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This Instant Pot BBQ chicken is juicy and tender at a fraction of the time. Get your Instant Pot ready for this quick and easy weeknight dinner. You can even use frozen chicken too!

Instant Pot BBQ chicken

This BBQ chicken recipe produces super juicymeat with crispy skin by finishing it off under the broiler. Serve it with coleslaw, baked beans, potato salad, pasta salad, mac and cheese or a simple garden salad.


  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2.5 lbs skin-on bone-in chicken pieces, Note 1
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • ¾ cup BBQ sauce, of your choice


  • In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, smoked paprika, chili powder, onion and garlic powder, salt and black pepper.
  • Place chicken pieces in the inner pot of your Instant Pot.
  • Sprinkle the prepared spice rub on the chicken pieces. Using a pair of kitchen tongs, toss the chicken with spices to mix together.
  • Add chicken broth into the pot.
  • Close the lid and make sure the valve is set to “sealing”.
  • Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook/Manual for 5 minutes on high. (NOTE: It took 12 minutes for my IP to come to pressure.)
  • Once the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes (see Note 2 below), and then carefully turn the valve to venting. Once the pin drops, carefully open the lid.
  • Using a pair of tongs, carefully remove the chicken pieces on to a greased baking sheet, skin side up. (See Note 3 below.)
  • Apply a generous coat of BBQ sauce on the chicken pieces.
  • Broil for 4-5 minutes, or until the skin starts to crisp up and get slightly charred around the edges. Serve hot with extra BBQ sauce for dipping.


Note 1a: This recipe uses bone-in chicken pieces so that it stays juicy and moist. We used a combination of thighs and drumsticks. Also, skin-on chicken is highly recommended, because what’s a BBQ chicken without crispy skin! We used a combination of thighs and drumsticks, but you can use all thighs or all drumsticks. Skinless, boneless thighs or breast is not recommended.
Note 1b: You can totally use frozen chicken pieces too. Just make sure they are individual pieces and not clumped up together. Increase the “Pressure Cook” time from 5 minutes to 8 minutes. Natural release time stays at 10 minutes.
Note 2: Make sure you do the quick release after 10 minutes. For this particular recipe, we want the chicken pieces to be fully cooked but still firm and not falling off the bones.
Note 3: The cooking liquid left in the Instant Pot after pressure cooking is very flavorful. Do not discard it. Refrigerate it for about a week or freeze it for up to 3 months. You can use it as the cooking liquid for another batch of this exact recipe or use it as the base of your favorite soup or stew or curry.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 526kcal, Carbohydrates: 26g, Protein: 37g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 8g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 145mg, Sodium: 1488mg, Potassium: 566mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 21g, Vitamin A: 713IU, Vitamin C: 8mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 2mg
All images and text ©. Disclaimer: Nutritional information is estimate only. Read full disclosure here.
Continue Reading for additional tips and serving suggestions.

Usually BBQ chicken is reserved for weekends, but electric pressure cooker comes to the rescue to make this classic weekend treat into a quick and easy weeknight dinner.

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken ingredients:

Get your spice drawer ready for this delicious recipe!

  • Chicken – We used a combination of bone-in thighs and drumsticks in this recipe. Also, skin-on chicken is highly recommended, because what’s a BBQ chicken without crispy skin! You can use all thighs or all drumsticks if you wish.
  • BBQ Sauce – Here’s my homemade BBQ sauce recipe or you can use your favorite store-bought sauce.
  • Spices – We’re making our own spice blend for these bbq chicken, but you’re more than welcome to use your favorite blend as well.

How to make BBQ Chicken in an Instant Pot?

  1. Combine spices, place chicken pieces in inner pot of your Instant Pot, and season the chicken.
  2. Add chicken broth, cover and set the Instant Pot for 5 minutes on high. (NOTE: It took 12 minutes for my IP to come to pressure, your pressure cooker may be different.)
  3. Once the time is complete, allow the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Then turn the pressure valve to “venting” and open it once the pin has dropped.
  4. Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot (rest/cool chicken for 3-5 minutes prior), apply BBQ sauce, and broil for 4-5 minutes.  Serve hot with extra BBQ sauce for dipping. Enjoy!

Does BBQ sauce count as a liquid in the Instant Pot?

Unfortunately not! It’s too thick and will scorch on the bottom of the pressure cooker, causing a “BURN” notice. The cup of chicken broth adds the liquid required to avoid this happening, you can also use water.

Can you stack chicken in the Instant Pot?

Yes, but be sure to season the chicken evenly!

Why is Instant Pot chicken rubbery?

Chicken tends to be rubbery when undercooked. So, you may need to cook it for a little longer. Also, make sure to do NPR (Natural Pressure Release) for at least 10 minutes, as it’s part of cooking time.

How do you defrost chicken in a pressure cooker?

For this recipe, you don’t need to defrost the chicken.

You can use frozen chicken (make sure they’re not frozen in one big lump!). Simply, increase the cook time from 5 minutes to 8 minutes. The natural release time stays at 10 minutes.

TIP: Make sure the frozen chicken is individual pieces, and not clumped up together when you place them in the pressure cooker.

If however, you want to use your Instant Pot to defrost chicken apply the following steps:

  1. Pour a cup of water into your pressure cooker and place your trivet in.
  2. Stack the frozen chicken pieces on the trivet.
  3. Lock the lid in place and select “high pressure” and 1 minute cook time. Once cooked use natural release.

What goes well with BBQ chicken:

Chicken is such a versatile dish. Here’re some of our favorite sides:

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! Let me know once you’ve tried it by leaving a comment below or sharing a photo and tagging @busy_cooks on Instagram!

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