With just 5 simple ingredients, this Instant Pot BBQ Chicken only takes 5 minutes to prep. It's great for sandwiches, tacos, and easy meal prep throughout the week. Use a sugar-free BBQ sauce to make this recipe Whole30.
I do not use my Instant Pot often, but I’m reminded why I love it so much when I do. I love throwing in all the ingredients and walking away, and this recipe is one of my favorites. The chicken comes out perfectly tender and juicy every time. I prefer using chicken thighs because they have more flavor and are less likely to dry out when reheated but chicken breast will work as well.
The recipe is made with simple ingredients you likely have on hand. All you need is the following:
- Diced or sliced Onion – red or white will work for this recipe.
- Boneless and Skinless Chicken Thighs – Chicken breast will work as well.
- BBQ Sauce - homemade or storebought. See notes below if you're doing Whole30.
- Chicken Stock or Water
- Salt and Pepper
For Whole30 BBQ chicken, look for a BBQ sauce without added sugar. I like to make my own or use Primal Kitchen.
Add the onions, garlic, chicken thighs, BBQ sauce, and stock or water to the Instant Pot. Stir to fully coat the meat in the BBQ sauce. Cover with the lid, set the vent to seal, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes. Allow to natural release for 10 minutes and then quick release. Once the pin drops, remove the lid.
Shred the chicken and add back to the pot with the onions and sauce or serve the chicken whole with sauce and onions spooned over the top.
Cooking Tip: Season with salt and pepper if needed. I recommend seasoning after cooking as the BBQ sauce and stock both have salt in them. This ensures you do not over-salt the chicken.
Preheat a large pot over medium heat. Add a ½ tablespoon of oil to the pan. Once warm, add the onions and garlic and sauté for 30 seconds to lightly soften. Add the chicken thighs, BBQ sauce, and liquid. Stir to fully combined and cover with a lid. Reduce to medium-low and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through - stirring occasionally. Once fully cooked, remove the chicken from the liquid, shred, and add back to the liquid before serving.
Add more water or stock if the BBQ sauce becomes too thick or starts to stick to the bottom of the pan. If the sauce gets too thick it can cause the sauce to burn.
Add all the ingredients to a crockpot or slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.
Whole30 Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken
To make this recipe Whole30, make your own BBQ sauce from scratch or use a store-bought, sugar-free brand. Primal Kitchen has several types of Whole30 approved BBQ sauces available. You can find them in most grocery stores or on Amazon.
How to Serve
I love using this chicken for tacos! For an easy BBQ Chicken Tacos, add the cooked chicken to lettuce cups or thinly sliced jicama and top with pickled or raw red onions, cabbage, and avocado.
For another quick meal option, serve the shredded chicken on a roasted sweet potato.
BBQ Chicken Variations
You can jazz up this simple recipe by adding a few extra ingredients. I like to use Primal Kitchen’s Hawaiian BBQ sauce and ½ cup of chopped pineapple for a bit of sweetness. It’s great served as tacos with a little shredded cabbage.
The Hawaiian chicken is also great served on Hawaiian Rolls!
If Whole30, use fresh or canned pineapple that does not have any added sugar.
I love to use an Instant Pot for this recipe, but I’ve included the directions for using a Crockpot/Slow Cooker or stovetop. The Instant Pot is great for quick recipes like this one and for bone broth and chili. Plus, they make an Air Fryer attachment. We all know how much I love my Air Fryer!!
Make-Ahead and Storage
This recipe is excellent for meal prep or to make-ahead. I like to cook a large batch, so we have a quick protein ready throughout the week. Leftover will last in the refrigerator for 4-5 days.
To reheat, microwave for 1 minute or until warm.
Cooking Note: I prefer to use Chicken Thighs as they do not dry out like chicken breast when reheated.
This recipe can be made with boneless and skinless chicken breast or thighs. The thighs will be less likely to dry out or overcook. If making this recipe with breast, I recommend using organic chicken. I've found it had more flavor and isn't as dry.
Yes! To make this recipe with bone-in chicken breast or thighs but I'll need to increase the cooking time. For thighs, I would increase the cooking time to 20 minutes and 25 minutes for the breast. If the chicken has the skin on, remove it before cooking.
A rubbery texture can occur when you overcook the chicken. If you allow the chicken to sit in the Instant Pot for too long after the natural release of pressure, it will continue to cook and that will give you that rubbery/dry texture.
Other Recipes to Try
Like this recipe? Don't forget to Pin it! Check out our Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube Channel for cooking demos and more. You can also see what I am pinning on Pinterest for more Whole30 and Paleo recipe ideas!Print
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