Instant Pot Chicken Breast

instant pot chicken breasts with rice and pea pods
Diana Rattray
  • Total: 12 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 7 mins
  • Pressure Build/Release: 17 mins
  • Servings: 6 servings
  • Yields: 6 pieces

Cooked boneless chicken breasts are a great solution to the age-old question, "What's for dinner?" Chicken breasts can be shredded for pulled chicken sandwiches and tacos, diced for soups, salads, and casseroles, or sliced and served as an entrée along with side dishes.  

The Instant Pot is a great way to poach the chicken because it produces tender, juicy chicken breasts every time. The instructions are for 8-ounce chicken breasts. For smaller 6-ounce chicken breasts, subtract 1 minute from the cooking time. For larger 10-ounce chicken breasts, add 1 minute to the cooking time. You can also use an Instant Pot to cook many other chicken recipes.


  • 6 (8-ounce) pieces boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Optional: fresh herb sprigs

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for instant pot chicken breasts
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Dry the chicken breasts with paper towels to dry. Sprinkle the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and arrange them in the Instant Pot. Add the chicken stock, garlic, bay leaf, and herbs, if using.

    chicken breasts in the instant pot with stock and herbs
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Secure the Instant Pot lid and turn the pressure release knob to the sealing position. Choose pressure cook or manual, high pressure, and set the timer for 7 minutes. It will take approximately 10 minutes for pressure to build and the cooking to start.

    instant pot knob in sealing position
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. When the time is up, allow a natural release for 5 minutes and then carefully turn the knob to the venting position to release the remaining pressure.

    chicken breasts cooked in the instant pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Remove the chicken breasts to a platter or cutting board and let them rest for 5 minutes. Slice or shred the chicken and then strain the broth to use for a sauce or save it for another recipe.

    instant pot poached chicken breast on cutting board
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. To serve the chicken as an entrée, plate with rice or noodles and some of the broth along with a side vegetable or salad. Add a little color to the chicken with a sprinkling of paprika or drizzle with soy sauce or liquid aminos.

    chicken breast with paprika and pea shoots
    Diana Rattray


  • How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts: Make sure the chicken breasts are separated; if they are stuck together, they won't cook evenly. If necessary, thaw them slightly and then dry them thoroughly. Add the chicken breasts to the pot and follow the directions above, but set the timer for 11 minutes (10 minutes for 6-ounce chicken breasts and 12 minutes for 10-ounce chicken breasts). Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes.
  • How to Freeze Cooked Chicken: Place the cooked chicken in an airtight freezer bag or container and freeze it for up to three months. Defrost cooked chicken in the refrigerator and use it within 24 hours.
  • How to Shred Cooked Chicken Breasts: Transfer the chicken breasts to a bowl with a bit of the broth and use an electric mixer or two forks to shred it. Use shredded chicken in salads or sandwiches.