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How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

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A tutorial on How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot.  This is seriously life-changing!

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot| cleaneatingveggiegirl.comWith the holidays, our upcoming wedding, and saving for a down-payment on a house, Jeremy and I have been trying to reign in our spending.  We even went as far as foregoing Christmas presents for one another this year.  So when Black Friday rolled around, I told myself that I was not going to be sucked in by any “amazing” deals.  But then 50 bazillion people posted on Facebook and Instagram about how the life-changing appliance for all Paleo foodies was on major sale.  What is that life-changing appliance, you ask?  Why, the Instant Pot, of course!

I had been wanting an Instant Pot for quite some time (essentially as soon as I started eating Paleo), and even put a less expensive pressure cooker on our wedding registry because I decided the Instant Pot was a bit out of most people’s price range.  Said pressure cooker has since been removed, and I have been loving my $78.00 Instant Pot (originally $118 on Amazon) ever since.

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot| cleaneatingveggiegirl.comThe first thing I decided to cook with my Instant Pot was chicken breasts.  I wanted to make chicken salad and decided it would be more delicious and less expensive to use fresh chicken than canned chicken.

Since I had no clue how to actually cook the chicken in the Instant Pot, I did some Googling.  Crazy enough, I only seemed to find tutorials on how to cook frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot as opposed to fresh chicken breasts.  This resulted in more Googling, reading the instruction manual of my precious pressure cooker, and doing a little experimentation.  After three different times whipping up chicken in the Instant Pot (in the span of about two weeks), I think I have finally perfected my method.  And since the world needs a tutorial on how to cook fresh chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, I am here to share!

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot| cleaneatingveggiegirl.comStart by placing one pound of organic, pasture-raised chicken breasts into the stainless steel cooking pot of the Instant Pot.

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot| cleaneatingveggiegirl.comGrab four cups of chicken bone broth from your pantry.  This brand is my favorite since it is AIP Paleo-compliant.  Of course, using homemade bone broth would be even better!

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot| cleaneatingveggiegirl.comPour the broth into the pot until the chicken is covered.

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot| cleaneatingveggiegirl.comAdd in any desired seasonings.  I usually sprinkle in a bit of garlic powder and onion powder.  You could also add salt, black pepper (not AIP), or dried herbs, if desired.

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot| cleaneatingveggiegirl.comPlace the steel pot into the Instant Pot.  Secure the lid and cook on the Meat/Stew setting for 12 minutes.  Once the Instant Pot beeps signaling that the cooking process is finished, release the steam using the valve on the lid.

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot| cleaneatingveggiegirl.comRemove the chicken from the Instant Pot and pat dry with a towel.  If desired, use forks to shred the chicken.  At this point you can then use the chicken in any recipe that calls for cooked chicken.  Chicken salad is a favorite of mine!

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot| cleaneatingveggiegirl.comBefore you dump the bone broth, think again.  I strain mine into a large mason jar and either freeze it or drink it throughout the week.  Since the chicken was cooked in the broth, it will now have even more delicious flavor.

There you have it!  In under 15 minutes, you have a pound of moist, flavorful shredded chicken to cook with and 32 ounces of delicious bone broth.  Weekend meal prep just keeps getting easier and easier!

How to Cook Fresh Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot #Paleo #glutenfree Click To Tweet

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Do you own an Instant Pot?
If so, what is your favorite thing to cook in your Instant Pot?

{ 80 comments… add one }
  • Joanna January 4, 2016, 6:54 am

    Whoa – I’ve never seen anything like this! How cool (and FAST)!
    Joanna recently posted…everly: 8 monthsMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 4, 2016, 4:03 pm

      It is seriously awesome! You may need to invest in both a Vitamix AND an Instant Pot! 😉

  • Carla January 4, 2016, 7:01 am

    Oh. My. Gosh. I. Neeeeeeded. This!!!!
    #newbie
    Carla recently posted…4 reasons I advocate nighttime snacking.My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 4, 2016, 4:04 pm

      Yes you sure do! I am convinced that every single person does.

  • Erin @ Her Heartland Soul January 4, 2016, 7:32 am

    This looks amazing and I think I need one!!
    Erin @ Her Heartland Soul recently posted…Weekend SnapshotsMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 4, 2016, 4:05 pm

      You most definitely DO need one! It’s basically a miracle worker.

  • Liz @ The Clean Eating Couple January 4, 2016, 8:59 am

    I do this EVERY week! Seriously the easiest way to cook chicken 🙂
    Liz @ The Clean Eating Couple recently posted…30 Healthy Holiday Desserts You Need to TryMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 4, 2016, 5:34 pm

      No kidding! I’m obsessed!

  • Ashley January 4, 2016, 1:40 pm

    So interesting! I haven’t ever thought about buying an instant pot (largely because I have zero room for another kitchen appliance!! haha)! But this is really cool!
    Ashley recently posted…Healthy Weekly Meal Plan – 1.2.16My Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 4, 2016, 5:36 pm

      I hear you! I have way more kitchen appliances than I care to admit. I guess this just means that I will always need a large kitchen, or at least one with a lot of storage space 😉

      • trish burns July 16, 2016, 7:16 pm

        Now you can get rid of your slow cooker, rice cooker, stove top pressure cooker if you have one. Also, you don’t have to use a separate pan to brown your meat in. It’s a one pot process.

        • ClnEatingVegGrl July 17, 2016, 1:40 pm

          It’s a pretty darn amazing machine, don’t you think?!

  • John January 4, 2016, 2:25 pm

    Looks interesting, I’ve never even thought of using an instant pot for chicken! I’ll definitely have to consider this for myself in the future.
    John recently posted…How to Build MuscleMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 4, 2016, 5:37 pm

      I just LOVE the Instant Pot, and it is awesome for cooking chicken. I’d highly recommend looking into getting one for yourself!

  • Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood January 4, 2016, 3:59 pm

    I’m SO intruiged by the Instant Pot. Thanks for fueling my want for my own!!!
    Morgan @ Morgan Manages Mommyhood recently posted…Best of the Weekend: New Year and RelaxingMy Profile

    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 4, 2016, 5:41 pm

      You should probably just break down and get yourself one!! 😉 You won’t regret it.

  • Amy March 30, 2016, 12:08 pm

    Thanks for this recipe. So, if I want to do more than 1 lb of chicken do I need to add more broth/liquid? Thanks!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl March 31, 2016, 7:18 am

      I would say yes. Generally, if you double the amount of chicken you use, you’d want to double the amount of broth. Let me know how it goes! I’ve never done more than a pound.

  • ben May 3, 2016, 11:13 am

    Thanks for this recipe! Just curious, what does it mean to be AIP compliant?

    As a pressure cooker newbie, I’ve looking for a simple (1 ingredient) recipe like this, in order to cook a couple drumsticks to shred into a salad..

    Interestingly, some recipes with many ingredients, don’t add water, which seems kind of strange. I’ve read InstantPot recommends at least 1 cup, but from what I’ve seen many use as little as half a cup, and as much as 3 cups!

    With my smaller portions (2 little drumsticks), would a 1/2 cup water work? Also what happens if set for too long, for example what could happen if set for 35 minutes, instead of 12?

    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 3, 2016, 12:38 pm

      AIP simply means that it follows the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol diet. While I am not exactly sure about the liquid amounts since I have never cooked chicken drumsticks in the Instant Pot, I would think you would need at least 1/2 cup of liquid. There is no way to know for sure except for trying it out. Same goes for the amount of time, though I imagine cooking it for twice as long would dry it out a bit.

  • Meagan May 10, 2016, 1:33 am

    Thank you for writing instructions for FRESH chicken breast!

    Currently tracking my Intant Pot on my Amazon app… Should arrive tomorrow!!! ***Googling a bagillion recipes***

    • ClnEatingVegGrl May 10, 2016, 8:17 am

      Yay! I hope you love your Instant Pot as much as I do. It is amazing what it can do!

  • Jeri June 16, 2016, 4:37 pm

    I use my instant pot almost daily. Today for instance I’m slow cooking a pork roast. Yesterday I made dog food and the day before I cooked chicken breasts and finished them on the grill. One of my favorites though is if I forget to thaw a roast. Throw it in frozen with beef broth and depending on weight, my last one was quite large so I pressure cooked it for 75 minutes and used natural release. Made the most tender roast with enough liquid for awesome gravy. I do believe I’m going to wear it out. I’ve made mac and cheese, hard boiled eggs (which strangely enough are super easy to peel after pressure cooking. Suffice it to say I’m a fan!!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 16, 2016, 4:43 pm

      Aren’t they awesome? It sounds like I need to put mine to even more use. I am going to have to try the hard boiled egg method because I HATE peeling them!

      • Jeri June 16, 2016, 5:07 pm

        Me too! Fresh eggs are so hard to peel using a traditional boiling method. Haven’t had any probs with pressure cooked fresh eggs. I forgot to mention in my earlier post that beef stroganoff is the best I’ve ever eaten in the instant pot. Not sure if it’s paleo but oh boy! Num!

        • ClnEatingVegGrl June 16, 2016, 8:44 pm

          SO good to know. The peeling is the worst!

        • LJ August 2, 2016, 7:06 pm

          Jeri – I am curious about your Instant Pot stroganoff recipe. Would you mind sharing?

        • Kirstin January 7, 2017, 4:40 pm

          you should also try “boiled” eggs in the oven using a muffin tin. takes similarly small amounts of time, is INSANELY easy to peel, and keep more of the nutrients than boiling.

          forgive me for not having the recipe on my mind, but googling “oven hard-boiled eggs” should suffice. 😉 then your pot is free to use for other stuff at the same time!

          • ClnEatingVegGrl January 16, 2017, 9:50 am

            Great idea! I have not tried that, but it sounds super easy (which I love).

    • Tamar July 7, 2016, 1:49 pm

      I’d love to know how you make your dog food in the IP. I’m considering this but some of the recipes I’ve seen are more difficult than I thought.

      • Jeri July 7, 2016, 8:00 pm

        Recipe :
        1.5 lbs ground raw bison or ground beef
        1 cup uncooked barley
        1 cup wild rice or brown rice
        2 cups chopped sweet potato
        (chopped well as dogs don’t chew their food very well)
        2 cups chopped celery
        16 oz beef broth
        8 cups water
        1/8 cup olive oil
        1/2 tsp sea salt

        Can add/switch out veggies with cabbage, broccoli, lentils, crushed tomatoes, bell peppers or most greens (add greens towards the end)

        Cook on low (crockpot mode) 6 hours or on high 4 hours
        Cool well and store in fridge

        Serving size will depend on the size of your dog. A 70 lb dog would eat 2 cups twice a day. Smaller dogs 11 to 16 lbs gets 1/3 cup twice a day.
        I also cut the recipe in half as my little yorkie would take too long to eat a whole batch while it staying fresh.

        • ClnEatingVegGrl July 8, 2016, 8:05 am

          How cool! Thanks for sharing!

          • Casey July 18, 2016, 5:23 pm

            I do the same for my pup every other week. I freeze in quart bags and keep just enough for 5-6 days in the fridge. I sub veggies as well and chop pretty small. I use carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, peas, green beans, and two pounds of meat (1 lb each of bison, chicken, turkey, pork, etc). I always add a cup of steel cut oats, 1 cup water, stewed tomatoes (blended) and 1 can black beans. I feed Penny twice a day – in the morning I add a teaspoon of cottage cheese; in the evening I give a little less of this food and one boiled or scrambled egg.

    • Melissa July 21, 2016, 12:35 pm

      Jeri –
      I know this is from many months ago, but would you share your recipe for Beef Stroganoff? My recipe for the slow cooker has ingredients that don’t do well with pressure cooking. Thanks!

      • Jeri July 21, 2016, 5:44 pm

        Instant pot Beef Stroganoff
        Serves: 6
        Ingredients
        2 tbsp. olive oil
        2 pounds of beef stew meat
        ¼ cup of flour
        salt and black pepper
        1 onion, chopped
        3 cloves of garlic, minced
        1 cup beef broth
        3 cups of fresh mushrooms (cut in half or quarters)
        8 oz. sour cream
        1 tbsp. Dijon mustard or spicy mustard of your choice
        16 oz. package of egg noodles, cooked
        Instructions
        Place flour, salt and pepper in a large baggie and shake to mix. Add beef stew meat and coat with flour mixture.
        Set your Instant Pot to “Sauté” setting and add olive oil. Add beef and brown for about 3-5 minutes. Add chopped onion and garlic and brown for about 2 minutes.
        Add beef broth and place the close up the Instant Pot. Select the “Meat/Stew” setting on the Instant Pot and set the timer for 35 minutes. Make sure the pressure release valve is in the closed position. We want to pressure cook this for 35 minutes to tenderize the meat.
        When done, quick release the pressure valve, open up the lid carefully, and add 8 ounces of sour cream, 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and mushrooms. Stir and let it simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked through. Add more salt, pepper, or additional seasonings if desired and thicken the sauce with a little corn starch (or flour) mixed with water.
        Serve over prepared noodles with some crusty bread.

  • Beverly Babarovich June 24, 2016, 1:52 pm

    Wish your recipes were printable– without the tons of photos, etc.

    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 24, 2016, 2:14 pm

      I don’t use a printable plug-in at this time, but that could be something I look into in the future. Until then, you can always copy and paste the ingredients/directions into a Word doc and print!

      • Beverly Babarovich June 24, 2016, 2:17 pm

        That’s exactly what I did. I reduced the size of the 7 photos and was able to print back to back on one sheet. It’s a lot of work to do but if it’s a good recipe, one doesnt mind.

        • ClnEatingVegGrl June 24, 2016, 7:52 pm

          I’m glad you were able to make it work and that you’re enjoying the post!

  • Ashmi June 29, 2016, 2:07 pm

    Can you use the resulting broth to cook in the next time? I’m a meat-cooking newbie so I know nothing about broth…

    • ClnEatingVegGrl June 30, 2016, 9:06 am

      I guess it would depend on how long you wait to cook your next batch. I will often use the leftover broth in soups or strain it and drink it!

  • walt July 2, 2016, 5:51 pm

    I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but the chicken came out tasting bland and like nothing.

    • ClnEatingVegGrl July 4, 2016, 3:36 pm

      You can always add salt or additional seasonings when you cook it. This is really meant as a way to cook chicken to then use within a recipe (chicken salad, soup, etc.). I rarely ever just cook it and eat it straight out of the instant pot.

  • Verena July 5, 2016, 2:58 pm

    Thank you, the fresh cooking instructions were helpful!

    However, at the end you say you have bone broth, but if you didn’t start with bone broth or use bone in breasts (yours look like boneless), you don’t have bone broth at the end. So perhaps you need to update that so as not to confuse people new to bone broth creation.

    Again, thank you!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl July 5, 2016, 4:56 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Verena. I am glad you found the instructions helpful! As you will see in the pictures in the post, I did start with bone broth as the cooking liquid. I hope that helps clear it up.

  • Mia July 9, 2016, 3:56 pm

    How would you modify cook time with three large chicken breasts that fit at bottom of IP (weighing 2.5 lbs)? Have your tried cooking more chicken than 1 lb?

    • ClnEatingVegGrl July 9, 2016, 4:00 pm

      I have not tried cooking more than a pound. You may only need to add a few extra minutes if they all fit at the bottom. Let me know if you try it out!

  • Sue July 16, 2016, 4:09 pm

    I just got my Instant Pot – hooray for Amazon Prime Day with an additional $50 off!! I want to try cooking chicken this way for chicken salad etc but which way is the steam release set to on the Meat/Stew setting? Steam or vent? The book doesn’t mention it either. Thanks! 🙂

    • ClnEatingVegGrl July 17, 2016, 1:42 pm

      It was so a great deal on Amazon Prime Day! You definitely do not want the release valve set to vent until after it is done cooking because that will release too much of the heat. I hope that helps!

  • Michelle July 19, 2016, 6:11 am

    Have you ever made fresh chicken in the instant pot with the bone-in chicken?

    • ClnEatingVegGrl July 19, 2016, 8:21 am

      I have not tried it, though I’m sure it would be just as easy. You may just need to add a few extra minutes to the cooking time? Let me know if you try it out! I’d love to hear how it goes.

  • Melissa July 21, 2016, 12:40 pm

    I’m new to Instant Pot since I just got mine during Amazon Prime day! Happy to find an easy fresh chicken recipe. I plan on cubing the chicken afterwards to use in recipes like Poppyseed Chicken – this will make that recipe easier and faster to make!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl July 21, 2016, 2:02 pm

      Yes! That is my favorite way to use this cooking method. I often turn mine into chicken salad!

  • liz July 23, 2016, 7:35 pm

    I got an instapot during the Amazon Prime day – I think it will be wonderful. I did the test and realized that it does take a bit of time to boil the water. But it helped to know what might happen when I cooked the breasts.
    I usually get a large package of chicken (5-6 breasts, about 5 #) and cook all of them. I’ll cut them up and either vacuum seal or freeze the pieces. In the past, I would put the breasts in chicken bouillon with herbs and veggies and cook, but I would always have to keep checking. Using the Instapot will be great.

    I had 6 breasts (5.25#), 4 cups of bouillon (covers the breasts), 2 celery stalks, bunch of baby carrots, garlic & onion powder. It took 25 minutes to heat up, 15 minutes to cook, and I let it cool down for 15 minutes. It took about 3 additional minutes to release the steam. I used the poultry option. The chicken was cooked to point where it was easy to shred. Most of the chicken is cooling off to see if I can slice and cube for salads. If it still is in the shred mode, I’ll decrease the cooking time.

    The broth is cooling off and I’ll use it to cook rice, as a soup base or just heat up and have as soup before dinner. It’s also easy to fill ice cube trays to freeze and save for when broth is needed.

    Since I bought the pot as a splurge purchase, I didn’t think about what else to get. So, I’ll be getting a couple of additional seals (for savory, plain and spare ring) as well as the glass lid and the yogurt straining bags. I’ll hold off on getting a cookbook and initially check out recipes & techniques on the web.

    • ClnEatingVegGrl July 24, 2016, 9:09 am

      It is truly an amazing machine, and it sounds like you are already off to an awesome start!

  • MaryCherry August 11, 2016, 10:09 am

    Thanks so much for this great how to! Yes, chicken breasts seem to be the way to go. I just unboxed my InstantPot.. and of course, started looking around for help to figure this out. Thanks again! You rock.

    • ClnEatingVegGrl August 11, 2016, 11:02 am

      You are so welcome. Have so much fun with your new kitchen toy!

  • DONNA August 14, 2016, 9:24 am

    I also purchased my instapot during the Amazon Prime day and I am really enjoying it. We love to cook ribs in it and I will never hard boil eggs any other way. Does anyone know how long to cook 2 lbs. of frozen vs. thawed chicken thighs?
    Thanks in advance for any help.

    • McDonna September 12, 2016, 2:37 pm

      Just found this on Instant Pot’s website. Please note that they say on the site that the weight of the meat doesn’t affect the cooking time, but the size of the chunks of meat is a variable. They said to use only a 10% variance in cooking time based on the size of the meat chunks. (Love their somewhat broken English on Instant Pot’s site. Very charming.)

      http://instantpot.com/cooking-time/meat-poultry-beef-pork-and-lamb/

      Hope this helps!

      • ClnEatingVegGrl September 12, 2016, 3:20 pm

        Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Mary J August 14, 2016, 11:19 pm

    Have you ever frozen the chicken after cooking it this way? We’re trying to set up some freezer meals for friends.

    • ClnEatingVegGrl August 15, 2016, 8:06 am

      Unfortunately I have not, but I would think it would work fine since it’s essentially just like cooking the chicken any other way and then freezing it. Let me know if you try it out!

  • Tasha August 19, 2016, 12:30 am

    Here’s a couple life hacks I have learned that I thought I would share. When the chicken breasts are cooked, rather than take the time shredding them with a fork either pop them in your kitchen aide mixer with the dough hook or use regular beaters. Put the beaters in the chicken and kind of mash it down, then put it on low (make sure the beaters are totally submerged or you will splash yourself with chicken). Seriously, in three minutes its shredded.

    • ClnEatingVegGrl August 19, 2016, 8:04 am

      Yes! I have heard of people doing this! Unfortunately, I don’t have a stand mixer, but I have a hand mixer that I’ll have to try it with.

  • Callan September 16, 2016, 12:24 pm

    Do you do quick release or NPR? Thank you!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl September 16, 2016, 1:02 pm

      I use the quick release feature.

  • MaryBeth October 2, 2016, 10:27 pm

    Hi, just wondering why you don’t use the poultry setting? I have been using it with about 2#s of bscb for about 8 minutes and they have turned out great.

    • ClnEatingVegGrl October 3, 2016, 8:09 am

      I have just always done it with the manual setting (call me crazy).. BUT maybe I’ll have to give your method a try 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  • Paul November 13, 2016, 4:23 pm

    I tried this method but I messed it up. Thankfully I was pretty lucky…

    My tip is, make sure you check the vent is definitely sealed 😉

    My instant pot was venting for about 6 minutes before I noticed, so effectively the chicken was just poaching in the stock rather than being pressure cooked.

    Once I noticed, I wasn’t sure whether to try and pressure cook it, so I probed the chicken to see. Luckily it was already a perfect 65C, so took it out at that point and it was very tender and juicy.

    Next time maybe I’ll remember to seal the vent and hopefully try it properly!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 13, 2016, 6:48 pm

      I have totally done that before! I’m glad to hear it all ended up working out.

  • Shelley November 15, 2016, 4:07 pm

    I love this recipe! You gave chicken a new life for me!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl November 15, 2016, 6:37 pm

      Yay, that’s so great! I’m glad you are enjoying it.

  • Amy @ Running on Faith & Coffee December 17, 2016, 10:47 am

    Thanks for this tutorial! I can’t wait to get my new InstaPot and start playing!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 16, 2017, 9:56 am

      Woohoo! I love my Instant Pot and I hope you love yours. I’ll be using mine today to make pulled pork!

      • Amy @ Running on Faith and Coffee January 16, 2017, 2:01 pm

        I got it for Christmas and I am loving it!!! I use it almost every day! Today I made hard boiled eggs for lunch, one of my favorite things to make in it, and tonight we’re using it to steam fish for dinner

        • ClnEatingVegGrl January 16, 2017, 3:00 pm

          I haven’t tried either of those two in the Instant Pot yet, but I need to!

  • Henry Swanson January 17, 2017, 6:38 pm

    Trying it now exactly as you described. Fingers crossed!

    • ClnEatingVegGrl January 17, 2017, 6:58 pm

      I hope it turns out exactly how you hoped!

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