Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken
Why I like this Recipe
It’s tasty. From the first time we made it, it has just wowed us again and again. The chicken is so tender you can shred it with spoons. Then the flavor is spicy and buttery. It pairs perfectly with a hot baked potato. It also takes less than 30 minutes in my instant pot, which is perfect for a weeknight dinner.
We generally serve it fresh over potatoes. After fighting over the leftovers, we either eat them on a salad, or in a sandwich. The richness of the buffalo sauce that comes out is perfect for a potato and they never need any additional toppings like butter or sour cream.
I’m normally all about substitutions and recipe flexibility, but not for this recipe. There are a few ingredients that I strongly recommend avoiding any substitutions if you can. If you do substitute something, you will probably still get some tasty buffalo chicken, but I think it will lose the wow factor.
Thought about Allergies and Substitutions
Chicken Tenderloins verses Breasts verses Thighs
Tenderloins are more tender than breasts. Their texture is a key part of what brings this recipe to the next level. I have tried this recipe with chicken breasts and can say it will work if that’s all you have. It just won’t be as tender. I have not tried it with thighs. I generally avoid them because they are higher in cholesterol than breasts and this recipe already has a little bit of butter.
Frank’s Red Hot
We use the original and buy it in the large bottle. I’ve thought about using one of their spicier varieties, but I think it would be too spicy for my husband. Both the butter and the ranch dressing help to cut the spiciness, if that is a big concern of yours.
I like Frank’s Red Hot because it tastes great and doesn’t have too many ingredients. I’m sure that there are people out there allergic to it, but it doesn’t have any of the common food allergens, like dairy and soy. I have not tried this recipe with any other brand. I think it will still work, but I suspect you won’t get the same level of wow.
I’ve seen many variations of this recipe with Hidden Valley Ranch packets. Too many people in my family are allergic to those, so I avoid them. My husband can have most types of fat-free ranch, which works very well in this recipe. I normally have some on hand for my salads anyway. I’ve used both Hidden Valley and Kroger brand. Both have given me tasty results. I don’t know if the full or reduced-fat versions will give the same results.
I don’t think it matters too much which type you choose here. Feel free to substitute this one. You can use chicken stock or chicken broth, whatever you have on hand. I use low sodium when I see it on sale. Or I buy the regular as a set of six from Costco. I have not been able to notice a difference.
I know it’s not good for me, but it’s so good. Also, 2 tablespoons for 4 servings, isn’t a ton of butter, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. We use unsalted because that’s what we generally have available. I haven’t tried this recipe with canola oil because I think the rich taste of the sauce would go away. Margarine might be a good dairy-free substitute, but it contains soy, so I won’t buy it. In the end, I’m recommending the butter.
As usual, I recommend you start with washing your hands and giving your counter a quick wipe down. Then mix all 5 ingredients and place them in your instant pot.
Cook on high for 8 minutes. Then do the natural release for 10 minutes. This is a great time to start prepping the rest of your meal like reheating potatoes, toasting buns, or making your salad. After the natural release, open the vent carefully to not get spicy steam in your eyes. Once it has returned to room pressure, open the lid, and shred the chicken. It’s so tender that this should be easy.
Use your tongs and thoroughly toss in the sauce. I like to give it a moment to really soak up some last-minute flavor before putting on top of a potato and eating it. Enjoy!
This chicken is good for any shredded chicken dish: loaded potatoes, wraps, sliders, rice bowls, salads, sandwiches, etc. It keeps well, but because it’s so tasty it never lasts passes day two in our fridge.
Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken
- Instant Pot
- 1 pound Chicken Tenderloins
- 0.5 cup Frank's Red Hot
- 2 tablespoons Fat-free Ranch
- 0.25 cup Chicken Stock
- 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- Put all ingredients in the pot and stir until the chicken is coated.
- Cook on high for 8 minutes.
- Naturally release for 10 minutes.
- After the natural release, open the manual release carefully to not get spicy steam in your eyes.
- When it returns to room pressure, open the lid, and shred the chicken.
- Toss the chicken in the sauce.
- Serve and enjoy!