This recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Breast is the BEST way to make tender, flavorful chicken breast in the Instant Pot. Whether using fresh or frozen chicken breast, this method produces perfectly cooked, juicy chicken every single time.
Perfect Instant Pot Chicken Breast
But chicken breast can be a bit more tricky to cook perfectly. Thankfully, after 20 plus tries, I have perfected cooking Instant Pot Chicken Breast. In fact, now I prefer preparing chicken breast in the Instant Pot over any other cooking method.
The secret to my 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 really does add a perfect subtle flavor and helps to tenderize the chicken.
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!
Whether fresh or frozen, I can whip up Instant Pot Chicken Breasts 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. If you don't have pineapple juice on hand use chicken stock.
- Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and minced garlic are the perfect complement to the chicken and pineapple. Feel free to season the chicken breast with Seasoned Salt, Taco Seasoning, or any other combination of your favorite seasoning blends to amp up the flavor.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Breast
- Place chicken breasts in the inner pot of the instant pot and season with salt and pepper.
- 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 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 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 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.
You determine the cooking time based on the size of individual breasts, not 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.
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.
- 6-ounce chicken breasts: 6 minutes on high pressure for fresh/ 10 minutes on high pressure for frozen chicken
- 8-ounce chicken breasts: 7 minutes on high pressure for fresh/11 minutes on high pressure for frozen chicken
- 10-ounce chicken breasts: 8 minutes on high pressure for fresh/12 minutes on high pressure for frozen chicken
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 will reach 165 degrees F as it rests.
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- Cook the chicken as the recipe directs.
- Once 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.
Pro-Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Chicken Breast
- REMEMBER: Set the cook time based on the size of 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.
The uses for Instant Pot Chicken Breast are endless. Use in 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 Rotisserie Chicken--The best method for cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot this recipe produces flavorful, juicy, tender "roast" chicken.
- Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken--Tender chicken that is perfectly spiced with buffalo seasoning, this recipe is a great base for numerous dishes.
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos--Made with just 4 ingredients and a few minutes of prep, this is one of the easiest, tastiest Instant Pot chicken recipes.
- Instant Pot Chicken Thighs--This is a great basic recipe for cooking bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.
- Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken--This easy instant pot recipe can be made with chicken thighs or chicken breasts and is coated in a delicious sweet and savory teriyaki sauce.
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 new step-by-step pictures in 2021, but the recipe has not changed. The old picture for reference is below.