How To Cook Frozen Chicken Breast In The Instant Pot

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Defrosting Chicken In Your Pressure Cooker

How to Cook Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast for Soups, Salad, Casseroles & More

This is my very favorite way to quickly take chicken breasts from frozen to recipe-readyI use this method at least once a week!

If your recipe calls for diced, thawed chicken, but you didnt defrost the chicken breasts in advance, theres an easy fix! Pour 1 cup water into your pressure cooking pot and place a trivet in the bottom. Balance the frozen chicken breasts on the trivet, stacking crosswise if necessary. Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 1 minute cook time.

When the cook time ends, turn off the pressure cooker and use a quick pressure release. Remove the chicken from the pot, dice it into small pieces, and continue with the recipe as directed.

Use an instant-read thermometer to verify each chicken breast is at least 165°F in the thickest part of the breast after cooking.

With this method, the chicken will cook a little bit on the outside, but the inside with be thawed, easy to dice, and ready to use in your favorite pressure cooker recipes. You can also use this method to thaw your chicken breasts and then coat the breasts with your favorite barbecue sauce and grill them on the barbecue.

Use this technique with your favorite diced chicken recipes:

Frozen Instant Pot Chicken Breasts

Time needed: 12 minutes.

Frozen Chicken in the Instant Pot

  • Add ingredients

    Put frozen chicken breasts inside your Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Add liquid, I used chicken broth .If you wanted to add some seasonings and/or diced onions too you certainly could.

  • Cook

    Lock the lid and set valve to sealing. Set to manual, pressure, high, for 4 frozen chicken breasts = 12 minutesOR if cooking 2 frozen chicken breasts = 10 minutes

  • Release

    Allow for a 1 minute natural release then do a quick release to cook the chicken. Always ensure internal temperature is 165 degrees after pressure cooking.

  • Season with salt and pepper, or better yet shred right in the pot and add sauce to make shredded chicken for sliders or atop rice

    I will say after making many easy Instant Pot chicken recipes that I like this method of cooking frozen chicken in the Instant Pot when adding sauce or shredding the chicken but not for just eating the breast as is.

    For me personally I prefer the texture if its defrosted and then cooked but that is just me.

    Natural Release Versus Quick Release

    This basically refers to the method of depressurizing the Instant Pot after cooking. For natural release you do nothing. Just let the Instant pot gradually come down in pressure on its own.

    For quick release, you have to open the steam release valve which forces the Instant Pot to depressurize the pot quicker.

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    How Do I Know How Long To Cook The Chicken Breast

    The cook time for chicken breast is determined by the size of the individual breasts, not the total amount of chicken. Here is a general rule to follow: for chicken breasts that are under 2 thickness, cook for 8 minutes. For chicken breasts that are over 2 thickness, cook for 10 minutes. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees before you eat it. If youre not sure if its cooked through, test with an instant read thermometer.

    Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breasts

    How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot ...

    I love my Instant Potand have been using it several times a week for over a year, but I have never cooked frozen chicken breasts in one until now. Why I waited so long to do this, I will never know?

    Youll want to make chicken in your pressure cooker all of the time after reading this recipe.

    If you have been hesitating on adding those frozen chicken breasts into to your Instant Pot, wait no longer! Today, Im sharing how I like to cook my frozen chicken breasts, along with some easy recipe ideas for the wonderful juicy chicken that comes out of the Instant Pot.

    I hope you enjoy this easy way tocook frozen chicken breasts in a pressure cooker.

    Get delicious chicken breasts in minutes with no thawing needed, plus some of my favorite chicken recipes for a quick dinner!

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    Perfect Instant Pot Chicken Breast

    The Instant Pot reigns supreme when it comes to making meals quickly. Within minutes, I can have perfectly cooked rice, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, chicken stock, or beans.

    But chicken breast can be a bit more tricky to cook perfectly. Thankfully, after 20 plus tries, I have perfected cooking Instant Pot Chicken Breast. In fact, now I prefer preparing chicken breast in the Instant Pot over any other cooking method.

    Whether fresh or frozen, I can whip up Instant Pot Chicken Breasts in record time and they turn out perfectly tender and juicy every single time.

    How To Use Instant Pot Chicken Breast

    Congratulations! You’ve got tender, juicy chicken breast that’s ready to use in this week’s meals. Rub a little butter and salt on your whole chicken breasts and reheat for an easy weeknight meal . Use cubed chicken in Chef John’s top-rated Spicy Chicken Noodles. Shredded chicken makes Mexican night a breeze when used in this Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup or Baked Chicken and Rice Chimichanga. Browse our entire collection of chicken recipes for more inspiration.


    Recommended Reading: Instant Pot Warnings

    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. Lets say your chicken breast weighs 12 ounces. Youll use a pressure cooking time of 12 minutes. If youre cooking more than one chicken breast and the average weight of the breasts is 12 ounces youll 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 .
  • 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 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 dont have a trivet you can lay your chicken directly in the bottom of the pot with the liquid.
  • Cooking Frozen Chicken In The Instant Pot

    Easy – Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

    This recipe is very simple and will give you the basics for cooking chicken breasts from frozen. I like to use a simple salt, pepper, and garlic powder mixture to season the chicken breasts. You can use either water or chicken broth as your liquid. Then, follow the instructions below and youve got delicious chicken from the freezer to your plate in under 20 minutes!

    Once you have the basics down, modify the seasoning mixture or add a sauce over the chicken like my Instant Pot Gravy.

    Recommended Reading: Frozen Ground Beef In The Instant Pot

    Chicken Thigh Instant Pot Cook Times


    Fresh Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs

    • 6 minutes, vent immediately to release any remaining pressure
    • Based on 3-ounce boneless chicken thighs

    Frozen Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs

    • 12 minutes, vent immediately to release any remaining pressure
    • Based on 3-ounce boneless chicken thighs


    Fresh Bone-In Chicken Thighs

    • 10 minutes, vent immediately to release any remaining pressure
    • Based on 6-ounce bone-in chicken thighs

    Frozen Bone-In Chicken Thighs

    • 15 minutes, vent immediately to release any remaining pressure
    • Based on 6-ounce bone-in chicken thighs

    What Size Of Instant Pot Should I Use

    You can cook chicken breasts in whatever size instant pot you have. Just make sure you add at least 1 cup of liquid, and then place the chicken in the pot in a single layer. If you have a smaller instant pot, simply cook your chicken in batches so you can keep it in single layers. If you have a larger instant pot, keep in mind it will take a little longer for your instant pot to come to pressure before cooking begins.

    Pro Tips:

  • Save the liquid at the bottom of your instant pot after cooking for a yummy and flavorful homemade chicken broth!
  • For shredded chicken: Remove the trivet after cooking, and leave about ½ cup of liquid at the bottom of your pot. Put your chicken back in the pot with the liquid after it rests, and shred with a handheld mixer. Easy and quick shredded chicken!
  • Storing and Freezing Instructions:

    Shred the chicken with forks or a hand mixer and freeze it in individual bags to easily add to any weeknight dinner. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Or, chop the chicken and refrigerate to add to lunches throughout the week.

    Recipes for leftover cooked chicken:

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    Why Make This Recipe

    • its made with simple pantry staples and budget friendly.
    • ready in less than 20 minutes.
    • can be made with fresh or frozen meat.
    • Can be added to soups, stews, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, lunchboxes and more.
    • great for meal prep and freezer friendly.
    • Diet trends Suitable for Gluten free, Keto, Paleo and Whole 30 diets, or any diet with a focus on lean proteins and unprocessed foods.

    Ready to learn how to make chicken breast instant pot? Gather up the ingredients and I will show you

    How To Make Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breasts

    How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot ...
  • Season the chicken breasts on both sides with all-purpose seasoning or salt and pepper.
  • Place the trivet in Instant Pot, then pour in the chicken broth. Place the chicken breasts on the trivet, then close the lid. Turn the vent to sealed.
  • Cook on Manual High Pressure for 10-15 minutes. After the time is up, let naturally release 5 minutes then Quick Release remaining pressure.
  • Serve as is or use in a recipe that calls for cooked chicken.
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    How To Cook Instant Pot Chicken Breasts

    Oddly enough, it can be really challenging to get the right texture when cooking boneless chicken breasts. They cook quickly in the Instant Pot, but if you dont cook them long enough they get a weird, rubber-like texture thats nearly impossible to chew, and if you cook them too long, their texture gets dry.

    Here are some of the cook times I tried while perfecting this method:

    • 8 minutes High Pressure, 10 minutes Natural Pressure Release: Chicken was cooked through, but a little dry.
    • 20 minutes high pressure, 10 minutes Natural Pressure Release: Chicken was cooked through, but dry.
    • 1 minute High Pressure, 10 minutes Natural Release: Chicken was under-cooked and still pink in the middle.
    • 4 minutes High Pressure, 10 minutes Natural Release: This works when you need to cook the chicken directly in a sauce on the bottom of the pot. I use this timing for pot-in-pot cooking, and it works well when you need to cook two items at once, but its not quite as perfect texture-wise as the method below.

    Some things to keep in mind when cooking chicken:

    • If your boneless chicken breast winds up with a weird, rubbery texture, it probably means that you need to cook it longer. In general, the Instant Pot does better with longer cook times for meat.
    • With other meats youll want to let the pressure naturally release, but Ive found that I get juicier chicken breasts when I quickly release the pressure.

    How Do You Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts In The Instant Pot

    This will quickly become one of your favorite chicken recipes when you will see how convenient it is. Therefore, the best part is that you dont have to thaw the meat! This is such a time saver, especially when you are in a rush!

    Cooking time is reduced by a lot in comparison to grilling or baking it in the oven, especially if you still need to wait to defrost it. The end result is flavorful and very juicy chicken breast that you can either enjoy right away or store and use as protein on salads. It makes meal prep so much easier.

  • Prepare the ingredients: First, start by gathering the ingredients and also make sure the meat pieces are not stuck together. They need to be separated.
  • Add the ingredients to the pot: Next, add the meat to the pot, its ok if the pieces overlap. After that, add the cooking liquid, garlic, butter, salt, pepper, bay leaves, and thyme.
  • Pressure cook: After that, close the lid, point the valve to sealing, and pressure cook based on the size of the breasts. Refer to the infographic above for the exact cooking time.
  • Release pressure: Once done cooking, release pressure naturally for 10 minutes, and after that quick release the remaining pressure.
  • Temperature: Using a meat thermometer check the internal temperature in the thickest part of the breast. The meat is safe to consume if it reached 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Rest: Remove the chicken to a cutting board and let it rest for 5-8 minutes.
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    How To Cook Frozen Chicken

    It’s easy to cook frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot with minimal effort or planning. Perfect for easy weeknight meals and meal prep.

    This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

    Forgot to defrost the chicken for your dinner tonight? Dont fret, learn how to cook frozen chicken in the Instant Pot quickly and easily so you can get dinner on the table! You can then use the cooked chicken is countless recipes from salads to sandwiches and soups.

    Make Sure Frozen Breasts Are Separated

    How to cook frozen chicken in the Instant Pot–Instant Pot Tips

    I cant stress enough how important it is to make sure your frozen chicken breasts are separated. Just like pictured below.

    If you add a blob of frozen breasts stuck together, they will not cook inside and overcook outside.

    • Tray with fresh breasts: Do not stick entire tray with fresh chicken breasts from the store in the freezer. Take a few minutes and line each breast with parchment paper and then freeze in a bag. To quickly remove paper, run under hot water before cooking.
    • Freeze on a baking sheet: If you have room in the freezer, lay chicken breasts on a baking sheet. Once frozen, add to a Ziploc bag.
    • Buy frozen: Frozen chicken breasts are already separated and are cheaper than fresh.

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    Can You Cook Frozen Chicken In A Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker Or Power Pressure Xl

    Yes! Both the Ninja Foodi and Power Pressure XL are electric pressure cookers, so they work similarly to the Instant Pot.

    For the Ninja Foodi, you can simply follow the Instant Pot instructions Ive outlined.

    For the Power Pressure XL, since there is not a Manual/Pressure Cook button, youll have to use a preset button.

    In this case, you can use the Soup/Stew button, which defaults to a 10 minute cook time , and if you want to adjust the time to 12 or 13 minutes for larger chicken breasts, use the Adjust button to add minutes to the cook time.

    If the breasts are very large, you could also use the Meat/Chicken button, which defaults to a 15 minute cook time.

    How Long To Cook Frozen Whole Chicken

    The time it takes to cook a whole frozen bird in the Instant Pot depends on its weight, according to Yule.

    But a good rule of thumb is to cook a frozen whole chicken for 10 minutes per pound. For example, a 4-pound frozen chicken will take 40 minutes in the Instant Pot on high pressure.

    Allow for natural pressure release once cooking is done dont turn the steam release valve.

    Recommended Reading: Frozen Ground Meat Instant Pot

    Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breast

    The process for cooking frozen chicken is not much different than cooking thawed or fresh chicken breast. But there are 2 things to keep in mind.

    • You will need to add 4 minutes to the cooking time.
    • If your chicken breasts are frozen together, I suggest placing them in a bowl of cold water for a couple of minutes until you can break them apart into individual breasts. They need to be separated, not frozen together, or you will end up with chicken that is not cooked evenly.

    Do You Need To Double The Cook Time For A Double Recipe

    How to Cook Frozen Chicken in the Instant Pot

    If you would like to double an Instant Pot recipe, you may double the ingredients . You do not need to double the cook time.

    However, you may need to adjust the cook time based on the size/width of meat and vegetables. For example, a small 8 ounce chicken breast will cook faster than a large 12 ounce chicken breast and a small sweet potato will cook faster than a large sweet potato. Read all recipes and directions carefully to determine how long to cook your food.

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