Cooking frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot is just about the easiest way to get dinner on the table! This method results in super flavorful, juicy, and tender chicken breasts that you don’t even have to thaw. Perfect for quickly cooking chicken for another recipe, too. Check out my recipe for Instant Pot frozen chicken thighs, too!
😍 What Makes This Method So Good
- We’ve all been there. Dinnertime rolls around, stomachs start growling. Suddenly, it hits you. You forgot to thaw the chicken for dinner. Don’t worry! You can take those frozen chicken breasts right out of the freezer and pop them straight into the Instant Pot with virtually zero prep, and definitely zero defrosting.
- Instant Pot frozen chicken breasts (or frozen chicken thighs, if you’ve got those on hand) are fast and easy, and the chicken comes out perfectly cooked. Tender, moist, and juicy, not dry or tough or chewy. AND, because we’re pressure cooking, cooking perfect chicken only takes 10-15 minutes.
- The usefulness of this method doesn’t stop at mealtime emergencies. I like to intentionally use it for weekly meal prep (it just makes life so EASY) and for recipes that call for already-cooked chicken. Basically, anytime I need or want to eliminate the whole “defrost the chicken in the fridge overnight” step, I just break out my trusty Instant Pot.
👩🏼🍳 Chef’s Tips
- You’ll want to use an Instant Pot trivet here so the frozen chicken breasts sit up and out of the broth. Essentially they’ll be steamed, rather than boiled. I have a trivet with feet and handles, but a trivet with just legs will work fine, too! Honestly, the trivet is probably my most-used Instant Pot accessory, so if you don’t already have one, I highly recommend getting one!
- The cooking time will vary a little depending on the size of the chicken breasts you’re cooking. We’ve included a quick list of timing recommendations in the recipe card notes below. If you’re still unsure about the exact cooking time you need to use, set the timer for a minute or two less than recommended. You can put the chicken back in for another minute if needed, but you can’t walk back overcooked chicken.
- We tested and perfected our Instant Pot frozen chicken breasts method using a 6-quart Instant Pot. If you’re using a larger pressure cooker, you may need to increase the amount of liquid used by ½-1 cup to prevent a burn notice.
- If your Instant Pot is large enough that you can cook more 4 chicken breasts, you don’t need to adjust the cook time beyond what’s listed below. It’ll just take a little longer to fully pressurize before the cook time begins.
🥘 More Easy Recipes We LOVE
- Air Fryer Chicken Breasts
- Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
- Crockpot Marry Me Chicken
- Chicken Pot Pie Casserole
- Pittsburgh Chicken Salad
- Marry Me Chicken Salad
- Air Fryer Tater Tots
- 3 Ingredient Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken
- Instant Pot Dal
- Creamy Rotel Pasta with Ground Beef
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Italian Dressing Chicken
- Creamy Instant Pot Beef Pasta
- 4 medium frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts approximately 8 ounces each, see Notes
- poultry seasoning or salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup chicken broth or water
- Large plate or cutting board, or sheet of aluminum foil
- Instant Pot
- Instant Pot trivet
- internal meat thermometer
- Lay frozen chicken breasts out in one layer on plate, cutting board, or foil. Generously season tops of chicken breasts with poultry seasoning (or salt and pepper), gently rubbing seasoning into chicken. Flip chicken breasts over and repeat seasoning process on other side.
- Place trivet in Instant Pot. Pour chicken broth (or water) into pot, then place frozen chicken breasts on trivet. Stacking or overlapping chicken breasts on trivet is fine.
- Secure lid on Instant Pot and set vent to Sealing position. Set Instant Pot to Manual High Pressure with 10-minute cook time (see Notes). Instant Pot will pressurize, then cook time will begin.
- After cook time is up, Natural Release internal pressure 5 minutes, then Quick Release any remaining pressure. Carefully remove lid and set aside.
- Check chicken breasts for doneness with internal meat thermometer. Internal temperature should read 160° to 162° Fahrenheit (see Notes). Remove chicken breasts from Instant Pot and set aside to rest 5 minutes.
- After resting, shred, chop, or serve chicken as-is with desired sides. Alternately, use chicken for another recipe that calls for cooked chicken.
- Chicken Broth: Feel free to replace the chicken broth with pineapple juice, apple juice, vegetable broth, or other liquids depending on the flavor you’re looking for.
- Seasoning: You can season the chicken with anything you like. All-purpose seasoning, poultry seasoning, BBQ dry rub, Tony Chachere’s, salt & pepper, and any dry spice blend will work just fine.
- Internal Temperature: 165° Fahrenheit is the food-safe internal temperature recommendation for chicken. To prevent dry, tough, or chewy chicken breasts, we recommend you stop cooking when then internal temperature reaches 160°F and set the chicken aside to rest. The residual cooking during the rest time will bring the chicken to 165°F while keeping the chicken moist and juicy.
Recommended Cook Times Based on Size
- For 4 chicken breasts, each weighing 6 ounces, set Instant Pot to Manual High Pressure for 9 minutes.
- For 4 chicken breasts, each weighing 8 ounces, set Instant Pot to Manual High Pressure for 10 minutes.
- For 4 chicken breasts, each weighing 9-10 ounces, set Instant Pot to Manual High Pressure for 12 minutes.
- For 4 chicken breasts, each weighing 12 ounces, set Instant Pot to Manual High Pressure for 14 minutes.
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.