This is the easiest, no-fail way to make Instant Pot shredded chicken. And you can use it in so many different recipes!
Side note: If you prefer to make shredded chicken in the slow cooker, check out my slow cooker shredded chicken.
Here is what I use to make my simple Instant Pot shredded chicken.
As always, use the best quality ingredients that you have access to.
How to Make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
What type of chicken is best for shredding?
I strongly prefer boneless, skinless chicken thighs in this recipe. Why? Because they are by FAR the easiest and most forgiving cut of meat to cook in the Instant Pot.
Chicken breasts are okay, but they are more likely to dry out if you do not get the cooking time *just* right.
If you have been looking at other Instant Pot shredded chicken recipes, you may notice that the cook times vary a WHOLE lot. Has anybody else noticed that?
Instant Pot official guidelines put chicken breasts somewhere in the range of 8 to 10 minutes, and chicken thighs from 10 to 15 minutes.
But! Some people let their chicken cook thirty minutes or more! That will make them fork tender; however they will technically be overcooked and will seem a little string-y in texture.
Those chicken thighs, though.
They come out tender and juicy every time I make them. And there is no need to overcook them to get them tender. What can I say? I love when results are reliably good!
Now another note about cook times in general. Since pressure cooking accelerates the cooking time, that sweet spot (where meat is tender, juicy and fully cooked) is a little bit harder to achieve. When the cooking time is accelerated, that window narrows.
Since chicken thighs are naturally juicy, they are pretty forgiving if you overcook a minute or two.
Chicken breasts? Not so much.
If I still have not convinced you, or perhaps you only have chicken breasts on hand, see the notes in the recipe card below for instructions on how to make Instant Pot shredded chicken with breasts.
Fresh or frozen?
I always recommend fresh, fully thawed chicken for best results.
Add 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot. Add the chicken thighs, using a trivet or steamer basket to keep the chicken out of the cooking liquid.
Cook the chicken thighs on high pressure for 13 minutes, and then quick release the pressure.
Remove the lid, and carefully remove the cooked thighs from the Instant Pot.
Shred the chicken with two forks.
Frequently asked questions
The Instant Pot utilized pressure cooking, which is an ulrta quick cooking method. This makes it very easy to overcook chicken. Rubbery chicken is overcooked.
It depends. What type of chicken are you making, and what cut are you using? For this Instant Pot shredded chicken, using chicken thighs, 13 minutes of high pressure (with a quick release) is perfect.
Yes! The Instant Pot will fully cook raw chicken, and this recipe is based on that.
This works best fresh, but yes you can absolutely freeze this. Especially to use in casseroles, soups, etc. Store in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 3 months. Fully thaw it in the refrigerator prior to using.
Recipes that use Instant Pot shredded chicken
As for what recipes to use shredded chicken in? I have a bunch of great suggestions!
- Classic Chicken noodle soup
- Mom’s Chicken divan
- Chicken, potato and corn chowder
- Lemon chicken orzo soup
- BBQ ranch chopped salad
- Tools Used to Make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
This post may contain affiliate links, which pay a referral fee to me at no additional cost to you. My full affiliate disclosure can be seen here.
- Instant Pot
- Trivet that comes with the Instant Pot
- Measuring cup to measure the water
- Two forks for shredding
- Storage container – I like these glass ones!
How to Make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
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Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
- 1.3 pounds raw boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt (I use about 1/4 teaspoon per thigh)
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper (I use about 1/8 teaspoon per thigh)
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic (I use about 1/4 teaspoon per thigh)
Generously season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
Add 1 cup water to the Instant Pot
Put the trivet in the pot, and place the chicken thighs on top of the trivet.
Put the lid on the pot, lock and seal it; set the cook time to 13 minutes manual high pressure.
After the chicken has finished cooking, use the quick release to release the pressure.
Remove the chicken thighs, and shred with two forks.
Store in the refrigerator for up to three days, or the freezer (airtight container) for up to three months.
Nutritional information is approximate and was calculated using a recipe nutrition label generator.
Cooking times were based on Instant Pot official guidelines. Actual cooking times may vary, based on the size and weight of your meat.
If you want to make this recipe with chicken breasts, just adjust the cook time to 8 minutes or so (this may vary with chicken breast size), and use the quick release. They may not be as tender and flavorful as the thighs, but it’ll still work! If you want the fall-apart version, increase cook time to 30 minutes, and do a quick release. They will be fall-apart tender, but the texture will be more string-y. We do not prefer this version, but many people love it.
Instant Pot shredded chicken originally appeared on A Pinch of Healthy November 30, 2016. It has been updated with new photos.