Instant Pot shredded chicken is a quick-to-make and versatile protein base that can be incorporated into a variety of meals throughout the week! It’s a meal-prep dream, ideal for adding to soups, salads, tacos, and more.
This pressure cooker recipe is a staple in my house for its sheer convenience and adaptability. Whether I’m planning a week of healthy eating or need a quick protein fix for unexpected guests, Instant Pot shredded chicken has proven to be my go-to savior time and time again.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Effortless: Just set it and forget it! This hands-off recipe is unbelievably simple to make but can be used in virtually endless ways.
- Versatile: From salads and casseroles to enchiladas and tacos, Instant Pot shredded chicken makes the perfect addition to your favorite recipes.
- Meal-prep friendly: Prep the chicken on your day off, then enjoy it for the whole week ahead!
Easy Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
This Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe combines two of my favorite things — simplicity and versatility! It can serve as a quick and convenient protein base for tacos, casseroles, soups, stews, and more!
Using the Instant Pot results in tender, moist, chicken that’s easy to shred. Flavor-wise, it’s a blank canvas that absorbs garlic and onion powders, salt, and pepper like a sponge! You can also add your favorite seasonings depending on the meal you’ll be adding it to.
Ingredients For Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts: Chicken breasts are my go-to since they cook quickly and shred easily. You can substitute them with chicken thighs for a juicier, more flavorful result, but you will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
- Chicken stock: Adds depth and richness to the chicken. Vegetable broth or even water with a bit of bouillon can be used as well.
- Kosher salt: Enhances the natural flavor of the chicken. Sea salt or regular table salt will work in a pinch.
- Cracked black pepper: Provides a subtle heat and aroma. If you don’t have black pepper, try ground white pepper instead.
- Garlic powder: Adds a savory, slightly toasty flavor. Fresh minced garlic or garlic salt with reduced added salt will also work.
- Onion powder: Imparts a hint of sharpness and subtle sweetness. If you don’t have onion powder on hand, use extra garlic powder or dried onion flakes.
- Optional seasonings: You can customize the seasonings based on the intended use of the chicken. Think taco seasoning, Italian herbs, curry powder, Cajun seasoning, etc.
How To Cook Shredded Chicken In The Instant Pot
Step 1: Prep The Chicken
Add the chicken, broth, and seasonings to your Instant Pot. Give everything a gentle stir to make sure the chicken is evenly coated with the seasonings. If you’re using any optional herbs or spices, add them at this stage as well.
Step 2: Pressure Cook The Chicken
Lock the lid, make sure the valve is set to “seal,” and let the Instant Pot work its magic for 10 minutes on high pressure.
Once the timer goes off, give the Instant Pot 5 more minutes to naturally release the pressure before switching the valve to “release.”
Step 3: Shred & Serve
Take out the chicken, shred it with two forks, and you’re done! From here, you can use it right away or store it to use in recipes throughout the week.
How To Use Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
With so many ways to use Instant Pot shredded chicken, I’ve compiled a list to spark your creativity:
- Chicken tacos: Use it as a filling for tacos, topped with fresh salsa and guacamole.
- Creamy chicken pasta: Stir it into your favorite creamy pasta sauce for a hearty meal.
- Chicken salad: Mix it with greens, veggies, and a vinaigrette for a healthy salad.
- Quesadillas: Serve it in tortillas with cheese to make protein-packed air fryer quesadillas.
- Chicken soup: Add some to homemade or store-bought chicken soup for extra protein.
- BBQ chicken pizza: Top pizza dough with BBQ sauce, chicken, onions, and cheese.
- Chicken enchiladas: Roll the chicken in tortillas with sauce and top them with cheese.
- Buffalo chicken dip: Mix the chicken with buffalo sauce and cream cheese.
- Chicken sandwich: Pile it onto buns with lettuce, tomato, and your favorite sauce.
- Chicken casserole: Layer it with vegetables and creamy sauce, then bake until bubbly.
Now that you know how to cook shredded chicken in the Instant Pot, test out some of these seasonings to see what you like best:
- Spicy: Add chili powder and cayenne pepper for a kick.
- BBQ: Mix in your favorite BBQ sauce after cooking.
- Curry: Add curry powder and a bit of coconut milk.
- Mexican: Use taco seasoning for a Tex-Mex twist.
- Herbaceous: Mix in rosemary, thyme, and sage for an aromatic option.
- Cajun: Try mixing in Cajun or Creole seasoning for a spicy Southern flavor.
Tips For The Best Recipe
- Use quality chicken: Opt for fresh, high-quality grass-fed chicken for the best results.
- Natural pressure release: Let the Instant Pot naturally release pressure for about 5-10 minutes to give you juicier chicken.
- Shred while warm: Shred the chicken while it’s still warm for easier handling.
- Adjust the liquid: If the chicken is too dry, you can add a bit more broth after shredding.
What To Do With Leftovers
This recipe is meant for leftovers! Just follow these simple storage and reheating tips:
- Fridge: Once cooled, store the chicken in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: You can freeze it in single-serving freezer bags for up to 3 months.
- Reheating: Gently reheat the chicken in the microwave or on the stovetop, adding a splash of broth or oil if needed.
- Prep ahead: Instant Pot shredded chicken is the perfect meal prep recipe! Just shred and divide it into portions to add to meals throughout the week.
If you like chicken as much as I do, here are some more of my favorite chicken recipes to try:
- Air Fryer Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Crustless Chicken Pot Pie
- Air Fryer Chicken Nuggets
- Air Fryer Chicken Breast
- Oven Baked BBQ Chicken Wings
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use frozen chicken?
Yes, you can use frozen chicken, but you will have to increase the cooking time to about 12-15 minutes.
Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker?
Absolutely! To make this recipe in a slow cooker, just cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
How do I know when the chicken is done?
You’ll know the chicken is done when it has reached an internal temperature of 165F and can be easily shredded.
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- 2 to 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (thawed)
- 1 cup chicken stock (or water)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- Other seasoning as desired (optional)
- Place the chicken, broth, and seasonings into your pressure cooker. Gently stir to combine.
- Add the lid and pressure cook on high for 10 minutes (make sure the valve is flipped to “seal”!). Allow for a natural release for 5 minutes, then release the remaining pressure by flipping the valve to “release”.
- Remove the chicken and shred with forks. Now, you can store it to use for recipes throughout the week or freeze for later.