Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Recipe) 3 Super Easy steps with a few pantry staples. Juicy tender BBQ Chicken bursting with sticky smoky-sweet flavors. Delicious family recipe for busy nights! #instantpot #pressurecooker #chicken #dinner #easy

Make Caramelized Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken) in 3 Super Easy steps with a few pantry staples. Juicy & tender BBQ Chicken bursting with sticky-smoky-sweet flavors. Delicious family recipe for busy nights!

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5 from 15 votes

With summer just around the corner, we’re starting to crave for all-things barbeque, the smoky scent of summer; and the summer picnics, camping under the stars, warm beach parties with delicious ice-cream…yess!!

Have a little taste of summer with this deliciously juicy & beautifully caramelized BBQ Chicken…

3 Super Easy Steps to Make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken:

  1. Pressure Cook Chicken in Instant Pot
  2. Mop on the BBQ Sauce
  3. Caramelize BBQ Chicken

Ta da! That’s it! You can do this. 🙂

Easy enough for busy nights yet delicious enough for party or potluck!

Why Make BBQ Chicken in Instant Pot?We pressure cook the chicken in Instant Pot to keep them super tender & juicy.

Then, we apply the spiced up BBQ sauce and caramelize it in the oven at the highest temperature for the shortest duration to avoid drying out the chicken.

This easy cooking method results in super tender & juicy chicken coated with finger-licking caramelized sticky sweet-smoky flavors. So good!! 🙂

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Recipe) 3 Super Easy steps with a few pantry staples. Juicy tender BBQ Chicken bursting with sticky smoky-sweet flavors. Delicious family recipe for busy nights! #instantpot #pressurecooker #chicken #dinner #easy

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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Recipe) 3 Super Easy steps with a few pantry staples. Juicy tender BBQ Chicken bursting with sticky smoky-sweet flavors. Delicious family recipe for busy nights! #instantpot #pressurecooker #chicken #dinner #easy

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Make Caramelized Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken) in 3 Super Easy steps. Juicy tender BBQ Chicken bursting with sticky-smoky-sweet flavors. Delicious family recipe for busy nights!
5 from 15 votes
Print Rate This Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 574
Author: Amy + Jacky

Ingredients

  • 6 - 8 (1230g or 2.5 - 3lbs) chicken thighs or drumsticks
  • Your favorite BBQ sauce
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup (250ml) cold water

Optional:

Instructions

  • Add Water & Steamer Basket: Add 1 cup (250ml) cold water and (optional) 3 drops of liquid smoke in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker. Then, place a steamer basket in the pot.
  • Pressure Cook Chicken: Generously season both sides of chicken with salt and black pepper, then layer chicken on stainless steel steamer basket. Close lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 8 minutes, then 10 minutes Natural Release.
  • Spice Up BBQ Sauce: If you are using store-bought BBQ sauce, add more depth of flavor with some garlic powder, onion powder, and white vinegar. For reference: we added ½ tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp onion powder, and ½ tbsp white vinegar to ⅓ cup Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce. Please taste & adjust accordingly.
  • Apply BBQ Sauce to Chicken: Pat dry chicken and place them on an oven tray. Generously coat both sides of chicken with BBQ sauce.
  • Caramelize Instant Pot BBQ Chicken: Place BBQ Chicken under the broiler for 4 - 8 minutes until the BBQ chicken is browned & caramelized.
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Nutrition:

Calories: 574kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 43g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 256mg | Sodium: 203mg | Potassium: 535mg | Vitamin A: 205IU | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1.7mg
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Meat, Quick Meals
Cuisine: American
Keyword: bbq chicken, chicken recipes, instant pot, instant pot chicken, instant pot recipes, pressure cooker chicken
Tried this recipe?Mention @pressurecookrecipes or tag #AmyJacky!

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Step-by-Step Cooking Guide

Super easy to prepare as the only essential ingredients you need are the Chicken + BBQ Sauce! 🙂

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken) Ingredients

1

Add Water & Steamer Basket


Add 1 cup (250ml) cold water and (optional) 3 drops of liquid smoke in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken): add liquid smoke and stainless steel steamer basket in Instant Pot Pressure Cooker #instantpot #pressurecooker #chickenrecipes #recipes #dinner #easy

Then, place a Stainless Steel Steamer Basket in there as well (as shown in above photo).

2

Pressure Cook Chicken


Generously season both sides of the chicken with salt and black pepper.

Then, layer 6 – 8 (2.5 – 3 lbs) chicken thighs or drumsticks on the Stainless Steel Steamer Basket (as shown in below photo).

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken): add chicken in Instant Pot on steamer basket

Close lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 8 minutes, then 10 minutes Natural Release.

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Pressure Cooking Program

If the Floating Valve doesn’t drop after 10 minutes, turn the Venting Knob to the Venting Position to release the remaining pressure.

3

Spice Up BBQ Sauce


If you are using store-bought BBQ sauce, add more depth of flavor with some garlic powder, onion powder, and white vinegar.

How to make BBQ Sauce

*Pro Tip: For reference, we added 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, and 1/2 tbsp white vinegar to 1/3 cup Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. Please taste & adjust accordingly.

4

Apply BBQ Sauce to Chicken


Pat dry the chicken thighs and place them on an oven tray. Generously coat both sides of the chicken with BBQ sauce.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken): coat Instant Pot Chicken with BBQ Sauce, then brown chicken under broiler #instantpot #pressurecooker #chickenrecipes #recipes #dinner #easy

5

Caramelize Instant Pot BBQ Chicken


We tested caramelizing the BBQ Chicken with the broiler in the oven vs. Instant Pot’s Saute Mode. Both methods work, but broiling in the oven works and taste better.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Recipe (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken): caramelize BBQ Chicken with Instant Pot or Broiler #instantpot #pressurecooker #chickenrecipes #recipes #dinner #easy
Caramelizing Results: Broiler vs. Instant Pot Saute Mode

Place the chicken thighs under the broiler for 4 – 8 minutes until the BBQ chicken is browned & caramelized (not burned).

*Pro Tip: If you use Instant Pot’s Saute Mode, be sure to constantly flip the BBQ Chicken to avoid burning the chicken.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Recipe) 3 Super Easy steps with a few pantry staples. Juicy tender BBQ Chicken bursting with sticky smoky-sweet flavors. Delicious family recipe for busy nights! #instantpot #pressurecooker #chicken #dinner #easy

Enjoy your Instant Pot BBQ Chicken!~ 🙂

Tools for Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

 


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Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Recipe) 3 Super Easy steps with a few pantry staples. Juicy tender BBQ Chicken bursting with sticky smoky-sweet flavors. Delicious family recipe for busy nights! #instantpot #pressurecooker #chicken #dinner #easy
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken (Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Recipe) 3 Super Easy steps with a few pantry staples. Juicy tender BBQ Chicken bursting with sticky smoky-sweet flavors. Delicious family recipe for busy nights! #instantpot #pressurecooker #chicken #dinner #easy
Food Lovers in our 30s who worked directly with Instant Pot CEO, Manufacturers, and 35+ Restaurants. Culinary Families & Food Magazine Publishers.
  1. My husband isn’t a chicken lover, but told me the other day he wanted some bbq chicken, so I found your recipe and made it tonight. He ate 2 legs instead of one and said he liked it. It’s a winner and I’ve got the recipe saved on my phone. Thank you

  2. Hi Amy + Jacky,

    If I’m using drumsticks that are about medium size (a little larger than half the size of yours), would there be any changes to the recipe?
    If I make about 20 of these drumsticks (I have an 8 quart), would there be any changes to the recipe?

    Thanks so much for your help! I love your recipes!

    1. Hi Mimi,

      thank you for your kind words and question 🙂

      You may want to reduce the cooking time by a minute as the get up to pressure time will be longer for that many drumsticks.

      Please take care!
      Jacky

  3. Thanks for this technique. I have a traditional pressure cooker. I typically make this long way by browning chicken on stove top then cooking until done with a finish under broiler. Running short on time I knew that someone had a pressure cooker method. This method is perfect. Would note that homemade BBQ sauce is easy with ketchup, chili garlic sauce, sweetener to your tastes such as maple syrup, honey, molasses or maple syrup.add a splash of mustard and some vinegar. Thanks again for this delicious and new saving method.

    1. Hi Leisa,

      Happy to hear you like this method!
      Thank you so much for your kind words on the recipe 🙂

      Please take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  4. I have the 6 quart lux. I followed directions and cooked on manual for 8 mins and then natural release for 10, chicken was not fully cooked (6 thighs bone in with skin). The manual mode doesnt let u adjust the pressure, should I have used stew/meat program so I can adjust mode to “more”?

    1. Hi Babs,

      Thank you for your question. The stew/meat program and manual button will work mostly the same.
      If the pressure cooker got up to pressure properly, the chickens were most likely cooked.

      Here is a direct quote from USDA food safety and inspection service website. This applies to chicken as well.

      “The color of cooked poultry is not always a sure sign of its safety. Only by using a food thermometer can one accurately determine that poultry has reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F throughout the product. Turkey can remain pink even after cooking to a safe minimum internal temperature of 165 °F. The meat of smoked turkey is always pink.”

      Please take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  5. Can I pressure cook a bunch of chicken and package them for individual servings and freezer and just thaw and caramelize as needed?

    1. Hi Terry,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      Thank you for your question. They will not be as good, but it will be fine for quick freezer meal.

      Happy New Year & please take care
      Jacky

  6. My family LOVED this and it’s hard to get something everyone enjoys. I have a special icon tab for the recipes everyone loves and wants to have again and my kids said “save this one 16,000 times!” (That’s high praise from my kids.) thanks for sharing it! I will look around your site for more ideas!

    1. Hi Li,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words on the recipe! Happy to hear your family enjoyed it as well.

      Happy New Year & please take care
      Jacky

  7. Hello! I’m an instant pot newbie and was wondering if it would be possible to make this recipe with boneless/skinless chicken breasts and long grain white rice at the same time, and what the cook time would be?

    1. Hi Heather,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      Thank you for your question. Chicken breasts will come out drier.
      You will want to place the chicken breasts at the bottom and use the pot in pot method for the long grain rice.

      The cooking time will be 5 minutes and 8 minutes natural release.

      Happy New Year & please take care
      Jacky

    1. Hi Steph,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      The trivet you received along with the Instant Pot will work fine!

      Happy New Year & please take care
      Jacky

  8. Oh man, this was so fast and easy and not to mention sooo good! When I use Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce I just put the sauce in a large bowl and add a few dashes of Tabasco. I then dip and coat each cooked chicken for a better application of the sauce. I will be using my Instant Pot for BBQ chicken from now on. By the way, I have an 8 qt Instant Pot Duo80 and made 9 pcs. of bone-in thighs and added 1 1/2 cups water. There was plenty of room to do more chicken. Thanks so much for or another fantastic recipe!

  9. Hi, thinking of making this tonight, do I need a steamer basket? My ip did not come with one and will take too long to order.

    1. Hi Beau,

      Hope you had a wonderful New Year & Christmas 🙂
      The trivet that comes with the Instant Pot will work fine.

      Happy New Year & please take care
      Jacky

  10. I am new to Instant Pots and tried this recipe for first time. It was good. My wife actually liked it better than my BBQ. (Not sure I’m okay with that however!) She liked it more for the moistness of the chicken. When I glazed the chicken in the oven I noticed the BBQ sauce under the breasts came off and left the meat w/out sauce. For those of us who really like barbecue sauce this is a problem. How can I keep BBQ sauce on all sides of chicken while glazing?

    1. Hi Tim,

      Hope you had a wonderful Christmas Holiday 🙂
      Thank you so much for your kind words!

      The best way will be using an oven tray rack with the oven tray

      Please take care & have a wonderful weekend
      Jacky

  11. Merry Christmas!

    What would the cook time be if I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs? My husband and I loved it with drumsticks, but I want to try with boneless, skinless thighs next.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Jeanie,

      Merry Christmas to you and your husband as well!

      Boneless skinless chicken thighs will need 1 minute less.

      Please take care & have a wonderful holiday!
      Jacky

  12. Hi,
    I’m new to the IP and so appreciate your website. You’re helping build my confidence, yay! I’d really like to try this BBQ chicken with potatoes but don’t understand how to get the timing right. This recipe calls for pressure cooking the checking for 8 minutes and your potato recipe calls for pressure cooking the potatoes for 12 minutes. So, based another comment in this post I’m thinking based I’ll put the chicken on the bottom in the steamer basket with the potatoes on the steamer rack on top of the chicken and cook for 12 minutes with 10 minute natural release. Does that sound right?

    1. Hi Kate,

      Welcome to our site and thank you so much for your kind words 🙂

      I recommend cutting the potatoes into smaller chunks (depending on the size of the potatoes, it will be 6 – 8 pieces).

      You can then keep the recipe at 8 minutes and 10 minutes natural release.

      Please take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

    1. Hi Sanna,

      thank you for your question 🙂
      The steamer rack that comes with the Instant Pot will work just fine!

      Please take care & have a wonderful weekend
      Jacky

  13. I bought some already cooked rotisserie chicken breast.
    Do you think that I can make the barbecue chicken in the Instant pot. How long should I cook it if it is doable?

    1. Hi Janice,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      If the chicken is already cooked, you will just want to warm it up.

      If it is straight from the fridge, I will put it on the trivet and pressure cook for 2 minutes + 10 minutes.

      Please take care & have an amazing evening
      Jacky

  14. This was my first experience cooking with our InstantPot and the chicken came out amazing!! I was so surprised (not that your recipe worked but that the chicken was actually cooked all the way through in such a short period of time.) I have subscribed and cannot wait to try your other recipes 🙂 Thank you

  15. Hi Amy & Jacky,

    I would love to try this recipe with boneless chicken breast. I saw your comment about a combination of breast and legs. How long would I cook just boneless chicken breast?

  16. Okay, this is what I love about Jacky and Amy…When I get online and try to find an Instant Pot recipe for barbecue chicken thighs, I come across some other site that say cook them for 20 minutes. No way. Then I find your recipe and I trust that you know what you are talking about when you say 8 minutes. I trust your method of caramelizing. I’ll use my toaster oven which works well for broiling small amounts. I know my dinner will be great! Thank you for doing the experimentation for us.

  17. We love your baby back ribs and I’m sure this barbecued chicken will be just as wonderful!
    Thank you for all your hard work, research and recipes!

    1. Hi Dana,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      Frozen thighs should be cooked direct submerged in the liquid. I would recommend increasing the cooking time by 2 – 3 minutes.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  18. Just used my IP for the first time with this recipe. It got great reviews from the whole family. If I mix chicken breasts and legs, what kind of time adjustment would I need to make? How would you stack those? I’m feeding a family of 5, with 3 teenagers (not young kids). Thank you.

    1. Hi ZA,

      thank you so much for your kind words and question 🙂

      I would recommend placing the legs in the liquid and the breasts on the steamer rack.

      The cooking time will be 6 minutes and 8 minutes natural release.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  19. This recipe was easy and delicious! I was able to make six drumsticks with the IP insert. I would like to make 12. Do I just stack the drumsticks on top of each other?

    1. Hi Nancy,

      thank you for your question and kind words 🙂

      I would recommend putting the other six drumsticks in the liquid.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  20. Would it make a difference if I put in 12 chicken thighs to cook all at once? Or should I cook 6 at a time in two batches? Thank you. (If you could reply directly to my email address, I would really appreciate that as I don’t know how to access this comment page again.)

    1. Hi Carol,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      I would place 6 chicken thighs at the bottom of the pot and then 6 on the trivet. The cooking time will be the same.

      I have emailed you the response.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

    2. Sounds great! Thank you very much for the super-fast response time. I really appreciate it. Your recipes are terrific. Thank you for sharing!
      Carol

  21. Would I reduce the time at any of the steps if I were to cook it on an actual BBQ after I take it out of the instant pot?

    1. Hi Christine,

      thank you for your question 🙂

      The cooking time can be the same as long as you put the chicken pieces on the hottest spot of an actual BBQ to caramelize the sauce.

      Take care & have fun cooking
      Jacky

  22. Well I made the chicken tonight and I was very pleased. The IP insert worked well and the chicken came out moist and flavorful. I can’t say the liquid smoke did much, but I used a dry rub on the chicken prior to cooking, so they were very tasty. I decided not to dry them off when they came out of the IP, because I didn’t want to wipe away all the great seasonings. I basted them with BBQ sauce and put them under the broiler on one side and then the other. They came out delicious and I will surely make this again. Thanks for the great recipes you share with all of us!

  23. I’m wondering if I can use the steam insert that came with my IP instead of the steaming basket. I would like to make this recipe tonight and no longer have a steam basket as the one shown.

  24. Had that BBQ’d chicken last night for dinner. I used the steamer basket on top of the chicken for 2 potatoes that I had scrubbed & pricked. I let the food cook for 22 minutes and release natural since we like the meat to melt in our mouth.
    That and some fresh, snapped green beans that I steamed for 7 minutes then added to some chicken broth, onion and concentrated bacon flavoring and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. (We are partial to softer foods rather than crisper, restaurant style).
    It was a good meal and I loved the chicken.
    Thank you.

  25. Every recipe I have tried has turned out fabulously delicious! And that is coming from a “Newbie”! They are easy and yummy!
    **I noticed your steamer basket lifting handle is flat and not the hook shape as the link. I really like the flat such as yours. Is there something you did differently?

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