This is my tried and true method for making Instant Pot chicken breasts that are tender, juicy and delicious!
This is my method for fresh (not frozen) boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
I’ll report back in another post once I hack the frozen ones! 🙂 They are a little tricker, in my opinion.
If you want to make something similar on the stovetop with a grill pan or cast iron skillet, see my other grilled chicken breasts recipe. It is one of my most popular recipes of all time!
OR if you want more of a shredded chicken recipe, check out my Instant Pot shredded chicken method.
But back to these instant pot chicken breasts!
It’s fun to get super creative and fancy in the kitchen sometimes. But simple and basic can also be delicious. I come back around to my most simple and basic recipes more often than not.
This particular recipe is such a great basic recipe to have on hand. These chicken breasts are great to enjoy with a couple simple side items (salad and Instant Pot sweet potato, for example) as a simple meal.
Instant Pot chicken breasts are also a great diced up over pasta or salad. You can meal prep and make them ahead, and eat off them for a few days after.
I season these up in a pretty basic way, and it is very versatile.
You can change up the spices to suit your preference, though.
I brown the chicken on both sides to lock in as much juiciness as possible. And then I place them on a trivet to pressure cook them the rest of the way.
FAQ’s for Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
Can I use frozen chicken breasts?
I would not recommend it, although several members of my audience have written in, saying they had great results using frozen chicken breasts. I myself have had mixed results. So for consistent results, I recommend using fresh, thawed chicken breasts.
Can I use cutlets or thin chicken breasts?
I would not recommend thin cuts, since they will become overcooked. Make sure you use regular whole chicken breasts.
Can I make this in a 3 quart and/or 8 quart model?
Yes! Just use the minimum fill requirements for the liquid.
Can I use chicken stock/ broth in place of water?
Sure! That definitely works, and I have used stock a bunch of times. After realizing that the liquid doesn’t touch the chicken, I tried using water and didn’t notice much difference. So I have used water ever since.
Can I make shredded chicken using this recipe?
This recipe makes chicken with the texture of a piece of grilled chicken. So no, I would not recommend this for shredded chicken. Instead, try my Instant Pot shredded chicken, which uses chicken thighs.
Can I use the poultry button instead?
Sure! I have used the poultry button, but I have never noticed much of a difference.🤷🏼♀️ In fact, I use “manual” high pressure in almost all of my IP recipes. 😎
What to Serve with Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
If you are not a crazy Instant Pot lady like me who has two Instant Pots, you can wrap your chicken breasts in foil while you make another side to go with it. Or if is a longer cook side (like the black eyed peas), make the side first, and then the chicken breasts. Of course, an extra inner pot comes in handy! Here are my favorite sides to serve:
- Instant Pot “Baked” Sweet Potatoes
- Instant Pot black eyed peas
- Instant Pot mashed potatoes
- Lemon garlic roasted Brussels sprouts
- Quinoa Black Bean salad
- Roasted broccoli and mushrooms
- Tortellini pasta salad
- Spiralizer Greek salad
- Greek quinoa salad
- Green beans with caramelized onions and almonds
- Greek pasta salad
- Classic potato salad (includes Instant Pot instructions)
- Greek potato salad
- Roasted thyme carrots
Also, these make a great make ahead option to make salads all week. Here are my favorite salads using these chicken breasts:
- Greek salad with chicken
- Chicken BLT salad with avocado
- Copycat Newk’s Favorite Salad
- BBQ ranch chopped salad
- Grilled chicken salad with raspberries, walnuts and artichoke hearts
- Cobb salad
Tools Used to Make Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
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- Instant Pot – I am using a 6 quart
- Tongs are very helpful when placing the chicken in hot oil, and removing it after cooking. Just be sure and wash the tongs with hot soapy water before you handle the finished product to avoid cross-contamination.
- Measuring spoons
- Trivet that comes with your Instant Pot
Instant Pot Chicken Breasts Recipe
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Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
- 1 Tablespoon oil (I use avocado, but you can use coconut or canola - something with a high smoke point is best!)
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (uncooked)
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt per chicken breast (or you can use just garlic powder and regular salt)
- dash black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 cup water
Preheat the sauté function on the Instant Pot at the highest setting, and add oil to the pot.
Season one side of the chicken breasts.
After the display reads "hot," carefully add the chicken breasts, seasoned side down, to the pot. I use tongs to avoid hot oil splatter.
Add seasoning on the second side.
Cook about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, and remove from pot with the tongs.
Add 1 cup water to the pot (may need more for 8 quart pots), plus the trivet.
Place the chicken on the trivet.
Lock the lid, and cook on manual high for 5 minutes.
Allow the chicken to naturally release for 5 minutes, and then quick release the rest.
Remove the chicken from the pot, and allow to rest for about 5 minutes before serving for maximum juiciness.
Note: Regarding chicken breast sizes, each breast was between 6 and 8 ounces. (6.7, 7.3 and 7.7 to be exact!) Also, butterflied (halved) chicken breasts or chicken cutlets will not have the same cook time as whole chicken breasts. I recommend using whole boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe.