Instant Pot shredded chicken is a truly hassle-free way to prepare shredded chicken with tender, juicy results in about 30 minutes. You can use fresh or frozen chicken breast for this Instant Pot chicken recipe. Shredded chicken made from boneless, skinless, chicken breast is a lean, staple protein we love to add to our favorite recipes that use cooked chicken.
I’m seriously into the Instant Pot for the hassle-free”ness” of it all. Who knew years ago that a small kitchen appliance would cook everything virtually hands-free so quickly and SO consistently? It’s the Christmas gift that keeps on giving…three years and counting, for me! How about you?
Ingredients for shredded chicken made in the Instant Pot
- boneless skinless chicken breast – It’s the leanest cut of chicken, therefore SO easy to overcook…especially in the Instant Pot. I’ve done a lot of testing to dial in the right mix of pressure cooking time and natural pressure release. Let’s just say, you’ll love how tender and juicy Instant Pot chicken breast can be when you make this recipe.
- salt and pepper – these are seasoning musts for chicken breast. At the very least…salt. Feel free to add other seasonings as desired.
- chicken broth or water – I’ve tested both…many times. To be honest, I love it either way and, if they were side by side, I might not know the difference. I tend to use the chicken broth and since this recipe only calls for 1 cup, I love to use this chicken base because I can mix it by the cup. Brilliant!!
How to make Instant Pot shredded chicken
- Place chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, season with salt and pepper, and pour in the chicken broth (or water).
- Close the lid, seal the pressure valve, and set the cooker for Manual +5 on High Pressure.
- Allow pressure cooking to commence, then do a 10 min natural pressure release (NPR)
- The entire process takes about 20-30 minutes from start to finish, depending on the total weight of the chicken breasts.
- Insert a meat thermometer to confirm 165° minimum internal temperature. NEVER SKIP THIS FOOD-SAFETY STEP!
- Transfer chicken to a plate, drape foil over them and allow to rest five minutes.
- Shred the chicken, pour the juices over it, and enjoy in all of your favorite recipes!
* See full recipe details below
What if the chicken breasts don’t reach 165° minimum internal temperature?
Sometimes, certain variables (such as thicker chicken) can cause chicken breasts to not reach 165° on a meat thermometer after the cook cycle and pressure release are complete. If this happens with this recipe and the temperature is within 5-10°, return the chicken to the Instant Pot and repeat the pressure cooking process using +1 minute cook time with a quick pressure release (QPR). Test the chicken again (with a clean meat thermometer) to confirm that it has reached the minimum 165° internal temperature.
The goal when cooking chicken is to always get it to the minimum internal temperature of 165° as a safety measure to prevent foodborne illness.
How to shred chicken (4 ways)
#1) Use 2 forks: Forks are easy tools to shred chicken and are pretty much always available. Simply lay the chicken breast on a cutting board or in a bowl, insert two forks into it, and pull apart repeatedly until you have a pile of shredded chicken.
Pro tip: shred chicken against the grain if you want chunky shredded chicken, or shred it with the grain if you want finely shredded chicken.
#2) Hand mixer: You can make shredded chicken using a hand mixer by placing the chicken breasts in a mixing bowl, and with beater attachments in place on your hand mixer, beat the chicken into shreds on low to medium speed.
#3) Stand mixer: Did you know your stand mixer can shred chicken? This is especially helpful if you’re shredding several chicken breasts. Using the beater attachment, place the chicken breasts in the mixing bowl of your stand mixer, and shred the chicken on medium-low speed until it reaches your desired texture.
#4) With 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 chicken strands apart as fine or as chunky as you like.
Can you freeze shredded chicken?
I’ve found these methods to be the best way to freeze shredded chicken breast:
- 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 the times/methods outlined above, shredded chicken breast runs 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.
To thaw 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 chicken into cold water in the refrigerator and it will easily thaw in under an hour.
What to make with shredded chicken
Use your Instant Pot shredded chicken to make these easy recipes.
- Chicken tacos
- Chicken Fried Rice
- Shepherd’s Pie
- Easy Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Teriyaki Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Pesto Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- Chicken Banh Mi Sliders
- Teriyaki Chicken Fried Rice
- One-Pot Chicken Broccoli Rice
- Asian Slaw Quinoa Salad
Use shredded chicken as a meal prep ingredient to use in any recipes that require pulled chicken or cooked chicken. Mexican food, Chinese food, chicken salad, salad topping for lunch, a protein for Asian slaw, or mixed with BBQ sauce…the sky’s the limit!
- 6 quart Instant Pot
- Tongs (to remove the chicken)
- Meat thermometer (to test the chicken for doneness)
- baking sheet or mixing bowl (for shredding chicken)
More Instant Pot recipes
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
- Italian Sausage Soup with Orzo
- Instant Pot Shrimp Pasta in Lemon Cream Sauce
- Turkey Chili for Instant Pot, Slow Cooker, or Stove
- Minestrone Soup for Instant Pot & Stove
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- 2 3/4 lb. Chicken Breasts Boneless Skinless
- Pinch Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup Reduced Sodium Chicken Broth or water
- Place CHICKEN BREASTS in the Instant Pot, season with SALT and PEPPER, and pour in the CHICKEN BROTH (or water).
- Select "Manual” +5 minutes on "High” pressure for fresh chicken. If using frozen chicken, set the cooker to +8 minutes.
- When the cycle completes, allow the Instant Pot to sit for 10 minutes undisturbed for a natural pressure release (NPR).
- Then, using an oven mitt for protection, release any remaining steam by turning the pressure release valve to the “Venting” position.
- Open the lid and insert a meat thermometer into each breast to confirm a minimum internal temperature of 165°. (NEVER SKIP THIS FOOD-SAFETY STEP!)
- Transfer chicken breasts to a plate, drape them with aluminum foil, and allow to rest for 5 minutes before shredding. This is key for moisture retention, so resist the temptation to shred them right away.
- Then, shred the chicken breast using 2 forks, a stand mixer, or a hand mixer…your choice!
- Portion the shredded chicken into airtight containers. Spoon some of the juices from the shredding pan over the chicken. Refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze up to 90 days in vacuum-sealed bags.