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How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

Prep Time 2 mins
Total Time 22 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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frozen chicken breasts in instant pot ready to cook

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! You can also use frozen chicken to make this Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken and Rice.
  • 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)

4.8 from 55 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 22 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. Elizabeth Zampogna says

    We love your recipe! Including our geriatric dog, Boots.
    It works every time. Very important not to have the chicken frozen together. I keep a Costco frozen chicken breast in our deep freezer so we always have it on hand. Thank you!

  2. https://restaurantthatdeliversnearme.website says

    Thanks for the post about how to cook frozen chicken breasts in the instant pot.

  3. Steve G says

    We like to make quick chicken enchiladas by dropping 4 frozen chicken breasts and a 28 oz. can of El Pato green enchilada sauce in the pot, setting it to high pressure, 10-12 minutes depending on the size of the chicken, and hitting the go button. Shred with a couple big serving forks, roll up into 50/50 flour/corn masa tortillas in a Pyrex pan, dump remaining sauce over everything, grate some cheese over the top and throw it into the oven to bake until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

    Nothing easier, tastes like you actually cooked.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I haven’t tried, but I can’t see it making a difference in taste and since the chicken is sitting in the liquid on the bottom of the Instant Pot, it should be plenty moist as is. You’re welcome to try it!

  4. Laura says

    I followed you perfectly until you said “just make sure none are stuck together”…how is that even possible if you haven’t thawed the chicken breasts??

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I have boxes and boxes of frozen chicken breasts in my freezer at all times. Rarely are any stuck together. If they are, they can easily be broken apart by banging them on the counter, the floor, whatever you have.

  5. Haley says

    One time I followed this recipe and the bottom of the breasts came out burnt, my instant pot even warned me it was going to burn the food. But when I put the trivet in, it turned out much better. However I read your comments all say not to use the trivet. Why would mine burn when I didn’t use it then?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      There is absolutely no way this recipe can burn if the valve is sealed. When the valve is sealed, moisture is not released. I would check your seal and ensure the valve is set to sealing and then proceed with the recipe as written.

  6. James Bond says

    12 minutes and QR. With one cup of water.. Always turns out perfect and fork tender.
    15 minutes and QR, rubbery and overcooked.
    Just throw any root vegetables in there with it. Like carrots, beets, small potatoes if you like.

  7. Rhi says

    Absolutely incredible!
    I cooked chopped frozen chicken breast in the instant pot for 15 mins; allowed another 15 mins for NPR – WOW! My instant pot only arrived today, and I’m already so glad we bought it.
    Thank you for this!

  8. EssEss EssEss says

    We realized we had no idea what to make for dinner last night. We decided that we were going to be stuck with a frozen pizza because we had nothing thawed, and there was a blizzard so no chance of a grocery or restaurant delivery. I remembered that some of my instant pot recipes I’ve used before used frozen chicken so I tried googling to find some of them and this new-to-me recipe popped up first.

    Bingo! I stole another commenter’s idea and tossed in a full head of garlic, the cup of chicken broth and cooked it up. After shredding the breasts, I poured on on a bottle of Korean bulgogi marinade that I had in the refrigerator and a few shakes of hot pepper flakes (I originally had no idea what to do with this remaining 1/2 bottle left over from a recipe a few days ago). Instant perfect dinner. It was terrific. This is going to be a go-to recipe to cook chicken and then pour on any remaining sauces sitting around (bbq, teriyaki, etc…)

  9. Tracey B says

    I needed chicken for Buffalo chicken dip and was going to run over to grocery store for rotisserie chicken and I remembered I had plenty of boneless, skinless breasts in the freezer. Thankful I came across your tips and the chicken cooked up perfectly. I did 12 minutes and I did use trivet and 1 1/2 c broth and salt and pepper with a 10 minute natural release.

  10. Beth says

    This worked just perfect! I had six chickens in, and they were as frozen as frozen can be! It shredded perfect for my chicken and dumplings recipe. Honestly, I was shocked when I cut in the middle and they weren’t raw! The Instant Pot never ceases to amaze me!

  11. Jennifer says

    Hey Ashley! I’m wanting to make a soup for tonight and my chicken is frozen. Can I put the chicken in frozen with all other ingredients? If so it says to cook it for 20 mins and that’s with thawed chicken breast should I add more time?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Jennifer! I would have to look at the soup recipe to know, but 20 minutes is a very long time to cook soup (unless there are certain grains that require a long cook time). I generally allow 10-12 minutes for frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, so 20 minutes should be fine, but I would be worried about the state of any vegetables after cooking for that long.

  12. Lindsay says

    I followed your instructions but my chicken came out quite raw in the middle and I only did two breasts. Was there some other button or setting I missed? I did NR too.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I would make sure that you pressure cooker on high and use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Can you tell me what the internal temperature was at? We’ve never had a problem with undercooked chicken.

      • Ashley Fehr says

        I’m not sure that they could be raw — I would recommend checking the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure that they need more time before cooking further.

        • xx says

          Unless I missed it you didn’t include what pressure to set it to (low medium high) I was going to default to medium pressure but I see in the comments you are saying high pressure so maybe people are doing that too but who knows.

      • Angie says

        I just did one frozen chicken breast on high pressure for 10 minutes and let it naturally release and the meat thermometer said it was only 100 degrees. I figured with one breast I could go with the lower time in your time frame but I guess next time I’ll try 12 minutes. I Just put it back in for another few minutes to see if that’ll get it up to 165.

        • Lynda says

          Make sure your broth is not hot. I usually “make” broth with water and Better than Bullion. If the broth is hot then the timing could be off as the recipe incorporates the partial cooking while it is coming to pressure, then counting more cooking with the 10 min under pressure. If it comes to pressure too quickly it is not “cooking” the time you set. Also don’t shorten the time with fewer breasts.

  13. Jack says

    This worked great! I used a pound of frozen chicken tenders, 1 cup veggie stock, 1 thickly sliced onion and 2 whole garlic heads. Cooked for 10 minutes, 8 minutes NR. The tenders are so juicy and tender. I then used the remaining liquid & did some baby Yukon gold potatoes with it (1/2 lb of potatoes halved for 3 minutes). Used both in a chicken stew. Thanks!

  14. Ashlie says

    Hi!!

    I’ve tried this twice but hadn’t let it NR and every time they came out slightly raw. I realize my mistake and will be trying again tomorrow! Do you keep the setting on high when doing manual pressure? Thank you!

      • Serena Christine Espinoza says

        The reason why everyone’s chicken comes out raw is possibly these reasons:
        Using a trivet
        Not enough liquid
        Oversized thick chicken frozen together.

        If you nix those things, the chicken will come right everytime !

  15. Marc Taubman says

    I literally filled out the return form on Amazon for my Instant Pot as I was striking out with every recipe I tried (about 10 in all) and was on the verge of resigning myself back to the “tried and true” ways of cooking. Then I found this recipe via Yummly. I used partially frozen chicken breasts, the spices you suggested, and BOOM! Six out of six (including me) LOVED what became shredded BBQ chicken sandwiches on either Sourdough or Brioche rolls with pickles.

    My wife doesn’t even like sandwiches much and my youngest is picky as heck. Has a thing about textures…don’t ask. Anyhoo we had total success with all family members, tastes, appetites, and texture aversions.

    My confidence is buoyed and it’s back to tackling this “learning curve” starting with some aspects of Thanksgiving dinner.

  16. Shannon says

    10 mins. Natural release. On high.
    Rubbery. Kept it warm for me but didn’t shred at all, like physically could not shred the meat, had to cut it. 2 medium plus sized frozen breasts with a jar of salsa.
    First time using pressure verses slow cook

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Shannon! Sometimes it is the quality of the meat that is responsible, as I have purchased from different locations and had varying results. The chicken should not be rubbery — I would make sure your valve is sealed and if needed, you can also add a couple of extra minutes.

  17. Barbara says

    I cook mine in the same Food Saver bags I froze them in. NO cleanup for the IP. Then I shred, make pre-cook freezer meals, save one for dinner, then freeze the rest. 😄

  18. Elizabeth Bohon says

    I made this last night in an 8 qt instant pot. 3 breasts on a trivet with 1 c water. The breasts were individually frozen, but not flat. I did 10 min pressure with about 8 min natural release. The center breast was a little raw in the very center, but I was putting it in a casserole that was cooking longer anyway, so I knew it would cook the rest of the way in the oven. The breasts were so tender and juicy and flavorful. I will just cook them a little linger next time. Thank you for the instructions.

  19. Lesley says

    Hi! I’m trying to decide if I should purchase an InstantPot, & in Googling recipes, I found you! I HATE dealing with raw meat, so I like to cook up a bunch all at once & freeze for use later. Being able to cook from frozen sounds right up my alley!
    For this recipe, could I add in some onion & garlic cloves, to give the meat extra flavor?
    That’s probably a really dumb question, but I have zero experience with an InstantPot, and don’t know anyone who has one. So, my knowledge on this subject is very basic.

  20. Andrea says

    I have 1lb of pre-marinated honey ginger frozen chicken breasts. I’m nervous about putting them in liquid to cook in case it washes away the marinade. What’s the best way to prevent this?

  21. Rena Michaud says

    I used this recipe (2 lg breasts-10 min cook, 10 min NR) with my 4qt. instant pot and it turned out perfect. But I traded the 4qt. for an 8qt. with my MIL and did all the same thing and they came out rubbery. Do you know if there are changes that need to be made with the larger Instant pot?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I know that the 8 quart requires a bit more liquid, but other than that I haven’t found any cook time differences. Could it be a difference in the chicken itself? I know I have tried a couple varieties and they can vary quite a bit

  22. Robert Heatley says

    I just tried this with four different sized pieces of frozen, boneless skinless chicken breast and followed your instructions with the addition of adding fresh thyme , and it came out amazing! So juicy and full of flavor, I then used the instant pot with a lil of the juice and sautéed some asparagus with butter and garlic and made a delicious meal. Thank you!!

  23. Stacey says

    I did this tonight. 3 breast all different sizes it was the end of a bag. Cooked them for 10 minutes and natural released for 10. They were perfect and fork tender. My family loved them.

  24. Randy says

    I tried today on 12 minutes with 3 frozen breasts. Came out like rubber. I didn’t let my instant read thermometer go all the way but it was on its way past 208 when I pulled it. I think I’m gonna go 8 minutes next time.

    • Mag says

      Hello,
      Natural release pressure is KEY for the texture of any meat with the instant pot. At least half of the time you cooked with high pressure but if i cook for 10 min, i will let it naturally the pressure for 10 too.

  25. Marcia says

    I tried this for the first time today and it turned out perfect. 3
    frozen chicken breasts, 12 minutes high pressure and 12 minutes NR. Thank you.

  26. Marya says

    Thank you for including the weight of your chicken. I’ve tried this before and always ended up w/pink. Now I know it’s because I’m using a recipe for 8 oz chicken, and mine is 15! Gotta extend it. Thanks!

  27. MS says

    I have the frozen chicken breasts all ready to cook. Wondering if it’s ok to use more than 1 cup of broth? I’d like to make some gravy. Also, my husband really likes baked breasts in Italian seasoning. Is it ok to add that to the broth? I’ll leave another comment after we have this, but I know it will be delicious!

  28. Christy says

    I followed the recipe exactly with two chicken breasts for 12 minutes and they came out pink in the middle. Ended up throwing them on the frying pan to finish cooking them. I don’t see how 10 minutes would be enough time for 4 of them!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      I have made this recipe over and over and at 10 minutes my chicken breasts are well over 165 degrees F. It will depend on the size of your chicken breasts slightly, and if they are frozen together they will need a considerable amount more time

  29. Joan says

    Just tried this, using frozen chicken, water, salt pepper, italian seasoning and garlic powder.

    After 12minutes they were falling apart tender and amazing. I’ll be making them again soon

  30. Eva Adams says

    Would this work with 6 chicken breasts? Each one is about half a pound. I would love to be able to cook more so we have leftovers!

  31. Ruth says

    I had one 12 oz and one 15 oz. breast. Cooked for 11 minutes with correct release. Took out the smaller breast and cooked the bigger one another 2 min. with quick release. It was so tough, I could hardly chew the meat! Help!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Quick release is generally not recommended with meat in the Instant Pot, so if in doubt I would add a few extra minutes to the cook time to start, and avoid opening and restarting later.

  32. Clay Truitt says

    I had 3 large frozen breast and set them for 12 min. When it was done they were only half way done. I set them for another 6 min and they were still not done. They are on for another 6 min cook. Quick last minute lazy Sunday lunch is becoming as long as the oven method.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Did you let the pressure naturally release? The chicken will continue cooking as the pressure releases, so if you did a quick release you would need to add more time. Also, if they are frozen together, you’d have to add additional cook time.

  33. Matt says

    Can you throw in vegetables on top? Will that impact cook time? Anything to avoid?

    I’d love to simply throw in vegetables, like broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      You can, but they likely won’t be very appetizing. Broccoli would be overcooked in the amount of time it takes to cook the chicken. Carrots or potatoes would work much better, as they require a longer cook time

  34. Julie says

    I made it tonight and after 11 minutes it was still raw so had to cook it for another 9 mins and then still had a little pink in it! I don’t know what I did wrong.

  35. Ann says

    So, so delicious and quick. I used chicken broth for the liquid and sprinkled the frozen breasts with fajita mix. Loved it. Thanks for publishing your method. I will definitely try this again.

  36. Lexi says

    Tried this twice now and both times they came out rubbery and hard to chew. Am I doing something wrong?? They didn’t even pick up any of the flavor from my seasoning.

  37. Corrie says

    Thank you! This worked perfectly with 2 large boneless chicken breasts from Trader Joe’s. (10 minutes on high with a 10 minute natural pressure release.)

    • CarlyP says

      I’m new to instant pot and this is my second time using it. Did the same with 2 large boneless breasts. Wonder when you all say “natural pressure release” this means you do not touch the steam release handle to venting? Just a newbie here 🙂

        • Melissa says

          Yes, “natural pressure release” just means leaving the vent sealed; it will gradually cool off until the “float” drops, and some recipes count on leaving the vent sealed for a period of time after the cooking time, then venting the rest. 🙂

          • SmokeyBoB says

            I dont have an Instant Pot, but I do have the Breville equivalent. I have had some confusion when trying to decipher these recipes to work with what I have. When you say you are cooking for 12 minutes is that including the pressurizing time it takes? or is that the entire cooking time minus natural release

  38. Kayey says

    Hi, my chicken breasts are frozen solid and stuck together. do you have any recommendations for this? Can I put them in the pot in a chunk?

  39. Heather says

    Tried this recipe tonight. Added some seasoning and Are it with some homemade Mac n cheese. Delicious dinner. Thank you. I cooked it for 11 minutes with 5 minute natural release then quick release and the largest one was still a little pink but it was huge. The two smaller ones were completely cooked. Put it back in for 5 minutes with quick release turned out perfect.

  40. Colleen says

    We did 5 frozen chicken breasts for 12 mins with 12 mins natural release. Perfect! Cut them up and added them to butter curry bow tie pasta (already made & in the fridge) Delicious. Thank you for a wonderful & simple recipe! Butter curry pasta is delicious but I REALLY wanted the chicken and only had frozen. So happy I found your recipe & it was an easy successful solution

  41. Sammie says

    I followed this for two chicken breasts, putting them in for 10 minutes on high pressure, and did 10 minutes of natural pressure release. They still came out pink in the middle. 🙁

  42. Ann says

    I’m brand new to this. 6Qt InstantPot arrived last night and we tried white rice which turned out great and was super easy. Thank you for these directions on the chicken breasts. Gonna try it, but have you ever tried using the saute function at the end to get a little bit of a brown to the chicken breasts for eating just like that without any sauces or shredding involved?

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