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Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches Made in an Instant Pot

Are you a big Instant Pot fan? This appliance is the modern version of pressure cookers. When I first started cooking, I had a pressure cooker; but I must admit, it hissed at me, which was unnerving, and I was always terrified it would explode. I received an Instant Pot as a gift. It has taken me a while to get comfortable with it, but now I love using it. The Instant Pot is an electrical pressure cooker that is controlled by a digital interface and has built-in safety features. I love this. No more fear of unexpected explosions. Unlike a pressure cooker that sits on your stove top, the Instant Pot sits on your counter like a slow cooker and plugs into an outlet.

Once you familiarize yourself with the instructions, its pretty easy to operate. You set the timer for your desired cooking time, and the Instant Pot automatically brings up and holds the pressure at a safe level and will not let you open it until the pressure is released. Proponents of the Instant Pot believe it drastically reduces cooking time and develops nice flavor profiles. I have been experimenting with my Instant Pot, and my husband loves my recipe for Barbecued Chicken Sandwiches. Chicken breasts are cooked in a spicy liquid that yields tender, juicy, and delicious results.

If you are new to Instant Pots, there are a few things to consider. When a recipe says 16 minutes cooking time, you must take into consideration that you need 10 to 15 minutes for the pot to reach its desired temperature and then 10 to 15 minutes for it to depressurize.

Following is my recipe for barbecue chicken sandwiches that can be prepped in about five minutes and an easy recipe for coleslaw. If you are in a hurry to put dinner on the table, supermarkets do sell pre-shredded chicken or you can purchase a rotisserie chicken. If you purchase a rotisserie chicken, a 3- to 4-pound chicken should yield two pounds of meat. I have included tips on using rotisserie chicken.

Carol Ann’s Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches Serves 6 to 8

1 cup water 1 ½ cups of your favorite barbecue sauce, divided ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder 1 teaspoon chili powder 2 tablespoons brown sugar ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon large grind black pepper 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts ¼ to ½ cup reserved cooking liquid 6 to 8 brioche buns, toasted In a small bowl, place water, ¼ cup barbecue sauce, garlic and onion powders, chili powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper and whisk to blend. Place the sauce in the Instant Pot. Place chicken breasts in the sauce. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Press the high pressure setting on the Instant Pot and set the cooking time to 16 minutes. The Instant Pot will take several minutes to reach pressure before the cooking time begins. (Mine takes 10 minutes.) Once pressure is reached, the cooking time will begin. When the cooking time ends, let the pressure naturally release. This will take between 10 and 15 minutes depending upon the brand of pot. Let the Instant Pot sit during this time. Do not try to open the pot. Once pressure is released, carefully move the steam release valve to the venting position and release the steam. Once all the steam has been released, carefully open the Instant Pot lid. Use a meat thermometer to ensure chicken breasts have been cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove chicken breasts to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred chicken meat. Place the shredded chicken into a bowl and pour the remaining 1 ¼ cups barbecue sauce and ¼ to ½ cup of reserved cooking liquid from the Instant Pot over the chicken. Toss to combine. Serve on toasted brioche buns with Carol Ann’s Super Simple Coleslaw.

Carol Ann’s Super Simple Coleslaw Serves 4 to 6

For the dressing:

⅔ cup mayonnaise 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar 2 tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon sugar ¼ teaspoon celery salt In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, vinegar, milk, sugar, and celery salt and whisk to blend. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to toss salad. 1 package (16-ounces) coleslaw mix In a large bowl, place coleslaw mix, pour dressing over the top, and toss to combine. Cover coleslaw with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour before serving.

Tips on using rotisserie chicken: If you are buying rotisserie chicken from the deli, it should be stored in an oven-like area. Be sure it is hot at the time of purchase. Deli-roasted chicken should be eaten within 2 hours after bringing it home. If you’d like to refrigerate it to use the next day, cut it into several pieces and refrigerate it in shallow, covered containers. Rotisserie chicken must be eaten within 3 to 4 days and can be served either cold or hot. When reheating, it’s best to bring the chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Chicken should be hot and steaming. It is safe to freeze rotisserie chicken by placing it in freezer bags or airtight, freezer-safe containers. It will keep for 4 months, but I prefer not to keep it longer than 30 days.

Carol Ann

Carol Ann Kates is the award-winning author of cookbook, Secret Recipes from the Corner Market and Grocery Shopping Secrets. She’s an expert in how to shop, select, and store produce for maximizing home cooking outcomes and minimizing time and money spent. As a former supermarket and deli operator, Carol Ann shares grocery-insider wisdom—the same expertise you used to receive when patronizing a mom-and-pop establishment. Contact her at and explore her website,

Copyright 2023 All Rights Reserved Carol Ann Kates

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