How to Cook Chicken in the Electric Pressure Cooker

If I had to pick one appliance in my kitchen to use for the rest of my life, and only one, it would have to be my electric pressure cooker.

Vertical image of various cuts of spiced poultry on a black platter on a red napkin, with text in the center and on the bottom of the image.

With all the things it can do, how could it not be?

One of the things that I have really grown to love cooking in my Instant Pot is chicken. The poultry is so simple to make, and you can cook every single cut imaginable, or even an entire bird, in record time.

This is one of my favorite ways to shortcut meal prep for the week, particularly for lunches. Whether it’s shredded to add to burrito bowls, or cut up to use in chicken salad, the options are practically endless.

The pressure cooker also does a fantastic job of making juicy and delicious poultry the star of your weeknight meals. You can cook a whole chicken or your favorite cut to feature alongside your favorite side dishes.

Here’s what’s ahead in this guide:

How to Cook Chicken in the Instant Pot: The Basics

Let’s start with some quick basics.

Vertical image of sliced white meat with a sauce on top next to spinach on a white plate on a towel next to silverware.

When it comes to cooking poultry with this method, my number one tip for you is to use paper towels to pat the pieces dry before using them.

If you’ve ever bought poultry, you know that sometimes there’s a little bit of moisture or little bits are stuck to the pieces. When you pat it dry, you can get rid of those, and you also set yourself up for success if you’re using any rubs or spices, since they’ll stick better.

Though some home cooks like to wash their poultry before using it, note that for food safety reasons, this is not recommended.

Vertical image of pouring gravy over meat on a gray plate.

Salmonella and other nasties may be spread around your kitchen, and the cleaning process tends to do more harm than good, with bacteria-filled water potentially splashing around the sink and onto countertops and other foods and surfaces.

You can cook poultry that is either fresh or frozen, which is one of the miracles of pressure cookers like the Instant Pot.

If you don’t have time to thaw, or you simply forget (something that happens quite often to me!), you can cook from frozen just as easily. All you will have to do is adjust the cooking time.

Did you purchase a whole chicken that you’d rather break down before cooking? Our guide can help.

Breast – Bone-In or Boneless

The most common cut to cook is the breast, and I’m sure we are all familiar with it.

Horizontal image of a bone-in piece of white meat on spaghetti in a white sauce on a black plate.

It’s super simple, and with the electric pressure cooker, you can cook either bone-in or boneless breasts. Feature it with your favorite spice rub and it makes for a fantastic protein to serve for dinner.

Horizontal image of sliced white meat with a sauce on top next to spinach on a white plate on a towel next to silverware.

Find out how to cook boneless chicken breast in the electric pressure cooker here. You can also learn how to cook bone-in chicken breast here.

Thighs – Bone-In or Boneless

I personally love using thighs because they are full of flavor, and they are an inexpensive cut.

Horizontal image of bone-in poultry pieces on a gray plate.

You can feature them whole, or slice or shred them for use in tacos or salads.

Horizontal image of meat and a salad on plates on a red napkin next to silverware.

Find out how to cook boneless or bone-in chicken thighs in the electric pressure cooker.


Drumsticks are a fantastic main protein, particularly because they pair well with practically any side dish you can think of.

Horizontal image of drumsticks served with mashed potatoes and green beans on a plate on a red and white towel.

Since you are cooking the meat on the bone, it comes out exceptionally flavorful without having to use a ton of seasoning.

Read our instructions to cook chicken drumsticks in the electric pressure cooker here.


We all love a good chicken tender, especially the kiddos, am I right?

Horizontal image of tenders covered in seasoning on a black plate.

They are ideal for serving with your favorite dipping sauce, or you can easily shred them to use in egg rolls or enchiladas.

Learn how to cook chicken tenders in the electric pressure cooker now.


Wings are a must for game day in our home, but my husband and I could devour a big batch every single day if given the chance.

Horizontal image of dipping a drumette in a bowl of ranch dressing surrounded by wings and carrot sticks.

Who knew they were so simple to make, and possible to prepare without having to fire up your grill at all?

Make chicken wings in the electric pressure cooker following these instructions.

Whole Chicken

When you cook a whole bird in your pressure cooker, you will likely never go back to roasting it in the oven. I know I won’t, at least. Not if I can help it!

Horizontal image of a whole prepared bird on a white platter with herbs on top of a bright red towel.

The time saved is incredible, and the poultry comes out juicy and flavorful.

Find out how to cook a whole chicken in the electric pressure cooker here.

Shredded Chicken

Shredded poultry prepared in my countertop appliance is a must-make element of my lunch meal prep for the week. I love that you can easily customize the flavor with your favorite spices or sauces, such as Cajun seasoning or barbecue sauce.

Horizontal image of shredded white meat in a bowl with a fork.

Try our tips to cook shredded chicken in the electric pressure cooker at home.

Chicken and Rice

You can cook so much more than just the poultry itself in this appliance. It can also be used to make an entire meal in one pot!

Horizontal image of two plates of chicken and rice next to glasses of white wine, a towel, and silverware.

Chicken and rice is such a simple recipe that puts dinner on the table without getting too many dishes dirty in the process.

Learn how to cook chicken and rice in the electric pressure cooker. And then give some other recipes a shot, like this white wine braised chicken.

How to Store Cooked Chicken

When it comes to storing protein that has already been cooked, be sure to let it cool down completely before packing it up in airtight containers.

Horizontal image of various pieces of seasoned meat on a black plate with herbs on a red towel.

Once the meat reaches room temperature, you can seal the lids and put it away. Cooked poultry can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

I recommend storing any sauce separately, if you are saving it to use later.

What is your favorite cut of chicken to make at home? Tell us in the comments below!

Want to explore even more ways to use your electric pressure cooker? Read these helpful how-to’s from Foodal next:

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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