This Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken is the perfect easy dinner recipe for busy weeknights. Including just four simple ingredients, it comes together in less than 20 minutes.
Why Make These:
- Quick Cook Time: this instant pot pulled bbq chicken recipe requires less than 10 minutes of pressure cooking.
- Easy Recipe: simply add a good bbq sauce, chicken thighs, spices, and chicken broth to the bottom of your pressure cooker and have tender bbq chicken in minutes.
- Perfect dinner starter for a busy day or meal prep: whether you want to make bbq chicken sandwiches, bbq chicken nachos or add a vegetable side dish to make a low carb meal, the options with this chicken are endless.
Making instant pot barbecue chicken is really easy with just a few ingredients. Here’s what you need to gather.
- Chicken thighs: I’m using raw, boneless skinless chicken thighs, with as much fat trimmed off the meat as possible.
- BBQ Chicken Rub: I keep this brown sugar bbq chicken seasoning available year-round in a mason jar. Besides brown sugar, it includes things like cayenne pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika.
- Chicken broth: I use low-sodium chicken stock or mix chicken bouillon with water to make chicken broth.
- BBQ Sauce: I prefer to use Hickory or Kansas City-style bbq sauce. You can use your favorite bbq sauce. Another option is to make homemade barbecue sauce with just a few ingredients like ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, and cider vinegar.
- Sea salt
Be sure to check out the recipe card at the end of the post for the exact amounts and full step-by-step instructions.
How to Make Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken
- Add the chicken thighs to the bottom of the cooking pot with the bbq chicken rub, chicken broth and half the barbecue sauce. Mix until all of the chicken is coated. Be sure to unroll the chicken thighs to get spices in the middle.
- Pressure Cook: Add the pressure cooker lid, set the venting knob to seal, and cook the meat on high pressure for 8 minutes. One the pressure cook time over, allow the pressure to manually release (also called natural release) for 10 minutes. Open the lid.
- Shred Chicken: Shred the bbq chicken with meat claws or use two forks. You can add the meat to a cutting board or shred the meat right in the cooking pot.
- Reduce the cooking liquid: use the sear/sauté function on medium to reduce the liquid by half. This takes about 5 minutes. Add the remaining bbq sauce to the shredded bbq chicken. Feel free to follow the optional step in the recipe card to get burnt ends.
Cooking Tips and Tricks
- For burnt ends: to get some burnt ends, you can use your Instant Pot Duo air fryer lid to cook the meat at 400 degrees for 5 minutes or place chicken in a broiler-safe dish with the cooking liquid and extra sauce, then broil it on high for 5 minutes.
- No oils needed: similar to my slow cooker bbq chicken thighs, you do not need oil or fat to make juicy chicken in an instant pot. The chicken cooks in its own juices and the pressure cooker creates steam to keep the meat moist.
- Use quick pressure release for chicken breasts: chicken thighs are forgiving and remain juicy during extended cook times. That’s why I don’t mind using natural pressure release. If you use boneless chicken breasts, I recommend using the quick release to stop the pressure cooking immediately.
- Works in any electric pressure cooker: this recipe was tested in an Instant Pot as well as a Ninja Foodi. Both turned out great.
Storage and Leftovers
Store leftover instant pot pulled bbq chicken in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Simply, reheat it in the microwave.
You can also:
- Use the leftovers in a new recipe like my bbq chicken nachos or any of these recipes using leftover bbq chicken.
- Add the cooked shredded bbq chicken to a freezer-safe dish or freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Making a Shredded BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Toast brioche buns (or a regular burger bun) on a griddle on medium-low heat with a tablespoon of butter or cooking spray for a few minutes.
Add the shredded bbq chicken with this southern coleslaw to the toasted buns and enjoy.
Instant Pot shredded chicken can turn out rubbery if it’s overcooked or cooked on high pressure for too long. To prevent this, use a tried and tested recipe and cook the chicken for the recommended time.
To avoid overcooking chicken in an Instant Pot, use the correct cooking time and release the pressure using the natural release method. Check the internal temperature of the chicken to ensure it’s fully cooked, but not overcooked.
Shredded BBQ chicken pairs well with bbq chicken side dishes like coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, corn on the cob, or a side of green beans.
Shredded chicken and pulled chicken are both made by shredding cooked chicken meat, but pulled chicken is typically made by slow-cooking the chicken in sauce, while shredded chicken can be cooked using various methods.
Yes, it’s recommended to let the chicken cool for a few minutes before shredding to prevent the meat from becoming too dry. It’s also much easier to work with chicken that has cooled down a little.
Recipes to Enjoy this with:
Make an easy weeknight meal with this shredded bbq chicken using these recipes:
Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken
- Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker
- 2 lbs chicken thighs raw, boneless and skinless, with as much fat trimmed off as possible
- ¼ cup bbq chicken rub click for the recipe
- ½ cup chicken broth low sodium
- ½ cup BBQ Sauce hickory or Kansas City style bbq sauce, split in half
- Sea Salt optional to taste
- Add the chicken thighs to the bottom of the cooking pot with the bbq chicken rub and half the barbecue. Mix until all of the chicken is coated. Be sure to unroll the chicken thighs to get spices in the middle.
- Pour the chicken broth on top of the meat.
- Add the pressure cooker lid, set the venting knob to seal, and cook the meat on high manual pressure for 8 minutes.
- Allow the pressure to manually release for 10 minutes. Open the lid.
- Shred the meat with meat claws or two forks: You can add the meat to a cutting board or shred the meat right in the cooking pot.
- Reduce the cooking liquid: use the sear/sauté function on medium to reduce the liquid by half. This takes about 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining bbq sauce and shredded meat back to the pot and stir.
- Optional: to get some burnt ends, you can use your Instant Pot Duo air fryer lid to cook the meat at 400 degrees for 5 minutes or add the meat to a broiler-safe dish with the cooking liquid and broil it on high for 5 minutes.