Learn how to make the best Instant Pot shredded chicken that is full of great flavor, nice and tender, and not overcooked.
Hey friends! I’m back today with a meal prep recipe that you all have been requesting — how to make shredded chicken in the Instant Pot! ♡ Or more specifically, how to make Instant Pot shredded chicken that is:
tender and easy to shred
I agree that Instant Pot chicken can be a bit finicky at times. But I’ve been testing different methods and cook times these past few months, and am happy to report I’ve landed on a winner-winner-chicken-dinner recipe that’s incredibly easy to make and checks all of those boxes. I’ve included my favorite all-purpose chicken seasoning in the recipe (from my popular baked chicken breasts) that goes with pretty much everything. But if you are interested, I have also included some of my other favorite seasoning variations too if you would like to mix things up.
So pull out that pressure cooker, and let’s make some Instant Pot shredded chicken!
Instant Pot Chicken Ingredients:
To make this Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
Chicken: I tested this recipe using boneless chicken breasts (which you all requested most) and boneless chicken thighs — either fresh or frozen. You are welcome to use bone-in chicken, but the cooking time may vary slightly.
Chicken broth (or water): Which we will need to keep the chicken nice and moist, and also prevent a burn warning on the Instant Pot. I recommend using a cup of chicken or vegetable broth if you happen to have some on hand, to add extra flavor. Or if not, plain water will work just fine too.
Seasonings: I typically use a simple mixture of smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper. But see below for alternatives.
How To Make Shredded Chicken In The Instant Pot:
To make this Instant Pot chicken recipe, simply…
Combine the ingredients in the Instant Pot. Add the chicken breasts, seasoning and chicken stock. Then briefly toss to combine, being sure to arrange the chicken breasts in an even layer.
Pressure cook. Cover with the lid and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes, followed by a 5 minute natural release, followed by a quick release with whatever pressure remains.
Shred. Remove the lid and use two forks to shred the chicken. Give it a thorough toss with the remaining juices in the Instant Pot.
Serve or store. Then serve the chicken while it’s nice and warm. Or transfer it to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. (If freezing, I recommend portioning the chicken in small storage containers or storage bags, so that you have the option to thaw and use small portions rather than having to thaw the entire batch.)
Instant Pot Chicken Variations:
Want to customize this recipe? Feel free to:
Use different seasonings: In place of the paprika/garlic powder blend, feel free to instead use a few teaspoons of:
Combine the ingredients. Add the chicken breasts, seasoning and chicken stock to the bowl of your pressure cooker. Give everything a brief toss to combine, then arrange the chicken breasts so that they are spread out in an even layer.
Pressure cook. Cover and set the pressure cooker lid valve to “sealing.” Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes, followed by a 5 minute natural release, followed by a quick release (carefully flip the valve to “venting”) to release whatever pressure remains.
Shred. Remove the lid and use two forks to shred the chicken. Give it a thorough toss with the remaining juices in the pressure cooker.
Serve or store. Serve the chicken while it’s nice and warm. Or transfer it to a sealed container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. (If freezing, I recommend portioning the chicken in small storage containers or storage bags, so that you have the option to thaw and use small portions rather than having to thaw the entire batch.)
Use a masher works great to shred it
Just made this last night, using boneless skinless thighs. The chicken came out with perfect texture and so easy! I put a little oil, a whole ancho chile (to add depth), a cut-up onion plus a garlic clove (skipped the garlic powder), and 1 tsp powdered cumin, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1 tsp chicken bouillon powder in the Instant Pot and sauteed those for a few minutes then added 2 lbs chicken and a cup of water. I pressure cooked the chicken per the recipe – the timing was perfect. I pulled out the ancho chile and disposed of it, then set aside the chicken and what was left of the onions & garlic in a bowl for shredding and put the pot with the cooking liquid back in the Instant Pot, adding roughly 1/2 cup of ketchup, couple Tbsp molasses, 1 tsp cayenne, a dash each of Liquid Smoke and Worcestershire sauce. Mixed it up and let it cook down to the texture I wanted, then added the shredded chicken plus the juices and back in. It was wonderful over rice! This will become a regular dish for us. Thank you for such a useful, easy way to make such good shredded chicken. I can imagine all kinds of neat recipes from this technique.
Oh man I’m going to have to try this with all those additions you added! Thank you!
I use this recipe weekly! Chicken tacos, soups and wraps. It’s perfect. I don’t know how I loved without this recipe.
I too was unable to live before this chicken recipe
Came out perfectly! So happy I saw the recommendation to use hand mixer to shred it—game changer!!!
Stand mixer works even better if you have one
If I were to double recipe and make 5 pounds of chicken, what would the cook time be?
I doubled everything but the water (5# chicken, doubled listed seasonings, added 1 t adobo seasoning and 1 t sugar) and pressure cooked on high for 15 minutes. Served with tortillas and taco fixings to rave reviews! The leftovers will be used for enchiladas, curried stew, and chicken salad. Thank you!
How do I make this with only 2 chicken breasts? Time wise
I will tell you I did 2 breasts exactly as directed and my chicken wasn’t even cooked all the way through.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker or instapot how would you cook this chicken recipe
Not gonna give a bad rating because I don’t like to. But the recipes out there saying you can have nicely shredded chicken at 10 mins doesn’t ever work for me. It areds but takes effort. The meat sure reaches 165 but anyone who knows meat.. Knows it takes higher Temps to break the fibers down. With thay said for years crock pot has done magic high to 160 low to 190 turn off let cool meat falls apart with no effort. Insta pot is 30 mins natural release.. Take our meat let.cool shreds like butter make the juice into a gravy of your choice then mix into the meat
Simple and straightforward I love this recipe. It’s the foundation of all my shredded chicken recipes!!
I would add that if you want finely shredded results without the arm ache to use a handheld blender.
Very comprehensive and easy to follow recipe.
My chicken turned out tender, juicy and full of flavour.
This turned out amazing and is 100% my go-to chicken recipe now. It’s super easy, flavorful and moist!! Thank you for this!!!
This is my go-to shredded chicken recipe from now on! SUPER easy and tasty. I made a few mods one of the other reviewers mentioned:
– 4.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, doubled the broth and seasonings
– added cumin and oregano (same amount as the other seasonings)
– pressure cooked for 15 minutes and let it do a full natural release (no quick release)
The chicken was so tender and fell apart easily– very easy to shred.
And no need to sear the chicken prior to cooking it. YAY!
I just have to tell you this is the best shredded chicken I have ever made in my Instant pot. And I’m pretty sure I’ve tried them all! I make a batch at least once a week (exactly as written) and use it for everything, including eating straight out of the container when I need to up my protein for the day!! It is so, SO good every time! I’ve shared it with all my instant pot loving family and they agree it is the best they’ve ever made too! Thank you!!
I make this and add green enchilada sauce. Use it for tacos one day and a few days later use the rest for tortilla soup. So easy and so good.
10 minutes is not nearly enough time to cook the chicken, maybe due to the elevation of where I live at? 20 minutes is needed on pressure to cook throughly.
Are you able to put frozen breasts in?
This has changed our meal planning routine for sure. It’s so convenient to have shredded chicken on hand for salads and basically any meal we make. Stir fries with this chicken added in at the end is delicious.. great recipe! I do keep mine in the fridge for nearly a week as I use it throughout the week and it’s just fine.
Great and simple! I followed this with chick broth and my own seasoning (was making chicken salad). Prior to now, I was cooking my chicken in a crockpot for my chicken salad. I did not use this pressure cooker much except until this past week. Now I am in love and will not be using anything else (well except the air fryer). Thank you so much!
I have tried this recipe twice, once with blsl chicken thighs and once with blsl chicken breasts. Worked great to help prep chicken for casseroles, tinga, and enchiladas. After you shred or chop the chicken add a little if the liquid left in the pot if you are storing chicken in fridge. It helps retain some moisture and flavor.
Has anyone tried this recipe but first browned the thighs or breasts before adding the liquid?
Does it say anywhere how much chicken to use and how many it feeds?
Ok so what did I do wrong ….
My instant pot gave a burn warning before it even reached full pressure… when I opened it, almost no chicken stock was left. I used 3 chicken breast.
made my chicken SUPER DRY where it was BEYOND chewy. Glad I’m using it for quesadillas where I won’t be able to taste how chewy the chicken is because of the cheese, mushrooms, and spinach. Just disappointed. Wish I had better luck with this recipe like others which is why I used it. I’ll have to try another option.
I love this recipe/method of making chicken. So quick and easy. Sometimes I don’t the shred the chicken but squish it flat to have on a sandwich!
Wow, so simple and so good!! Used a bit less chicken and shortened the time by 3 minutes. Came out great
This is sooooo good and so easy to make. Thank you!
Thanks for the recipe! I am making chicken enchiladas and the chicken is perfectly cooked. I hate to discard the cooking broth. Can I freeze the broth also? If so, should I freeze it together with the chicken or separately?
I made this exactly as written to use as part of the filling for a chicken pot pie. It turned out great, well seasoned and tender. Thanks for another great recipe!