How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

Prep Time 2 mins
Total Time 32 mins
Servings 4 servings

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This is the BEST way to cook frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot! It is so easy and they turn out so well, I almost never take the time to thaw chicken before cooking it. Add seasonings, sauces, broth, or just water, salt and pepper and the result is always amazing.

If you’re wondering how to cook frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot or pressure cooker, you’re in luck. Because you’ll never be stuck at 5:00 with nothing to make for dinner again!

Cooking frozen chicken has never been quicker, easier, or more delicious! The Instant Pot has definitely saved my butt a time or two (or ten) 😉

If you’ve got pork tenderloin instead of chicken breasts? Check out my Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin from fresh or frozen!

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We are back on the Instant Pot bandwagon today with one of my favourites, although, again, I’m not sure this actually qualifies as a “recipe” considering there are two ingredients and one is water or broth. But I promise you, if you learn how to cook frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot you may never go back!

I will be totally honest and say that I am not utterly obsessed with the Instant Pot like millions of other people. I haven’t moved on to cheesecake and egg bites and other things that make more sense to bake in the oven (though, yes, I will try them yet and see if they’re worth all the hype!).

cooked chicken breasts in instant pot with seasonings and fresh herbs on top

But there are a few things that I actually prefer to do in the Instant Pot, and chicken breasts is one of those things (these Instant Pot Baked Potatoes and this Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup are two more!)

And if you’re looking for more Instant Pot chicken recipes, try this Instant Pot Whole Chicken from fresh or frozen!).

There really is no match for how well boneless chicken breasts come out of that magic pot — especially straight from the freezer! I will even confess that I rarely take chicken out of the freezer to thaw before cooking, because why?!?

We cook chicken in the Instant Pot for tacos, sandwiches, salads, quesadillas, or just for dinner with some barbecue or other sauce, or a simple seasoning. Any way you want to do it up it turns out fabulously (you should see how crazy I get when I start dumping in random ingredients from the fridge!).

chicken breasts on cutting board being sliced in front of the instant pot

I know they don’t look that special, but they are SO moist, and not overcooked and weird like chicken can get in the slow cooker after a long period of time. This is one thing I definitely prefer to cook in the Instant Pot over the crock pot!

Here are some Tips and Tricks for Cooking Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot:

  • The exact cook time will depend on how large the chicken breasts are, although for me 10-12 minutes has always been plenty. This means that when I open up the pot they are well over the safe 165 degrees F. But I’d rather be safe than have to go through the hassle of sealing it back up and letting it build the pressure back up.
  • If you’re in a rush, you can simply add water or chicken broth and season with salt and pepper, but feel free to get a little crazy with your seasonings here. Barbecue sauce, soy sauce, honey, different herbs and spices will all be fantastic (I mean, as long as they taste good together 😉 )
  • All of my Instant Pot recipes are tested in the 6 quart Instant Pot with Bluetooth. The bluetooth is an unnecessary but handy tool because I can control the pot from my phone while I’m out of the kitchen.
  • If you want to jazz up your Instant Pot chicken breasts, try these Creamy Italian Instant Pot Chicken Breasts and serve them with the sauce over pasta — you won’t regret it!
  • Looking for an easy side dish to go along with it? Try my Instant Pot Mac and Cheese — so easy and so quick!

How to make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Breasts:

I’ve just added a new post on my favorite all purpose Instant Pot Shredded Chicken! You can find all my tips on seasoning, ratios, cook time and uses over there 🙂

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How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot (pressure cooker)

4.73 from 99 votes
This is the BEST way to cook frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot! It is so easy and they turn out so well, I almost never take the time to thaw chicken before cooking it. Add seasonings, sauces, broth, or just water, salt and pepper and the result is always amazing.
Prep Time 2 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 32 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings
Calories 128cal

Ingredients

  • 4 frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts (mine were about 7-8 ounces or 200g each frozen)
  • 1 cup water or chicken broth
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Place chicken breasts in the bottom of the Instant Pot (no need to use the trivet!) — it’s okay if they’re stacked, just make sure none are stuck together.
  • Pour in the water or chicken broth (or use another liquid like pineapple juice, apple juice, etc.) and season with salt and pepper.
  • Put the lid on and move the valve to sealing. Press Manual pressure and set the timer to 10-12 minutes high pressure (I've found 10 is just right, and at the 12 minute mark they are 180 degrees F or more). The Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and start counting down from 10.
  • When the cook time is up, let pressure release naturally for 5-10 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure. Check that the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees F — mine is always at least or higher.
  • Serve as is, chop, or add sauces as desired.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 128cal | Protein: 23g | Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 134mg | Potassium: 418mg | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.4mg

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Bek says

    It’s sounds like a lot of these reviews are from people who don’t know how to use the instant pot.

    I did 3 completely frozen breasts exactly as stated and they cooked completely – overdone by my standards at 180 and I did a 10 min pressure w a 5 min release.

  2. Cristi says

    I had 3 big chicken breast and 2 were just stuck together. I put it for 13 minutes and let it natural release for 10 and they came out perfect at 180 degrees and soft and juicy.

  3. Traci says

    I have been cooking frozen chicken breasts in 6 qt instant pot for 2 years and all the recipes I see say to cook frozen breasts for 20 mins. but wasnt natural releasing for 10 mins either. so guess you have to experiment for yourself. Mine come out juicy and perfect. I might try 12 mins cook and 10 mins release next time just to see.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I find that the quality of the chicken breasts can make a big difference in the texture. If you find they are chewy next time I would try reducing the cook time by a minute or two.

  4. Nancy says

    Did this tonight. Just one frozen breast but a big Costco one. I didn’t measure the liquid and in fact, used the same water I used to PC potatoes before the chicken and just added better than bouillon. Ten minutes PC, ten minutes release. Internal remark temp was exactly 65. I prefer it seared a bit first but since I didn’t defrost it, this was great

  5. Sandy says

    I cooked 1 lb breasts and 1.5 lb thighs together. 10 min high pressure, 10 min natural release. It came out perfect! I love at high altitude and figured I’d be sorry for not cooking it longer, but it was cooked through.
    I am baffled why anyone would have trouble with this recipe.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Tracy, You won’t need to increase the cook time unless they are frozen together. If they are individual breasts, the cook time will be the same. If they are frozen into a lump I would try to break them apart, as it’s difficult to say how much longer you would need.

  6. Angela W says

    I saw the star ratings, but I should have read the comments. Cooked as directed… Frozen but not stuck together. Let natural release for 10. Temp was 135. I could understand if the temp was slightly off to account for size of the instant pot, chicken breasts, etc. but this is wayyyy too far off.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Angela, sorry to hear you had trouble with this. All instant pot are different and as are the chicken breast, so you should expect some differences. There have been lots of people who have had no problems and have been successful with the way this is written. You can always put it back under pressure for a few minutes till it gets up to temperature. Also I would make sure no steam is escaping while it comes to pressure, this will affect the outcome.

  7. Lou Visciotti says

    Follow up

    Question, any reason why I had such a bad experience with this? There’s nothing wrong with my pot and followed instructions.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Lou! It’s really hard for me to know without being in the kitchen with you. It’s worked for me but there are a few things that come to mind. Did you have any air releasing while it was coming to pressure? How big were your breast. Was the chicken separated or piled on top of each other.

      • Lou says

        Thx for the reply. Pot pressured normal. Breasts were about 4-5 oz each (6 breasts) and separated on metal rack. I could understand not being totally done after first try, but being still raw after 17 total minutes of cooking was surprising.

        • Ashley Fehr says

          Hi Lou, I have never cooked frozen chicken breasts on the trivet so that could account for some of the difference. No rack is called for in the recipe. It’s possible that cooking in the liquid gives more even cooking.

        • Michelle says

          This has happened to me before and it was because I forgot to put the top knob on “sealing” and so it never actually cooked pressurized…

  8. Lou Visciotti says

    Disappointed! Pressure cook for 12 minutes; 10 minute natural release- Raw through out! Pressure cooked another 5 minutes; 5 minute natural release-Raw throughout. Pressure cooked another 15 minutes!, pink throughout!

    • Michelle says

      Lou, I make these just like this every week and I cook on high pressure for 9 minutes and natural release for 10. I think possibly you didn’t use the high setting? Next time, try frozen chicken tenderloins instead of large breasts, also. Good luck!

  9. Dog mom says

    Welp. Mine stayed pink and frozen in the center. I cooked it for 13 min and let it naturally release down for 15 (because I busy doing other things, lost rack of time) and it was still not cooked. I wonder if it has to do with how frozen they are? Also the chicken breasts I used were from Costco, so very big and we’re stuck together. I couldn’t separate them because they were so frozen-stuck. But I still like your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Dog mom says

    Welp. Mine stayed pink and frozen in the center. I cooked it for 13 min and let it naturally release down for 15 (because I busy doing other things, lost rack of time) and it was still not cooked. I wonder if it has to do with how frozen they are? Also the chicken breasts I used were from Costco, so very big and we’re stuck together. I couldn’t separate them because they were so frozen-stuck. But I still like your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi! Yes it will definitely make a difference on how big the breast are and if they are stuck together. It’s super simple to just put them back under pressure for a few more minutes until they hit the right temperature. Thank you!

  11. Ben says

    I have a clarifying question:
    The total time is designated at 22 minutes, but the instructions describe the process as 10 minutes building pressure, 10 minutes cooking, and 5-10 minutes of natural release.
    Am I missing something? Thank you!

    • The Recipe Rebel says

      Hi Ben! That time was for the actual cooking time and the release time, but I’ve updated it so it’s not confusing for you.

    • Sherry says

      I followed this recipe as is, but with only 2 breasts that were 6 & 7.5 oz each.

      Because I like my chicken well done, I used 13 minutes instead of 10-12 as this & several other sites said to do when cooking frozen chicken in the instant pot.

      I let it natural release so I thought maybe it had just cooled down in the depressurization natural release process, because it came out NOT done and internal temp was only 120.

      Then I cut into it and it was definitely not fully cooked. I ended up having to cook it on the stove top for 10 more minutes to get it to the proper internal temperature.

      • The Recipe Rebel says

        Hi Sherry, I’m sorry you had trouble the with recipe. I would of just put it back in the pressure cooker for a few more minutes to finish the cooking process.

      • Traci says

        Could be a worn out sealing ring. I have noticed steam escaping here lately. JC Penny has them for I think $8, not sure if have gone up or not. Try that. But if frozen, I was told 20 mins, maybe 5 min nat release. Hope this helps.

        • The Recipe Rebel says

          The sealing ring is very important! No steam should be escaping when coming to pressure! Thanks for the tip Traci!

  12. TONI says

    Chicken turned out PERFECT! I used 2 large frozen breasts, 1/2 cup green enchilada sauce, 1/2 cup water, cooking for 12 minutes. Chicken was moist and delicious.

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