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Our Instant Pot pulled chicken is tender, flavorful, and SUPER versatile. You can make it plain and simple or add seasonings to complement the final dish in which you’ll be using the chicken. We add it to tacos, chili, salads, soups, and more.

pulled chicken in the instant pot
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Why we love this recipe

Our Instant Pot pulled chicken is tender, juicy, and flavorful. It’s amenable to so many different uses, from simple meal prep for a week’s worth of lunches to chicken salad to avgolemono soup to enchiladas.

And, because we use the Instant Pot, you can set it and forget it. Start to finish, it takes about 30 minutes, with only about five minutes of hands-on time.

Plus, having high-quality protein on hand for the week can help keep family dinners feeling easy and nutrition goals in sight. Win win win.

What you’ll need

Here’s a glance at the small handful of ingredients you’ll need to make Instant Pot shredded chicken breast. You can keep it basic or add seasonings per the suggestions below.

chicken breasts, broth, and salt
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts cook quickly and shred well. You can use thighs instead — or a combination — if that’s what you’ve got.
  • A cup of good-quality boxed chicken broth adds lots of gentle flavor. You can use water instead if you prefer. I like to use lower-sodium broth and add my own salt to taste.
  • A little bit of salt coaxes out the natural flavors. I use fine sea salt, but you can use your favorite kind.
  • Optional seasonings — see the next section for suggestions

My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples

For years, I’ve been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.

I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they’re a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they’re mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.

Suggested seasonings

You can add herbs and spices depending on how you’ll be using the shredded chicken. Here are some of our favorite combinations.

For tacos and other Mexican-inspired food

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • OR 1 tablespoon of your favorite prepared taco seasoning

For a wide variety of uses, from chicken salad to green salads

  • 2 teaspoons herbs de Provence
  • OR 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • OR 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning

For Greek-inspired dishes

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dill weed
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

How to make it

Here’s an overview of what you’ll do to make an easy, hands-off batch of pulled chicken in the Instant Pot. You can see the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get all the details in the recipe card below.

step by step
  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Pour the broth into the Instant Pot and stir in salt and any additional seasonings that you’re using.
  2. Arrange the chicken in a single layer. Close the set the vent to the sealing position. Set the IP to manual, high pressure, for 8 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes before carefully doing a manual release.
  3. Shred the chicken with two forks, either directly in the pot or on a cutting board.
  4. Place the chicken back into the pot and stir it up with the cooking liquid. That’s it!

Expert tips and FAQs

Got a BBQ version of Instant Pot shredded chicken?

Sure do. It’s so good that it’s a whole separate thing. Don’t miss it.

Can I make this recipe in advance? What about leftovers?

Sure can. The chicken will keep well, tightly sealed in a container in the fridge, for a week. You can store it right in the cooking liquid to keep it from drying out.

You can also freeze for up to a year, in individual portions if you like, to add to your favorite dishes.

How to use it

Some of our favorite ways to use Instant Pot shredded chicken are:

instant pot pulled chicken on a plate

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instant pot pulled chicken on a plate
5 from 3 votes

Instant Pot Pulled Chicken

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
Making pulled chicken in the Instant Pot is easy, fast, and hands-off, and the results are SUPER versatile. You can make it plain or fancypants and change up the seasonings to fit what you'll be using the chicken for.
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total: 28 minutes
Servings: 8
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Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds (907 grams) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup (250 ml) low-sodium chicken broth
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Additional seasonings, optional: See the notes section below for suggestions

Instructions 

  • Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels.
  • Pour chicken broth into Instant Pot and add salt and additional seasonings, if using.
  • Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer in the Instant Pot.
  • Close lid and set vent to sealing.
  • Cook on manual, high pressure, for 8 minutes.
  • Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes before carefully doing a manual release.
  • Shred chicken with two forks, either in the pot or on a cutting board. Place chicken back into pot and stir with cooking liquid.

Step-by-step video

Notes

  1. If you prefer, you can use boneless, skinless thighs, or a combination of breast and thighs.
  2. For tacos, chilis, and other Mexican food, add: 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, OR 1 tablespoon of a premade taco seasoning. After cooking, stir in the juice of one lime.
  3. For chicken salad, green salads, and sandwiches add: 2 teaspoons dried herbes de Provence OR poultry seasoning OR Italian seasoning.
  4. For Greek-inspired dishes, add 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 3/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dill weed, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. Chicken will keep well, tightly sealed in a container in the fridge, for a week. You can store it right in the cooking liquid to keep it from drying out.You can also freeze for up to a year, in individual portions if you like, to add to your favorite dishes.
I first published this recipe here in 2020. I've since updated the post for clarity and added the option of using chicken thighs, but otherwise the recipe remains the same.

Nutrition

Serving: 1, Calories: 192kcal, Protein: 36g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 357mg

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

Additional Info

Course: Chicken
Cuisine: American
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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