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How long does it take to cook chicken breast in Instant Pot?

Cooking chicken breast in an Instant Pot is a quick and easy way to get delicious, tender chicken ready for meals or leftovers. The pressure cooking function of the Instant Pot allows the chicken to cook fast while also keeping it moist and juicy. But exactly how long does it take to cook chicken breasts in an Instant Pot? The answer depends on a few key factors.

Boneless vs Bone-In

One of the biggest factors in Instant Pot chicken breast cook time is whether you are using boneless, skinless chicken breasts or bone-in chicken breasts. Boneless breasts will cook faster since the meat is exposed and tender already without bones. Bone-in chicken breasts take longer since the bones and connective tissue need more time to break down and tenderize under pressure. For boneless breasts, the cook time can be as quick as 8-10 minutes on high pressure. For bone-in breasts, the cook time is generally 15-20 minutes on high pressure, sometimes longer for larger pieces of chicken.

Quantity of Chicken

The amount of chicken you are cooking also impacts how long it takes. The more chicken you add to the Instant Pot, the longer the pot will take to pressurize initially. Once pressurized, cooking time remains similar for different quantities. But that pressurizing time can add on several extra minutes if you are cooking a lot of chicken breasts versus just one or two. Generally, Instant Pot recipes recommend cooking no more than 1-1 1/2 pounds of boneless chicken breasts at one time to prevent overcrowding. For bone-in chicken breasts, cook no more than 2-3 pounds at once. Overcrowding the pot can lead to uneven cooking.

Size of Chicken Breasts

Larger, thicker chicken breasts also require a bit more cook time than thinner, smaller pieces. Whole chicken breasts usually need an extra 2-3 minutes compared to halved breasts. Chicken breast tenders or fillets will cook faster than a whole breast. The thickness impacts how long the inside of the chicken takes to reach a safe 165°F temperature. Monitoring internal temp with a meat thermometer is the best way to test for doneness.

Frozen vs Thawed

Starting with fully thawed chicken versus frozen chicken makes a big difference in how quickly the breasts will become tender in the Instant Pot. Frozen chicken takes significantly longer to cook through – as much as 50% longer cook time. The frozen state slows down how fast the heat can penetrate into the chicken. So for best results, always thaw chicken in the refrigerator before pressure cooking.

Timing Recommendations

Taking all of these factors into account, here are general recommendations for Instant Pot chicken breast cook times:

Boneless Chicken Breasts

– 1-1 1/2 pounds: 8-10 minutes
– Smaller pieces/fillets: 6-8 minutes
– From frozen: Add 50% more time

Bone-In Chicken Breasts

– 2-3 pounds: 15-20 minutes
– Larger/thicker pieces: 18-22 minutes
– From frozen: Add 50% more time

The size, number, and state (frozen or thawed) of the chicken breasts will shift the timing. These cook times are based on using the high pressure setting on any Instant Pot model. The low pressure setting will add more time.

Step-By-Step Instant Pot Chicken Breast Instructions

To cook juicy, tender chicken breasts in the Instant Pot every time, follow these simple steps:

1. Add 1 cup liquid

The Instant Pot requires at least 1 cup of liquid in order to pressurize and cook the food. This can be water, broth, wine, or other cooking liquids.

2. Place trivet and chicken in pot

Add the trivet or steamer basket to the bottom of the pot. Place the chicken breasts directly on top of the trivet.

3. Lock lid and pressure cook

Secure the lid, making sure the valve is in the sealing position. Select high pressure and set the cook time based on the quantity of chicken.

4. Quick release pressure

Once cooking is complete, use the quick release method to release the steam and unlock the lid. This stops the cooking process.

5. Check chicken is done

Test the internal temperature of the largest piece of chicken using a meat thermometer to ensure it has reached 165°F safely.

6. Remove chicken and serve

Use tongs to transfer the cooked chicken to a cutting board to rest or add to dishes. Make sure to keep cooking liquid to add roasted veggies and herbs for an instant sauce or gravy.

Tips for the Best Results

– Pat chicken dry before cooking for better browning
– Brine chicken in salty water before pressure cooking for extra moisture
– Add aromatics and seasoning to the cooking liquid
– Use natural release method for more tender meat
– Let chicken rest 5-10 minutes before slicing for juicier meat

Common Chicken Breast Questions

How long does it take to cook frozen chicken breasts in an Instant Pot?

Cooking frozen chicken breasts takes roughly 50% longer than fresh chicken breasts. For boneless, plan on 15-20 minutes on high pressure. Bone-in frozen chicken will need 25-30 minutes pressure cook time.

Can you cook a whole chicken in Instant Pot?

Yes, a 3-4 pound whole chicken cooks beautifully in the Instant Pot. Truss the chicken and add 1 cup liquid to the pot. Cook for 30-35 minutes (35-40 minutes for frozen chicken). The meat will be fall-off-the-bone tender.

Is Instant Pot chicken as good as oven roasted?

Instant Pot chicken comes out very moist and flavorful. However, oven roasting allows the chicken skin to crisp up. For the best of both worlds, finish Instant Pot chicken under the broiler after cooking to crisp the skin.

Should you cook chicken breasts from frozen or thawed?

For food safety and best texture, thaw chicken in the refrigerator before pressure cooking. Starting with frozen chicken risks undercooking. Fully thawed chicken cooks evenly and absorbs flavors better.


Cooking chicken breasts in the Instant Pot is one of the most popular uses for this versatile pressure cooker. The cook times are much faster than traditional oven baking. Boneless chicken breasts take as little as 8-10 minutes once pressurized. Bone-in chicken needs 15-20 minutes under pressure to become perfectly tender and juicy. Monitor the size, quantity, and state of the chicken breasts to adjust timing as needed. With the proper method, the Instant Pot delivers moist, delicious chicken every time.

Chicken Type Cook Time
Boneless Chicken Breasts (1-1.5 lbs) 8-10 minutes
Boneless Chicken Breasts from Frozen 12-15 minutes
Bone-In Chicken Breasts (2-3 lbs) 15-20 minutes
Bone-In Chicken Breasts from Frozen 25-30 minutes