Perfect Seared Chicken Breasts
By :The Instant Pot Bible by Bruce Weinstein
Print Recipe
Here’s the problem: Despite the pot’s high-moisture environment, boneless, skinless chicken breasts dry out and turn to shards in a multi-cooker. So here’s our solution: Brown them first, then set them on a rack (or the machine’s trivet) to keep them off the insert’s superheated bottom when they undergo all that pressure. After cooking, a modified quick release lets them then sit in the steam a bit, so they can plump as they reabsorb some of their natural liquids.
Notice that these boneless skinless breasts are a bit larger than those sold in bulk bags at the supermarket. Notice, too, that you should brown the meat thoroughly. The chicken needs good color for the best flavor.
Votes: 32
Rating: 4.66
Rate this recipe!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Modern
Difficulty Easy
Browse Category Poultry
Duration 15-30 min
Cooking Technique Max Pressure Cook, Pressure Cook
Main Ingredient Chicken Breast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Servings
4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp solid or liquid fat Choose from butter, lard, rendered bacon fat, schmaltz, or an oil of almost any sort: olive, avocado, vegetable, corn, canola, safflower, grape seed, walnut, almond, or pecan — or a 50/50 combo of a solid fat and a liquid fat.
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 10-12 ounces each
  • 2 tbsp dried herbs or a seasoning blend Choose at least two or many to make up the total amount from any dried herb like thyme, oregano, or parsley; ground cinnamon, ground dried ginger, or ground dried turmeric; a curry powder of any sort, herbes de Provence, or any dried spice seasoning blend from Cajun to Italian, French to Greek.
  • 1/2 tsp table salt optional
  • 1 1/2 cups liquid Choose from water, broth of any sort, beer, wine of any sort, dry vermouth, dry sherry, unsweetened apple cider, unsweetened pear nectar, or a 50/50 combo of water or broth and wine.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Modern
Difficulty Easy
Browse Category Poultry
Duration 15-30 min
Cooking Technique Max Pressure Cook, Pressure Cook
Main Ingredient Chicken Breast
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 13 minutes
Servings
4 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp solid or liquid fat Choose from butter, lard, rendered bacon fat, schmaltz, or an oil of almost any sort: olive, avocado, vegetable, corn, canola, safflower, grape seed, walnut, almond, or pecan — or a 50/50 combo of a solid fat and a liquid fat.
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 10-12 ounces each
  • 2 tbsp dried herbs or a seasoning blend Choose at least two or many to make up the total amount from any dried herb like thyme, oregano, or parsley; ground cinnamon, ground dried ginger, or ground dried turmeric; a curry powder of any sort, herbes de Provence, or any dried spice seasoning blend from Cajun to Italian, French to Greek.
  • 1/2 tsp table salt optional
  • 1 1/2 cups liquid Choose from water, broth of any sort, beer, wine of any sort, dry vermouth, dry sherry, unsweetened apple cider, unsweetened pear nectar, or a 50/50 combo of water or broth and wine.
Votes: 32
Rating: 4.66
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
  1. Press Saute, set time for 15 minutes.
  2. Melt the fat or warm the oil in the cooker. Season the chicken breasts with the dried herbs or seasoning blend and salt
(if using). Set 2 breasts in the pot and brown well, turning once, about 6 minutes. Transfer these to a nearby plate and brown the other 2 breasts in the same way before getting them onto the plate.
  3. Turn off the SAUTÉ function. Set a heat- and pressure-safe trivet in the pot. Pour in the liquid. Set all the chicken breasts on the trivet, overlapping thick ends over thin ends as necessary. Lock the lid onto the pot.
  4. Optional 1 Max Pressure Cooker
    Press Pressure cook on Max pressure for 6 minutes with the Keep Warm setting off.
  5. Optional 2 All Pressure Cookers
    Press Meat/Stew or Pressure cook (Manual) on High pressure for 8 minutes with the Keep Warm setting off.
  6. Use the quick-release method to bring the pot’s pressure back to normal — but do not open the cooker. Set it aside for 3 minutes with the valve open but the cooker off. Unlatch the lid and open the pot. Serve at once.
Recipe Notes

Beyond
• You must halve the recipe for a 3-quart cooker.
• After cooking, garnish the breasts with lots of ground black pepper.
• You’ll get even better results if you brine the breasts: Buy chicken breasts that have not been injected with “a solution that may contain. . . .” (read the package). Whisk 2 tablespoons kosher salt into 8 cups cool water until dissolved, then submerge the breasts in the brine for at least 20 minutes but no more than 40 minutes. Discard the brine, pat the breasts dry, then proceed with the recipe.
• Or buy kosher boneless skinless chicken breasts. They’re essentially prebrined!

28 replies
  1. hyland7
    hyland7 says:

    When sauteing i opened the intant pot and flip the chicken and tried to turn on saute again but the pot keep turning off?

  2. GargantulaKon
    GargantulaKon says:

    It’s suggested to turn off the keep warm setting, but for the script, it’s set to turn the keep warm setting on.

    The breasts were cooked well! It was very tender.

  3. cgrimes4086
    cgrimes4086 says:

    Love this recipe! Super easy, and makes perfect chicken breasts every time. I like to shred the chicken and freeze for chicken pot pie, Mexican dishes, etc. I also like to add some balsamic vinegar with the liquid. Makes a great meal as a whole chicken breast too.

  4. Mcleodheather
    Mcleodheather says:

    Great, easy recipe. I had to use a tad bit extra oil when searing though as it was too dry. I seasoned with salt, pepper and Ms Dash table blend. Turned out perfect.

  5. DJPrototypikal
    DJPrototypikal says:

    Great easy recipe. Experiment with spices and broth. Use way more butter than they suggest. Brine is a good idea.

  6. Curtiskk
    Curtiskk says:

    Not sure what I did wrong, but chx came rubbery and tough. Maybe seared too long ( although I seared less than recipe time and cooked only 4 min in cooker)? Next time, i may sear on my own non-stick skillet before putting in Instant Pot.

  7. Instant Pot
    Instant Pot says:

    Hi Curtiskk,

    There are two factors that could have caused your chicken to turn out rubbery and tough. The first is that the chicken wasn’t seared long enough. Searing for the full 6 minutes ensures that the chicken is absorbing and locking in all the juices. The second is that the chicken wasn’t cooked long enough, resulting in the rubber-like texture. It’s understandable that you don’t want to overcook the chicken but you also don’t want to undercook it.

  8. Swimgeni04
    Swimgeni04 says:

    I didnt end up using the pot to brown the chicken… didnt realize I could. But tge chicken cam out fantastic. My seasonings were delicious but as for the chicken it wasnt dry. I went with option 1 and the chicken was not as moist but alomst perfect. I used stock instead of water to fill the boytom of the pot.

  9. Diane Farwell
    Diane Farwell says:

    The chicken was good and tender but the spices i mixed up were too much. If i make it again i would mix spices with flour and coat breasts then saute to brown.

  10. Lgginlv
    Lgginlv says:

    Double the amount of the spices. That wasnt enough. I ised coconut oil to saute the chicken. That was good.

  11. Linda Dawson
    Linda Dawson says:

    If I cut the recipe in half and only make 2 chicken breasts, do I cut the cook time in 1/2 also?

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