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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

This sweet and smokey chicken just took barbecue to a new level. It cooks in 15 minutes and is made all in the instant pot! I love to make a big batch of it and use it creatively throughout the week. Some of my favorites are on a classic barbecue chicken sandwich, in a quesadilla or piled on top of creamy cheesy Mac and Cheese... the options are endless!

The BBQ chicken between slices of sour dough and with a scoop of Cole slaw is drool worthy! Now that's a sandwich!

What makes this recipe so good and different is a few secret ingredients to get that sweet and smokey balance. I start with my favorite classic #Stubbs barbecue sauce but dress it up a little with some spices and flavors. Worsesteshire sauce adds a little unexpected twist that I think really elevates this recipe.

I really grind the smokey flavor in in 3 ways!

The smoke flavor is thanks to liquid smoke, smoked pepper and smoked paprika. The liquid smoke is my favorite secret ingredient to add to any barbecue dish because it's like throwing it on the grill without the actually "throwing it on the grill". And in the dead of winter I'd much rather get that flavor from this little bottle than stand out in the snow for it. While liquid smoke, smoked pepper and smoked paprika might not be characters you typically have on hand I promise once you do, you'll find yourself using them constantly. I add these to my chilis, pulled pork, short ribs, beans, soups, stews and especially paella!

I'm sharing some of my favorite secret ingredients with you guys in this recipe!

The first time I made this I included the honey but sometimes I'll leave it out and it's still so so yummy! But if you like the blend of sweet and smokey, I highly recommend it. The sweetness of the honey really balances that smokeless from the other ingredients.

You can't get much easier than this recipe.

With zero prep and one dish dirtied, you'll have dinner on the table in minutes without even breaking a sweat. This is a great recipe for any level of cook because you really can't go wrong. You just dump everything in and close the lid and wait for the magic to happen. I especially love it because after it's done cooking I'll just let it release naturally anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes while I get the rest of the meal together. The meat stays hot and just as tender as ever! No chance of overcooking it!

Instant Pot Smoked Honey BBQ Chicken

4 servings | Cook time: 25 minutes

Notes: this can be made as shredded chicken or left as whole breasts. For serving in sandwiches, quesadillas or on a pizza follow the shredded chicken method. For serving alongside something like Mac and cheese or potatoes, leave as whole breasts.


  • 3/4-1lb chicken breast

  • 1/2 an onion (~100g), finely diced

  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I used @stubbsbbqsauce)

  • 1 tsp liquid smoke (find it in the BBQ sauce aisle)

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper (I used @mccormickspice’s new oak wood smoked pepper)

  • 1/4 cup water

  • Optional: 1 tsp raw honey


This chicken is crazy moist, juicy and perfectly tender!
  1. About 20 minutes or as long as 12 hours before combine all ingredients in a plastic bag.

  2. When ready to cook, spray the bottom of the instant pot with nonstick spray.

  3. Pour the contents of the bag into the pot.

  4. Close the lid and seal the instant pot. Set it to cook for 15 minutes.

  5. After 15 minutes, allow it to release naturally, for about 10 minutes. To check if it's done releasing pressure lightly tap the release plug and it water vapor is still rushing out then let it sit a few more minutes.

  6. Remove the chicken from the pot and place it in a separate dish.

    1. If making shredded chicken, use two forks or a hand mixer to shred the chicken and return it to the instant pot. Mix the chicken, sauces and spices all together. Turn on the sauté feature for a minute of two until the sauce thickens.

    2. If leaving the chicken breasts whole, plate the chicken and set aside. Turn on the sauté feature of the pot and allow the excess liquid to boil off for a minute or two until the sauce thickens. Pour the thickened sauce a top the chicken breasts.

  7. Serve warm alongside a big serving of Mac and Cheese, in your favorite quesadilla or a top a slice of pizza.

Some of my favorite ideas for shredded barbecue chicken:

  1. Quesadilla: take a #tumaros wrap or other wrap and layer your favorite cheeses on the bottom half of the wrap. Monterey Jack, cheddar and mozzarella are my top three. Top with shredded chicken and extra veggies if you'd like- here I added sautéed spinach. Top the mixture with more cheese and fold the top half of the wrap over to seal. Spray a pan with nonstick spray and brown both sides until cheese is nice and melted.

  2. Chicken Sandwich: Stuff chicken and your favorite Cole slaw between a nice fluffy bun or thinly sliced toasted sour dough!

  3. Mac and Cheese: Nothing improves Mac and Cheese like a scoop of barbecue chicken. Check out two of my favorite Mac and cheese recipes: like our Pumpkin Mac and Cheese, Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese and Skillet Mac and Cheese or for my favorite boxed variety, check out #eatbanza's Mac and cheese!

Those are just three of MANY... try it on pizza, grilled cheese, a salad or really anything!

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Nutrition Facts are provided as a guideline only. Exact nutrition will depend on quantity, brand and ingredients used.

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