Easy Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

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Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Prune BBQ Sauce

As you know, I love to play with my food, so when California Prunes approached me to create a BBQ Sauce recipe for them that had no refined sugar and was sweetened with only prunes, how could I resist? The resulting sauce was rich, tangy and deeply flavored, subtly spiced and absolutely delicious. It was perfect on these Instant Pot Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Prune BBQ sauce. It’s a recipe we’ll have on repeat all summer long!

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Prune BBQ Sauce on Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Prune Purée is the Secret Sauce

Many folks are looking to reduce refined sugar these days, and prune purée is an excellent way to do that. Prune purée can be added to baked goods, as well as sauces. It’s a great way to boost the nutritional value (prunes are high in fiber, potassium, and vitamin K), and because prunes are naturally sweet, reduce refined sugar (up to 1/3 in a recipe). Many BBQ sauce recipes have added sugar (or corn syrup) plus ketchup (which also has added sugar or corn syrup) so they are total sugar bombs. This BBQ sauce recipe is sweetened only with prunes and a touch of maple syrup.

Making prune purée is easy. Here’s a simple recipe. 

16 ounces pitted prunes + 1/2 cup hot water

Combine the prunes and water in a blender. Pulse to combine, then blend until a ketchup like consistency forms, scraping the sides if necessary. The purée should be able to slide off of a spoon, if it doesn’t add more water one tablespoon at a time. Store the purée in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.

Here’s a great video on how to use California Prunes as a healthy swap for sugar. It also shows you the ideal texture and consistency of prune purée.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Prune BBQ Sauce

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Prune BBQ Sauce

This California Prune BBQ Sauce is so tangy and delicious and helps to keep these easy pulled chicken sandwiches moist and flavorful. We’ll also be using it to glaze meats on the grill, stir into baked beans, or as a dip for fries and nuggets. If you have any leftover (ha!), it will keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.

Frequently Asked Questions about Instant Pot Pulled Chicken

Why is my Instant Pot Chicken Tough?

My guess is that it needs to cook a little longer. There is a fine line, between done and overdone though, so be sure to only cook it longer a few minutes at a time. Another way to keep instant pot chicken moist is to use thighs instead of breasts. They have a slightly higher fat content and so they’re typically more tender than breasts.

How long does it take to cook chicken in the Instant Pot?

It takes about 8-10 minutes for fresh boneless chicken breasts or thighs, and 10-12 minutes if frozen.

Do you cover meat with liquid in the pressure cooker?

The Instant Pot requires at least 1 cup of liquid so it doesn’t burn. In this recipe, the 1 cup of liquid is the BBQ Sauce.

Here’s How to Round Out Your Meal!

If you make these Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with California Prune BBQ Sauce, or any other of our recipes, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below (⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐) and post a picture and tag us on Instagram using the hashtags #agirldefloured #deflouredrecipes! Thank you!

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Prune BBQ Sauce
Pulled Chicken Sandwiches with Prune BBQ Sauce

Pulled Chicken with California Prune BBQ Sauce – Made in the Instant Pot!

This meal comes together in minutes but tastes like it simmered for hours, thanks to the Instant Pot. Make the California Prune BBQ Sauce ahead of time (it keeps for up to a month in the fridge) and you’ll have dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes! See notes for instructions on how to prepare the chicken in a slow cooker.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 12 mins
Cook Time for BBQ Sauce 40 mins
Total Time 57 mins
Cuisine American
Servings 6 sandwiches
Calories 839 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

For the Prune BBQ Sauce

For the Pulled Chicken

Instructions
 

  • Make the BBQ Sauce. Heat the oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions are translucent and slightly golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add the bourbon, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the paste darkens slightly. Add the prune purée, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, paprika, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
  • Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and cook for 30 minutes to incorporate the flavors. Stir in the liquid smoke, if using. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt and pepper if desired.
  • Make the pulled chicken. Put the chicken thighs into the stainless inner cooking pot of an Instant Pot. Pour 1 cup of the BBQ sauce and chicken broth over the chicken and toss to coat. Sprinkle the mixture with the garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper and stir again to combine.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot making sure the valve is in the sealed position. Press manual (high pressure) and set to 12 minutes. When it’s done, carefully turn the valve to release the steam (quick release style). Use a clean dishcloth to mute the sound and the steam that billows out. Remove the lid and using a slotted spoon, scoop the chicken out of the instant pot into a serving bowl. Shred chicken with two forks and stir in reserved BBQ sauce.
  • Serve chicken on buns topped with coleslaw.

Notes

Making prune purée is easy. Here’s a simple recipe. 16 ounces pitted prunes + 1/2 cup hot water Combine the prunes and water in a blender. Pulse to combine, then blend until a paste consistency forms, scraping the sides if necessary. Store the purée in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.
IF YOUR CHICKEN IS FROZEN – no problem! Simply add 3 additional minutes to the cook time in the Instant Pot.
SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS: Place chicken, 1 cup of BBQ sauce, garlic and onion powders, salt and pepper into the bowl of a slow cooker (omit the chicken broth). Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, or high heat for 3-4. Shred and serve as directed.

Nutrition

Serving: 1sandwichCalories: 839kcalCarbohydrates: 117gProtein: 49gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 2753mgPotassium: 1508mgFiber: 8gSugar: 58gVitamin A: 1423IUVitamin C: 9mgCalcium: 132mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Instant Pot Pulled BBQ Chicken, Prune BBQ Sauce
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