There are numerous ways to put together a delicious chicken sandwich, our Instant Pot BBQ chicken sandwich recipe is like no other. It is healthy, tasty, and beginner-friendly.
Instant Pots can do the heavy lifting in the cooking process and give you perfectly cooked chicken. Using this appliance is an acquired skill, but it will get easier once you get the hang of it. This mess-free recipe can help you make delectable sandwiches with minimal effort.
How Healthy Is This Recipe?
Yes, this recipe is suitable for a healthy diet.
Each 449-calorie serving contains 3.9 g of saturated fat and around 592 mg sodium, which is quite reasonable for a main dish.
The level of saturated fat is low thanks to skinless and boneless chicken breasts. Also, we adjust the amount of seasoning to make sure that this dish adheres to our nutrition guidelines.
Chicken breasts provide 40.7 g of complete protein in each serving of this meal. It is also a source of multiple minerals like calcium, zinc, and iron.
The recipe features an array of popular vegetables in sandwiches: green lettuce, red onion, and red cabbage. This powerhouse combination offers valuable nutrients like fiber and antioxidants, especially vitamins A and C.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Choosing a skinless and boneless cut will make shredding the chicken easier. We go with breast, but you can replace it with thigh if you’re looking for deeper flavors.
Using steam to cook, the Instant Pot resolves a recurring issue with chicken breasts: losing moisture. You can rest assured that the chicken will come out juicy and easy to shred.
After shredding comes seasoning. Since the chicken has been cooked in chicken broth, it already has a decent amount of flavor.
We go with tomato-based BBQ sauce, the most common variation of this sauce. The two main ingredients are ketchup and tomato paste.
An authentic BBQ dish needs some heat, so we call for paprika, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and Worcestershire sauce. We round out the flavor profile with salt, ground black pepper, brown sugar, and garlic powder.
Since there are a lot of flavors in this sandwich, we recommend going with some fresh vegetables. In this recipe, we have green lettuce, red cabbage, and red onion. These vegetables bring in a leafy and crunchy texture that nicely complements the meaty chicken.
You can replace this trio with other vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives, or pickles.
The buns are a very underrated aspect of sandwiches. While two simple slices of bread will suffice, you can elevate your sandwich by using brioche buns or pretzels.
Our choice is plain hamburger buns with sesame seeds. We spread some unsalted butter on the inside of the buns and lightly toast them in an air-fryer.
This brings out the richness of butter and nuttiness of the sesame, making every bite of your sandwich more tempting.
What Cheese Goes With BBQ Sauce?
This recipe doesn’t have cheese, but you can go ahead and add some. Cheese is delicious in sandwiches and there is no shortage of options for you.
Mozzarella, cheddar, and American cheese are common choices. Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack will add a little more spice to your sandwich.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
We recommend storing the ingredients separately and only assembling the sandwich right before eating. Most of the ingredients are served as is, leaving the shredded chicken as the only one that needs reheating.
Properly stored in an air-tight container, BBQ shredded chicken will last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge and up to 3 months in the freezer.
Thaw the frozen leftover in the fridge overnight before reheating. You can reheat the chicken in a 425 °F oven for 20 minutes or until warm.
What to Serve With
Sandwiches are usually accompanied by a refreshing salad or a crispy fried item. Here are some of our suggestions:
With our recipe for Instant Pot chicken enchiladas, you can easily prepare delectable meat rolls in a short amount of time. These enchiladas are characterized by their chewy texture, rich tomato flavor, and generous amount of cheese. Best of all, they can be made in just 30 minutes.
The tender, perfectly seared chicken and sweet, earthy, brown mushrooms in this recipe are as flavorful and glamorous as anything you'd order in an Italian restaurant. All of them are smothered in a creamy wine sauce and served on a bed of pasta.
Prepare the lettuce: Separate the lettuce leaves then discard the damaged or wilted ones. Wash the leaves carefully and dry them with a salad spinner.
Slice the cabbage: Cut the cabbage in half right down the middle. Make two diagonal incisions on the sides to remove the core from the halves. Cut the cabbage half into 1/8-inch slices to get thin shreds.
Slice the red onion: Cut the onion in half lengthwise and cut off the root. Cut the onion half into 1/8-inch slices then separate the layers.
Mince the garlic: Slice off the root and peel the skin. Mince the peeled garlic cloves.
Chop the parsley: Bunch the parsley together and chop finely.
Caramelize the garlic: Put the Instant Pot on ‘Sauté’ mode and wait for 5 minutes or until hot. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp garlic. Stir for 30 seconds to caramelize.
Cook the chicken: Add 22 oz skinless, boneless chicken breasts and 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth to the pot. Change the pot to ‘Stew’ mode, secure and lock the lid, and let it cook for 20 minutes.
Shred the chicken: Let the Instant Pot release steam slowly by itself or turn the release handle from the ‘sealed’ to the ‘venting’ position. After the steam is released, open the lid and shred the chicken into thin shreds with forks.
Season the chicken: Add 4 tbsp Heinz ketchup, 1 tbsp Hunt’s tomato paste, 1/2 tbsp all-purpose flour, 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, and 1/4 tsp salt to the chicken. Set the pot on ‘Sauté’ mode and stir thoroughly for 7 minutes.
Butter the hamburger buns: Cut 4 hamburger buns in half crosswise and spread 1 tbsp unsalted butter on the inside of both halves.
Toast the buns: Toast the buns in an air-fryer at 392 °F for 4 minutes.
Assemble the sandwich: Start with the bottom halves of the hamburger buns. Build 4 sandwiches with 3 oz green lettuce, 2 oz red cabbage, 2 oz red onion, and shredded chicken breasts. Then sprinkle with 2 tbsp parsley and add the top bun to finish the sandwich.
Serve and enjoy: Cut the sandwiches in half to serve.
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 448Calories from Fat 129
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 3.9g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.6g
Monounsaturated Fat 6.9g
Vitamin A 2600.8IU
Vitamin C 14.6mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
These chicken sandwiches were delicious! We used just enough bbq sauce for the perfect amount of flavor that wasn't too overpowering. The chicken stayed juicy and moist in the sandwiches, making them truly tasty!