Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is a tender, sumptuous, chicken dish slathered in barbecue sauce prepared in a short time. Perfect for those busy weeknight meals when time is of the essence but you don’t want to sacrifice on taste. This is our go-to favorite Instant Pot chicken recipe.

Instant Pot barbecue chicken on a white plate with a striped napkin


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This Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken is a crowd pleasing, simple, and oh so flavorful meal! I am totally game for chicken straight off the grill but actually, this pressure cooker barbeque chicken breast is an easy recipe that’s always a hit.

To tell the truth, it is so quick and easy you will never want to make it any other way. You can use boneless skinless chicken breast, chicken thighs or even chicken legs.

One of my favorite ways to serve this is pulled chicken sandwiches. If you are a fan of the Instant Pot and want more great recipe ideas, check here.


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What We Love About This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe

This deliciously easy Instant Pot BBQ Chicken recipe uses chicken coated in a house blend seasoning and cooked in an Instant Pot in a savory barbecue sauce.

  • Easy Ingredients: Three simple ingredients and you are ready to go.
  • Family Friendly: Fun to eat and so tasty, who could resist.
  • Adaptable: Can make with so many different BBQ sauces, such as sweet and smoky, hot and spicy, or vinegary and tangy.
  • Makes Great Leftovers: Perfect for lunches or future dinners.
Side view of a plate of Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken.

Ingredient Notes to Make BBQ Chicken in the Pressure Cooker

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken – You can use chicken breast or thighs. I’ve even use frozen chicken breasts for this recipe.
  • House Seasoning Blend: This adds so much more flavor than salt and black pepper. It has garlic powder, onion powder and other delicious spices for this instant pot bbq chicken.
  • Barbecue Sauce: Make your own favorite or purchase whatever kind you like. We love Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce.
  • Water: Chicken broth works great too for this instant pot bbq chicken recipe.

Equipment Needed for Instant Pot Barbeque Chicken

How to Make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

These are the basic steps to make tender Instant Pot BBQ Chicken. It’s super easy to make and takes about 21 minutes. Please refer to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.


First, season both sides of the chicken (either boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts) with House Seasoning Blend.

Next, add the chicken to the Instant Pot. Then, pour the water and 1/2 cup of your favorite bbq sauce into the bottom of the pot.

Affix the Instant Pot lid and cook on manual setting/high pressure for 13 minutes. Next natural pressure release for 5 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.


After pressure has been released, remove the chicken from Instant Pot and drain any liquid. Finally, set Instant Pot to the Sauté setting.

Next, add cooked chicken and stir in remaining 1/2 cup of bbq sauce, then sauté for 2-3 minutes until sauce is sticky. You can add more BBQ sauce if you prefer.

Prep and Storage Tips for BBQ Chicken Instant Pot


You can make this chicken ahead of time and use it for meal prep, simply store in the fridge in an airtight container.


Store any leftovers in the refrigerator in an airtight container or wrapped well in plastic wrap or aluminum foil for the freezer.


Reheat skinless chicken breasts in a pan on the stove top over medium high heat or in the microwave until warmed through.

Frequently Asked Questions


Truly, this is an easy dinner for those following a low carb diet. Really all you have to do is use a sugar free, keto friendly sauce such as this one from Sweet Baby Rays. It has a great smoky flavor.


I use chicken thighs for this recipe. You can use any type of chicken though. Chicken breast, boneless chicken thighs, fresh or frozen work great. It is the special combination of the house seasoning along with your favorite barbeque sauce that makes this recipe a winner.

Just remember to adjust your cook times accordingly for the type of chicken that you are using. You can find more information about cook times here.


Due to the high sugar content in the sauce it will burn. Therefore, the chicken is cooked in water first and then the BBQ sauce is added.


Truly, it does not. The Instant Pot or pressure cooker uses a moist heat to cook and therefore makes the protein, such as skinless chicken breast tender.

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken from the top.

Expert Tips for Making This Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Recipe

  • Shred It: A shredded chicken is good for so many things, so use forks and shred chicken and return to the sauce. Use for nachos, tacos or freeze for future meals.
  • Make your Own Sauce: Use your favorite bottle sauce or make your own Homemade Barbecue Sauce. Sprinkle with a little paprika or use a little liquid smoke if you like.
  • Vegetables:  Try adding some vegetables and pressure cook to up your flavor, for example, red bell peppers or green red peppers.
  • Alternate cooking method tip: Slow cook the chicken on high in the slow cooker for 4 to 5 hours.

What to Serve with This Recipe

This recipe makes the best BBQ Chicken Salad or you can shred the chicken and have pulled chicken sandwiches or Instant Pot chicken tacos but it’s great on it’s own, too. You can serve it alongside these favorites:

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken on a white plate.
4.77 from 378 votes

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Yield: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Total: 21 minutes
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is a tender, sumptuous, chicken dish slathered in barbeque sauce prepared in a short time. Perfect for those busy weeknight meals when time is of the essence but you don’t want to sacrifice on taste.
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  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons House Seasoning Blend
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • ½ cup water


  • Season both sides of the chicken with House Seasoning Blend.
  • Place chicken on the steamer rack in the Instant Pot.
  • Pour the water and 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce into the Instant Pot.
  • Cook on manual setting/high pressure for 13 minutes.
  • Allow to naturally release for 5 minutes then quick release the remaining pressure.
  • Remove chicken from Instant Pot and drain any liquid.
  • Set Instant Pot to saute setting.
  • Add cooked chicken and remaining 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce.
  • Saute for 2-3 minutes until sauce is sticky.

Expert Tips

  • Shred It: A shredded chicken is good for so many things, so use forks and shred chicken and return to the sauce.
  • Make your Own Sauce: Use your favorite bottle sauce or make your own Homemade Barbecue Sauce.
  • Vegetables:  Try adding some vegetables to the Instant Pot to up your flavor, for example, red bell peppers or green red peppers.
  • Alternate cooking method tip: Slow Cook the chicken on high in the slow cooker for 4 to 5 hours.

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 2030mg | Potassium: 585mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 194IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American

75 thoughts on “Instant Pot BBQ Chicken”

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe! I made this and what I did was added pineapple, pineapple juice, barbecue sauce, and green chili. First, I added the pineapple juice then I placed my chicken in the crockpot. I poured barbecue sauce over the chicken and mixed it all up. Then I topped it all with pineapples and hatch green chili. It came out amazing.
    Barbecue sauce used: kinder’s barbecue sauce, Calle gold
    Pineapples and juice used: members market, pineapple, spears, flavored with coconut water
    New Mexico hatch, green chili

  2. 5 stars
    This recipe is absolutely delicious. The chicken comes out cooked every time but still moist. Really, really good. Next time I am going to not add the 1/2 cup of BBQ Sauce in the bottom of the cooker, it seems like a real waste to me; but I could be wrong. It will be interesting to see if the flavor is still as strong.
    Thank you for an amazing recipe. Love it!

  3. I feel like you wasted the 1/2 C of BBQ sauce you had at the bottom of the instant pot as you dumped it out and added fresh BBQ sauce to the pot to sauté the chicken in. What’s the sense in using the BBQ sauce to begin with?

    • 5 stars
      I agree with Michelle. It is a waste of good barbecue sauce. Maybe not use so much of the barbecue sauce or rub the sauce on the chicken before you put it in the Instant Pot? Because in reality the top pieces of chicken are the only ones that get the barbecue sauce on them. I think I will try that next time and use less barbecue sauce in the beginning and more water. Just a thought.

  4. Mine is cooking now, and I did not know I was supposed to use a steamer rack either. Why would you not put that where it describes the recipe?

  5. 5 stars
    I was unaware also about having to use the steamer rack until I read the comments. I did not use it, and don’t know that I will when I make this again. it turned out great with out it.🙂 Thanks for the recipe.

  6. 4 stars
    Very easy to make and it turned out delicious! Very moist with lots of flavor, didn’t really need to add a lot of BBQ sauce.

    • 5 stars
      Moist, tender, easy cleanup, delicious, and quick! what’s not to love? this is our go to recipe for bbq chicken. thank you so much for sharing!!!

  7. 5 stars
    It was great, however, my chicken thighs shrink quite a bit. I had a pound and a half of chicken and when it was cooked it was a little less than a pound.

  8. 5 stars
    Made this last night (steamer rack in), used chicken broth instead of water and accidentally ran natural vent for about 10 to 15 minutes before quick venting. When I stirred in the reserved barbecue sauce – the chicken shredded beautifully! Since I was serving brioche buns and cole slaw with it, my guests spontaneously made pulled chicken sandwiches. Everyone commented on how delicious the chicken was and asked for this recipe.

  9. I think you should edit the recipe to mention that you need to add the steamer tray to the pot. I read that someone else also missed this step until watching the video. I hope this turns out okay.

    • I agree. The recipe looked great but I was unaware I needed to use the steamer rack until after stumbling into the video. I don’t typically watch the accompanying video, so I would have completely missed that detail.

    • 5 stars
      It’s the easiest recipe in the world and you don’t have to add the steamer rack. I don’t even have a steamer and mine turned out fine!


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