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Making a batch of cooked and shredded chicken means that you will be able to pull together an easy dinner quickly any night of the week. And the instant pot makes such quick work of cooking chicken breasts in a hands-off way, so it’s a speedy version of set-it-and-forget-it. The chicken turns out super moist and tender. You can use it in various shredded chicken recipes, or stored in the fridge for days, or even frozen.

For this kind of all-purpose shredded chicken, I prefer to use boneless skinless chicken breasts, which cook up very quickly in the instant pot. You can totally leave them whole for an easy main course (try them with a sauce like Dill Sauce or Chimichurri Sauce or shred them up for Shredded Chicken Tacos, Chicken and Mushroom Quesadillas, Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas, or Thai Chicken Rice Noodle Soup.

The broth used to cook the chicken breasts becomes even richer and more flavorful once the chicken has been cooked. This broth is pure gold — and you absolutely should not throw it out. In fact, this is your cue to make something else, like Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup, Chicken and Dumplings, or pan sauce.

Woman shredding instant pot chicken breast with forks on white plate.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken: In minutes you can make chicken in the Instant Pot, which can be quickly shredded and used for all kinds of recipes all week long.

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Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Ingredients

Raw chicken breasts, broth, and seasonings on marble table.

With just a few kitchen staples, you have the ingredients for this Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe:

  • Chicken broth – Adds flavor and moistness to the chicken as it cooks.
  • Garlic powder – Adds a nice mild garlic flavor without the work of peeling and mincing fresh garlic.
  • Onion powder – Adds a slightly toasty, slightly sweet flavor.
  • Paprika – Adds warmth and a bit of color.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts – Boneless, skinless breasts are my favorite cut for making shredded chicken in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker. It makes it so easy to shred or pull the chicken once it has finished cooking!

How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Instant Pot

  1. Season the broth: Put the broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and garlic into the Instant Pot and stir to combine. 
  2. Add the chicken: Add the chicken and turn the pieces in the seasoned broth until well coated. Arrange the chicken so the pieces are flat in layers in the pot.
Raw chicken breasts in instant pot with broth.
  1. Cook: Lock on the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes, followed by a natural 5-minute release. Then, release the remaining steam by turning the valve to venting. If you want to eat the chicken breasts whole, you are done! You can use the leftover broth to make a batch of Instant Pot rice to serve with the chicken.
Chicken breasts in broth cooking in instant pot.
  1. Shred: If you choose to shred it, remove the chicken from the pot and let cool on a cutting board for about 10 minutes. Use two forks to shred the chicken into pieces as large or small as you like them.
Shredding cooked chicken breast with two forks on plate.

FAQs

What can I do with shredded chicken?

Shredded chicken has so many uses. The only real issue is deciding how to use it first. Classic chicken salad? Chicken and Vegetable Quesadillas? Enchiladas? Baked Chicken Parmesan Pasta? The answer is yes to all of the above.

Can you freeze shredded chicken breast?

Yes, you can freeze chicken breast and use it later! It’s a great option for meal-prepping. I like to portion the shredded chicken up into freezer bags so you can take out one serving worth of chicken at a time without defrosting the whole batch. Frozen cooked chicken will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months. Write the date on the bags when you freeze them so you know when to put them to use.

How do you shred chicken?

My preferred method is the two-fork method. This means using one fork to hold the chicken breast in place and using another fork to pull off little pieces of the breast until it is all shredded. The fork’s tines are great for pulling the chicken off in nice long shreds. If this approach isn’t working for you, get in there with your hands! Two hands can do just as well at pulling the chicken apart.

How Long to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

You can cook frozen chicken breasts in the instant pot in exactly the same way; just increase the cooking time to 12 minutes and allow the steam to release naturally for 15 minutes before opening the pot. Don’t open the steam valve before that time. Also, choose chicken breasts that are no more than 1 inch thick maximum. And you can layer the breasts two deep in the pot but don‘t overcrowd them.

Storage

You can refrigerate the cooked chicken (shredded or not) in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze it for up to 6 months. To freeze the chicken, make sure it’s in a container without any excess air, like a zipper top bag. Make sure to freeze the chicken in portions that you’ll be most likely to use so you can defrost what you need when you need it. Defrost the chicken in the fridge for about a day, placing a plate under the bag to catch any leaks.

The stock can be held for 5 days in the fridge. You can also freeze the stock for another time, for up to 6 months. Place the stock in a container, making sure you leave a little space on top for the stock to expand when it freezes without popping the container open.

How to Use Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

Indonesian Chicken Salad

Chicken Marsala Pasta

Easiest Baked Chicken Quesadillas

More Easy Chicken Recipes

Also, see How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Slow Cooker.

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Instant Pot Shredded Chicken

5 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 10 People
In minutes you can cook boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, which can be quickly shredded and used for all kinds of recipes all week long.

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts

Instructions 

  • Put the broth, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and garlic into the Instant Pot and stir to combine. Add the chicken and turn the pieces in the seasoned broth until well coated. Arrange the chicken so the pieces are flat in layers in the pot.
  • Lock on the lid and pressure cook on High pressure for 10 minutes, followed by a natural 5-minute release. Then, release the remaining steam by turning the valve to venting.
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and let cook on a cutting board for about 10 minutes. Use two forks to shred the chicken into pieces as large or small as you like them.

Notes

You can refrigerate the cooked chicken (shredded or not) in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze it for up to 6 months. To freeze the chicken, make sure it’s in a container without any excess air, like a zipper top bag. Make sure to freeze the chicken in portions that you’ll be most likely to use so you can defrost what you need when you need it. Defrost the chicken in the fridge for about a day, placing a plate under the bag to catch any leaks.
The stock can be held for 5 days in the fridge. You can also freeze the stock for another time, for up to 6 months. Place the stock in a container, making sure you leave a little space on top for the stock to expand when it freezes without popping the container open.

Nutrition

Calories: 159kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 88mg, Sodium: 449mg, Potassium: 518mg, Fiber: 0.1g, Sugar: 0.2g, Vitamin A: 92IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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