Instant Pot Shredded Chicken is fast, easy, and delicious. Use your chicken in tacos, salads, soups, and more. If you use this recipe to make tacos, start by getting the chicken in the Instant Pot then prepare your favorite taco toppings while the chicken cooks. This is a great weeknight family meal.
Important Note on Time: You only need to cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts for 12 minutes in a pressure cooker, but it takes about 10 minutes to come up to pressure, adding to the time. The total time for this recipe is roughly 30 minutes.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts* (this recipe can accommodate up to 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt per chicken breast
- freshly ground black pepper (if desired)
(optional): 1 packet of all-natural taco seasoning if you're turning this into tacos; I like the one from ThriveMarket; use 1 packet for up to 4 chicken breasts. Or, add any dry seasoning you'd like. Do not put cream-based sauces in an Instant Pot because they will burn to the bottom.
*Note: I find the texture best using thawed (not frozen) chicken breasts here. But, you can use frozen chicken breasts here if that's all you have. Pressure cook 16 minutes instead of 12 minutes if your chicken breasts are frozen.
I use a standard 6-quart Instant Pot.
- Add 1 cup water to the Instant Pot (a pressure cooker needs at least 1 cup of water to properly come up to temp, and it does NOT like cream-based sauces. Use plain water.**)
- Add the chicken breasts (preferably pre-salted, but that's optional). If you think ahead, take the chicken out of the fridge up to 60 minutes before cooking and salt to sit at room temp. This will make it slightly more tender, but if you forget it's not a big deal. If making tacos, coat the chicken breasts with a full packet (1/4 cup) of taco seasoning (pour any remaining in the water).
- Close the lid, double-check that the valve is set to sealing, and pressure cook for 12 minutes. (On most instant pots, you'll press "Pressure Cook" then the "+" button 12 times until the display reads 12—then about 10 seconds later you will hear it automatically turn on; check your Instant Pot manual if you need help.)
- Allow a natural release for 10 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Once the pin has dropped, open the pot and pour out most of the liquid. Discard the liquid or use it in a soup if desired. It has very little nutritional value (bone-in meat is what gives stock nutritional value) so don't feel bad putting it down the sink.
- Shred the chicken using a hand-mixer starting on low; this takes about 30-60 seconds. Or, use two forks or your clean hands to shred the chicken.
- Shredded chicken will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Freezes well in an air-tight freezer bag (squeeze all of the air out) for up to 3 months (though, I think it's best fresh.)
**1 cup of water is all you need in the Instant Pot when cooking up to 4 chicken breasts. If adding more, add another 1/4 cup of water per chicken breast. Never start an Instant Pot with less than 1 cup of water in it.
Food Safety: Chicken should always be cooked to an internal temp of at least 165° F (74°C). I've never had them not come up to temp using this method, but when in doubt check with a food thermometer.
Keywords: Instant Pot Shredded Chicken, Shredded Chicken