What’s the one ingredient you can always count on in case you need to put up together a quick lunch or dinner? Frozen chicken breast!
I always have a few pieces of chicken in my freezer and I never had to serve the kids a cold dinner or lunch because I didn’t have the time to cook.
And since I got my beloved Instant Pot , I know I can cook a delicious chicken-based meal in about half an hour with this Instant Pot frozen chicken recipe. After all, it only takes 10 minutes for the chicken to cook, and while you wait for the pot to depressurize, you have the time to prepare the rest of the ingredients and create a complete meal!
Can You Pressure Cook Frozen Chicken?
Yes, you can. In fact, I wrote an entire blog post about cooking frozen meat in a pressure cooker so, if you’re worried, make sure to check it out.
How to Separate frozen chicken breasts
If you have chicken pieces frozen together, first put them in a bowl of cold water and wait until you can break them apart.
If you just put everything in the pot, you’ll end up with both over and undercooked chicken.
How much water to use?
In this scenario, the secret to a delicious meal is the right amount of liquid in the Instant Pot (so it can build pressure). As such, regardless of the fact that you cook a breast and two thighs or four breasts, you will always need 1 cup of liquid for the 6-qt pot and 1.5 cups for the 8-qt pot.
If you want to diversify and get a richer taste, you can always choose a different type of liquid like chicken stock, beef stock or chicken broth.
Do I have to use a trivet?
You can use an Instant Pot trivet, but you don't have to. For this recipe I just put the chicken on the bottom and it turned out great.
How Do I Know If The Chicken Is Cooked?
Chicken meat, especially breast, requires special attention. It’s easy to overcook and dry it to the point where the fibers harden and get chewy, but it’s also easy to undercook it (which can be a health hazard).
So, to know if the meat is truly ready for consumption, it helps to have a meat thermometer. When you open the lid of the Instant Pot, check the internal temperature of the meat and see it reached 165+ degrees (the temperature that makes chicken meat safe to eat).
If it’s lower, just put the lid back on and add a few extra minutes to the cooking process. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, to avoid drying the meat.
In addition, you should adapt the cooking time to the average size of the pieces. If you’re working with large pieces, it’s best to add a few extra minutes when you set the time for the high-pressure cycle.
For this recipe, I used medium-sized chicken breasts (around 6 ounces each) but if yours is bigger, add between 2 and 3 minutes to the process.
What if my Instant Pot doesn’t have a special program for chicken?
Not a problem at all 🙂 Not all Instant Pot models have a pre-set program for chicken (or poultry) but this doesn’t mean you can’t make Instant Pot frozen chicken. That’s why all pressure cookers have a Manual program, so users can set their own cooking time, pressure level, and temperature.
So just use the regular pressure settings and cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
In fact, I strongly recommend using the Manual setting for frozen meat in general.
Frozen chicken meals
- You can simply cut it to pieces, add salt and pepper, and serve it next to a pile of rice and some steamed vegetables.
- You can upgrade it with a delicious sauce and make this Instant Pot Salsa Chicken.
- You can make Shredded Chicken. Just use two forks to pull the fibers apart as soon as you get it out of the pot (chicken shreds better when it’s still hot). You can make chicken sandwiches (with some tomato sauce or mayo) or you can use it in pasta or other dishes.
- You can add bell peppers and make this Instant Pot pepper chicken.
- You can make this Instant Pot chicken with mushrooms.
Instant Pot Frozen Chicken
- 1 cup water or chicken broth
- 2 frozen chicken breasts
- 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pour water or chicken broth.
- Place the chicken breasts into the Instant Pot.
- Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper.
- Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes (You may increase the cooking time according to the size of your chicken breasts).
- When cooking time ends, allow a natural pressure release for 10 minutes.
- Once done, do a quick pressure release.
- Open the lid and serve.