Pulled Chicken Sliders are quick and easy to make in your Instant Pot. The pulled chicken is cooked in and then tossed with a spicy, flavorful barbecue sauce, and heaped onto soft slider buns. What’s not eaten makes delicious leftovers.
Ingredients for Homemade Barbecue Sauce:
You can use your favorite store-bought barbecue sauce for these delicious sliders. However, for an extra special treat, you should try my barbecue sauce inspired by Barefoot Contessa. The ingredients include unsalted butter, onion, garlic, tomato paste, apple cider vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin, and red pepper flakes. It sounds like a lot of ingredients, but the barbecue sauce comes together very quickly.
Ingredients for Instant Pot Pulled Pork Sliders:
There are only two ingredients for the pulled chicken – skinless and boneless chicken thighs and breasts, and barbecue sauce. For the chicken, I used one pound of chicken breasts, and two pounds of chicken thighs. I could have used half chicken breast and half thighs, or any other combination based on what I had on hand. I used 3 cups of barbecue sauce – 1 cup to cook the chicken in, and 2 cups to combine with the pulled chicken. Once the pulled chicken was ready, I heaped it onto my homemade slider buns. However, you could certainly use store-bought slider buns.
Making the Homemade Barbecue Sauce for the Instant Pot Pulled Chicken Sliders:
As I previously indicated, you could use store-bought barbecue sauce. However, for a real treat, you should try this amazing barbecue sauce. I started by sautéing the onions in melted butter over medium heat until they were soft and translucent, but not browned. This took about 10 minutes. Then, I added the garlic, and cooked the mixture for about 30 seconds, or until the garlic was fragrant. Next, I added the remaining ingredients for the sauce and whisked to combine everything.
I simmered the sauce uncovered over low heat for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, I removed it from heat and poured the sauce into a wire strainer over a bowl to remove onions, garlic, and crushed red pepper flakes. I let the barbecue sauce cool, and then stored it, covered, in the refrigerator. I froze what I didn’t use for the incredible pulled chicken sliders,
Making the Instant Pot Pulled Chicken for the Sliders:
I added the chicken pieces and a cup of barbecue sauce to the Instant Pot. Then, I secured the lid, made sure that the pressure valve was closed, and selected the poultry setting at high pressure for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, I quick released the pressure, and tested the chicken for tenderness. The chicken was good, but I thought that it needed about 5 more minutes. Therefore, I secured the lid again, and cooked the chicken for an additional five minutes on high pressure. With the additional five minutes, the chicken was perfect.
I removed the chicken from the Instant Pot and discarded the liquid. Using two forks, I shredded, or pulled the chicken.
Then, I transferred the shredded chicken to a large saucepan and mixed in 2 cups of barbecue sauce. I cooked the mixture over medium low heat for 15 minutes until chicken was moist with barbecue sauce and was thoroughly heated.
Instant Pot Pulled Chicken Sliders
Homemade Barbecue Sauce (3 cups of store-bought or homemade below: See Tip 1):
- 1 large onion chopped (about 1 ½ cups)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup honey
- ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup Dijon mustard
- ½ cup soy sauce (See Tip 2)
- 1 cup hoisin sauce
- 2 Tablespoons chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts (See Tip 3)
- 2 pounds skinless boneless chicken thighs (See Tip 3)
- 24 slider buns
Homemade Barbecue Sauce: (See Tip 1)
- In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Add onion; sauté 10 to 15 minutes, or until the onions are translucent but not browned. Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the tomato paste, vinegar, honey, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, chili powder, cumin and crushed red pepper flakes. Simmer uncovered on low heat for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and pour into wire strainer to remove onions, garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. Let cool. Store covered in refrigerator. Yield: 1 ½ quarts.
- Trim chicken breasts and thighs of all fat.
- Add chicken and 1 cup of barbecue sauce to Instant Pot. Secure lid and make sure that pressure valve is closed. Program on high pressure for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, quick release pressure. (See Tip 4)
- Remove chicken from Instant Pot. Discard liquid.
- Shred the chicken using two forks. Transfer to large saucepan. Add 2 cups of barbecue sauce. Stir to combine. Cook over low heat 15 minutes or until chicken is moist with barbecue sauce and is thoroughly heated.
- Serve heaped onto slider buns with additional barbecue sauce on the side.
- Yield: 12 servings.
Chula's Expert Tips
- You can use store-bought barbecue sauce or your favorite homemade barbecue sauce. You will need 3 cups for making the pulled chicken, plus extra to serve on the side. If using the homemade barbecue sauce, you can store what you don't use, covered in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- I used low sodium soy sauce.
- This recipe used 3 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken pieces. I used 1 pound of chicken breasts and 2 pounds of chicken thighs. I've also used half chicken breasts and half chicken thighs. Basically, you can mix and match based on what you have on hand.
- You can also make the pulled chicken in a slow cooker. Cook chicken with one cup of barbecue sauce on high for three hours, or until chicken can be easily shredded. Remove chicken; discard the liquid. Shred or pull chicken into pieces using two forks. Place shredded chicken in saucepan. Add 2 cups of the barbecue sauce, stirring well to coat. Cook over medium low heat 15 minutes or until chicken is moist with barbecue sauce and is thoroughly heated. Spoon onto slider buns. Top with additional barbecue sauce if desired.