How to Cook Frozen Chicken Instant Pot Meals Like a Boss

Unleash the power of your Instant Pot to cook perfectly moist and flavorful frozen chicken breasts every time! This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know, from cooking times and tips to delicious recipe ideas. Learn how to transform frozen chicken into quick and easy meals and discover the convenience of the Instant Pot for weeknight dinners.

Ever stared blankly into the fridge at 5 pm, realizing you forgot to thaw chicken for dinner? The Instant Pot offers a lifesaver solution: cooking frozen chicken breasts directly in the pressure cooker!

Cooking frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot is a quick and convenient way to get perfectly cooked, moist, and flavorful chicken.

This method eliminates the need for thawing, saving you precious time in the kitchen. Whether you’re a busy weeknight cook or a meal-prepping pro, this guide will equip you with everything you need to know about mastering frozen chicken breasts in your Instant Pot.

Why Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot?

There are several advantages to using the Instant Pot for cooking frozen chicken breasts:

  • Convenience: Skip the thawing step altogether! The Instant Pot’s ability to quickly bring frozen food to a safe internal temperature makes it a perfect solution for those last-minute meals.
  • Flavorful and Moist Results: Despite the frozen state, chicken breasts cooked in the Instant Pot can be incredibly flavorful and moist. The pressure cooking process helps lock in natural juices, preventing dried-out chicken.
  • Versatility: The Instant Pot allows for endless flavor variations. Experiment with different broths, seasonings, and sauces to create a variety of delicious chicken dishes.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot (Step-by-Step Guide)

Here’s a detailed guide on how to cook frozen chicken breasts in your Instant Pot:

How To Cook Frozen Chicken Instant Pot

Ingredients:

  • Frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Liquid (chicken broth or water recommended)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: Herbs, spices, aromatics (garlic, onion), or sauces for additional flavor

Instructions:

  1. Prep the Instant Pot: Pour 1 cup of your chosen liquid (chicken broth for added flavor or water for a neutral base) into the Instant Pot liner.
  2. Add the Chicken: Place the frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot. Break apart any chicken pieces that may be stuck together.
  3. Seasoning: Season the chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper or your preferred seasonings.
  4. Pressure Cooking:
    • Close the lid of the Instant Pot and ensure the pressure valve is set to “sealing.”
    • Locate the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” function on your Instant Pot and set the cook time according to the size of your chicken breasts (refer to the table in the next section for recommended cook times).
  5. Natural Pressure Release or Quick Release:
    • You can choose between two pressure release methods:
      • Natural Pressure Release (NPR): Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then carefully release any remaining pressure manually using the pressure release valve.
      • Quick Release (QR): After the cook cycle is complete, carefully move the pressure release valve to the venting position to release the pressure rapidly. Note: Be cautious of the hot steam that will release during a quick release.

Cooking Time for Different Sizes of Frozen Chicken Breasts

The cook time for frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot will vary depending on their size. Here’s a table as a reference:

Chicken Breast Size (oz)Cook Time (minutes)Internal Temperature (°F)
Small (6-8 oz)11-12165
Medium (9-10 oz)13-14165
Large (12 oz)15-16165

Safety Tip: Regardless of the cooking method, it’s crucial to ensure the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F for proper food safety. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken breast.

Tips and Tricks for Cooking Perfect Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

Here are some helpful tips to elevate your frozen chicken breast cooking experience in the Instant Pot:

  • Similar-Sized Chicken Breasts: For even cooking, use chicken breasts of similar sizes. If using breasts of varying sizes, place the thicker ones on the bottom of the pot.
  • Liquid Options: While chicken broth adds flavor, water is a suitable alternative for a neutral base. You can also experiment with other liquids like vegetable broth or coconut milk.
  • Adding Vegetables: Transform your Instant Pot into a one-pot meal by adding vegetables along with the chicken. Adjust the timing based on the vegetables’ cooking time. For instance, add heartier vegetables like potatoes or carrots a few minutes before the chicken cook cycle ends.

Shredding Chicken and Using Leftovers

  • Shredding the Chicken: Once the pressure has released and the chicken has cooled slightly, shred it using forks. This is perfect for recipes like chicken salad, sandwiches, or stir-fries.
  • Leftovers and Storage: Cooked frozen chicken breasts from the Instant Pot store well in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 3 months. Shredded chicken is a versatile leftover that can be used in various dishes throughout the week.
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Recipe Ideas for Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Breasts

Here are a few recipe ideas to inspire you to use your perfectly cooked Instant Pot frozen chicken breasts:

  • Creamy Italian Chicken: Sauté chopped vegetables like onions and peppers in the Instant Pot after cooking the chicken. Add cooked chicken breasts, cream cheese, Italian seasoning, and chicken broth, then simmer until creamy. Serve over pasta for a comforting and flavorful meal.
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip: Shred the cooked chicken and toss it with your favorite buffalo sauce, cream cheese, and shredded cheese. Heat in the Instant Pot or on the stovetop until melted and bubbly. Serve with celery sticks, carrots, or crackers for a delicious party appetizer.
  • BBQ Chicken Bowls: Combine shredded chicken with your favorite BBQ sauce and a sprinkle of brown sugar for a smoky and sweet flavor. Serve over rice or quinoa bowls with a variety of toppings like coleslaw, avocado, and baked beans for a complete and satisfying meal.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Cooking Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot

Can I cook frozen chicken breasts with the bone in?

Yes, you can cook frozen chicken breasts with the bone in using the Instant Pot. The cooking time will need to be adjusted slightly; typically, add an additional 5 minutes to the cook times listed in the table above.

What if my Instant Pot doesn’t have a “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” function?

Most Instant Pot models will have a pressure cook function with various presets. Consult your Instant Pot’s manual for the specific setting to use for pressure cooking.

Is it safe to cook frozen chicken in the Instant Pot?

Absolutely! The Instant Pot’s ability to quickly bring frozen food to a safe internal temperature makes it perfectly safe to cook frozen chicken breasts directly in the pressure cooker. Just remember to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer to ensure it reaches 165°F for safe consumption.

Conclusion

Cooking frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot is a game-changer for busy weeknight meals or anyone who appreciates convenient and delicious protein options. This method is not only time-saving but also ensures moist and flavorful chicken. With a little practice, you’ll be a master at using your Instant Pot to transform frozen chicken breasts into a variety of incredible dishes. So next time you find yourself staring at frozen chicken in the fridge, don’t fret! The Instant Pot is here to save the day!

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Richard
Richard

Richard Charpentier is the CEO of Baking Innovation, a leading provider of baking solutions. He has over 20 years of experience in the baking industry and has been a driving force behind the company's success.