Instant Pot Poached Chicken With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Learn how to make Instant Pot poached chicken that is tender, and juicy and can be served in a variety of ways from salads and sandwiches to soups and casseroles. In this recipe, we also show you how to make an easy creamy tomato sauce that pairs beautifully with poached chicken.


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What Is Poached Chicken?

Poached chicken refers to a cooking method, in which the raw chicken meat, usually breasts, are submerged in hot water or chicken stock infused with herbs, garlic, and onion and gently simmered (left submerged basically) until fully cooked (the internal temperature of meat should reach 75 F / 165 C.

Poaching chicken is a healthy option because it doesn’t need any oil or butter for cooking the meat and unlike boiling, the meat is rarely overcooked and results in juicy, tender chicken.

Once it’s done, the poached chickens can be used in all sorts of tasty dishes like salads, sandwiches, quick soups, and more. 

Instant Pot Poached Chicken

While you could easily make poached chicken on the stove, using the Instant Pot is actually very handy and reliable. 

  • Once you bring the liquid to a simmer, you can use the Keep Warm setting to keep that liquid at the same heat level without coming back to a boil. You can cover the pot with a regular lid and walk away leaving the chicken to poach without having to check on the liquid temperature.
  • Poaching chicken in the Instant Pot is also useful if you don’t have access to a stove such as when renovating the kitchen or living in a place with limited kitchen facilities, traveling or camping with access to electricity. 
  • Instant Pot poached chicken is a great summer recipe as it uses less heat and chicken meat is fantastic for hot weather dishes like salads and wraps. 

In this recipe, we will show you how to poach chicken in the Instant Pot and how to make an easy creamy white sauce to serve it with (which can be done on the stove or in the Instant Pot using the Saute setting).

Poached Chicken
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Ingredients For Poached Chicken

Chicken – In this recipe, we poached two medium chicken breasts in the 6-quart Instant Pot; you can safely poach 3-4 chicken breasts using the same method, just add a little more liquid and leave to poach for 2-3 more minutes as the water cools down slightly when you add the cold chicken meat and the more meat you add, the more it will cool down initially. If you have an 8-quart Instant Pot, you can poach more chicken, just make sure you add enough liquid to cover the chicken breasts as the larger pot has more surface space.  

Liquid  – You want to take advantage of the poaching method and the fact that the chicken will infuse with the flavors of the liquid so it’s a good idea to use chicken or vegetable stock or to simply salt the water if that’s what you are using.

Add some flavor – You can add raw garlic and onion or use powders, bay leaves, fresh or dried herbs or throw in some ginger or a little soy sauce for an Asian twist. You could even add some coconut milk and lemongrass or turmeric.


How To Poach Chicken In The Instant Pot

You will find the full recipe with ingredients and nutritional breakdown in the recipe card below. Here is a step-by-step process for poaching the chicken in the pressure cooker. We used a 6-quart Instant Pot. If using an 8-quart model, you may need to add more liquid to cover the chicken breasts completely.

Step 1. The first step is to bring some water to a boil. You will need about 4 cups of hot water for the recipe. You can use a kettle to speed things up or you can even do it in the Instant Pot using the Saute setting on More mode. You can use a regular lid to cover the pot. 

Step 2. Add 4 cups of boiling hot water to the Instant Pot. Add the salt, pepper, stock cube, and bay leaf and squeeze the juice out of 1/4 of a lemon, add the remaining lemon in as well. Stir through. 

Water in the pot with garlic, lemon, pepper and bay leaf for poaching chicken

Step 3. Turn the Instant Pot on Saute on MORE setting (press the Saute button multiple times to cycle through the setting options). Cover with a regular lid and let it come back to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, press Cancel. 

Step 4. Nestle the chicken breasts in the hot flavored stock. Press the Keep Warm setting and cover the pot with a regular lid. Leave for 10 minutes, then turn the chicken breasts over and leave for 10 more minutes, about 20 minutes total (22-23 minutes for larger breasts or if using 3-4 breasts). 

Remove chicken from the stock and slice the breasts or keep for later use. Reserve the stock to use in a sauce, soups, or stews.


How To Make Easy Creamy Tomato Sauce

One of our favorite ways to serve poached chicken is with a simple sauce like this creamy tomato garlic sauce. Dish up a side salad or vegetables and some mashed or roast potatoes, rice, quinoa or pasta for a complete meal.

Step 1. Prepare the ingredients for the sauce: butter, garlic, tomato paste, salt, chili flakes and cream. You will also need ½ cup of the chicken stock.

Ingredients For Creamy Tomato garlic sauce

Step 2. Heat up a small frying pan or a skillet over medium-high heat. You can also use it in the clean Instant Pot using the Saute setting. Add the butter and garlic and saute for a minute or two until garlic starts to change color and get aromatic. At this stage, stir in the tomato paste, salt and chili flakes.

Step 3. Pour in 1/2 cup of the cooking chicken poaching broth or regular stock and stir until the paste has dissolved completely. Then stir in the cream and cook together for a minute until the sauce is smooth. Take off the heat and set aside. 

Pour the sauce over sliced chicken and sprinkle with parsley for garnish.

Instant Pot Poached Chicken With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure the liquid has come to full boil in the Instant Pot itself before pressing the Cancel button to stop the Saute setting. 
  • Using the Keep Warm setting to maintain the heat of the liquid, you will need about 20 minutes for 2 medium chicken breasts. If the breasts are larger or you want to poach more than two chicken breasts at the same time, increase the poaching time to 22-24 minutes. The reason for that is two fold: as you add more cold meat, the initial temperature of that liquid will cool down and also having thicker breasts will need slightly longer poaching time. 
  • Some chicken breasts are very large, in which case you can cut the thickest part of the breast in two halves. 
  • If you can, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken. Insert it in the thickest part of the breast and make sure the temperature has come to 75 F / 165 C. If you don’t have a thermometer, slice the chicken in to make sure it’s very hot to touch and all the meat looks cooked through. 
  • If the chicken needs more cooking, simply place it back in the hot water on the Keep Warm setting and leave it for a few more minutes, then check again.
Instant Pot Poached Chicken With Creamy Tomato Sauce

What To Do With Poached Chicken

You can use poached chicken for any recipe that calls for cooked chicken or rotisserie chicken such as salads, sandwiches, pies, casseroles, soups, pasta, wraps, burritos and dips.Here are some ideas:

  • Shred the poached chicken and use it in chicken salad or sandwiches. Mix it with mayonnaise, celery, and onions for a classic chicken salad, or add avocado, tomato, and lettuce for a healthy sandwich.
  • Use poached chicken as a topping for salads. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add it to a bed of greens with your favorite veggies and dressing. Try Caesar or Cobb salad! 
  • Make a comforting chicken soup. Add the poached chicken to a pot of chicken broth with vegetables, herbs, and noodles for a cozy meal.
  • Use the poached chicken as a filling for tacos or enchiladas. Shred the chicken and mix it with salsa, cheese, and spices for a flavorful filling.
  • Add the poached chicken to pasta dishes. Toss it with your favorite sauce and noodles for a quick and easy dinner.
  • Serve with your favorite sauce such as honey mustard, creamy mushroom or our suggested creamy tomato sauce. Add a side dish or mashed potatoes, rice or pasta noodles and some vegetables to complete the meal.

Storing Poached Chicken

Once cooled, the poached chicken can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. In the freezer, it will keep for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to use the poached chicken, thaw it in the fridge overnight if it’s frozen.


MORE EASY CHICKEN INSTANT POT RECIPES


Instant Pot Poached Chicken With Creamy Tomato Sauce

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Instant Pot Poached Chicken With Creamy Tomato Sauce

Learn how to make healthy, tender and delicious Instant Pot poached chicken. Use it in salads, sandwiches, soups and pasta dishes or serve with our simple creamy garlic tomato sauce and your favorite side dishes.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings: 2
Calories: 386kcal
Author: Ann Fabrizio

Ingredients

For Poaching Chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts 5-6 oz or 150 grams each
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper or peppercorns
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 lemon

For Creamy Tomato Sauce

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 garlic cloves finely diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 cup broth from the cooked chicken
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • Parsley to serve

Instructions

  • The first step is to bring some water to a boil. You will need about 4 cups of hot water for the recipe. You can use a kettle to speed things up or you can even do it in the Instant Pot using the Saute setting on More mode. You can use a regular lid to cover the pot.
  • Add 4 cups of boiling hot water to the Instant Pot. Add the salt, pepper, stock cube, and bay leaf and squeeze the juice out of 1/4 of a lemon, add the remaining lemon in as well. Stir through.
  • Turn the Instant Pot on Saute on MORE setting (press the Saute button multiple times to cycle through the setting options). Cover with a regular lid and let it come back to a boil. Once it has come to a boil, press Cancel.
  • Nestle the chicken breasts in the hot flavored stock. Press the Keep Warm setting and cover the pot with a regular lid. Leave for 10 minutes, then turn the chicken breasts over and leave for 10 more minutes, about 20 minutes total (22-23 minutes for larger breasts or if using 3-4 breasts).
  • Remove from the stock and slice the breasts or keep for later use. Reserve the stock to use in a sauce, soups or stews.

Make Creamy Tomato Sauce

  • Prepare the ingredients for the sauce. You will also need ½ cup of the chicken stock.
  • Heat up a small frying pan or a skillet over medium-high heat. You can also use it in the clean Instant Pot using the Saute setting. Add the butter and garlic and saute for a minute or two until garlic starts to change color and get aromatic. At this stage, stir in the tomato paste, salt and chili flakes.
  • Pour in 1/2 cup of the cooking chicken poaching broth or regular stock and stir until the paste has dissolved completely. Then stir in the cream and cook together for a minute until the sauce is smooth. Take off the heat and set aside.
  • Pour the sauce over sliced chicken and sprinkle with parsley for garnish.

Notes

The nutrition info is for poached chicken breast with the sauce!

Nutrition

Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 0.5g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 2780mg | Potassium: 572mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1295IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1mg
CourseMain Course
Cuisinehealthy
KeywordChicken Breast Recipes, Creamy Tomato Sauce, Instant Pot Chicken Recipes, Poached Chicken, Chicken With Creamy Sauce, How To Poach Chicken
Made this recipe?Mention @instantpoteats or tag #instantpoteats!

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