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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!
  • 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)

4.81 from 62 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. Angela Hoenshell says

    This recipe did not work at all. I’m still cooking the chicken. Make sure your chicken is not frozen together, it does not unfreeze after 10, added another 10 minutes, finally chicken came apart, still raw, cooking another 10 minutes, hopefully, it will be done after this.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Angela! Yes, the recipe works great, if it is followed. Note that the recipe requires that the chicken breasts are not stuck together (step 1). If they are stuck together, you’ll need to add a significant amount of time.

      • Elise says

        I tried this recipe and my chicken was not stacked. After the 12 minutes it was completely raw in the middle!! Only a quarter of the outside of it was cooked. I think you need to specify how thick the chicken should be and what size the chicken breasts are.

        • Ashley Fehr says

          Hi Elise! Can you tell me what the internal temperature is? That’s really the only way to tell what the correct cook time would be. The size of the chicken breasts is listed in the recipe.

  2. Anila Davenport says

    I have a pressure cooker that I can you on the stovetop, at what temperature do I let chicken cook, and for how long?

  3. Michael says

    I put in 2 large, individually frozen and vac-packed Tyson breasts, in the 6 quart Insta-Pot for 12 mins, following the instructions here, waiting 10 minutes to naturally depressurize, with just 1 cup of water, it was *almost* there, read 160 on the thermometer. Put it back in for 4 more mins, will recheck in a few mins after depressurization… that was it! Next time, for breasts that size (I forgot to weigh them but they were likely 1lb each from a 6.5 lb bag) I’ll just pressure cook them 17 mins on high. Thank you for your advice here

  4. Nick says

    Hey, this is awesome, thanks for the idea. I just learned how to use a vacuum sealer to keep things fresh while frozen. Now this is an easy way to thaw them out and cook them fast, great for meal prepping.

  5. Paige says

    Can a thicker liquid such as bbq sauce work as the pressure cooking liquid? Or does the liquid in the bottom have to be something with a water or juice consistency? Thank you for your recipes!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      The liquid in the bottom has to be thin, but you could put broth in the bottom and bbq sauce on top of the chicken (though I would choose just to add it at the end to be safe)

  6. dizzy says

    I have an 8qt instant pot and am cooking for a crowd. I tried 4 frozen breasts tonight as a trial in an apricot sauce. The breasts were separate, but seemed very large. At 20 minutes it was not enough- they were cooked but didn’t pull easily. I couldn’t find our thermometer unfortunately. I added 5 minutes and they pulled apart easily, if a little chewy.

    I wasn’t in love with the sauce recipe and would like to tweak it slightly. It did seem like enough liquid (one cup of water). One thing I was thinking was to add a bit of fat in like schmaltz to keep it moist. Have you tried adding in some fat to keep the breast moist?

    My other question is how many pounds of breasts can I cook at one time in the pot?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Dizzy! You can cook as many as will fit as long as they are not stuck together. I’ve always found that 10 minutes is plenty for mine but I do have a 6 quart so the 8 quart may be slightly different. Yes there really isn’t a sauce — this is just a basic recipe for cooking chicken breasts from frozen and you are definitely free to experiment! Adding a bit of fat is a great idea 🙂

  7. Jessie says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I really appreciate you giving the amount and especially the weight of the chicken breasts you were using! I used 2.5lbs of frozen chicken cutlets (varying in thickness, a couple were very large) cook time 10 minutes, one cup water with no seasonings. I let them natural release for longer than I planned as I was interrupted, so they were in natural release for 14 minutes. Internal temp was 205 degrees so they were overcooked yet somehow they still tasted great! So great to be able to cook them frozen, especially since they were not all same size/thickness. Thank you again!

  8. Mark says

    Just cooked this just like you said, in broth, 11 minutes. Came out perfect. Pulled it, salt, pepper, chili powder and salsa…mmmm…delicious

  9. melissa vicondoa says

    I would like to know when the recipe says cook for 10 min. do you start timing after the 10 min. to let the pressure build then start timer for 10 min more to cook???? For example.

  10. Sara says

    Hello, can I cook the chicken breasts in 1 cup of a jar of butter chicken sauce instead?
    Also, how much time would I adjust by If I had 3 breasts, or 5?

    • Ming says

      I’ve tried it with minimal broth on the bottom, the trivet, the chicken, and the butter sauce poured on top. Key is to use “just enough” liquid for the steam. If you use too much, it waters down the butter sauce. (Still tasty, but would be best with the sauce still somewhat thick.) Haven’t tried it with the butter sauce only, as I thought some sort of clear liquid was a requirement of the instant pot to build pressure.

  11. Andrea says

    I tried 5 frozen breasts at 12min and our favorite sauce: equal parts Catalina salad dressing and apricot jam. I added a small amount of water to be sure there was enough liquid although I didn’t want to saturate the sauce. Breasts were totally raw.

    I repeated the process and they were perfect, not overdone. So 24-25min on high will be my go-to next time.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      What was the internal temperature after the first cook time? If your chicken breasts were frozen together, they could definitely take 24-25 minutes. If they are frozen separately, 24-25 minutes will definitely be overcooked. The internal temperature is the only way to know.

  12. Susan F says

    I had two partially frozen chicken breasts and after 10 minutes the inside was totally raw still. 🤷‍♀️

  13. Robin Miller says

    You can not and should not cook meat without a rack. This is what happened. I followed the recipe exactly, and that is the only thing I can think of!

  14. Charise says

    Just got my first Insta pot today and excited to try some recipes. I’m used to my slow cooker, so this may be a learning curve. If I’m cooking 6-8 frozen chicken breasts (roughly 2ish lbs), would the cook time be the same or slightly longer?

  15. Sarah says

    I just got my instant pot/air fryer combo today and I don’t know where to start. I have chicken in the freezer that I prepped with a marinade after fileting the breasts. I prep them this way to reduce cooking time on the stove top or grill. You mentioned that 10-12 minutes is plenty of time for frozen chicken breasts, but I’m afraid that this might be too long for my half thickness filets. Would you have any suggestions?

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Sarah! It might depend. Are they frozen together? Is there a lot of frozen sauce surrounding the meat? If they are frozen individually you may be able to reduce the cook time by a few minutes.

  16. Kendall says

    Did 1 small chicken breast for 6 min. Was a little over cooked. Also was pretty tasteless, I did water with abt 1tbsp of salt and 1/2 tbsp of pepper. Probably will cook for 4 min and then sear next time and double the s&p and use chicken broth instead.

  17. Debbie Heinrichs says

    This is a regular go-to for me. I freeze chicken breasts separately on a bar pan lined with parchment paper. When frozen, I toss them in a freezer bag until I need them. I pull out whatever I need and they are never stuck together.

  18. Joan says

    I’d love to try one of your chicken recipes in my instant pot. I’m new at this and have 4 oz chicken breasts. How long would I cook the breasts frozen and how long for fresh breasts? I have a 3 qt and 6 qt instant pot.

  19. Tricia says

    Ashley! You just made me so happy 🙂 I put 3 big breasts in my instantpot, for 14 minutes, about 10 nr – absolutely perfect! Juicy, tender, flavorful, YAY!
    Thank you!

      • Clink says

        I use barbecue sauce mixed one to one with water. I add 2 tablespoons of butter to make the sauce a little richer. I mix in boneless chicken thighs (4) and cook for 14 minutes.

        2 Boneless skinless breasts
        4 Boneless skinless thighs

        2 regular size bottles of Sweet baby Raes any flavor
        Add water 1 to 1 with BBQ sauce
        1 Tablespoon of garlic powder
        Cook 14 minutes if frozen
        Cook 9 minutes if fresh

        Allow the pressure to bleed off naturally.

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