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Making BBQ chicken in the Instant Pot couldn’t be easier with this recipe! It uses only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor, plus a hack for shredding the chicken easily. Can be made Whole30, paleo, low carb, keto.

Sandwich with Instant Pot BBQ chicken topped with coleslaw

Why This Recipe Is So Good!

  • Because this shredded BBQ chicken is made in an electric pressure cooker, it’s ready in just 20 minutes.
  • This recipe is so easy! Just dump the ingredients in the Instant pot and let it do it’s job!
  • This recipe only requires 3 simple ingredients.
  • This BBQ chicken can easily be made paleo, Whole30, low carb and keto.

What’s the best sauce to use for this recipe?

You can use your favorite BBQ sauce for this shredded chicken, Bull’s-Eye, Hunts and Trader Joe’s all work well. Make this chicken whole30 and paleo by using my BBQ sauce recipe, or you can use this recipe to make it low carb and keto. You can also buy this sugar-free BBQ sauce.

The shredded bbq chicken in an instant pot

Serving Suggestions

This tasty chicken is perfect to serve as a sandwich and a great way to top off a salad.

For whole30 and paleo, serve it between sweet potato rounds and alongside my healthy coleslaw. It’s also delicious as part of my whole30 bbq bowls with cubed sweet potato, coleslaw, and quick homemade dill pickles.

Can You Make this Recipe Ahead of Time?

This recipe is great for meal prep! Let it cool to room temperature and then store it in an aright container in the fridge, it will keep for 3 to 4 days. You can also freeze it and defrost it in the fridge. Serve on top of cauliflower rice or a side salad with veggies.

Chef’s Tips

  • If you do not have Italian dressing on hand, you can substitute 1 1/2 tbsp oil, 1/2 tbsp vinegar, and a small pinch of Italian seasoning.
  • To shred using a hand mixer, place the beaters in the Instant Pot (turned off) and mix on low. You might want to place a clean kitchen towel around the top to form a sort of lid to prevent any splatter.
Three Instant Pot BBQ chicken sandwiches wit coleslaw and pickles

More easy chicken recipes

Recipe By: Cheryl Malik
5 from 10 votes

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Prep 10 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
Total 25 minutes
Making BBQ chicken in the Instant Pot couldn't be easier with this recipe! It uses only 3 ingredients but is loaded with flavor. Can be made Whole30, paleo, low carb, keto.
4 servings


  • Instant Pot or similar pressure cooker


  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts approximately 1-1 ½ pounds
  • ¾ cup BBQ sauce store-bought or homemade (see Notes for recipes)
  • 2 tablespoons Italian dressing see Notes
  • salt to taste


  • Add all ingredients to Instant Pot and stir to distribute. Secure lid on Instant Pot with vent in "Sealing" position, and set Instant Pot to Manual High Pressure for 10 minutes. After 10 minute cook-time is up, carefully Quick Release pressure and remove lid.
  • Shred chicken using method of choice (see Notes) and return shredded chicken to Instant Pot (if you removed it to shred it). Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode, stir to coat shredded chicken in sauce, then heat 5 minutes. Serve shredded chicken warm.

Shredding Methods

  • Hand Shredded: Using your hands/fingers, pull the chicken apart until completely shredded. Pieces can be as big or as small as you like.
  • Two Forks: Use one fork to steady the chicken while shredding the chicken with another fork. Work in small, short strokes, moving forks away from each other.
  • Hand Mixer: Break the chicken into manageable chunks and place them in a large bowl. Use the standard attachments on your mixer and set mixer to a medium speed. Mix until chicken is completely shredded.
  • Stand Mixer: Use the standard paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed until chicken chunks are completely shredded.
  • Food Processor: Break up the cooked chicken breasts into chunks first, and work in multiple batches. Add chicken to food processor and use the plastic dough blade attachment to avoid your chicken turning to mush. Process for 30 seconds or until uniformly shredded. Repeat until all chicken is shredded.

Approximate Information for One Serving

Serving Size: 1servingCalories: 303calProtein: 37gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 109mgSodium: 819mgPotassium: 760mgTotal Carbs: 23gFiber: 0.5gSugar: 19gNet Carbs: 23gVitamin A: 174IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimers
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.

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  1. Hello. I’m wanting to prepare these as sandwiches for about 36 people (about half are children). I plan to use your homemade bbq sauce recipe. First, can you tell me how many batches of your sauce I’ll need to make AND if the Italian dressing is a crucial component or fine to omit? Thank you. Needing to make this probably mid-week.

    1. One more question – do you know how many batches I can make at once in a 6 quart IP?

      1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

        You may be able to get 2 batches out of a 6-quart. We used a 6-quart to develop the recipe and it didn’t take up the entire pot, but you want to be sure not to overfill it.

    2. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

      Which homemade BBQ sauce recipe will you use? One yields roughly 12 servings, the other roughly 6 – of course, that all depends on how much sauce you use per serving. The Italian dressing (or the alternate ingredients mentioned in the Notes section) are important for this specific recipe, but if you’re just wanting chicken with BBQ sauce then yes it’s fine to omit!

      1. Thank you. I was planning to try the Whole 30 BBQ Sauce and the above recipe calls for 3/4 cup. How much sauce (in cups) does the Whole30 recipe make?

        Also, if I use the alternate for the Italian dressing, is the vinegar acv?

        1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

          We don’t have an exact yield in cups for the Whole30 BBQ sauce, since sauces cook down a little differently every time they’re made.

          For the Italian dressing alternate, apple cider vinegar or white vinegar would both work – you just want the acidity with a fairly neutral flavor!

  2. Not sure what you mean after shredding the chicken….it says heat for 5 minutes. Where do you heat? Instant pot on what setting? Or some other heating method? Thanks so much and anxious to try.

    1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

      Hi, Sandy! Sorry for any confusion… in that same step, we first say to put the shredded chicken back in the Instant Pot (if you took the chicken out of the Instant Pot to shred it, that is) and then set the Instant Pot to the Sauté mode. You’ll stir the chicken to make sure it’s all coated in sauce, and then you’ll heat the chicken and sauce together in the Instant Pot on Sauté mode for 5 minutes.

      I hope that helps! Let us know how you like the chicken!

  3. Fantastic! Needed a super quick dinner tonight and I had chicken in the freezer. I defrosted it and threw it into the instant pot and dinner was ready in 20 minutes. I also added a little bit of Mike’s Hot Honey before pressure cooking and it made it SO good. Thanks for this easy, delicious recipe! 🙂5 stars

    1. Anna Claire | 40 Aprons Team Anna Claire | 40 Aprons Team says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!5 stars

  4. Avatar Tricia Corona says:

    Can I use frozen chicken breasts with this recipe? Wondering what I can do if it calls for fresh but want to use frozen.

  5. Avatar Woodbridge Mom says:

    This bbq chicken has become a staple for us! How would the nutritional numbers change using Sweet Baby Ray’s No Sugar Added bbq sauce?5 stars

    1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

      Hi! SO happy you love this recipe! That’s a great BBQ sauce and it would definitely bring down the carb count. I highly recommend using a tracking app (like MyFitnessPal, LoseIt, or Cronometer) so you can plug in your specific ingredients and adjust your macros as needed based on your dietary needs.

  6. Very simple and easy to make and came out good. Thanks5 stars

    1. Anna Claire | 40 Aprons Team Anna Claire | 40 Aprons Team says:

      So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for this feedback. 🙂5 stars

  7. Avatar Krystal M Goldman says:

    I got a burn notice. So I added water. I hope that’s ok.

    1. Anna Claire | 40 Aprons Team Anna Claire | 40 Aprons Team says:

      Totally fine! Just don’t add too much. 🙂 Chicken broth would also work!5 stars

  8. Can I use chicken thighs? Does time in iPot change?

    1. Megan | 40 Aprons Team Megan | 40 Aprons Team says:

      Sure you can! The time should be the same for boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

  9. Can I use frozen chicken breasts? If so what’s the cook time?

  10. Cheryl,

    I’m brand new to cooking and have a probably stupid question… If I wanted to make four servings, I assume I would just double the ingredients. Do the Instapot cooking times change at all?

    Thanks for the recipe and keep up the great work!

    Brad5 stars

    1. Avatar Savannah | 40 Aprons Team says:

      The cooking time should stay the same! The question isn’t stupid! 🙂5 stars

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