Chicken breast is the healthiest meat cut and also the toughest one to deal with. The only way to have perfectly-cooked chicken breasts every time is to rely on a good recipe, and boy, have we got a bunch for you.
This collection has all sorts of dishes you can make with lean meat, from hearty soups to delicious curries. All can be made inside the Instant Pot, saving you lots of time.
Is Pressure Cooking Chicken Breasts Healthy?
Pressure-cooking is considered a healthy cooking method because it preserves nutrients well, especially when the food contains heat-sensitive vitamins.
Being heat-sensitive means that during cooking, a part of the vitamin is destroyed by heat. How much is destroyed depends on how long the food is cooked for, not the temperature.
‘How is this related to chicken breasts?’, you might be wondering. Not only are they packed with proteins, but chicken breasts also contain plenty of vitamin B6, a heat-sensitive nutrient.
By minimizing the cooking time, machines like the Instant Pot can minimize nutrient loss as well.
How Many Calories Does a Chicken Breast Have?
Before getting to the answer, we want to clarify the definition of a chicken breast. What we usually call ‘a chicken breast’ is actually HALF of the breast, whose weight ranges from 3 to 12 ounces.
Almost all of our chicken breast recipes use skinless chicken breasts for this reason. Healthy eating involves watching our calorie intake, and there are better ways to spend the calories than on chicken fat.
How to Cook Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot
You can make soups and curries with chicken breasts, and they’re the easiest dishes. Most Instant Pot chicken breast recipes simply ask you to add all ingredients into the pot and turn on a specific cooking mode.
Other dishes often require you to sear the chicken first, then the seasonings and other ingredients like vegetables, pasta, rice, etc. Similarly, you’ll also be selecting a specific mode for that dish.
Although there are a lot of modes, they only differ in cooking time and pressure intensity, all of which are manually adjustable. We often use:
‘Sauté’: to sear the chicken breast and cook the vegetables.
‘Meat/Stew’: to pressure-cook foods on high pressure (we rarely use low). This mode has a default timing, which we often adjust by pressing ‘-‘ or ‘+’.
How much to decrease or increase depends on the recipe, and it’s absolutely crucial that you follow it strictly.
How Long to Cook Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot
1. Fresh Chicken
No matter what dish, chicken breasts will cook in about 15 minutes. This typically includes 10 minutes of searing then another 5 minutes of pressure-cooking.
The machine also needs time to build up the pressure and to release it, all of which take about 5 minutes. From start to finish, the quickest recipe can take about 20 minutes.
The chicken may also be cooked with vegetables, pasta, or rice. These items can add up to 20 minutes to the cooking time, especially if they’re not cooked at the same time as the chicken.
In short, a chicken breast recipe can take you from 25 minutes to 45 minutes (prep time included). If you forget to thaw your meat, things can be a little longer.
2. Frozen Chicken
Under the Instant Pot’s pressure, frozen meat can also be cooked quickly and evenly. Searing frozen chicken breasts takes about 2 minutes longer, and the pressure-cooking only needs about 5 minutes more.
What Happens if You Over Pressure-Cook Chicken Breasts?
You can overcook them, and once you do, the moisture will escape from the chicken, leaving you a dry and tough piece of meat.
To avoid this, it’s important not to eyeball the timing and follow the recipe instructions strictly. Recipes that have been tested in the kitchen guarantee delicious results every single time.
Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipes
Here are a few Instant Pot chicken breast recipes for you to choose from:
Instant Pot Chicken Alfredo: This creamy pasta and chicken dish cooks in only 25 minutes, and it tastes just as satisfying as it looks. The meat is properly browned on the outside and perfectly juicy on the inside.
Instant Pot Chicken Breast: This chicken mushroom pasta may take a little longer to cook, but that’s just how long a better flavor takes. The recipe promises succulent chicken, chewy mushroom slices, and flavorful pasta.
Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken: This one is the best recipe for busy nights: a delicious meal that comes together in 15 minutes. It has cut-up chicken breasts drizzled with a thick, zingy balsamic glaze and some vegetables on the side.
Instant Pot Lemon Chicken: The creamy lemon sauce is on point: it’s made with butter, garlic, onion, stock, heavy cream, lemon juice, and a good amount of lemon zest. With some pasta or rice, it’d make a decent dinner.
Instant Pot Chicken Piccata: If you want something really sour, try this chicken piccata. Just imagining slurping up the saucy noodles with an extra sour taste from the capers makes me salivate.
Instant Pot Honey Mustard Chicken: Molly loves a balance in flavor, and so she smothered her chicken with a sweet and tangy sauce. There’s honey, mustard, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder. The whole thing comes together in just 23 minutes.
Instant Pot Chicken Teriyaki: The glossy chicken is achieved by simmering down the chicken in the salty-sweet sauce that tastes and smells delicious. It’s a serious rice killer.
Instant Pot Kung Pao Chicken: Speaking of rice killers, these spicy, sweet, and salty chicken cubes cooked with juicy bell pepper chunks are also a good example. It’s something Chinese food lovers should not miss!
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice: For a simple and easy meal, make chicken and rice. You simply need to add chicken, rice, broth, vegetables to your likings, and seasonings to the pot, and out comes a decent meal.
Instant Pot Chicken Biryani: Chicken biryani is a dish that errs on the dry side, but each grain of rice and piece of chicken is bursting with flavors. This is an easy Indian staple that gives you a peek into the colorful cuisine.
Instant Pot Chicken Korma: Serve this creamy chicken korma over rice and you’ll get a super addictive meal. The sauce is full of spices, creaminess, and flavors.
Instant Pot Butter Chicken: This Indian staple is more than just butter and chicken: it’s packed with spices and tastes incredible. The chicken is cooked in a creamy, tomatoey sauce and plenty of butter, turning out super juicy meat.
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala: Tikka masala is similar to butter chicken, but there is more tomato paste, making the sauce taste tangier and take on a deeper orange shade. Include both of the dishes in your diet — they require similar ingredients.
Instant Pot Chicken Curry: These tender chicken chunks are cooked down in a savory, creamy curry sauce and served over rice. It’s a flavorful meal done in 25 minutes!
Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry: This red Thai curry includes plenty of cooling herbs, giving you a completely different sensation from the Indian curry. It’s packed with strong flavors and takes on a beautiful red shade thanks to red chilies, a must-have Thai staple.
Instant Pot Chicken Massaman Curry: Massaman curry shares a similar flavor profile with red curry but is less spicy and much more creamy, thanks to extra coconut milk. Both of these go great with cooked white rice and are easy dinners to cook ahead of time.
Instant Pot Chicken Pumpkin Curry: This curry is an autumnal take on the Thai red curry, made extra creamy thanks to the pumpkin purée. Similar to other Thai curries, it has tender veggies and chunks of chicken, exceptionally good with rice.
Instant Pot Chicken Gumbo: This New Orleans staple is filled with chewy sausages, tender veggies, and juicy chicken shreds, all swimming in a thick broth. The broth is cooked using a brown roux and plenty of Cajun spices, best complemented with a bowl of hot rice.
Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings: Hearty and wholesome is what this soup is all about. It’s packed tightly with chewy dumplings, tender chicken, and veggies, all combined with a delightful broth to make the perfect dinner.
Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup: Chicken and rice also make a hearty soup, and this recipe is the perfect proof. It’s loaded with wild rice, chicken, celery, mushrooms, and carrots, all cooked to tender perfection in the flavorful broth.
Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup: This healthy soup is filled with tender chunks of chicken, veggies, and rotinis, and is super fragrant. The best part is, it comes together in just 20 minutes!
Instant Pot Chicken Orzo: This similarly wholesome soup also calls for nothing less than hearty ingredients. We love that it has rosemary and lemon zest, which make the bowl of soup extra aromatic.
Instant Pot Chicken Chili: What makes this chicken chili so worthwhile is that it’s filled with nothing but rich flavors, yet takes only 30 minutes to make. Each succulent piece of chicken, bean, and corn is submerged in a spicy, flavorful broth.
Instant Pot Tortilla Soup: The best tortilla soup should cook low and slow, but when there’s the Instant Pot, that’s not necessarily the case. This Tex-Mex delicacy cooks in about half an hour, and it’s got the best ingredients: fire-roasted tomato broth, corn, bean, chicken, and plenty of Mexican spices.
Instant Pot Salsa Chicken: Speaking of ‘Mexican’ and ‘quick-to-make’, this salsa chicken is also worth a try. Corn, kidney beans, and chicken shreds are coated in a spicy-tangy salsa that goes well with rice, tortillas, or flatbreads.
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken: This recipe cooks up a flavorful filling for tacos in about half an hour. If you don’t feel like tacos, add some broth, tomatoes, beans, and corn to the pot, and simmer for about 5 minutes for a delicious soup.
Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma: These juicy chicken shreds can be filled into pita bread or served on top of basmati rice. They’re loaded with bold flavors, assuring a satisfying meal.
Instant Pot Crack Chicken: Chicken shreds can also be sandwiched between soft buns to make awesome burgers. The meat is cooked with plenty of seasoning and cream, promising an addictive eat that will keep you up at night.
Instant Pot Lo Mein: This delicious Chinese takeout can be made at home in 25 minutes. The glossy noodles are mixed with tons of meat and veggies and cooked in a delicious sauce, making for an authentic experience.
Instant Pot Pad Thai: Pad Thai is a complex dish to make, but we tried our best to keep things simple yet still authentic. We seasoned it with fish sauce, brown sugar, and a squeeze of lime so that the noodles and chicken taste far from bland.