Chicken/ Recipes

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken

**In the month of August, we are doing a Whole30 (I’ll talk more about it soon!). Recipes I post on this site this month may or may not be compliant**

Do you guys have an Instant Pot yet?! I have been using mine more and more these days just because it allows me to make dinner during naptime and keep it warm until 5:30 when the kids eat. Barbecue chicken was the first thing I ever made in my Instant Pot when I bought it last year and it still remains one of my very favorite things to make. Everyone loves this dish!

We don’t do a lot of barbecue chicken on the grill because I find it difficult to get right — either the chicken is overdone and turns dry, or it’s raw. In this recipe, all you do is throw the chicken pieces in the pot and cover with barbecue sauce. Turn on and walk away. 🙂 No stress! 


I like to use a variety of bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks here. I’ve learned to always cook more than I *think* I need because the boys are very quickly starting to eat like little athletes. 😉 Plus, leftover barbecue chicken is delicious! Using the Instant Pot here keeps the chicken very moist and the sauce is SO finger-licking good. 

I used a sweet sriracha barbecue sauce that I bought on accident a few months ago. Turns out, it was absolutely delicious! We also really love Stubbs and Trader Joe’s. 

I hope you guys love this one — it’s a family favorite!

Instant Pot Barbecue Chicken
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins
Course: Main Course
Servings: 6 people
  • 3.5 lbs bone-in chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
  • 18 oz barbecue sauce
  • 1 whole onion small diced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  1. Lay all your chicken pieces in your Instant Pot.

  2. Combine the barbecue sauce, onion, water, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl and whisk well.

  3. Pour sauce over chicken.

  4. Place Instant Pot lid on and set to either the poultry button or manual pressure for 15 minutes. Preheat broiler.

  5. When time is up, do a quick release. Remove chicken and place on a tin foil lined baking sheet. Pour sauce into a saucepot and place over medium high heat.

  6. Place chicken under the broiler for 3 minutes until skin has crisped up a bit. Boil sauce for 5 minutes to thicken slightly. Pour sauce over the chicken and serve.


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  • Nikki Rader
    August 8, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Are you still doing your own photos? If so, they’re better than ever! Also, I am so glad you are back to food blogging. Yours was the first I ever started reading and it spawned my love for food blogs. Thanks for writing!

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  • Ben
    August 9, 2017 at 4:18 am

    I still have yet to succumb to the instant pot craze, but they do look pretty useful. The pressure cooker part of it seems the most interesting to me, but really I have all of the other equipment. I have always considered getting a pressure cooker, as we have some veggies that we could can. I feel like if all my other stuff broke, I would be on this instant pot today. I, however, tend to keep things for a million years.

    And I agree with Nikki, your photos are gorgeous. I am a new food blogger with photography being my weakest skill. Still trying to make a photo that will get on Food Gawker. I think I am getting there, but not being able to do something drives me bonkers.

  • Grandma Honey
    August 9, 2017 at 9:42 am

    I’m definitely making this! To make my life easier, do you mind telling me what brand of sweet siracha barbecue sauce you use? I want to do this exactly as you did. LOVE your blog and LOVE that you are back again.

    • Mrs. H
      March 11, 2018 at 7:12 pm

      I used the Trader Joe’s Sriracha BBQ sauce and it was perfect!! Easy, quick and everyone loved the spicy-ness 😀

  • Anna
    August 10, 2017 at 11:51 am

    Hi, I am a little confused – you say to pour the sauce on the chicken before you put into the IP, but then you say to boil once it is done and pour over after broiling?
    Help 🙂

    • jenna
      August 10, 2017 at 8:01 pm

      yep! Sorry if that wasn’t clear. Once done, remove the chicken – broil for 2 minutes and boil the sauce on the stove to thicken.

  • Pam
    September 4, 2017 at 8:13 pm

    When placing chicken in instapot do you set it on top of that trivit?

    • jenna
      September 6, 2017 at 10:08 am


  • Brandy Carlos
    September 13, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    This looks great! How would I change it up for boneless breasts? TIA

    • jenna
      September 14, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      You can definitely use breasts (although I find them oftentimes to be too dry). Just reduce the cooking time to 12 minutes instead of 15.

  • Meher
    September 15, 2017 at 5:07 am

    Want to try this soon.

  • Kate
    September 26, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    I love this recipe, thank you for posting it! I would even say, instead of putting the sauce in a saucepan to thicken, just hit the saute button. I love that about the InsantPot – less dirty dishes!

  • Rajiv Dixit
    October 9, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Very nice article awwesome tastey

  • Robin
    October 9, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    What if I wanted to just cook boneless chicken thighs? Also, can I just use barbecue sauce? Why do I need the rest of the stuff? If I do use bbq sauce, do I need to water it down a bit? (It’s thick, from Back40 BBQ in Pleasant Hill, CA).

  • James
    October 11, 2017 at 1:54 pm

    This looks really good!

  • Kaneil
    January 21, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe! I tried my new instant pot for the first time tonight and followed your recipe to a T and the chicken was delicious! I’ve followed your blog for ten years (!) and knew I could trust you for a yummy dish! Thanks, Jenna! (I also just switched the IP to sauté and reduced the sauce in the pot while the chicken was under the broiler. It worked perfectly!)

  • Nicole
    February 6, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    Just trying this recipe now and my IP indicated BURN 2 min into cooking…after it came up to pressure! Followed recipe exactly ?????
    Used Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce…maybe too thick….

    • Amanda
      February 25, 2018 at 5:20 pm

      I just had the same issue and am using sweet baby rays too……I was just thinking it’s probably just too thick of a sauce too. I added more water so we’ll see! Not sure if the boiling it to thicken will work now though.

  • Mrs. H
    March 11, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    I had just purchased a bottle of TJ’s Sriracha BBQ sauce and a cut up chicken with intentions of BBQ’ing, but it was raining by dinner time. I thought, maybe there’s an InstantPot recipe that will cook this quickly and perfectly, and I came upon your site. THANK YOU so much, this recipe was easy and the chicken came out perfectly – everyone loved it!! YUMM!

  • Connie
    March 12, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    Followed this recipe and I also got “burn” message while trying to cook. And I used Sweet Baby Rays. I thought it was going to happen as the sauce looked to thick. I did water it down little but did it again. So turned it to low pressure and added little more water. Finally worked! So much for it cooking quicker.

  • Mike
    June 2, 2018 at 5:26 pm

    I finished them on my BBQ grill

  • Caitlin
    July 20, 2018 at 7:08 am

    Can I do the same in a crockpot? It sounds delicious and I don’t have an instapot yet.

  • MAndy
    October 26, 2018 at 9:08 am

    What size instapot is this recipe written for? I have 8qt. Wondering if I can fit more chicken in there.

  • Bryan
    March 4, 2019 at 7:08 pm

    You forgot one of the most important questions!! … Frozen or thawed? Or doesn’t matter?