Today I’m going to teach you a formula for how to know how long to cook chicken breasts in the Instant Pot. The chicken breasts can be frozen or fresh, thick or thin, to be sliced or to be shredded. This formula will help you figure it out in just a few seconds. You’ll get perfect juicy and moist chicken breasts every time.
How to Cook Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot (frozen or fresh) Video
Today for YouTube Tuesday (er Friday, I’m just a little late on this) I’m sharing with you something that you’ll be able to use over and over. It’s a simple formula to figure out how long to cook chicken breasts in the Instant Pot.
Watch my video to see lots of tips on how to get the perfect chicken:
Instant Pot Chicken Breasts Quick Tips
- Get a digital scale. I use one similar to this*.
- If you are cooking more than one chicken breast choose ones that are similar size and thickness. If you cook a large chicken breast with a small chicken breast one will be overdone and one will be underdone. Cook chicken breasts of similar size to get consistent results every time.
- For FROZEN chicken: Weigh your chicken breasts. Let’s say your chicken breast weighs 12 ounces. You’ll use a pressure cooking time of 12 minutes. If you’re cooking more than one chicken breast and the average weight of the breasts is 12 ounces you’ll still only cook it for 12 minutes. The one minute per ounce rule is for sliceable chicken. If you want shreddable chicken then add 3 minutes to the total cooking time. So in the example I just used you would cook the chicken for 15 minutes for shreddable chicken.
- For FRESH chicken: use the formula in step 3 but subtract 2-3 minutes of cooking time (so it would be 10 minutes for sliceable chicken and 13 minutes for shreddable chicken).
- Use a 5 minute natural pressure release for frozen or fresh chicken. This means when the time is up you let the pot sit there for 5 minutes (display will say L0:05) and then move the valve to venting.
- Use 1 cup of broth or water in the bottom of your Instant Pot. Use a trivet, if possible. Lay the chicken on top of the trivet. For even cooking stack your chicken breasts on top of each other cross ways. Or if possible lay the chicken in one even layer on the trivet. If you don’t have a trivet you can lay your chicken directly in the bottom of the pot with the liquid.
- Lots of liquid releases from chicken. For frozen chicken you’ll get about 1 cup of liquid per pound of chicken.
- To quickly defrost a chicken breast pour 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot. Lay the trivet in the pot and place the chicken breast(s) on top of the trivet. Set the pressure cooking time for 1 minute. Use a quick release once the time is up. The chicken will be a little cooked on the outside but uncooked on the inside. You’ll be able to slice up the chicken into cubes and use in recipes such as Tuscan Chicken Pasta or Chicken Parm Soup.
Download a PDF of my tips and a cooking times chart for chicken breasts in the Instant Pot!
*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
Hi. Thank you for the video! I had 4 large frozen breasts (from SAMS) that totaled 52 oz / 4 = 13 mins + 3 for shredded. So cook time of 16 mins. I let it naturally vent for 10 mins instead of 5. Could this be why the shredded chicken is chewy?
That shouldn’t have affected it. I’m not sure what went wrong. I have noticed that the larger the chicken breast the more likely it won’t be as good a texture.
Thanks for the tip on defrosting frozen chicken for when it needs to be cut up for use in recipes. In the past, I’ve either resorted to defrosting in the microwave or just not trying a recipe because my chicken was frozen. I’m going to start using that tip.
You’re welcome! Glad it was helpful!
Bill Cody says
I’ve tried your method for cooking frozen breasts, and unfortunately the result is fairly dry, bland and rubbery. I searched the web for alternate methods, and found one that I believe is far superior.
It uses a “poaching” method and the recipe link is here: https://www.pressurecookrecipes.com/instant-pot-frozen-chicken-breasts/
My results were outstanding. The additional salt, COMPLETE immersion of chicken in the water, and short “cook time” with a long natural release did the trick. Mine were up to 165 degrees after about 23 minutes of natural release (I had fairly large breasts). I immediately removed them and prepped the chicken. No “rest” time was required.
You might give this a try and change your method for frozen chicken breasts.
Thank you for your wonderful work and recipes!
I will check it out! Thanks!
Lindsey Pieper says
I’ve got 2.14 oz frozen chicken thighs (boneless, skinless). Would that be still 1 minute per ounce (something like 33 minutes pressure cook)?
No, sorry for the confusion. You take the average amount of each of the breasts. So if one was 12 ounces, one was 13 ounces, and one was 14 ounces you so with 13 minutes. You do not add the 12+13+14
Kevin M says
Lindsey was cooking thighs, not breasts….do thighs take longer?
I love my Instant pot
me too 😊
Jorge Coronado says
My question is if I have approx 3 lbs of chicken breast in total the. Do I still cook the chicken for 10 minutes then natural release for 5 minutes and it should be cooked thoroughly ? Can I mix boneless chicken breast and boneless thighs and cook together? Thank you I am need to this and have not yet made a recipe
Yes that should work fine. If they are super thick I would cook longer. Like 15 minutes with a 10 minute natural pressure release.
Cheryl christian says
Where do I find your notes after a video?i need to see all that information in writing!!! Thanks for all your wonderful information and videos and recipes!!!!!
Hi Cheryl, when I say that in my videos I’m talking to the people who are viewing the video on YouTube so it’s in the description box on YouTube. However when you view the video on my website any written information should already be in the page. Hope this helps!
Kaye M. says
How would you do frozen, COOKED and seasoned chicken breasts? Not in a recipe…just from the freezer.
So basically getting them warmed up since they are already cooked? I would do 3-5 minutes pressure cook time with 10 minute npr.
Kaye M. says
Thank you so much!
The kenneth says
Most useful information (recipe) I’ve found for months. I’ve used it weekly (LOL short memory). I’m going to try cooking some pheasant this week. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Thank you. I’m so glad it has been helpful to you. Good luck with the pheasant!! 😊
Barbara Bickel says
Hi. Does the one minute/one ounce rule apply for chicken breasts with skin on, ribs in?
You can cook those a bit longer. But it should give you a close number. Add a couple minutes for bone in.
I am a newbie to all this and have a 8 qt instant pot. I have read in some posts that the amount of liquid should be more to get pressure in the 8 qt. I have also read that most recipes are for the 6 qt. Could you let us know if you use a 6 or 8 qt and what the amount of liquid should be for each size. YOU ARE A LIFE SAVER when it comes to your posts as some are VERY non descript. Thanks again, and have a Wonderful Day!!!
Hi Bill, I’ve tested all of my recipe in my 6 quart pot. But having said that most of them can be made as is in the 8 quart. The only time you need to change something is when there is not enough liquid. You’ll need 1-2 cups to bring the 8 quart to pressure (depending on what else is in the pot). For example if there are moisture releasing ingredients like chicken you can get away with less liquid. Read these two articles to help you understand pressure cooking better and specifically for your 8 quart. https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/how-to-double-instant-pot-recipes/
Kaye M. says
Which brand of “Bear Claws” do you have? Did you get them on Amazon? If so, they’re not on your list.
I did buy them on amazon and they were just some off brand. https://amzn.to/2NONWmn
michael azevedo says
Karen, you’re the best. I tell my wife that we are “friends” on gmail and you send me all my best instant pot recipes. I’m from Maui and have adopted alot of recipes and made them “local” style. Really I think you’re the best with the instant pot.
Mahalo nui loa
Oh course we are friends Michael!!! Glad I could help 🙂
Claudia Smith says
I would love to see how you’ve adapted these recipes! Mahalo!
Thank you for this! I watched the video and downloaded the sheet, so helpful! I do have a question though. I had purchased the grey silicon trivet you recomended and while I do like it, I have had problems with the handles interferring with the gasket so steam comes out from under the lid. It sometimes takes me 2 or 3 tries to get the lid on correctly. Do you have a tip to get those handles to the center before placing the lid on? Thanks again!
Oh no! That is a bummer. I don’t have a tip for that.
Laurinda Norris says
Do the handles fasten? If so, fasten them. If not, perhaps fasten them together with a piece of twine or a twist tie. That way they will press down with the lid.
Misty Allen says
Is there a significant flavor difference in frozen vs. fresh chicken breasts? I always wonder about that since the seasonings may not “stick” as well on the frozen ones. I love your recipes!
When I’m just making it for shredding no but yes you’re right the seasonings don’t stick on the frozen chicken as well as thawed chicken.
Linda Garcia says
Is the information/time table the same if using skinless boneless thighs? My family prefers thighs over breasts.
Thanks for all the great information on your website. Your website info has really improved my skill set in using the Instant Pot. All of your recipes that I have tried have turned out awesome!! Thanks for all the effort
Hi Linda, no it’s not the same for chicken thighs (boneless) or bone in chicken!
Thighs have much more fat and collagen and require more time to cook properly. I would add 3 minutes to the cooking times that I mentioned for boneless thighs. Thighs are actually hard to get wrong. They turn out so well in the Instant Pot!
Kaye M. says
Is that plus 3 min. more per ounce or just 3 more min. to the original calculated final time?
Just 3 minutes more total.
Kaye M. says
Thank you so much. Do you think one could use the same processes for turkey breasts and thighs?
I’m pretty sure it would be the same.
Hello, Thank you for your review and continued instructions on IP chicken. I have often thought about just doing bone in chicken breasts etc. (like when a whole chicken is done in IP) but I don’t see any suggestions to do that. Maybe I have over looked it somewhere.? Like I have 2 split chicken breast and skin, simmering on top of range right now. Thanks again!
Hi Elizabeth, bone-in chicken breasts will work nicely in the Instant Pot. I would use more time than I mentioned in the video for bone-in chicken breasts. I would add 3 minutes to the cooking time. Remember you can always add more time to pressure cook if it’s underdone but you can’t go back once it’s overcooked.
Good thoughts and instructions to add to the download chart. Thanks so much !:)
Thanks I’m glad it’s helpful!
J Jo says
Thank you SO much! You just took all the mystery out of the fresh/frozen, time/weight, how to purchase and placement in the pot! THIS IS GREAT! You spoke too softly, but I could hear every word by really focusing. (this has been the case with just about all the videos. Any chance you could have the mic closer or some other technical magic to raise your volume? My computer and YouTube settings are already at maximum for your videos. I’d sure appreciate any help in this)! Having the written version of the video is pure GOLD! I’m a newbie with the I.P. and I’m so grateful I found your channel, Karen; you are a blessing! : )
Oh thank you so much!!! Okay I really need to be more tech-y with my videos. As you can probably tell I just use my iphone and I am my own videographer lol!
I do have a microphone but always forget to use it. This comment gave me the push to use it every time.