Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Instant Pot barbecue chicken with rice and peas and barbecue sauce.
Diana Rattray
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 18 mins
Pressure Release: 10 mins
Total: 38 mins
Servings: 4 servings

This Instant Pot bbq chicken is a dish that will please even the pickiest eaters. The well-balanced seasoning mixture adds extra flavor to the skin of the chicken while the barbecue sauce adds moisture. This bbq chicken dish takes just a few minutes of prep time, and it cooks in only 18 minutes. It's the perfect main dish for a busy day, and it fits into any season. Allow a total of about 20 minutes for pressure buildup and release.

Use your favorite barbecue sauce or make a tasty sauce from scratch. This Memphis-style sauce is an excellent choice, or try something a little different, like this beer barbecue sauce or this spicy Texas bbq sauce. If you're feeling creative, develop a unique signature sauce with this guide. For a smoky flavor, add some liquid smoke or a smoke-flavored seasoning blend.

For a delicious and satisfying family meal, serve the chicken with a potato dish, mac and cheese, or rice, along with coleslaw, a tossed salad, or a side vegetable.


  • 3 pounds bone-in, skin on chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks, breasts)
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne (or to taste)
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (plus more for serving)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Instant Pot chicken bbq.
    Diana Rattray
  2. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, salt, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.

    Seasoning mixture for Instant Pot bbq chicken.
    Diana Rattray
  3. Pat the chicken with paper towels to dry. Rub the chicken pieces all over with the seasoning mixture.

    Seasoned chicken pieces for Instant Pot bbq chicken.
    Diana Rattray
  4. Place the trivet in the instant pot and add 1 cup of water. Place the seasoned chicken pieces on the trivet.

    Seasoned chicken parts in the Instant Pot for barbecue.
    Diana Rattray
  5. Pour about 1/4 cup of barbecue sauce into a small bowl and brush it over the chicken pieces.

    Bbq chicken in the Instant Pot with sauce.
    Diana Rattray
  6. Secure the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Choose the pressure cook function (or manual on early models), high pressure, and set the time for 18 minutes. When the time is up, let the steam release naturally for 10 minutes. Carefully turn the steam release valve to the venting position to release any remaining steam.

  7. Preheat the oven broiler. Arrange the chicken on a foil-lined baking pan and brush the pieces with more barbecue sauce. Broil the chicken for about 2 to 4 minutes, or until slightly charred. Broiling gives the chicken extra color, but feel free to skip this step.

  8. Serve the chicken with potatoes or rice and offer extra barbecue sauce at the table.

    Instant Pot bbq chicken on a plate with rice.
    Diana Rattray
  9. Enjoy your meal!

Glass Bakeware Warning

Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven-safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.

Recipe Variation

  • Crock Pot BBQ Chicken: Arrange the seasoned chicken pieces in the slow cooker and drizzle about 1/2 cup of barbecue sauce over them. Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours, or until the chicken is tender and reaches 165 F.