Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken

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4.75 from 342 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Total: 21 minutes

Instant Pot Barbecue 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.

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

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 one of the best barbeque chicken recipes ever! To tell the truth, it is so quick and easy you will never want to make it any other way.

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 thighs 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 for Instant Pot Barbeque Chicken

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs – Of course, you can use chicken breast too, if you prefer.
  • 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.
  • Water: Chicken broth works great too for this instant pot bbq chicken recipe.

Equipment Needed for Instant Pot Barbeque Chicken

How to Cook Chicken Breast in Instant Pot

These are the basic steps for making Instant Pot boneless chicken breast recipes. Please refer to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

STEP 1: SEASON AND COOK

First, season both sides of the chicken with House Seasoning Blend. Next, place chicken in Instant Pot.Second, pour the water and 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce into the Instant Pot. Cook on manual setting/high pressure for 13 minutes. Next natural pressure release for 5 minutes, then quick release the remaining pressure.

STEP 2: SAUCE AND SAUTE

After pressure has been released, remove seal lid and 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 barbecue sauce, then sauté for 2-3 minutes until sauce is sticky.

Prep and Storage Tips for BBQ Chicken Instant Pot

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME

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

HOW TO STORE THIS PRESSURE COOKER BBQ CHICKEN RECIPE

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

HOW TO REHEAT THIS BBQ CHICKEN THIGHS INSTANT POT RECIPE

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

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE LOW CARB OR KETO?

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.

CAN I SUBSTITUTE DIFFERENT KINDS OF CHICKEN?

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.

DOES BARBEQUE SAUCE COUNT AS LIQUID FOR YOUR INSTANT POT?

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.

CAN THE INSTANT POT DRY OUT YOUR CHICKEN?

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 Barbeque Chicken Thighs Instant Pot

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Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken on a white plate.
4.75 from 342 votes

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken

Yield: 4 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 16 minutes
Total: 21 minutes
Instant Pot Barbecue 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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Ingredients

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 teaspoons House Seasoning Blend
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce, divided
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

  • Season both sides of the chicken with House Seasoning Blend.
  • Place chicken in 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.

Video

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 www.itisakeeper.com/about-its-a-keeper/privacy-disclosure-policies/
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Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq, chicken, instant pot

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57 thoughts on “Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken”

  1. 5 stars
    This is my favorite bbq chicken recipe. I love the house seasoning mix & use it in other dishes as well. I use Primal Kitchen BBQ sauce for a healthy option. I make this at least monthly. Planning to serve this shredded tonight in a bowl with pinto beans, quinoa & rice, & spinach.

    Reply
    • It depends on the size of your instant pot. You can double the liquid but just do not go over the maximum fill line.

      Reply
  2. This was a huge hit at our house. The recipe was very easy. In previous replies some people had issues with the chicken giving a burning warning. I personally didn’t experience that. I used 1/2 c Sweet Baby Ray bbq sauce, added garlic powder, basil clippings, pepper, parsley, and chili powder for a little spice, with a chicken bbq rub. In the bottom of the pot I put 1 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil, with 1/2 cup of water. I set the pressure cooker button for 13 minutes, released the steam, let it sit for 5 minutes, added another 1/2 c of the Sweet Baby Sauce, then set the Sauté for 4 minutes. Thank you for a great recipe.

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    Hi! Thank you for a quick and simply delicious recipe. I used chicken tenders for this recipe and cut the time down to 5 minutes. Also, when I make bbq chicken for the fam, I use Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, and add a little honey, black pepper, onion powder, Italian seasoning (or oregano), and about cap full of vinegar (for a little tangy taste). Usually, I would place the chicken back in the oven to get the sauce sticky, but doing it in the IP makes it a whole lot easier. This recipe is DEFINITELY A KEEPER.

    Reply
    • Four (7-8 oz) frozen chicken breasts should take about 10-12 minutes at high pressure. Always double check the finished chicken to make sure the internal temp is 165 degrees.

      Reply
  4. I wish you would of added the instruction to add the trivia . I only learnt this by watching the video .
    Let’s hope it s still works. wish me luck.

    Reply
  5. This recipe is a keeper! I’m a new instant pot user so I’m quite unsure about my skills; however, my husband and daughter loved how flavorful and tender the chicken thighs were. I’ll certainly be trying more of your recipes.

    Reply
      • I love this recipe. I’ve made it 3 or 4 times including today. I always cook meat on a trivet except when I make a stew. This time I left a little of the liquid. It wasn’t as sticky but it still tasted good.

        Reply
  6. 5 stars
    It was a great recipe. I used frozen chicken thighs in my Instant Pot. I had no problem with burning. Maybe because the chicken was frozen the barbecue sauce stay on the chicken.
    So thank you.♥️

    Reply
  7. 5 stars
    This recipe has been a total winner in my family! I even used sugar free bbq sauce for the first time for my keto diet needs, and it turned out great! I have used breast for this recipe.

    Reply
  8. 5 stars
    This is my favorite bbq chicken recipe! It’s on rotation for weekly dinner. I use the big container of Sonny’s bbq sauce and then a splash of Tabasco when I pressure cook (the hubby like his bbq sauce with a little heat) and it is delicious!
    Question, if I double the recipe do I change the cook time when it’s on the pressure cook?
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • 5 stars
      It was a great recipe. I used frozen chicken thighs in my Instant Pot. I had no problem with burning. Maybe because the chicken was frozen the barbecue sauce stay on the chicken.
      So thank you.♥️

      Reply
      • The question was not “ignored”, it was overlooked. I get hundreds of comments and I try to respond to each and every one. The response you are looking for is posted in one of the previous questions.

        Reply
  9. 5 stars
    Hi! Great recipe.

    Mainly leaving a comment regarding your site for phones– I tried to read this recipe on my iphone but had to eventually exit out and look it up on my computer because the page was overtaken by a video ad first, then a cooking video of yours. I don’t mind ads at all, even video ones, but it made reading your recipe impossible. 🙁

    Reply
  10. I have found with tomato based sauces especially sweet ones like BBQ will get the burn notifications. Also with creamed based sauces or onset that have cream of soups

    You can add a little water.
    You can try low pressure instead of high pressure settings.
    You can add the bbq sauce only to the top of the chicken, allowing as little as possible to touch the bottom of the pot.
    You can add the bbq sauce after pressure cooking then broil.

    Those are just a few tips I have found that work for me.

    Reply
  11. I also have an 8qt ip and it continues to say burn while making this recipe. I put it on low pressure thinking this might help, but it did not help. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  12. 3 stars
    Hi- I made this tonight with burning problems. I followed the directions and before it came to pressure it beeped ‘burn’. So I thought maybe because the chicken was directly on the dry pot. I took them out, made sure there was nothing else stuck and then laid the chicken on top of the sauce. It came to pressure but then turned to ‘burn’. I moved them all around again and added a little bit of water to the pot. After the 3rd ‘burn’ try, they were cooked. Some of the pieces got a teeny bit burnt but overall they came out really tasty. We all liked the chicken as the sauce came out thicker and gooey. I would love to make it again properly! Have you had any issue with this? I let me chicken come to room temperature before cooking and used Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. I also have an 8 qt IP. Any suggestions? Thanks

    Reply
    • I’m sorry you had those troubles. I’ve never experienced a “burn” alert with my Instant Pot. I’ve made this recipe many times just as the recipe indicates with no troubles at all. I’m not sure what it could be. Maybe add a little chicken stock or water like you did.

      Reply

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