This Instant Pot Shredded Chicken is ultra tender and made with frozen chicken breasts — no thawing necessary! It’s quick, easy, perfect for meal prep and makes a great base for SO MANY different recipes!
This is THE simplest recipe ever! It’s also very delicious . . . who knew shredded chicken could be so exciting?!
- It’s incredibly versatile. Think of all the ways you can use shredded chicken… soups, salads, sandwiches, casseroles, tacos, and more!
- There’s nothing easier. Pop those frozen chicken breasts (no thawing necessary, #winning) into your instant pot and walk away. Yep. That’s it.
- It’s SO delicious. This chicken is actually super moist and flavorful, but we’ve kept the seasoning simple, so it makes the perfect base for a ton of different recipes.
Benefits of making chicken in an instant pot
There are a lot of positives to making any food in the instant pot, but here are some of the reasons I LOVE to cook chicken in the instant pot:
- You can cook frozen chicken right away. No thawing necessary!
- Minimum prep. You really just plop your ingredients in the pot and walk away.
- Reduced cook time. The instant pot is like a crockpot in that it’s pretty hands-off, but it cooks way faster!
- Great for meal prep. You can make this instant pot shredded chicken ahead of time, store it in the fridge or freezer, and have pre-cooked meat on hand!
Cooking chicken in the instant pot can also help reduce food waste and save money. I don’t know about you, but I always forget about my frozen chicken in the freezer! Then by the time I’ve thawed it, I’ve forgotten about it again, and the chicken ends up rotten in the garbage.
Can you make this in the crockpot?
Cook THAWED chicken – with the remaining ingredients – on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 8 hours in your slow cooker.
You need to thaw chicken before cooking it in the crockpot because, according to the USDA, you’re not supposed to cook frozen chicken in the crockpot for food safety reasons. The slow cooker can take hours to reach a hot enough temperature to kill bacteria.
Because of this, I do HIGHLY recommend getting an instant pot if you can. It makes cooking quicker, easier, and more convenient. It really just makes life better.
We kept the ingredient list simple, to make this recipe a versatile base for a wide range of recipes. That said, feel free to place around with the seasonings!
- Chicken Broth – adds so much flavor and moisture to the chicken. Feel free to use water, but your chicken will be more bland.
- Chicken Breast – I like to use boneless, skinless chicken breast, because that’s what I always have on hand. Boneless, skinless chicken thigh will work as well (*cook time may vary).
- Salt and Pepper – brings out flavors and adds a little spice.
- Garlic Powder – provides a slightly nutty flavor to round out the chicken breast.
- Paprika – gives the shredded chicken just a tiny bit of sweet heat and a beautiful red color.
Like I said, feel free to play around with the spices if you have a specific recipe you’re using this shredded chicken for.
Examples: use taco seasonings for shredded chicken burrito bowls, omit the paprika and add some ginger for any Asian inspired recipe. Add a packet of ranch seasoning mix for chicken, bacon, ranch pizzas! The possibilities are endless.
How to make shredded chicken in the instant pot
This recipe can be prepped in advance, but it’s also great as an “oh shoot I forget about dinner” recipe, because there’s no thawing of the frozen chicken required!
- Place all your ingredients into your instant pot then stir to combine.
- Cover and cook on high pressure for 25 minutes.
- Shred the chicken with two forks, serve and enjoy, or store in an airtight container to be used later!
How to shred chicken
You can shred cooked chicken with two forks or you can use a stand mixer.
If shredding with two forks, simply hold one fork in each hand, then use them to pull the chicken apart. You can also hold the chicken down with one of the forks then use the other to pull shreds off.
Hate shredding chicken? Place chicken into your stand-mixer with the flat beater attachment. Turn the mixer on low for about 30 seconds, or until shredded.
What do i do if my chicken isn’t cooked fully?
Cook time can vary based on the size of the chicken breast you’re using. After the 25 minutes cook time is complete, use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165ºF.
If it isn’t, place the breasts back into your instant pot and cook on high for another 3-5 minutes!
Can i use chicken thighs for instant pot shredded chicken?
Chicken thighs are great cooked in the instant pot. I recommend using boneless, skinless chicken thighs, because they’re very juicy, but still easy to work with. Some people prefer chicken thighs, because they tend to be more tender than chicken breasts.
Cook time may vary.
Can i use fresh chicken instead of frozen chicken?
Yes! The only part of this recipe that would be affected is the cooking time.
- Place all your ingredients into the instant pot, then stir to combine.
- Cover and seal, then cook the chicken breast at high pressure for 12 minutes.
Be sure to use a meat thermometer to verify that the internal temperature of the chicken breast is at least 165ºF.
If not, cook on high for another 2 minutes at a time.
What to make with shredded chicken
Instant pot shredded chicken can be used for any recipe calling for cooked chicken. Here are some of my favorite ways to use it:
- Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Dip
- Thai Chicken Salad
- Antipasto Chicken Salad
- Chicken Naan Pizza
- Individual Pizzas – Four Ways
- Chicken Wonton Cups
- Kettle Chip Chicken Nachos
This instant pot shredded chicken is also great to add to salads, soups, sandwiches, enchiladas, and more!
How to store
This instant pot shredded chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
If you’re storing it in the freezer, be sure to let it thaw in the fridge for several hours before using or reheating!
The cooked chicken can be served cold or warm.
How to reheat shredded chicken
There are 3 ways to reheat shredded chicken. Whichever mention you choose, I recommend warming it up with a little broth or water to prevent the chicken from drying out:
- Oven – place in an oven-safe dish, cover with foil, and bake at 425ºF for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 165ºF.
- Microwave – place in a microwave-safe container, cover with a damp paper towel, and microwave 1 minute at a time for up to 5 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 165ºF.
- Stovetop – melt butter or heat oil in a pan then add chicken and cook until it’s reached 165ºF.
Instant pot shredded chicken for the win!
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 (8 oz) frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- Place all ingredients into instant pot and stir to combine.
- Cover and lock the lid (make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to sealing).
- Cook using the manual button (make sure it's set to high pressure) and set the timer on the Instant Pot to 25 minutes.*
- The Instant Pot will beep when it's finished.
- Flip the valve to "venting" for a quick release.
- Shred chicken with two forks and serve!
*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.
This post was originally published January 21, 2018 and has been updated to provide more detailed content.