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!
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. Yes, it happens to get caught in a project or you need to stay late at work and dinner is pushed back in your priorities. Many parents solve this problem by eating out or ordering food, which is still a good option.
However, ever since I discovered the Instant Pot products, I know I can cook a delicious chicken-based meal in about half an hour. 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.
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.
Quick tip: 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.
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 tighs 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.
As a quick note, if your instructions manual specifies other liquid quantities, follow those!
Also, while I use water for this recipe, you can always choose a different type of liquid like chicken broth.
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.
My IP Doesn’t Have A Program For Chicken
Not all Instant Pots have a pre-set program for chicken (or poultry) but this doesn’t mean you can’t use it for this purpose. That’s why all pressure cookers have a Manual program, so users can set their own cooking time, pressure level, and temperature.
In fact, I strongly recommend using the Manual setting for frozen meat in general. Smart programs are mostly for a specific dish, and frozen foods are a bit different.
Now that you know how to cook frozen chicken meat, let’s talk about the things you can do with it once it’s ready.
Shredded chicken is also an option. 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.
- 1 cup water
- 2 frozen chicken breasts
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Place the chicken breasts into the Instant Pot.
- Pour water.
- Sprinkle with paprika, salt and pepper.
- Cook at high pressure for about 10 minutes (according to the size of your chicken breasts).
- Once done, let the steam release naturally and serve.