Chicken Pastrami
It’s so easy to make a chicken (and low-fat!) version of pastrami with the Instant Pot: Simply use a rack and steam the breasts in an aromatic mixture of pickle brine and liquid smoke. We give these chicken breasts a natural release, even though the meat will be softer than we might prefer under normal circumstances. With the added time, the aromatics more successfully infuse the meat, yielding more flavorful pastrami.
Servings Prep Time
6servings 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
27minutes 10minutes
Servings Prep Time
6servings 5minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
27minutes 10minutes
  • 1cup brine from a jar of regular or garlic dill pickles(gluten-free if necessary — do not use a sweet pickle brine)
  • 1 4-ounce bottle liquid smoke(gluten-free if necessary)
  • 1 1/2tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2tsp ground dried mustard
  • 1 1/2tsp mild smoked paprika
  • 1tsp ground dried ginger
  • 1tsp garlic powder 1table salt
  • 1tsp ground black pepper
  • 6 six-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
  1. Stir the brine and liquid smoke in a 5-, 6-, or 8-quart Instant Pot. Place an IP-safe steamer basket in the insert.
  2. Mix the coriander, mustard, smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl until uniform. Rub this mixture evenly over the chicken breasts. Stand the chicken breasts on their sides in a single layer in the steamer basket with as little overlap end to end as possible. Lock the lid on the pot.
  3. MAX model: Set the pot for Pressure Cook on MAX pressure for 10 minutes.

    For other models: Set the pot for Pressure Cook/Manual on High Pressure for 12 minutes.
  4. When the pot has finished cooking, turn it off and let the pressure return to normal naturally, about 15 minutes. Unlatch the lid and open the cooker. Use kitchen tongs to transfer the chicken to a nearby wire rack. Cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing — or cool for 20 minutes, then store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Recipe Notes

• Make chicken Reubens! Slice the breasts into 1/4-inch-thick strips, then set them on toasted rye bread with purchased sauerkraut and Russian dressing. If you must, add a slice of Swiss cheese, although you’ll make a zillion kosher butchers cry. Coat the inside of a nonstick skillet with nonstick spray, set it over medium heat, and griddle the sandwiches until toasty brown, about 2 minutes per side. (Make the butchers cry even more by using butter instead of nonstick spray.)

Other Pots
• For a 3-quart Instant Pot, you must halve almost all of the ingredient amounts except you must use the originally stated amount of pickle brine and liquid smoke.
• For an 8-quart Instant Pot, you can increase the ingredient amounts by 50 percent or even double the spice mixture and number of chicken breasts, but you must keep the amount of pickle brine and liquid smoke the same as originally stated.
• For a 10-quart Instant Pot, you must double the amount of pickle brine and liquid smoke. You can complete the recipe as stated, increase the spices and chicken breasts by 50 percent, or even double those amounts.