Never worry about thawing again with this life-saving Instant Pot frozen Chicken recipe. It’s done to juicy perfection in just minutes.
Why You’ll Love This Basic Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Recipe
Busy schedule? Me too. Put down the takeout menu. Transform frozen chicken into a juicy, delicious meal in under 20 minutes with this Instant Pot secret.
- Boss- Level Convenience: This recipe is perfect for those days when you’ve forgotten to thaw your chicken. Just pop it in the Instant Pot, and you’re good to go.
- Juicy and Flavorful Results: Cooking chicken from frozen in the Instant Pot ensures it stays juicy and absorbs the seasonings beautifully, resulting in deliciously tender chicken every time.
- So easy: The simplicity and foolproof nature of this recipe make it special. It takes the guesswork out of cooking frozen chicken, delivering consistently juicy and flavorful results.
- Versatile and Practical: This chicken can be shredded or sliced for a variety of dishes, from salads and tacos to sandwiches and pastas, making it a versatile component for meal prep or last-minute meals. (Much like my Air Fryer Boneless Chicken Thighs!)
Quick, easy, and juicy – this Instant Pot recipe changes the weekday game.
What You Need for Frozen Chicken in the Pressure Cooker
Getting everything ready for this Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Recipe is straightforward. Here’s a breakdown of the essentials you’ll need, from ingredients to tools.
Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Ingredients
- Water: It creates steam for pressure cooking and keeps the chicken moist.
- Frozen Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts: The main ingredient, no thawing required. SO much easier to keep on hand than fresh chicken breast.
- Garlic Powder: Adds a subtle, savory flavor to the chicken.
- Onion Powder: Brings a mild onion aroma that complements the chicken.
- Salt and Pepper: Essential seasonings that enhance the natural flavors.
- Optional Herbs and Spices: Personalize your chicken with additional seasonings like Indian spices, chili powder (see cayenne pepper vs chili powder), paprika or Italian herbs.
Variations and Substitutions
- Chicken Broth: Swap water with chicken broth for added flavor.
- Fresh Herbs: Rosemary, thyme, or parsley can add a fresh taste.
- Spice Mixes: Experiment with Chicken taco seasoning (with chili powder, cumin and oregano) or curry powder for a twist.
- Citrus Zest: Lemon or lime zest can add a refreshing note.
Grab these Tools
- Instant Pot: The central tool for this recipe, ensuring quick and efficient cooking.
- Meat Thermometer: Essential for checking the chicken’s internal temperature.
- Tongs or Slotted Spoon: For safely removing the chicken from the pot.
- Cutting Board and Knife: Handy for slicing or shredding the chicken after cooking.
How to Make Instant Pot Frozen Chicken: An Easy Guide
Whipping up a batch of juicy chicken breast couldn’t be easier with this Instant Pot Frozen Chicken recipe. Let me guide you through the steps to create this effortlessly delicious meal.
Prepare the Instant Pot
First things first, pour water or chicken broth into your Instant Pot. This step is crucial as the liquid is needed for pressure cooking and helps keep the chicken juicy.
Season the Chicken
Next, season the frozen chicken breasts. A combination of garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper does the trick. Feel free to get creative with additional herbs or spices of your choice.
Place Chicken in the Instant Pot
Place the seasoned chicken in the Instant Pot. You can either set them on the trivet or directly in the liquid.
Set the Instant Pot
Secure the lid on your Instant Pot, ensuring the valve is in the sealing position. Set it to cook on high pressure. The time will vary depending on the size of your chicken breasts – typically, it’s about 12-15 minutes.
Natural Pressure Release
After the cooking time ends, let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes. This step is important for retaining the chicken’s moisture.
Check for Doneness
Once the pressure is fully released, open the lid and check the chicken’s internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part. It should reach 165 degrees F. If it’s not quite there, a few more minutes of cooking might be needed.
Rest and Serve
Finally, take the chicken out and let it rest for a few minutes. This resting period allows the juices to redistribute, making your chicken even more succulent. Now, your chicken is ready to be sliced, shredded, and served!
Make Ahead and Storage
Having your meals ready in advance or knowing how to store leftovers properly can be a game-changer. Here are some tips for making ahead and storing your Instant Pot Frozen Chicken:
- Pre-Cook for Convenience: Cook a batch of chicken in your Instant Pot ahead of time. It’s perfect for those busy weekdays when you need a quick protein option.
- Refrigerate Properly: Store the cooked chicken in an airtight container in the fridge. According to the USDA, it will stay safe refrigerated for up to four days.
- Freeze for Longer Storage: For longer storage, freeze the cooked chicken. It’ll last for up to three months in the freezer. Just make sure it’s in a well-sealed container or freezer bag. I prefer to freeze it in slices or chunks to make it easier to reheat evenly.
- Thawing Tips: When you’re ready to use your frozen cooked chicken, thaw it in the microwave until it reaches 165ºF internal temperature.
How to Serve Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
This Instant Pot Frozen Chicken is incredibly versatile and can be the star of many delicious dishes on busy weeknights. Here’s how you can serve it up:
- As a Main Dish: Serve the chicken as a main course with rice or old fashioned baked mac and cheese and a side of vegetables or a salad. It’s simple, wholesome, and satisfying.
- In Sandwiches and Wraps: Shred the chicken and use it in sandwiches or wraps. You can use it as is or in curry chicken salad with grapes. It’s great for a quick lunch or a light dinner.
- In Quesadillas: Add protein to my favorite cheese quesadilla recipe for a super easy lunch or dinner.
- Shortcut tacos: Make easy chicken tacos by tucking cooked chicken into fresh flour tortillas with salsa and your go-to taco toppings like this cabbage slaw for fish tacos that works with any taco.
- Topping for Salads: Add some protein to your kale caesar salad by topping them with sliced or shredded Instant Pot chicken.
5 Common Mistakes When Making Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breasts
Here are the most frequent mix-ups to avoid when making Instant Pot Frozen Chicken:
- Overcrowding the Pot: Trying to fit too many chicken breasts in the Instant Pot can result in uneven cooking. Cook them in a single layer and cook in batches if necessary. Two to three average chicken breasts fit comfortably in an 8-quart or 6-quart instant pot.
- Underseasoning: Skimping on the seasoning can leave your chicken bland. Don’t forget to generously season with salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs or spices.
- Skipping Natural Release: Rushing the pressure release can result in tougher chicken. Allow for a natural release for at least 10 minutes.
- Overcooking: Cooking the chicken for too long, especially if it’s on the smaller side, can dry it out. Stick to the recommended times and adjust based on the size of your chicken breasts.
FAQs About Instant Pot Frozen Chicken
Just skimming through? Here are some quick answers to the commonly-asked questions about cooking frozen chicken in an Instant Pot:
Can I cook different cuts of chicken from frozen in the Instant Pot?
Yes, you can cook various cuts like chicken thighs or drumsticks, but cooking times will vary. Bone-in chicken will take longer. If using skin-on chicken, the skin will get rubbery.
Do I need to increase the cooking time for more chicken breasts?
Generally, the cooking time remains the same, but ensure they’re in a single layer, or they won’t cook evenly.
Is it necessary to use a trivet in the Instant Pot for this recipe?
While not mandatory, using a trivet can keep the seasoning on the chicken itself and keep more flavor in the chicken itself.
How do I know when the chicken is fully cooked?
The safest way is to use a meat thermometer. The chicken is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
Can I use a different liquid besides water for cooking?
Absolutely! Chicken broth or stock can add more flavor to your chicken. You could use pineapple juice or apple juice for a sweeter flavor profile.
How long does it take to cook frozen chicken in Instant Pot?
Frozen chicken typically takes about 12-15 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot, depending on the size of the breasts.
Is it possible to overcook chicken in Instant Pot?
Yes, it’s possible to overcook chicken in an Instant Pot, which can result in dry or tough meat.
How long can chicken stay in Instant Pot after cooking?
After cooking, chicken can stay in the Instant Pot for about 10 minutes on the ‘Keep Warm’ setting without overcooking.
Does chicken get more tender the longer you pressure cook it?
Beyond a certain point, chicken does not get more tender with longer pressure cooking and can become tough.
Why use natural pressure release method vs. quick release?
The natural method allows the chicken to rest and continue cooking gently in the residual heat to reach the desired doneness. It helps in retaining moisture and tenderness.
Next Reading: Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Breast (Moist + Juicy!)
Other Instant Pot Recipes You’ll Love:
Frozen Chicken Instant Pot Recipe (Quick + Juicy!)
- 1 cup water
- 2-3 frozen chicken breasts
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp onion powder
- Salt and pepper ¾ – 1 tsp kosher salt per lb of chicken
- Optional: Herbs and spices of your choice
- Pour chicken broth or water into the Instant Pot.
- Season the frozen chicken breasts with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
- Place the chicken breasts in the Instant Pot.
- Secure the lid and set the valve to the sealing position. Cook on high pressure for 12-15 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes, then vent to release any remaining steam.
- Check that the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
- Rest the chicken for a few minutes before serving.
- Do not overcrowd the Instant Pot for even cooking.
- Ideal for shredding and use in various dishes.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to four days or freeze for up to three months.
Last Updated on February 27, 2024 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD