This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is the easiest way to cook your chicken for any summer barbecue! It’s juicy and tender every time, make ahead friendly and can be tossed on the grill to crisp it up!

instant pot bbq chicken with pressure cooker

If you’re not in the thick of summer barbecues yet, it’s really only a matter of time.

Memorial Day is next week (our long weekend was this week in Canada!), and it seems like once we get past that point, it’s all about barbecues, long weeks in the sunshine (or the rain or even the snow here in Manitoba — fingers crossed that doesn’t happen this year), popsicles, and flip flops.

I’ve been loving on my Instant Pot for more than a year now, and I wanted to figure out the best ways to get the most use out of it this summer.

This Instant Pot Potato Salad is happening on repeat here — it’s perfect with any grilled meats, cold sandwiches, you name it!

And these Instant Pot Chicken Tacos are another of our favorites for the summer — so easy to throw into a taco salad, wrap, or sandwich for on the go lunching!

instant pot bbq chicken on sheet pan

Today we’re adding this Instant Pot BBQ Chicken to our family of suitable Instant Pot summer eats, and it’s going to be one we make over and over and over again (burgers and hot dogs? No. Thanks. I don’t love my Instant Pot that much).

What kind of chicken works best with this pressure cooker bbq chicken?

I was debating how to go about making this recipe — whether I wanted to use boneless chicken breasts, which I knew would probably end up being shredded with the sauce, or going with bone-in cuts that can be slathered in sauce and crisped in the oven or on the grill.

In the end, I knew it would actually be pretty easy just to dump some bbq sauce on this Instant Pot Shredded Chicken you all love, so I wanted to do something different.

I opted for bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks because I think they’re perfect for getting a little messy at a summer cookout, and the flavor and juiciness just can’t be beat.

Plus, kids love chicken drumsticks!

You can also use chicken breasts with this recipe if you like — I recommend a cook time of 8-10 minutes depending on how large they are.

instant pot bbq chicken on white plate

How to make Instant Pot BBQ Chicken:

  1. First, we cook our chicken in the Instant Pot with some chicken broth or juice or other clear liquid until it is super juicy.
  2. Then remove it from the Instant Pot, slather with your favorite barbecue sauce (or try one of my favorites: Pineapple Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce or Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce), and stick it under the broiler for a few minutes until the skin is crispy and caramelized, or (my favorite) pop it on a hot grill, skin side down, until crispy.
  3. Devour!

How to make this bbq chicken ahead:

I think one of the best things about this pressure cooker bbq chicken is that you can pressure cook the chicken ahead of time, then pop it in a container in the fridge for up to 24 hours before saucing and grilling.

This makes it the perfect recipe for a big barbecue because you know the chicken is cooked and juicy, and all you need to do is finish it off.

It takes out so much of the guesswork to getting perfect grilled chicken!

What to serve with Instant Pot BBQ Chicken:

  • Crockpot Cheesy Potatoes
  • Easy Potato Salad Recipe
  • Creamy Ranch Bowtie Pasta Salad Recipe
  • Layered Broccoli Salad
instant pot bbq chicken on white plate
Print Pin Recipe

Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is the easiest way to cook your chicken for any summer barbecue! It's juicy and tender every time, make ahead friendly and can be tossed on the grill to crisp it up! 
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword instant pot chicken, pressure cooker chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 24 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 480kcal
Author Ashley Fehr


  • 6 skin on, bone in chicken drumsticks (or skinless)
  • 6 skin on, bone in chicken thighs (or skinless)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water (chicken broth, juice, or soda works, too)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce


  • Place chicken in 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot or pressure cooker.
  • Combine salt, garlic powder, paprika, dried onion, black pepper and sprinkle over chicken, turning to coat all sides. 
  • Pour water (or other liquid) and liquid smoke into Instant Pot -- feel free to experiment with different flavours as long as they are clear liquid!
  • Put the lid on, turn the valve to sealing, and select Manual or Pressure Cook, high pressure, for 10 minutes (12-15 minutes for frozen or partially frozen).
  • It will take about 10 minutes for the pressure to build and the cook time to begin counting down. When the cook time is over, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes, then open the valve and remove the lid.
  • Remove chicken, brush with barbecue sauce, and either broil for 3-4 minutes until the skin begins to crisp up, or place on the grill for 4-5 minutes.
  • *This chicken can be made ahead of time, cooked and stored in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before grilling or broiling.


*Note: one serving equals one drumstick and one thigh

Nutrition (this is an estimate)

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot BBQ Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 480 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Cholesterol 211mg70%
Sodium 827mg36%
Potassium 520mg15%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Sugar 8g9%
Protein 37g74%
Vitamin A 285IU6%
Vitamin C 0.3mg0%
Calcium 29mg3%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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