COVID Cooking: 2-Ingredient Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

2-ingredient pesto chicken instant pot. easy recipes

Looking for a really quick and easy way to make a relatively healthy dinner? One that just requires you to dump some chicken and one other ingredient into a pot, press a button, and go? Meet your new mealtime BFF: two-ingredient Instant Pot chicken!

Read on for some easy and delicious recipes involving chicken breasts (or thighs) and your Instant Pot. These are not the meals you break out when you want to impress your friends or channel your inner Julia Child. They’re for the days when you realize it’s 5:30, you haven’t even thought about dinner, you still have to drive another carpool, and cereal isn’t an option!

But don’t be fooled by these simple meals. These two-ingredient Instant Pot chicken dinners are really good, filling, and ideal for winter cooking.

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Easy and Delicious Instant Pot Chicken Two Ingredients

We get it! Life gets busy. Even if you don’t have loads of time to plan out gourmet meals, you can still feed your family some delicious, nutritious chicken dinners. Whether you like shredded chicken, frozen chicken tenderloins, chicken thighs, or chicken breasts– there’s an Instant Pot chicken recipe for everyone.

I am personally a big fan of frozen chicken tenderloins for these meals. You can keep them in your freezer for a long time without worrying about them going bad. They also cook faster than frozen chicken breasts, and the softer pressure-cooked texture seems to work better on smaller pieces of meat for these two-ingredient recipes. Even better– it’s easier for little hands to cut them.

But any type of chicken or meat will work here. Pretty much any type of sauce or marinade could work here, too. Just use your imagination and enjoy!

A Note on the Cook Time and Measurements

Instant Pot chicken cooking is NOT an exact science. The ratios of chicken to sauce are general guidelines and will depend on your family’s personal preferences. At a bare minimum, use at least 1/2 cup of sauce, but you can use more if you’d like.

The same goes for the quantity of chicken. Many nights, I just dump my chicken tenderloins into the pot and let the magic happen. It pretty much always does!

If you use frozen chicken breasts or larger pieces of meat, plan on cooking them for about 10 minutes at high pressure. This should give your meat a nice texture that’s ideal for shredding. If you’re using thawed diced chicken, your cook time could be closer to 3 minutes at high heat. Since chicken strips or tenderloin is usually my meat of choice, I tend to cook them for 7.

In time, you’ll figure out the right ratio for you and your family. You can always add extra sauce at the end as a garnish if you thought you didn’t use enough. If you used too much, just throw out the extra, or add some broth and recycle it as a base for a soup.

Bottom line: these Instant Pot chicken recipes are designed to make your life easier. So do whatever makes you feel happy.

instant pot chicken with salsa made into tacos

1. Instant Pot Chicken With Salsa

This two-ingredient recipe involves pouring a jar of your favorite salsa or pico de gallo and chicken into your Instant Pot. I usually cook frozen chicken on high pressure for about 7 minutes, but you could get away with as little as 3 minutes if you have thawed diced chicken.

Once it’s cooked, enjoy over rice, a salad, or put in taco shells and enjoy with beans or guacamole.

2. Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

Grab a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce and some chicken breasts or thighs. Set your cook time for about 7 minutes, and let the pressure of the Instant pot do its thing. For this recipe, you might want to cook chicken breasts for about 10 minutes or more so you can shred the chicken for some delightful barbecue chicken sandwiches.

2 ingredient barbecue chicken breasts. instant pot.

2-Ingredient Barbecue Instant Pot Chicken

The perfect solution for those busy nights.
4.80 from 10 votes
Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 11 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8 people
Calories 202 kcal


  • 2.0 lbs chicken breasts about 8 medium breasts. Can sub another type of chicken.
  • 12.0 oz barbecue sauce


  • Put sauce and chicken into Instant Pot
  • Set Instant Pot to high pressure, cook for 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy as chicken breasts, or take a fork and shred.


Calories: 202kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 24gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 568mgPotassium: 518mgFiber: 1gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 129IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
Keyword chicken, dairy-free, easy, gluten-free
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

3. Pesto Instant Pot Chicken

Take a small jar (about 12 oz) or your favorite Pesto (I’m a huge fan of Trader Joe’s vegan cashew pesto), add your chicken, and crank up the pressure! Serve it over cauliflower rice, regular rice, or just enjoy it on its own. It’s an easy and delicious one-pot meal.

4. Instant Pot Italian Chicken

By recipe #4 you probably know the drill: get a bottle of Italian dressing and some of your favorite chicken. Put them in your go-to pressure cooker and wait for the timer to alert you when dinner’s ready.

instant pot chicken with herbs and spices

5. Instant Pot Balsamic Chicken

Looking for a delightfully tangy pressure cooker chicken? Add in 2 lbs of boneless chicken thighs (or chicken of your choice), 1/2 cup balsamic dressing, and in just a few minutes (probably close to 30 including the 10 minutes of pressure time) you’ll have a delicious chicken dinner.

6. Green Goddess Chicken

Who wants some creamy green goodness? Add a half cup of your favorite green goddess dressing, 2 lbs of chicken, combine in your instant pot, and dinner is served! This could also be a nice addition to Taco Tuesday if you’re tired of salsa chicken. Serve in a taco shell, and enjoy with the tangy contrast of fresh salsa on top.

Extra Instant Pot Chicken Tips

  • Add a little bit of chicken stock to some of these recipes, and you’ve got a flavorful base for a soup. The salsa chicken, in particular, makes a delightful chicken tortilla soup base.

  • You can always add extra seasonings as you’d like, but the beauty of using pre-made sauces is they’ve done the heavy lifting and flavor profiles for you already.

  • If you’re watching your calories, fat, or carbs, be sure to read the label on the sauces you use. Not all marinades are created equal! Look for some with lower sugar content.

  • Smaller cuts of chicken cook more quickly, so plan accordingly. They also generally taste better in the Instant pot than breasts or bigger cuts of chicken.If you’re more of a slow-cooker or crockpot kind of person, these recipes will all work there, too. Just adjust your cook time settings.

  • These recipes are just a way to get started. You can basically combine a half cup or more of any type of dressing with chicken, put them together in a pressure cooker, and end up with a flavorful dinner. Why not try teriyaki chicken or marinara sauce chicken, too?

What are some of your favorite Instant Pot recipes? Find some new ones from your loved ones at or tag us on social #getfamilyapp.

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