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Ever find yourself at 6pm staring into your refrigerator and freezer and wondering: “What can I cook for dinner, and quick?” I’m pretty sure we’ve all been there, and it’s no fun. But on those nights, our Instant Pot has become our best friend, for being able to whip up a quick and delicious dinner. And today we’re talking all about How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breasts in the Instant Pot. Made in partnership with my friends at Farmer Focus.

Sliced chicken breasts that were cooked from frozen in the Instant PotInstant Pot Frozen Chicken Breasts

For a few years, you all have been asking us for a recipe on how to cook frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, and we resisted it. Generally speaking, it’s never a good idea to cook meat from frozen. A rapid change in temperature can make the meat tough, and nobody wants to eat a tough chicken breast, right? However, after so many requests came in, we caved and started working on the recipe. To say WE LOVED this method of cooking frozen chicken is an understatement.

Something magical happens when the frozen chicken breast is cooked in the Instant Pot because it comes out as the most tender, juicy, and flavorful chicken we’ve ever had. And now that we know that, there is no going back. We’re walking you through all you need to know about cooking frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot, as well as our not-so-secret sauce to serve with it.

Ingredients needed to cook frozen chicken breasts in the instant pot.Size Matters!

So the goal of cooking frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot is to cook them just right! You don’t want to overcook them as that can mean dry chicken. You don’t want to undercook them, because that, of course, means raw chicken. We always suggest using an instant-read thermometer (we love our Thermapen) to check the temperature of meat, but the goal is to get the chicken cooked to around 165º.  And the biggest indicator of proper cooking time of frozen chicken breasts is the size of the chicken breasts!

Chicken breasts these days can range in size anywhere from 9 ounces to more than 14 ounces! The actual time needed in the Instant Pot will depend exactly on how large your chicken breast is. Our best tip is that if you are cooking more than 1 chicken breast at a time, try to make sure they are all similar sizes. We recommend weighing the largest one before determining the amount of time needed. It is not the cumulative weight of all of the chicken breasts, but just the weight of the largest one that determines the number of minutes needed.

Cooking Time as Determined by Weight

  • 14 oz. chicken breast should be cooked at 15 minutes manual high pressure (MHP), plus 5 minutes natural pressure release (NPR)
  • 12-13 oz. chicken breast should be cooked at 14 minutes MHP, plus 5 minutes NPR
  • 11-12 oz. chicken breast should be cooked at 13 minutes MHP, plus 5 minutes NPR
  • 7-9 oz. chicken breast should be cooked at 11 minutes MHP, plus 5 minutes NPR

As all meat does, the chicken will continue to cook while it is resting, and this is a good thing. After the chicken has finished cooking in the Instant Pot and the pressure has been released, check the temperature. It should ideally be around 160ºF or so. Close the lid, and let the chicken sit for an additional 5 minutes. The temperature will continue to rise as the chicken rests. Double-check one more time that the temperature has risen to 165ºF after it has rested, and remove from the Instant Pot, while you make the pan sauce.

Quick Tip: If for some reason the chicken is below 155ºF once it has finished cooking, you can close the lid and cook the chicken on manual high pressure for 2 more minutes, with a quick release.

For sure it’s a delicate balance when cooking chicken between making sure it’s fully cooked, but not overcooked!

Quality Chicken is Key!

Chicken is of course the star of this dish, so it is incredibly important to use the best quality! I am so happy to partner with my friends at Farmer Focus to bring you this easy time-saving recipe. Farmer Focus has been my go-to, trusted chicken for years because they pride themselves in producing the highest quality meat grown on family-owned farms. You can 100% taste the difference. I love knowing that, without a doubt, when I pick up Farmer Focus chicken at the grocery store, it’s the best there is and I don’t have to question whether it was raised in a humane way.

Farmer Focus is building partnerships with farmers through their innovative Farmer Focus Business Model

What I love about Farmer Focus is that they are a company that supports their farmer partners and they are working hard to do things right and truly raise and produce the highest quality chicken! Every Farmer Focus product includes a 4-letter Farm ID that traces your chicken to the farm that raised it. Buying meat from Farmer Focus also gives me peace of mind that I am supporting hard-working family farmers.

Farmer Focus chickens are humanely raised and fed a diet free from animal byproducts, pesticides, and antibiotics. On their website you can see where all of the farms are located, so you know just where your chicken was raised! How awesome is that?!

You can also use their easy store locator to find where you can get this amazing quality chicken near you.

Raw frozen chicken breasts in the Instant Pot

A Note on Removing Frozen Chicken from Packages

It must be said that actually removing the frozen chicken from packaging can be tricky for this recipe. You want to avoid adding pieces of chicken that have been frozen solid together directly inside of the Instant Pot, as the chicken won’t cook evenly. The chicken needs to be in individual pieces. We have found that gently submerging chicken packaging in water allows the chicken to slightly defrost just enough around the edges to remove the chicken.

Seasoning the Chicken Breasts

We have seasoned the chicken breasts with our all-purpose spice mix that is a bit reminiscent of rotisserie chicken. It’s the same one that we use in our Instant Pot Whole Chicken. It calls for salt, pepper, dried thyme, and paprika. It’s a classic taste, but there is a ton of room to get creative and switch that up if you want! Stick with the recommended amount of salt and pepper, and then change up to any seasoning you want, or even cook the chicken plain.

Other Flavorings to Use for Frozen Chicken Breasts

You can season your chicken breast with just about anything using this method. Dried herbs and spices are your best friend with this one. Here are some suggestions:

Marinating Chicken Breasts

A few days ago we released a big guide to marinating chicken, along with 5 easy marinade recipes. The marinades are freezer friendly and we’re glad to say that they work really well with this technique of cooking frozen chicken breasts! Feel free to check out that post if you want to marinate your chicken instead of using our suggested seasoning here. It’s an easy way to spice up chicken!

Fully cooked chicken breasts in the Instant Pot.Making the Pan Sauce

How this recipe differs from a basic shredded chicken recipe, is that the chicken breasts should remain intact, and served with a really delicious pan sauce to make this dinner-worthy. The pan sauce is basically a quick reduction of the pan juices, along with a bit of lemon juice and a pat of butter or ghee (for dairy-free). All you have to do is press the saute button on the Instant Pot, and whisk the butter and lemon juice into the sauce. Reduce the sauce so it has just barely thickened. You don’t want to reduce it too much, as it can get too salty. If that does happen, a quick fix is to just add in a bit more water or chicken broth until the seasoning is correct. The pan sauce can have some bits of cooked chicken in it, and if you want you can strain the sauce to make it smooth.

How to Make This a Meal

There are so many options for serving with this meal. You can, of course, serve with a quick side salad for a simple meal. Or dress it up a bit with a favorite side dish:

Fully cooked chicken breasts on a plate with pan sauce and herbs.Ways to Use Cooked Chicken Breasts

Knowing how to cook frozen chicken breasts is great if you need a quick meal, but using this method is also a way to cook bulk chicken for different recipes. Here are our favorite ways of making meals out of cooked chicken breasts:

Watch the video here:

If you like this Instant Pot Chicken recipe, check out these others:

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Fully cooked chicken breasts on a plate with pan sauce and herbs.

How to Cook Frozen Chicken Breast in the Instant Pot

4.63 from 8 votes
Ever find yourself at 6pm staring into your refrigerator and freezer and wondering: "What can I cook for dinner, and quick?" I'm pretty sure we've all been there, and it's no fun. But on those nights, our Instant Pot has become our best friend, for being able to whip up a quick and delicious dinner.


  • 3 Farmer Focus Frozen Chicken Breasts boneless and skinless
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon butter or ghee
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • Place similar sized frozen chicken breasts inside of an Instant Pot. Pour chicken broth inside.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with the salt, paprika, thyme and black pepper.
  • Close the lid and set the valve to sealing.
  • Cook according to the size of your largest chicken breast. IE if your chicken breast is 12 ounces, cook for 14 minutes, with a natural release of 5 minutes. See the notes for cooking times!
  • Release any remaining pressure and check the temperature of the chicken. If it is less than 165ºF, place the lid back on and return the valve to sealing for another 5 minutes. Check one more time to ensure the chicken has reached the proper temperature.
  • Remove the chicken to a plate, cover loosely (with aluminum foil) and let rest for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile add the butter and lemon juice to the pot and press the saute function. Whisk the butter into the sauce until it melts, and let the sauce reduce until the sauce has just slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Slice the chicken, and serve with the pan sauce.


Cooking Times:
  • 14 oz. chicken breast: 15 minutes manual high pressure (MHP), plus 5-10 minutes natural pressure release (NPR)
  • 12-13 oz. chicken breast: 14 minutes MHP, plus 5-10 minutes NPR
  • 11-12 oz. chicken breast: 13 minutes MHP, plus 5-10 minutes NPR
  • 7-9 oz. chicken breast: 11 minutes MHP, plus 5-10 minutes NPR
See the post for troubleshooting tips!


Calories: 239kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 26gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 85mgSodium: 1700mg

This post is sponsored by Farmer Focus! All thoughts and opinions are always 100% my own! I love the integrity of their products and think you’ll love them too. Thank you for continuing to support LCL and the brands I work with!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    My husband loved it so much and was disappointed that I didn’t make extra, definitely putting this in the recipes for repeat dinners.

  2. Hi- the nutrition says 17 g carbs and I’m not seeing any significant carb source- where are the carbs coming from?

  3. 5 stars
    I really enjoyed this recipe. The chicken turned out moist and juicy and helped me in a pinch as I needed cooked chicken for another recipe & only had frozen. The sauce is tasty too. I did add some cornstarch slurry as recommended by another reviewer to thicken it a little. Thank you for the recipe. I am printing it out now for my “tried & liked” collection of recipes as I’m typing this.

  4. 5 stars
    I tried this last night because I forgot to take my chicken out of the freezer in advance. I googled for how to cook frozen chicken in the instant pot, and picked this recipe because I have followed Lexi for years and trusted her (I actually remembered when this recipe was posted after I saw it, but I skipped it then because I didn’t think cooking from frozen was a good idea). I was a bit apprehensive because chicken can take on a weird texture, especially in the instant pot, but I was pleasantly surprised because this came out great and not at all weird and creepy in texture. Perfect to use in the recipe I had planned.

  5. Hi! You mentioned in your post that ghee is non-dairy, but it’s not! It’s just clarified butter from a cow. It is still very much dairy but it is lactose free. I’m going to give the recipe a try tonight. I’m sure it will come out great. 😉

    1. Thank you! We intended it for those that don’t handle dairy well or lactose-intolerant. Didn’t specially say that Ghee is dairy free itself.

  6. 5 stars
    I doubled the portion to accommodate our family. It came out great. In addition to the lemon and butter that I added to the broth left in the Insta pot, I also put in some cornstarch to thicken up the sauce. I will definitely be making this recipe again and again.

    1. 5 stars
      THAT WAS FANTASTIC! That was the moistest chicken I have ever prepared. Before serving, be sure to slice the meat & pour on the sauce. It really adds to the flavor.

      I accidentally made a double batch of seasonings. I measured a teaspoon of salt, then a teaspoon of paprika … then realized the recipe called for ½ teaspoon of paprika. Oops. So I doubled everything to even out the taste, put that in an empty shaker I happened to have.
      On top of the broth (no trivet) I placed a chicken breast, sprinkled that, layered on another frozen breast, sprinkled spices on that, and kept going until I had all four in the IP. That method worked surprisingly well. I’ll keep an empty shaker near my spice rack from now on.

  7. Didn’t expect much but this was PERFECT! Easy, and everyone cleaned their plate including the picky 10 year old. Made a batch of simple Jasmine rice to serve the chicken on- chicken and rice then get a nice coating of sauce. Only thing it needed was a vegetable in the rice. Next time (cause this recipe is a keeper) will add a veggie as well. Bravo!

  8. I’ve always seen that you need at least 1 cup of liquid to cook in an instant pot but the recipe calls for ½ cup only. Is that right?

  9. 5 stars
    100%!!! Perfect way to quickly fix frozen chicken, and cure the 5 o’clock fix if you’re not a dinner-plan-ahead type of Mom, like me! I weighed by chicken and followed the directions exactly. It was the most tender, wonderful flavoring chicken I have ever made, EVER! This way of cooking frozen chicken opened up a wold of possibilities. I shredded some chicken and made a bone broth soup for my daughter who had a cold, while the rest of the family enjoyed the chicken sliced and topped with the wonderful sauce (don’t skip that part), on top of rice with vegetables served on the side. It was excellent and got rave reviews from the family. Best part is the ease of throwing this together and the clean up is a breeze. I can only imagine I’ll be using this method to cook chicken multiple times per week.

      1. 2 stars
        I followed the recipe as written. The chicken was so dry. The “sauce” never came close to reducing. One comment said not to skip the slicing and pouring the “sauce” over the chicken. Even the broth didn’t help with the dryness.

        I don’t like cooking frozen chicken because it usually comes out tough, which unfortunately these chicken breasts were. I so wanted this recipe to work and took the chance one more time based on the great reviews. The extra star I gave was for ease of recipe and the flavor of the broth.

  10. Hi – I need to do some quick bulk protein cooking for lunches and as my packages of organic chicken are 2 a pack, if I cook 2 packs or 4 breasts, would I adjust the timing while following the weight guidelines would you think? Thanks!

    1. I think you’d only adjust the times if they were very large pieces of chicken! And it’s better to undercook than overcook, as you can put it on for a few extra minutes if needed. Just be sure to have a meat thermometer to double check!