Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Breast is an easy, hands-free way to cook juicy, tender breast for recipes that call for precooked chicken. This method makes fresh or frozen chicken available in under 30 minutes.
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Breast is one of our favorite, healthy meal prep ingredients. It's as easy and minimal as roasted thighs, but doesn't heat up the kitchen, so it's great during the warm season. We've dialed in pressure cooker shredded chicken to be juicy and tender. As a result, it has earned its place in fried rice, chicken casserole, healthy skillet chicken and rice, and Asian Quinoa Slaw.
Only 4 ingredients needed
- boneless skinless breast (or thighs) - Boneless skinless chicken breast is so easy to overcook in the pressure cooker because it's so lean. So, I've tested and dialed in the right combo of pressure cook time and pressure release to bring you the juiciest results for cooked breasts. Boneless skinless thighs won't require any more time than breasts, but they also won't be as lean.
- salt and pepper - These are the most basic seasonings for poultry. Feel free to add your favorites.
- broth or water - I've tested both, many times. To be honest, I'm not sure I would know the difference in a blind taste test. But the house sure smells good when you use chicken broth made with my favorite base because I can mix it by the cup.
How to make shredded chicken in the Instant Pot
Step 1: Place chicken breasts in the cooker, sprinkle seasoning, and add liquid.
Step 2: Close lid, close pressure valve, and pressure cook 6 minutes high pressure, followed by a 10 minute natural pressure release (NPR). Note: if using frozen breast, add 2 minutes / lb to the total pressure cooking time.
Release any remaining steam, open lid, and insert a meat thermometer to confirm 165°F minimum internal temperature. NEVER SKIP THIS FOOD-SAFETY STEP!
Step 3: Transfer to a plate, cover, and allow to rest five minutes.
Step 4: Shred into bite sized pieces and enjoy immediately in all of your favorite recipes!
How long to cook chicken breast in the Instant Pot
In our test kitchen, I have found that two 3/4 lb. breasts cook perfectly in 6 minutes followed by a 10-minute natural pressure release (NPR). Even if you increase the weight of the chicken, you can use the same pressure cook time. You can always consult Instant Pot official for more details.
How long to cook frozen chicken breast in the instant pot?
Add 2 minutes per pound to the total pressure cook time for frozen breast or thighs. Always test the internal temperature with an instant read thermometer to make sure it reaches 165°F before serving.
What to do if chicken doesn't reach 165°F on the instant read thermometer
This is not common with this recipe, but it's also why we always use a quick read thermometer. If, for some reason, your pressure cooked breasts don't register 165°F on a meat thermometer inserted in the center, repeat the pressure cook cycle with only 1 minute cook time. Test it again using a clean thermometer. Repeat as needed.
How to shred chicken (2 ways)
- Hand mixer: You can use a hand mixer by placing the cooked chicken in a mixing bowl, and with beater attachments in place on your hand mixer, beat it into shreds on low to medium speed.
- Stand mixer: Did you know your stand mixer can shred chicken? This is especially helpful if you're shredding several breasts. Use the beater attachment and shred on medium-low speed until it reaches your desired texture.
How to pull chicken (2 ways)
- 2 forks: Forks are easy tools to shred chicken and are pretty much always available. Simply lay the breast on a cutting board or in a bowl, insert two forks into it, and pull apart repeatedly. Pro tip: shred chicken against the grain if you want it chunkier, or shred it with the grain if you want finely shredded. You can also use meat claws.
- your hands: When the cooked chicken breast is cool to the touch, your bare hands make a perfect shredding tool because...they're always available. Simply use your fingers to pull the it apart as finely or as chunky as you like.
Can you freeze shredded chicken?
Yes. Here are some guidelines to follow.
- Up to 7 days in reusable silicone bags or disposable plastic zip-top bags.
- Up to 30 days in snap-lock glass containers.
- Up to 90 days using a vacuum-sealer food storage system.
Any longer than these times/methods, and you run the risk of freezer burn and becomes dry if held in the freezer too long without being vacuum sealed. This is because it's so lean and doesn't have the fat to protect it from becoming dry quickly, unlike dark meat.
How to thaw frozen shredded chicken
Simply place it in the refrigerator 24 hours before you need to use it. If it's vacuum-sealed in smaller amounts (like 2-4 cups), you can drop the vacuum-sealed packets into cold water in the refrigerator and it will easily thaw in under an hour.
Use shredded chicken for these recipes
- Chicken Tacos
- Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Teriyaki Chicken Wrap
- Chicken Banh Mi Sliders
- Teriyaki Chicken Fried Rice
I like to think pressure cooker shredded chicken as a rotisserie chicken replacement in these recipes because boneless, skinless breast is a leaner option. Also, it's cooked juicy and tender, so no one misses the store bought stuff!
More pressure cooker recipes for meal prep
- Corn on the Cob
- Perfectly Steamed Green Beans
- Perfect Pressure Cooker Beets
- Chickpeas (Garbanzos)
- Black Beans
- Pressure Cooker Whole Artichokes
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Breast
- 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, about 1.5 lbs (fresh or frozen)
- ⅛ tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp Black Pepper
- 1 cup Chicken Broth, or preferred cooking liquid
- Place CHICKEN BREASTS in the pressure cooker. Season with SALT and PEPPER, and add BROTH.
- Select "Manual" or "Pressure cook" on HIGH pressure for 6 minutes followed by a FULL 10-minute natural pressure release (NPR).Note: Add 2 minutes per pound for frozen chicken breast
- Flip the pressure release valve to the "Venting" position to release any remaining steam. Open the lid and insert a quick-read thermometer in the center of the thickest breast to confirm 165°F minimum temp * see recipe footnotes about this
- Transfer chicken breasts to a plate, draped with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before shredding.Note: This is key for moisture retention, so resist the temptation to shred them right away.
- Shred chicken into bite sized pieces with 2 forks (or your favorite method).
Storing and freezing
- Allow to cool completely. Refrigerate in airtight container up to 5 days or freeze 30 days (or longer if vacuum-sealed).
Nutrition data provided as courtesy estimates using unbranded ingredients from a nutrition database. Please consult preferred resource for precise data.