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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Instant pot BBQ chicken is insanely tender and incredibly flavorful. With only 2 ingredients, it is easy to prep and even easier to cook!

This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is totally effortless. It’s perfect for busy weeknights or hot summer days. Try pairing this BBQ deliciousness with The BEST Buttermilk Cornbread and Mom’s Oven Baked Beans for meal perfection!

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken on hamburger buns

A Weeknight Lifesaver

I feel kind of funny even posting this recipe because it’s 2 ingredients and completely effortless. Buuuuut, we eat it all of the time – we’re obsessed! Some nights this BBQ chicken has been my saving grace. Toss it into the Instant Pot, steam veggies and cut up fruit. Dinner is DONE.

We love eating this pulled BBQ chicken on sliders along with slaw, baked beans, corn on the cob, and watermelon! It’s perfect for summer when you don’t want to heat up your oven (thank you Instant Pot) or in the winter when you want a quick cozy meal. Sometimes we even leave the thighs whole and serve them with roasted potatoes, green beans and 1 hour homemade rolls.

No matter how you serve this Instant Pot BBQ Chicken it’s bound to be a hit!

Sweet Baby Ray's bbq sauce for instant pot barbecue chicken

Just 2 Ingredients!

So here’s what you need:

  • an Instant Pot
  • 1 pound of fresh (not frozen) boneless skinless chicken thighs and
  • 2/3 cup of BBQ sauce (we’re partial to Sweet Baby Ray’s “original”).

Yep. That’s it! Simple but insanely tender and flavorful. You can sprinkle with a few cracks of freshly ground black pepper or leave as is. Totally up to you.

bbq chicken in instant pot

Making BBQ Chicken in the Instant Pot

PREP. Grab your Instant Pot and add the chicken thighs.

SAUCE: Top with ⅓ cup of the BBQ sauce.

COOK: Set the pressure manually to high for 22 minutes. That may seem long, but I promise it makes the chicken soooo good. It’s fall apart tender and caramelized on the bottom. The chicken thighs will still be intact when you open the pot. There will also be a lot of extra liquid. Drain off all but ½ cup of the liquid.

SHRED & SERVE: Gently shred the thighs with two forks and toss with the remaining sauce.

  • Tip: You can shred the chicken really simply with two forks, by using a kitchen aid with the paddle attachment, or you can use this neat kitchen tool called bear paws.

Crockpot instructions? You can actually double the amount of chicken for this recipe when you use the crockpot—just make sure to also double the amount of liquid. The downside is that you have to cook it on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours, so it’s not as “instant”, but will still yield delicious results.

bbq pulled chicken in the instant pot

Other Cuts of Chicken

Here are some tips, tricks and info for using other cuts of chicken…

  • Chicken Breasts: Chicken breasts are less fatty, but also less moist and tender, than chicken thighs. If you are going to use chicken breasts, you may want to serve the chicken with more BBQ sauce to add moisture. Another great option is doing half breasts and half thighs.
  • Drumsticks: Place drumsticks in the instant pot. Pour some water in so that the chicken isn’t touching the bottom of the pot. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes before manually releasing pressure. Put the drumsticks on a foil-lined baking sheet and brush with BBQ sauce before broiling in the oven for 5 minutes on each side.
  • Bone-in thighs: When using meat with bones, make sure to shred your chicken completely before serving, removing any bones. It shouldn’t change how you cook the chicken, just make sure to fully cook it and adequately shred it.
  • From frozen? You can use frozen thighs or breasts, you just need to add about 20-25 minutes to the cook time. If you are unsure if the chicken is done, you can always use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature has reached 165 degrees. Otherwise, you can pull the chicken apart with two forks. If the meat is white, with no sign of pink, then your chicken is cooked through and safe to eat!
instant pot pulled bbq chicken on a white plate

Tips, Storage, & Serving

More seasonings to add? If you want additional seasonings I suggest using onion powder, garlic powder, worcheshire sauce, dry mustard, liquid smoke, salt, pepper, and/or paprika. The best way to use this is to apply it to the raw chicken before putting it in the instant pot. This way the flavor really sticks to your chicken.

How to store BBQ chicken? Store this in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You may want to store it in some of the liquid so that it doesn’t dry out in the fridge. Rewarm in the microwave and then use in sandwiches or in one of the other recipes we suggested. You can also freeze leftover chicken. Place the cooled BBQ chicken in an ziploc gallon bag and remove all the air from the bag before freezing. It will last for about 4 months in the freezer. Let it thaw in the fridge and then rewarm in the oven.

Ways to serve BBQ chicken? We love eating this pulled BBQ chicken on sliders along with slaw, baked beans, corn on the cob, and watermelon! It’s perfect for summer when you don’t want to heat up your oven (thank you Instant Pot) or in the winter when you want a quick cozy meal. Here are a few more ideas:

instant pot bbq chicken sandwiches on a white plate

For more Instant Pot Recipes, try:

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken |

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe

Instant pot BBQ chicken is insanely tender and incredibly flavorful. With only 2 ingredients, it is easy to prep and even easier to cook!
4.88 from 8 votes
Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Calories: 217kcal
Author: Andrea
Print Recipe


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs*
  • 2/3 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Award Winning BBQ Sauce - (or your favorite), divided


  • Add the chicken to the Instant Pot. Top chicken with ⅓ cup of BBQ sauce.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot and press MANUAL mode with HIGH pressure for 22 minutes. After the chicken has fully cooked, carefully turn the steam release vent (I always do this with a long oven mitt on) and let the pressure come down manually. Once the valve pops, remove the lid.
  • Drain all but ½ cup of the liquid. Using two forks, shred the chicken (keeping larger chunks intact) and toss with remaining BBQ sauce. Serve immediately.


* You can use up to 1 ½ pounds


Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe
Serving Size
6 serving
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Take a picture and tag @lmadesimple on Instagram or tag #LMSBakes! We can’t wait to see your version!

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About the Author


Hi I'm Andrea!

Hotelier turned Food Blogger to help make your life simple, one recipe at a time.

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  1. 5 stars
    Made this tonight with 3 lbs of chicken thighs (I have an 8 qt IP), put a little bit of chicken broth in it to avoid the burn notice and it was AMAZING! My picky husband cannot stop talking about how amazing it was! Served it on toasted hawaiian rolls with some pasta salad on the side. So great and so easy! Thanks so much!!

    1. Hi Morgan, thanks for the 5 star review. We love hearing how husbands and families love our recipes! Thanks for sharing your changes and how you served it!

    1. Hmm..I wish I knew why? I haven’t had that come up. There should be plenty of liquid, so it wouldn’t burn. Darn, I’m sorry, I am not much help with knowing why.