How to Cook Frozen Chicken in the Instant Pot

If you're anywhere near as forgetful as we are when it comes to thawing meat for dinner, you need this awesome Instant Pot trick.

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The Instant Pot has saved me on more than one occasion. Between my toddler and my husband, my family always keeps me on my toes. From late nights rocking my daughter to sleep to greeting the sun, some things tend to fall between the cracks. In my case, it is almost always the foresight to thaw the meat for dinner. Without fail, 4:00 rolls around and I end up rushing the meat to the sink, dunking it in scalding water and praying that it thaws out in a reasonable amount of time. (Not exactly what a food safety expert would recommend.) Luckily for me, I learned how to safely cook frozen-solid chicken in my Instant Pot—and it takes practically no time at all.

Still deciding on which Instant Pot to get? Consult our buying guide.

Step 1: Pour in a Cup of Chicken Broth into the Instant Pot

Chicken broth being poured into an instant potPhoto: Kaila Harmon

This step is pretty self-explanatory. If you’re out of chicken broth, you can use water, though we recommend the broth for a deeper flavor. For a twist, try using pineapple juice in lieu of the broth. Its sweetness pairs well with the chicken and would be delicious in this sesame chicken salad.

Step 2: Place Chicken in the Pot

Piece of chicken at the bottom of an instant potPhoto: Kaila Harmon

If possible, it’s best if chicken breasts are separated rather than frozen together in a large chunk. Simply place the meat in the liquid with as little overlapping as possible. If your chicken breasts are frozen together, you can either run some hot water over them and (very carefully!) wedge them apart with a butter knife. Otherwise, you will need to increase the cooking time. The amount of time to increase will vary depending on how large the pieces are.

Step 3: Apply the Settings and Start

Person changing the settings of their instant potPhoto: Kaila Harmon

Apply 10 minutes on the poultry setting and begin cooking on high. (Make sure the vent is closed during this step.)

Test Kitchen tip: Cooking time does depend on the size of the chicken breasts. If they are on the larger side, or if you’re cooking them as a frozen chunk, we recommend adding 10 extra minutes to the cooking time to ensure they’re fully cooked.

Got questions about all the buttons on your Instant Pot? We decode them all.

Step 4: Remove the Chicken

When the time’s up, let it the pressure naturally release for five minutes. If five minutes are up and it still isn’t finished releasing, go ahead and do a quick release. Remove the chicken from the liquid and let it rest for five to ten minutes. I love to shred my chicken with these meat claws ($12), but you can do whatever suits your fancy! Use the meat in a recipe like these chicken enchiladas, and enjoy! You can try these Instant Pot chicken recipes, too.

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Kaila Harmon
Kaila Harmon is a California native who has a deep passion for writing that has been with her from a young age. She owns a small business in which she creates various handmade home decor pieces and novelties that showcase the beauty and humor in everyday life. Before owning her small business, she obtained a Yoga Teacher Certificate and has taught both yoga and meditation off and on throughout the past ten years.