Cooking frozen chicken in Instant Pot is a one-pot, hands-off, easy recipe that results in fall-apart juicy chicken ready to be shredded into all kinds of chicken recipes for a quick and hearty meal any night of the week. Especially on days, you forget to take the chicken out of the freezer!
Cooking Instant Pot Chicken Breasts from Frozen
If you ever wondered how to cook chicken breast from frozen, then this post is for you! It’s so simple to do and comes in handy when you forgot to leave the chicken out to thaw.
Pressure cooking the chicken to a fall-apart tender, juicy chicken breast is perfect for shredding and using on rice, salads, in tacos, burritos, in soups, and more. It’s also great for making big batches for meal prep for the week and portioning it out to freeze what you’re not going to use right away.
If you already know how to use the Instant Pot, well you know what a game-changer it is. If not, this easy-to-follow guide will take you there step by step and you’ll never look back!
Tips for Cooking Frozen Chicken in Instant Pot
- Separate breasts. Be sure to place the frozen breasts in there separately and not in a clump. You risk parts uncooked if they’re left stuck together.
- Trivet or not. You can choose to use the trivet or place the meat directly in the broth.
- Salt and pepper. It’s really all you need if you plan on using a barbecue sauce or Buffalo sauce which already has a ton of flavor.
- Other seasonings. Add in whatever herbs and spices you like, for example, garlic powder, ranch powder, chili powder, onion powder, taco seasoning, paprika, fajita seasoning, and Italian seasoning.
- Cook time. Be sure to check out the times based on fresh or frozen chicken breast. The thickness matters as well.
- Liquid. Instead of the broth, you can use water or pineapple juice for a little sweetness. The meat is frozen, so it’s harder for the flavors to penetrate the meat right away but it sure makes for a delicious sauce or gravy afterward!
- Fresh chicken. If you are not using frozen chicken, you can cook fresh chicken breasts for 10 minutes with a 5-minute natural pressure release and then quick release remaining pressure.
How Long to Cook Frozen Chicken in Instant Pot
You want to cook for a minimum of 12 minutes on high pressure. Add on 3 extra minutes for thick breasts and even a bit longer for extra thick or bone-in breasts.
An instant read thermometer should display 165 degrees F internal temperature at the thickest part of the breast. If it doesn’t, cover with the lid and pressure cook for an additional 2 minutes of cook time.
Cooking Times for Frozen Chicken Breast in Instant Pot
- 1-2″ thickness – 12 minutes with 10-minute natural release.
- 2″ and up – 15 minutes with 10-minute natural release.
- Bone-in breast – 18 minutes with 10-minute natural release.
Planning on Shredding Your Chicken?
Don’t use bone-in chicken breast for that! You’ll get much more bang for your buck if you use a thick boneless chicken breast. It’s also much easier to shred without having to tear it off the bone.
How to Shred Cooked Chicken Breast
There are a couple of different ways to do this once you’ve transferred the meat from the pot into a bowl.
- Use 2 forks to shred meat, pulling the pieces that naturally fall apart. Working your way from the outside in, pulling apart as you go until it’s all shredded.
- Using a hand mixer with beaters, beat away! There is a bit more splatter with this one, but I kid you not, it’s super easy (kind of fun!) and it gets the job done quickly.
To store: Depending on the size of your Instant Pot you could potentially have a big enough batch to portion out meals for the week! Keep chicken stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
To freeze: Place meat in a freezer bag (or keep in a freezer-friendly container) and keep frozen for up to 4 months. If you are freezing a lot, portion them out first and thaw only what you’ll be using later on.
Dishes that Use Shredded Chicken:
- BBQ Chicken Salad
- Mexican Chicken Casserole
- Shredded Chicken Taco Salad
- Buffalo Chicken Sliders
- Creamy Chicken Enchiladas
- BBQ Chicken Pizza
Cooking Frozen Chicken In Instant Pot
- 2 pounds chicken breast , frozen
- 1 cup chicken broth , or water
- salt and pepper
- Separate chicken and add chicken breast into the Instant Pot in a single layer if possible. Pour in chicken broth and sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Add any other desired seasonings.
- Place the lid on top and seal the valve. Set the Instant Pot to high pressure. Cook for 12 minutes on high pressure. Add an additional 3 minutes for thicker breasts. Once the Instant Pot beeps, let it do a natural release for 10 minutes (don't touch it).
- Remove chicken and any extra fat from Instant Pot. I also like to remove about 1/2 cup liquid. Shred the chicken and then place back in the Instant Pot until ready to serve.