Best Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipe

It’s easy and fast—those are the two best reasons to cook a chicken breast in your Instant Pot! This recipe makes for an easy 30 minute meal or a simple recipe to aid with weekly meal prep. Make this chicken and you will be well on your way to a batch of Ree Drummond’s chicken salad, chicken spaghetti, or classic pot pie.

How do I cook chicken breasts in the Instant Pot?

There are a few important steps to follow when cooking chicken breasts. First, season the breasts: Mix your spices together in a small bowl for easy seasoning (you only have to turn the chicken pieces once!) If you plan to make this chicken to use in other recipes, skip the paprika and thyme, and sub 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper in place of the lemon pepper, for more mild seasoning.

Next, preheat the Instant Pot using the sauté function, for just 2 to 3 minutes. (Preheating an empty pot any longer could result in the appliance’s display reading “hot” and shutting itself off.) Remember to wear it gently, as chicken breast is a lean meat that can easily be overcooked. When searing, the idea is to develop a flavor on the outside, not to cook the meat through. Only sear for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or the chicken could dry out. Add liquid: This helps to create steam inside the Instant Pot when the pressure-cooking function is used. (We use chicken stock in this recipe, but you can absolutely substitute water.)

Pressure cook for minimal time: Four minutes under pressure, plus four minutes of natural release is all you need to cook this chicken through (165° in the thickest part of the breast) and still keep it juicy. Lastly, remember that each Instant Pot heats and releases pressure differently. After the designated time in the recipe, you need to release the pressure manually to stop the cooking.

You can follow this recipe through to make a delicious sauce for these chicken breasts and serve them alongside a vegetable side. Or, let the chicken cool and refrigerate to use in place of store-bought cooked chicken, in any one of these delicious chicken dinner recipes.

Why does my Instant Pot keep turning off?

An Instant Pot will shut itself off for reasons like the insert is too hot or there is not enough liquid in the pot to build pressure. When searing the chicken for this recipe, the Instant Pot tended to shut itself off when the insert got too hot. If this happens, simply continue to see the chicken at the times prescribed in the recipe. Once you hear the sizzle of the pot slow, try again to turn the sauté function back on. The chicken in the pot should have cooled the insert enough to get the heat going again while the residual heat of the insert continues to cook your chicken.

It is also a good idea to turn the Instant Pot off while switching in between functions. For this instant pot recipe, when you are done searing the chicken, turn off the pot before adding the broth and turning on the pressure-cooking function. This gives the Instant Pot a chance to cool down slightly and lessens the chance that it will turn itself off and interrupt your cooking.

Why are my Instant Pot chicken breasts tough?

You certainly can overcook a chicken breast in an Instant Pot. Like on the stove or in the oven, it’s important for these breasts to be cooked to the point of doneness (165° on a meat thermometer) without staying in the heat for too much longer. A brief sear, 4 minutes under high pressure, then 4 minutes of natural pressure release, should do the trick.

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