This recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Breast is the BEST way to make chicken breasts in the Instant Pot whether using fresh or frozen chicken. Perfectly cooked, juicy chicken breast EVERY SINGLE TIME!
Instant Pot Chicken Breast is delicious served as the entree for a family meal or sliced on top of a chicken salad, it also shreds beautifully, making it perfect to use for dishes like Creamy and Cheesy Chicken and Rice, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Enchiladas, or Creamy Parmesan Chicken Casserole.
Having a large batch of cooked chicken breast in the fridge or freezer is one of my BEST staples to get quick meals on the table, as sliced or shredded chicken is the base for so many delicious recipes.
While I love to make Rotisserie Chicken and Roasted Chicken Breast in large quantities, if I am honest, I do not always plan ahead. The next thing I know it is 5 o'clock and my family is in meltdown mode because we are hungry! I need something fast and I need a recipe that works regardless if I have fresh or frozen chicken on hand.
This is when I pull out my trusty Instant Pot to make Instant Pot Chicken Breast.
But chicken breast can always be a bit more tricky to cook to juicy perfection. Thankfully, after 20 plus tries, I have perfected perfectly cooked Instant Pot Chicken Breast!
There is a secret to my instant pot chicken breast that makes it SO much better than any other recipe--PINEAPPLE JUICE!
Pineapple juice adds just the right sweetness to the chicken and paired with some garlic and salt and pepper; this chicken is delicious and perfect even in savory dishes like my Creamy Cheesy Chicken and Rice. And not only does the pineapple juice add flavor to the chicken, but it also helps to tenderize the chicken breast. Of course, you can use chicken stock if you don't have pineapple juice!
How to Cook Chicken Breast in Instant Pot
- Place chicken breasts in the inner pot of the instant pot and season with salt.
- Add in 1 cup pineapple juice or chicken stock and season with minced garlic or garlic powder.
- Place lid on instant pot and be sure vent knob is pointed towards sealed.
- Set pressure cooker to the cooking time based on the size of chicken breasts--NOT how many chicken breasts you are cooking.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before doing a quick release of pressure.
- Remove the meat from the liquid and let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving or shredding.
Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast
The process for cooking frozen chicken is not much different than cooking thawed or fresh chicken breast. But there are 2 things to keep in mind.
- You will need to add 4 minutes to the cooking time.
- If your chicken breasts are frozen together, I suggest placing them in a bowl of cold water until you can break them apart into individual breasts. If you try to cook in one hunk, you will end up with over-cooked and under-cooked chicken.
You determine the cooking time based on the size of individual breasts, not total pounds. This recipe was developed using organic chicken breasts which tend to run smaller than conventional chicken breasts.
- 6-ounce chicken breasts 6 minutes on high pressure for fresh/ 10 minutes on high pressure for frozen
- 8-ounce chicken breasts 7 minutes on high pressure for fresh/11 minutes on high pressure for frozen
- 10-ounce chicken breasts 8 minutes on high pressure for fresh/12 minutes on high pressure for frozen
As for how to determine the size, 1 pound is 16 ounces. So if you had a pound and a half package that is a total of 24 ounces. If there are 4 chicken breasts, you would divide 24 by 4. This tells you each breast would weigh about 6 ounces each.
What if Chicken is not Cooked?
Chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit before safe to consume.
Once your cook time has elapsed and pressure has been released, chicken the internal temperature of your chicken breast. If less than 160 degrees, 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, it will reach 165 degrees as it rests.
How to Serve Instant Pot Chicken Breast
The options are endless for how you serve Instant Pot Chicken Breast. My favorite options are:
- Serve as a whole chicken breast as the main entree. It is delicious plain or with barbecue sauce.
- Slice up the chicken breast, as you would poached chicken.
- Shred the chicken breast to use for sandwiches salads, casseroles, etc.
Directions for Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- Cook chicken as recipe directs.
- Once cook time has elapsed remove the chicken breast from the instant pot and place it into a large mixing bowl.
- Shred the chicken, using a handheld mixer on medium speed.
- Add chicken back to the inner pot, along with ½ cup of the cooking liquid, and mix together.
No Poultry Button on Pressure Cooker?
You do not need a Poultry Function on your Instant Pot to cook Chicken. In fact, I don't recommend using it EVEN if you have it.
The poultry button is a PRE-Determined time based on AVERAGE chicken. Not chicken breast, not chicken thighs--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 and adjust the cooking time yourself. Read more about Instant Pot Functions to know how to properly use your Instant Pot.
Final Recipe Tips
- REMEMBER: Set pressure cooker to the cooking time based on the size of chicken breasts--NOT how many chicken breasts you are cooking.
- Pineapple Juice: The pineapple juice may sound like an odd addition for cooking savory chicken breast, but it really does add a perfect subtle flavor and helps to tenderize the chicken. If you don't have pineapple juice on hand, use chicken stock.
- Storing Instructions: Instant Pot Chicken Breast can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and frozen for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing then chicken AFTER shredding.
- Seasoning Options: Feel free to season the chicken breast with Seasoned Salt, Taco Seasoning, or simply salt and pepper if desired.
- 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.
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Chicken Marsala
- Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
With a few simple strategies and the help of EASY Instant Pot Recipes, you can ALWAYS have time to get dinner on the table for your family--this easy Instant Pot Chicken Breast recipe is proof of that.
Instant Pot Chicken Breast
- 3 pounds chicken breasts fresh or frozen, see notes on timing
- 1 cup pineapple juice or chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon if using chicken stock
- Place chicken 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.
- Close lid and turn vent to sealed.
- Set Cook Time BASED on Size of Chicken Breasts (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
- Allow to release naturally for 10 minutes, and then do a quick release if needed.
- Remove chicken from liquid and rest chicken for 5-10 minutes.
- Slice and serve or shred with ½ cup cooking liquid.
To Shred Chicken
- Prepare chicken as recipe directs above. Once cook time has elapsed and pressure has released naturally for at least 10 minutes, remove the cooked chicken breast from 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 a handheld mixer on medium speed.
This recipe was updated with new step-by-step pictures in 2020, but the recipe has not changed.