This Instant Pot BBQ Chicken is an easy meal that the entire family will love – from picky toddlers to adults! This meal comes together in one pot and in less than 30 minutes. Using only 4 simple ingredients, this easy chicken dish is lower in sugar yet still packed with flavor.

Graphic for Post - instant pot BBQ chicken - one meal for the whole family. Image is of an instant pot filled with healthy bbq chicken and plates showing how to serve this meal to toddler, picky eater, kids and adults.

My entire family loves this easy BBQ chicken recipe!

Reasons to Love this BBQ chicken

  • can be served to the whole family – even picky eaters
  • 4-ingredients
  • prepped in less than 5 minutes
  • lower in sugar
  • can be made in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
  • great added to sandwiches, salads, wraps and over baked sweet potatoes
  • dinner is ready in less than 30 minutes
  • 1 pot meal
  • can be made gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free

Ingredients

For this Instant Pot BBQ Chicken, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Chicken – you can use either boneless skinless chicken breasts or thigh in this recipe.
  • BBQ sauce – you can use any BBQ sauce in this recipe but I would go with a mild version if serving to the kiddos;)
  • Crushed Tomatoes – we add in some crushed tomatoes to make this recipe not overly sweet, which is important if you are serving to toddler or kids.
  • Spices – we add in some mild chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper to bring out any depth that we lost for using less BBQ sauce – trust me it works. You will never miss not using straight BBQ sauce in this recipe.

How to Make

  • Add Chicken: place the chicken in the Instant Pot. 
  • Add Spices: sprinkle the chicken with mild chili powder, paprika salt and pepper. 
  • Mix Together: In a small bowl, mix together the BBQ sauce and the crushed tomatoes. Pour this mixture over the chicken.
  • Cook: set for 10 minutes on high pressure. Naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes and then manually release the rest of the pressure. 
  • Shred Chicken: take the chicken out of the Instant Pot and place it on a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken. Or you can place the chicken into a stand mixer and shred the chicken on low, yes this really works! 
  • Important – Put Some Chicken Aside: once shredded, the chicken won’t have a ton of BBQ sauce on it. This is a great time to put some aside for your kiddos if they won’t go for the full BBQ sauce chicken.
  • Also Important: Carefully pour the BBQ sauce out of the instant pot into a small bowl or measuring cup (don’t worry, we will add some of this back in later). Because the chicken releases water when cooked, I have found that most of the time when I cook chicken in an Instant Pot there is just way too much liquid. I have found that most kids don’t like soggy salsa chicken so I like to control the amount of BBQ sauce that goes back into the Instant Pot with the chicken. I usually use about half in this recipe, but this will vary every time.
  • Add Chicken and BBQ Sauce: place the shredded chicken back into the Instant Pot and then add the BBQ sauce back in a little at a time, until you have the right chicken and salsa ratio. 

How to Serve to family

Baby – Baby-Led Weaning or Finger Foods

You can definitely serve this meal to baby as well – shredded chicken without the bbq sauce, whole strawberries (they can hold onto the stem) or quarter smaller strawberries, 2-3 inch sticks of cucumber cut into quarters and a slice of the roll.

Toddler

You can serve this meal to toddler and is similar to how you would serve to baby – shredded chicken with a little bit of BBQ sauce, half of a roll, cucumber moons and quartered strawberries.

Picky Eater

This is a great meal for picky eaters as it has some familiar and new foods (see below for more tips) – chunks of chicken without the BBQ sauce (you can add a dollop on their plate if you want), a half of a roll, cucumber moons with ranch dipping sauce and cut strawberries.

Kids

The ideal is to start having your kids plates looking similar to your plate – BBQ chicken sandwich, pickles, salad with chopped cucumbers and whole strawberries.

Adult

A fun and healthy meal for adults – a couple of BBQ chicken sandwiches, a huge salad with chopped cucumbers (dressing not shown), pickles and some strawberries. You can sub any veggie you want for the salad if a salad isn’t your thing.

Tips on How to Serve to Toddlers + Kids

Toddler

For toddler, you might want to serve the chicken shredded or in small chunks before adding back in the BBQ sauce. This way the chicken has flavor but isn’t overpowering. If your toddler loves BBQ sauce, by all means, add in the sauce. Paired with quartered strawberries, sliced cucumbers and a half of a roll. Simply yet nutritious.

Picky Eater

Here are some fun ways to make this meal more approachable for picky eaters. Serve the chicken without the sauce and with a fun food pick or utensil that isn’t a fork. Using fun picks or utensils makes sometimes challenging food seem a little more fun. Add cut strawberries into a fun silicon cupcake liner or bowl. Add their favorite dip along with the cut cucumbers. Serve meal with a roll if the rest of the family is eating it. Don’t deprive them of the foods you know they will only eat, let them have them. You might consider serving their initial portion in smaller portions.

Kids

Try to start making your kids’ plate look similar to your plate. Add fun picks to foods that your kids are on the fence with, this makes them more fun and approachable. Add bigger pieces of chopped veggies along with their favorite dressing to a salad so they can see foods they recognize even if they don’t recognize the kale salad.

Useful Tools

MORE EASY FAMILY DINNERS

DID YOU MAKE THIS BBQ CHICKEN FOR YOUR FAMILY?
 I’D LOVE TO KNOW HOW IT TURNED OUT! LEAVE A COMMENT AND A ⭐️ RATING BELOW 👇

plate showing a kids serving of this instant pot bbq chicken.

Get the recipe: Instant Pot BBQ Chicken

5 stars (5 ratings)
This meal comes together in one pot and in less than 30 minutes. Using only 4 simple ingredients, this easy chicken dish is lower in sugar yet still packed with flavor.

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions 

Instant Pot

  • Place the chicken in the Instant Pot.
  • Sprinkle the chicken with mild chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the BBQ sauce and the crushed tomatoes. Pour this mixture over the chicken.
  • Set for 10 minutes on high pressure. Naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes and then manually release the rest of the pressure.
  • Take the chicken out of the Instant Pot and place it on a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken. Or you can place the chicken into a stand mixer and shred the chicken on low, yes this really works!
  • Put some chicken aside for younger kids, once shredded, the chicken won’t have a ton of BBQ sauce on it. This is a great time to put some aside for your kiddos if they won't go for the full BBQ sauce chicken.
  • Carefully pour the BBQ sauce out of the instant pot into a small bowl or measuring cup (don’t worry, we will add some of this back in later). Because the chicken releases water when cooked, I have found that most of the time when I cook chicken in an Instant Pot there is just way too much liquid. I have found that most kids don’t like soggy salsa chicken so I like to control the amount of BBQ sauce that goes back into the Instant Pot with the chicken. I usually use about half in this recipe, but this will vary everytime.
  • Place the shredded chicken back into the Instant Pot and then add the BBQ sauce back in a little at a time, until you have the right chicken and BBQ sauce ratio.

Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

  • Using the same ingredients, you would cook the chicken in a slow cooker for 4-6 hours or until cooked all the way through.

Notes

Age: 9 months and up
Storage: you can store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
Frozen Chicken: if using the Instant Pot, you can definitly use frozen chicken. I would add 2 minutes onto the cooking time. But no other moditifcations are needed.
BBQ Sauce: you can use any BBQ sauce you have on hand, though I would recommend using a mild version if serving to kids;).

Equipment

Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
Calories: 150kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 16.8g, Fat: 4.3g, Saturated Fat: 1.2g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 344mg, Potassium: 195mg, Fiber: 0.8g, Sugar: 7g, Calcium: 20mg, Iron: 1mg

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