How to Make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken – an easy recipe that requires a few basic ingredients. Post includes plenty of flavor options to change up the theme!
The question is… when do we not need shredded chicken?
I’ve been wracking my brain and can’t come up with the answer.
Because I eat animal protein at almost every meal, I like having plenty of it on hand to just add to my big ol’ bowls of rice and veggies. Shredded chicken is perfect for this. It’s low-maintenance, can be made in batches of any size, and it’s wildly easy to change the flavor so it never gets old.
Preparing shredded chicken in the Instant Pot is my ultimate go-to.
In this post, I have included all sorts of flavor options for your shredded chicken as well as crock pot instructions and tips on making THE BEST tender chicken.
Why make shredded chicken in the Instant Pot? The process is quick, easy, low-fuss, and requires hardly any cleanup. It’s basically the only way to make shredded chicken in my humble opinion. 😉
How to Make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken:
Plug in your Instant Pot and press the Saute button. Add the oil and chopped onion. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is very fragrant and begins turning golden-brown around the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes.
Place the boneless skinless chicken breasts in the Instant Pot and brown on one side 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side another 3 minutes (note: don’t cook the chicken all the way through just yet. We are just searing the meat for now to trap in some moisture).
Depending on the size of your pressure cooker, you may need to do this step in two batches, placing the first batch on a plate as you brown the second batch.
After all of the chicken has browned, pour in 2 cups of broth. Add in 2 tablespoons of spices/herbs (of choice) and any other ingredients you fancy (see flavor suggestions later in the post).
Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and select Manual or Pressure Cook and be sure the pressure cooker is on the High Setting. Set the time for 8 minutes, leaving the vent sealed. After pressure cooker has run its course, immediately release pressure manually, then open the lid.
Use tongs to transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board, leaving the juices in the Instant Pot.
Use two forks to shred the chicken breasts.
Transfer shredded chicken back to the Instant Pot and cover. Allow it to sit in the juices at least 15 minutes prior to serving. This process helps make the shredded chicken moist.
As an added bonus step, you can reduce the liquid to make a thicker sauce for the shredded chicken. To do so, press Saute and allow mixture to boil, stirring occasionally, until liquid has reduced by a third or half, about 8 to 10 minutes.
Can I Use Bone-In Chicken?:
Yes, absolutely! To cook bone-in chicken in the Instant Pot, follow the same instructions as you would using chicken breasts, but set the time for 15 minutes and allow chicken to go into keep warm mode for 10 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure.
Shredded Chicken Flavor Options:
Wondering what type of seasoning to use? Depending on what flavor or theme you’re going for, you can mix up the seasoning you use. Here are some ideas:
Lemon Herb Chicken: Use 2 tablespoons total of your favorite dried herbs, such as parsley, basil, rosemary, and oregano. Add 2 teaspoons of lemon zest and 2 tablespoons lemon juice.
Spicy Shredded Chicken: Go with any combination of red pepper flakes, paprika, chipotle chili powder, and/or chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. Consider adding chopped jalapenos or serranos. You can also reduce the amount of broth you use to ½ cup and use 1.5 cups of salsa of choice. Incorporate your favorite hot sauce and/or sriracha.
Chicken Enchiladas: Replace the broth with 2 cups of enchilada sauce.
Garlic Butter Shredded Chicken: Add 5 to 10 cloves of chopped garlic (depending on your preference) and 4 tablespoons unsalted butter. As an alternative, you can add 1 or 2 whole bulbs of roasted garlic (peel the garlic cloves before adding).
Shredded Chicken Tacos: Use 2 tablespoons of Homemade Taco Seasoning , store-bought taco seasoning, or 2 tablespoons of chili powder.
Mediterranean Chicken: Use 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning (or dried herbs of choice) and add ½ cup chopped olives (use any type) and ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes. You can also add artichoke hearts!
Pesto Shredded Chicken: Reduce the amount of broth you use to 1 cup and add 1 cup of pesto sauce (either homemade or store-bought). When you have finished shredding the chicken, place it back into the instant pot and use the Saute function to reduce the liquid for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Curry Shredded Chicken: Replace the broth with 2 cups full-fat canned coconut milk. Use 2 tablespoons of yellow curry powder or 4 tablespoons green curry paste or red curry paste.
Tomato Shredded Chicken: Use ½ cup broth and 1.5 cups homemade or store-bought tomato/pasta sauce of choice. Add Italian seasoning and/or garlic for a real good time!
Sweet, Tropical Shredded Chicken: Use 1 cup pineapple juice and 1 cup orange juice (or 2 cups of either) instead of broth, and use 2 teaspoons of lime, lemon or orange zest. Use cumin, paprika, garlic powder, and oregano for your seasonings.
Go Rogue: Just use a total of 2 tablespoons of any type of dried herb, spice, or blend you enjoy!
How to Use Shredded Chicken:
So how are we going to put all these shredded chicken flavors to use? Here are some ideas:
- Big bowls of rice and veggies (my preference)
- Chicken tacos
- Chicken burritos
- Sandwiches or Wraps
Tip for Tender Shredded Chicken:
Because the fat content in boneless skinless chicken breasts is low, you’ll need to give the shredded chicken a bit of love in order for it to be nice and moist and tender. To achieve this, be sure you’re browning the chicken on both sides first and using 2 cups of broth so that the chicken cooks in plenty of liquid.
After shredding the chicken, place it back into the juices in the Instant Pot and allow it to sit (covered) until you’re ready to serve. You can also make the shredded chicken ahead of time and store it in the juices in the refrigerator to use the following day(s).
Be sure to keep the juices for storing any leftovers – I don’t recommend storing the chicken without the juices as it will become dry very easily.
Crock Pot Instructions:
Add everything to your slow cooker, stir and secure the lid. Cook on low 7 to 9 hours or high 4 to 6 hours. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board, use two forks to shred, then place shredded chicken back in the juices in the crock pot for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Halve the recipe if you’re cooking for a few people and/or are not looking for leftovers.
Use any type of broth or juice for the liquid portion of this recipe. If using juice, avoid using sugar-added juices and go for 100% juice.
If you don’t have broth or juice on hand, you can use water, tomato sauce, or diced tomatoes. Just be sure you’re adding enough seasoning so that the chicken is flavorful.
More Delicious Healthy Chicken Recipes:
- Instant Pot Turmeric Rotisserie Chicken
- Creamy Tuscan Chicken
- Orange Ginger Grilled Chicken
- Raspberry Balsamic Chicken
- Lemon Rosemary Braised Chicken Thighs
What will you do with your shredded chicken?
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- Plug in your Instant Pot and press the Saute button. Add the oil and chopped onion. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onion is very fragrant and begins turning golden-brown around the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Place the boneless skinless chicken breasts in the Instant Pot and brown on one side 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side another 3 minutes (note: don’t cook the chicken all the way through just yet. We are just searing the meat for now to trap in some moisture). Depending on the size of your pressure cooker, you may need to do this step in two batches, placing the first batch on a plate as you brown the second batch.
- Transfer all of the browned chicken into the Instant Pot (if it isn't all in the pot already) and pour in 2 cups of chicken broth. Sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of your choice of seasonings and sea salt.
- Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and select Manual or Pressure Cook and be sure the pressure cooker is on the High Setting. Set the time for 8 minutes, leaving the vent sealed. After pressure cooker has run its course, immediately release pressure manually, then open the lid.
- Use tongs to transfer chicken to a cutting board, leaving the juices in the Instant Pot. Use two forks to shred all of the chicken.
- Transfer the shredded chicken back to the Instant Pot and press the Saute button. Allow mixture to come to a full boil and cook an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until liquid has reduced. Serve using your favorite method and enjoy.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 7 Serving Size: 1 of 7
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 310Total Fat: 10gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 50g