close up of BBQ pulled chicken sandwich with purple cabbage and pickles

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich {Instapot}


Mouth watering, savory yet sweet and juicy pulled chicken sandwich. On your dinner table within the hour, thanks to our handy dandy instapot. This recipe is super simple, let's breakdown how to do it.

Start with the rub:

You’ll need to grab – onion powder, paprika, ground mustard brown sugar, salt, black pepper, ground cayenne pepper and white pepper. White pepper can be found easily at any grocery store. White pepper comes from the same plant as black pepper, the difference between the two is the white pepper is picked at peak ripeness. The flavor difference lies in white pepper, giving an earthy and musty flavor versus black pepper being more spicy and peppery.


Let's talk sauce, baby:

There’s no shame in using your favorite BBQ sauce, I personally loveee Sweet Baby Ray’s. 

HOWEVER, if you’re one of those people that love making sauces by scratch then here’s one for you!


Homemade BBQ Sauce

Savory, smokey and yet sweet homemade BBQ sauce for everything between dippings, marinades and grilling.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 2 cups
Brittany Food Crush


  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup no sugar added
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup molasses unsulphured
  • cup red wine vinegar or apple cider
  • 3 tsp hickory flavored liquid smoke
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika or regular paprika
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp ground mustard
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp chili powder
  • tsp ground cinnamon


  1. Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and mix together until smooth.
  2. Over medium heat, allow the sauce to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 20 minutes up to an hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. Remove the pot from the heat and allow to cool. The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools, don't worry.
  4. Store in an airtight container, like a mason jar, in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Ok now that we’ve got our rub and sauce let’s get cooking:

In a large ziplock bag or a big bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and a tablespoon or so of olive oil, then add the chicken. Now massage the seasoning into the chicken for 5 about minutes.

Sear the chicken:

Set your instapot to “sautee/brown” pour a small amount of olive oil and chicken. If it all doesn’t fit, you can do two batches. Sear the chicken on each side for 2-3 minutes. The caramelization of the sugar makes a deep rich flavor. After searing take the chicken out of the Instapot and transfer to a plate. Now let’s deglaze the pan, oo fancy cooking term. Add 1/4 cup of broth to the pot, use a wooden spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan. This is an important step, because the pot will not come to pressure unless those brown bits are scraped off, plus this is where the flavor lives!

After you do that, add the remaining cup of broth, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, and chicken. Smush the chicken down so the liquid covers it all. Secure the lid and set the vault to “sealing” and pressure cook on manual for 15 minutes, then let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes or so. 

Pressure cook on high for 15 minutes

Shred the chicken with this SHRED HACK:

Remove the chicken from the instapot and put it in a large bowl or stand mixer bowl, save the juices! Use two forks to pull apart the chicken. 

Or… are you ready for this major shredding hack… using a stand mixer/kitchen aid with the flat paddle attachment, set the speed very low, setting 1 or 2  and watch how easily the chicken shreds into perfect strands. Scoop out 1/2 a cup of the liquid from the instapot and add it to the chicken while you shred. 

Mix in BBQ sauce:

Whether you’re using store-bought or homemade, mix in about 1/2 cup of sauce. Taste and adjust to your saucy preference. This is a judgment-free zone. 

BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwich {Instapot}

Savory, sweet and a smokey summer time classic.

Course Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine American
Keyword BBQ, chicken, instapot, Pulled Chicken, savory, Summer Time
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 sandwiches
Brittany Food Crush


  • 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 Tbsp ground black pepper
  • ½ Tbsp onion powder
  • ½ Tbsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne


  1. Trim any excess fat from chicken. Then slice breasts in half, so each piece is about the same size as the thighs.
  2. On the saute setting, add 1 tbsp olive oil to Instant pot.

  3. Add all dry ingredients, 1 tbsp olive oil and chicken into a large bowl or large ziplock bag and massage it into the chicken. When Instant Pot reads “hot”, use tongs and carefully add the pieces of chicken (if they all don't fit do 2 batches.)
  4. Let the chicken sear on each side for 2-3 minutes. Remove to plate when done. After all the chicken is browned, pour ¼ cup of broth into the pot, and use a wooden spoon to scrape all the brown bits from the bottom (important step).

  5. After, add the rest of the broth, liquid smoke and Worcestershire sauce. Then add chicken, try to have the chicken covered with the liquid, but not all.
  6. Secure lid, set vent to “sealing” and pressure cook on high for 15 minutes. After cooking, allow pressure to naturally release.
  7. Once pressure is released and pin drops, carefully remove lid. Remove the chicken and place it in a separate bowl to shred. If you have a kitchen aid mixer you can easily shred by placing the chicken in the mixing bowl, attaching the paddle attachment, and set the speed very low, setting 1-2.
  8. After shredding, add half a lime, juiced. Taste adjust seasoning, feel free to add in some of your favorite BBQ sauce.
  9. Serve on a warm bun with pickles, enjoy!

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