I'm making it again tonight. The chicken was very moist.
Wonderful! Thank you for sharing, Christine.
I've made this recipe three times so far. The chicken comes out so tender! I've just got a bit of a curiosity I'm hoping you can help with. The first (with my Butcher Box chicken 3-pack - about 3 lbs.) came out perfect at 7 minutes. The second two batches that I did (using Costco Organic 3-pack - about 5 lbs.) both refused to come to pressure until I took everything out and added the trivet. It wasn't a big deal as I was just meal prepping for freezer lunches, but I'm wondering if you have any insight. Both times when I unloaded it (after it refused to come to pressure) the bottom pieces of chicken were browned. Wondering if adding the broth (I was out of juice) first would have made a difference or if I need to increase the liquid for a higher quantity of chicken. Any thoughts?
Hi Alicia! Was your Costco chicken frozen? 5 pounds of frozen meat would significantly cool the broth/juice and take longer to come to pressure, which may have been the issue. Also, did you increase the liquid? Or it could be that 5 pounds was too much for your Instant Pot (likely if you have a 6 quart) I hope that helps.
Thank you for sharing this recipe!
I want to make 12 pounds of chicken breast in my 8 qt instant pot. Do I scale all the ingredients but keep the cook time still the same, even though I’m making so much?
Hi Jess! That is a lot of chicken 😊 I have never attempted to prepare quite that much myself, but typically you scale the ingredients and leave the cooking time the same. I would start there. If your chicken is not cooked after a FULL natural pressure release, cook for an additional minute with another NPR. It is better to have to cook again then have overcooked chicken.
Should the chicken be covered with liquid all the way?
It does not have to be 🙂