Instant Pot buffalo chicken is an easy and healthy dinner that can be served so many different ways, from sandwiches to salads and more. Just add everything to the Instant Pot and cook! This makes a great meal prep recipe.
You'd be hard-pressed to maneuver around this blog for more than a few clicks without running into a buffalo chicken recipe, with this slow cooker buffalo chicken recipe being one of the most popular ones on this site.
It goes crazy on Sundays, which I'm thinking is a mix of football home-gaters and meal preppers. A versatile, juicy, and spicy protein, it pairs equally well with pretzel buns for sliders or atop a mixed green salad with allll the veggies.
Since I've been getting my hands dirty with my Instant Pot, it was only a matter of time before my beloved slow cooker version turned into Instant Pot buffalo chicken. With very similar ingredients, this recipe is just as delicious and takes a fraction of the time - just fifteen minutes of pressure cook time versus several hours.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- Buffalo chicken fits the bill as being just spicy enough, versatile, and usually fairly healthy (depending upon how you serve it).
- This recipe produces perfectly shreddable, juicy chicken with just 15 minutes of cook time.
- It's hard to have easier prep: just add everything to the Instant Pot and turn it on. No searing required.
- Chicken: 3 ½ pounds of chicken breasts fit comfortably in the Instant Pot for this recipe.
- Dried seasonings: A mix of garlic, oregano, parsley, pepper, and a tiny bit of salt, you can also use your favorite all-purpose seasoning to give the chicken some oomph.
- Onion: This cooks down and provides background flavor and moisture.
- Buffalo sauce: Use your favorite! I like Frank's wing sauce, but something spicier or milder would also be fine.
- Chicken broth: Just a little bit is added for flavor but also to ensure there's enough liquid for the Instant Pot to properly pressure cook.
- Apple cider vinegar: Gives the sauce a little punch!
- Add chicken breasts to the Instant Pot. Sprinkle the dried spices over top, then top with diced onion. Nothing needs to be sautéed or seared ahead of time - just in it goes.
- Whisk together the buffalo wing sauce, chicken broth, and apple cider vinegar, then pour this mixture evenly over top of the chicken and onion. I combine everything in a larger measuring cup to cut down on the number of dishes to wash.
- Seal and lock the lid, then cook on manual high pressure for 15 minutes. The chicken will release moisture as it cooks to create even more cooking liquid.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the Instant Pot and place them on a cutting board to shred. You can also put them in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and "shred" them on low speed until they come apart.
- While the chicken is being shredded, set the Instant Pot to the "Saute" function. Whisk cornstarch with some of the cooking liquid, then whisk it into the Instant Pot to help thicken it up. Once it has thickened to your liking, add the shredded chicken back and toss to combine before serving.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Instant Pot Size: This recipe was tested and cooked in a 6-quart Instant Pot. Since the chicken releases some liquid as it cooks, the one-ish cups of liquid ingredients here should be sufficient as written for the 8-quart IP or any larger pressure cooker. You can always add more wing sauce or broth if you prefer to play it safe.
- Broth: I always have a jar of Better than Bouillon chicken base in the fridge, which makes it incredibly convenient to portion out small-size chicken broth measurements for recipes.
- Sauce Thickening: Be sure to make a cornstarch slurry and whisk it into the sauce versus just sprinkling the cornstarch into the Instant Pot. Cornstarch as a thickening agent needs to be whisked until smooth before adding, otherwise it can clump up and render the texture less-than-appealing.
Ways to Use Buffalo Chicken
Because this Instant Pot buffalo chicken recipe yields a fair amount of servings, you may want to switch up how you use leftover portions so you don't get tired of it. Here are some delicious recipes that use cooked, shredded buffalo chicken in new ways.
- Buffalo chicken tortilla pie is always a hit. It's easy to assemble, and is done in about thirty minutes. Great for weeknights!
- Who wouldn't love a buffalo chicken grilled cheese?
- I have a hard time not making a buffalo chicken kale salad when I have leftover buffalo chicken. The homemade avocado ranch dressing is a treat. Plus this salad is such an easy way to use up leftover fridge odds and ends.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- ¾ teaspoon dried oregano
- ¾ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of salt optional
- 3 - 3 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts about 4-5 large (8-10 ounce)
- 1 large onion diced
- ¾ cup buffalo wing sauce your preferred kind
- ¼ cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- Add the chicken breasts to the bottom of the Instant Pot.
- In a small bowl, stir together garlic powder, oregano, parsley, pepper, and salt, if using. Evenly scatter this seasoning all over the chicken. Add the diced onion to the Instant Pot over top of the chicken.
- Whisk together the buffalo wing sauce, broth, and vinegar, then pour it into the Instant Pot over everything.
- Close and lock the lid and set the pressure release valve to "sealing".
- Press the "Manual" button (this may be called "Pressure Cook" on newer Instant Pot models), then use the "+" or "-" buttons to adjust the cook time to 15 minutes of high pressure cooking. Once the 15 minutes are up, let the pressure release manually for 5 minutes, then carefully turn the knob from "sealing" to "venting" and wait for the float valve to go down. At this point remove the lid, using care as the steam will be hot.
- Remove the chicken breasts and shred using your preferred method. You can place them on a cutting board and shred using two forks, or use the paddle attachment of a stand mixer (see note).
- With the chicken out of the Instant Pot, press the "Saute" button to thicken the cooking liquid into a sauce. Remove about 2 Tablespoons of the liquid and add to a small bowl. Whisk in cornstarch until smooth, then slowly drizzle cornstarch slurry into the Instant Pot while stirring. Stir frequently as the sauce thickens.
- Once the sauce has thickened to your liking, add back the shredded chicken and toss to coat. Serve Instant Pot buffalo chicken on salads, sandwiches, tacos, sliders, and more.
- Chicken Size: Chicken breasts can really vary in size. If yours are on the small side (4-5 ounces) consider reducing the cook time by a minute or two.
- Using Frozen Chicken: So long as they're not frozen together in one big block, you can cook this recipe with frozen chicken breasts. Using 8 ounce chicken breasts, I kept the cook time the same but did a full natural pressure release instead of the 5 minutes listed in the recipe.
- Easy Shredding: Place the cooked chicken breast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, go in low speed until the chicken breaks apart into shreds. Place the pouring shield or a clean dish towel over the top of the bowl in case any hot chicken shreds fly out.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.Food Safety and Nutrition Disclaimer
This was a hit yesterday at a día de los muertos skull painting party! How large would you say a serving is in cupbmeasurements?
So happy you liked them, Heather! I haven't measured this chicken in cups, but if I had to guess I'd say it would be around one cup?
This was absolutely delicious! I will always use this recipe in the future!!
So glad you liked it! 🙂
Kara Carey says
OH MY... THIS IS SOOO GOOD.. .My husband said by far the best buffalo chicken I have made! Thank you for sharing! Super easy... super good.... mine was real juicy and had so much flavor. We made wraps with the chicken - shredded cabbage, cooked white rice and blue cheese.... Wraps were messy but worth it! I thickened the sauce but probably should have thickened it more.....I will be saving this as a family favorite! This recipe is easy to follow and very quick to make.
I'm so happy you like it!! Thanks for letting me know how they went - those wraps sound delicious.
HI Alyssa! I'm a cooking noob and trying to make this Whole30 compliant, which means subbing the corn starch. After a quick google scan I'm seeing that almond flour might work. Does that sound smart/outlandish to you?
Hi Trey, that sounds reasonable to me! I haven't used almond flour as a thickener before so I'm not sure how much might need to be added in place of the cornstarch. It might need to be more like 2 tablespoons. Putting the Instant Pot on "Saute" will allow the sauce to start thickening, so anything added (like cornstarch, flour), will only help it along its way. I hope that's helpful!
Very! Thank you so much, your site and a few others are literally changing my life from eating out every night.
You're very welcome - that makes me so happy to hear!
You can sub arrowroot flour while on whole30!!
This recipe was absolute amazing. I tried it in a quinoa dish, over a salad, in a wrap, and then just started eating it on it's own because it was so good!!
So glad you liked it, Kelsey!! 🙂
Denis McDonough says
After setting it for 15 minutes ( plus the startup and venting time ) the chicken came out chewy and tough. Suggestions? I didn’t use the vinegar or corn starch FYI
Hi Denis, sorry to hear that. I don't think omitting the vinegar would have much effect as it's a small quantity in the cooking liquid. Was the pressure released naturally for longer than 5 minutes before doing a quick release? The longer the pressure releases naturally can sometimes overcook the food. Otherwise you may need to decrease the cook time by a minute or two in the future. Less likely but still possible is that the chicken experienced "woody breast", which can cause chewy/tough meat no matter what. I've noticed on occasion that chicken breasts I buy and use in recipes I make very frequently can sometimes just be chewier than normal. I hope that helps.
8 minutes and do not press keep warm. Once done, vent the steam then open and let cool then shred.
Mary B says
Do you know if I could make 1.5-2 times the amount in the 6 quart IP? Looking forward to making this for a baked potato bar!
Hi Mary, I haven't increased the yield for this one so I couldn't say for sure. I generally don't fill the IP more than about two-thirds of the way if I'm pressure cooking, so you may have some room to increase. I hope you enjoy -- a baked potato bar sounds delicious! 🙂
Tammy E says
Do the breasts have to be thawed or can they be frozen?
Hi Tammy, you can use frozen chicken breasts! I have only used thawed with this recipe so I'm not exactly sure how much extra cook time might be required, but this looks like a great guide based on the thickness of the breasts: https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/how-to-pressure-cook-frozen-chicken-breasts/ -- especially the guideline for cooking frozen chicken breasts to shreddable. I hope that's helpful!
This Recipe was Amazing! Will definitely cook again.
So glad you liked it!
Hii! Do I need the apple cider vin?? Will it still come out good without it?
Hi Lily! I've never made it without, but since it's only 2 tbsp and the other flavors are bold, you don't exactly need it. You can add an extra 2 tbsp of broth, buffalo sauce, or even water in place of it. Hope that's helpful!
I'm fairly new to IP too, and haven't made buffalo chicken in it yet, but I've definitely found the recipe to try it with! 🙂 This looks and sounds fantastic!
Robin Gagnon says
I love how quick and easy this recipe is. Perfect for busy families.