Sweet potatoes seem to take forever when baked in the oven, but not so when you use an electric pressure cooker! I always whip out the Instant Pot when I want sweet potatoes in a flash—it’s my favorite way to cook them now, as they always come out moist and tender--never burned.
These BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes are a meal unto themselves. They're loaded with tender, shredded barbecue chicken, then topped with gooey, melty cheese. This all-in-one Instant Pot dish is one of my slam-dunk dinners, and the single-serving leftovers are so easy to pack for lunch, too.
Quick Weeknight Dinner in the Instant Pot
I love making this dish in an electric pressure cooker for a few reasons:
- It’s a whole lot faster than using the oven—by about half the time.
- Everything cooks at the same time—the chicken and sweet potatoes
- I can make a side salad (or just relax) while it’s doing its thing—the pressure cooker’s alarm tells me when it’s done, and it comes out perfect every time.
New to the Instant Pot? Check out our post How To Use an Instant Pot: A First-Timer’s Guide.
How Do You Make Everything in One Pot?
This recipe makes use of an extra accessory—a tall metal steam rack. This is how you’ll cook the chicken and the sweet potatoes at the same time.
While the chicken cooks in the bottom of the pot, the sweet potatoes sit on the steam rack and cook right on top.
Which Sweet Potatoes to Buy
This recipe relies on using single serving sweet potatoes. They're a bit smaller than you might usually buy—they should be about 4 1/2 to 6 ounces each. This is the size commonly found in bags in the produce section of the grocery store, rather than sold loose.
If you use larger sweet potatoes, you won’t be able to fit six of them on top of the steam rack; however, you may simply use fewer sweet potatoes and increase the cooking time, if you like. Large (8 to 10-ounce) ones will take 12 to 15 minutes to cook through.
Do a Quick Pressure Release
To avoid overcooking your sweet potatoes, you’ll definitely want to perform a quick pressure release right when the pressure cooking program ends.
The sweet potatoes need just 10 minutes under pressure, and if they stay in the pot for another ten minutes before releasing the pressure, they will become too mushy. That’s because when the alarm goes off, there’s still a lot of heat and pressure built up in the pot, so foods will continue to cook until the pressure is fully released.
You can leave everything in the pot on the “Keep Warm” setting after cooking if you need to, but you’ll still need to do a quick pressure release.
Don't worry if the skins split! You may find that the skins on the sweet potatoes split during cooking—that’s totally normal for pressure cooking, and they will still be delicious! The skins on pressure cooked potatoes (both sweet and regular varieties) will be soft, rather than crispy.
How to Store and Freeze
The leftover stuffed sweet potatoes will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. You can make them for dinner one night, then heat them up for lunch for a couple more days, too. They take 2 to 3 minutes to heat in the microwave.
You might want to leave off the cheese topping if you know that you’ll be reheating the sweet potatoes—it has a tendency to become chewy and tough by the time the sweet potatoes and chicken are heated through.
If you like, you may also freeze the chicken filling separately—just portion them out into silicone muffin pans or mini loaf pans. The single portions thaw much faster, and you can heat up as many as you like at one time.
Want More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes?
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- How to Cook Chicken in the Pressure Cooker
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Taco Meat
- Instant Pot Chicken Lettuce Wraps
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Casserole
Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
If you’re making this recipe in an 8-quart pressure cooker, increase the water to 1 cup.
Stovetop Pressure Cooker Instructions: Decrease the cooking time under pressure to 8 minutes, and follow the rest of the recipe as written. Different stovetop cookers will vary in height—make sure that the steam rack and sweet potatoes will fit inside the pot before proceeding.
Stovetop Instructions: Steam the sweet potatoes in a steamer pot for about 20 minutes, or until you can pierce them with a fork. While the potatoes are steaming, cook the chicken separately in a skillet, searing it over medium heat as in the recipe below, then sautéing the onions and garlic, deglazing the pan with water (increased to 1 cup), adding back the chicken, and simmering, covered, for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Shred the chicken, reduce the cooking liquid in the skillet with barbecue sauce until thickened, then add the chicken back and toss to combine. Continue with the stuffing and broiling steps as written.
- For the chicken:
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (if they’re more than 8 ounces, cut them in half)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 6 (4 1/2 to 6 ounces each) sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (homemade or your favorite brand)
- For the toppings:
- 3/4 cup grated cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a blend)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 green onions, sliced thinly
Sear the chicken:
Season the chicken breasts all over with the salt and pepper.
Select the Sauté setting on your electric pressure cooker and heat the oil for 3 minutes, until shimmering. Using a pair of tongs, lower the chicken breasts into the pot and sear them for 3 minutes per side (6 minutes total), until lightly browned. Transfer the chicken to a dish.
Cook the onions and garlic:
Add the onion to the pot and sauté for about 2 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds or so, just until it is no longer raw.
Assemble everything in the pressure cooker:
Add the water and use a wooden spoon to nudge any browned bits off of the bottom of the pot. Add the chicken back to the pot, nestling it in with the onions and garlic.
Lower a tall metal steam rack into the pressure cooker, making sure all of its legs are touching the bottom of the pot. Arrange the sweet potatoes on top of the rack in a single layer.
Pressure cook the potatoes and chicken:
Secure the lid on your pressure cooker in its Sealing position. Cancel the Sauté program, then select the Manual or Pressure Cook program for 10 minutes at high pressure. (It will take about 10 minutes for the pot to come up to pressure before the cooking program begins.)
While the recipe cooks, line a sheet pan with foil and set it aside.
Release the pressure:
As soon as the cooking program ends, perform a quick pressure release by moving the Pressure Release to its Venting position, releasing the steam. (At this point, the pressure cooker can be left on the “Warm” setting for up to 10 hours.)
Use tongs to gently transfer the sweet potatoes to the foil-lined sheet pan. Remove the chicken to a cutting board or dish.
Make the BBQ sauce:
Stir the barbecue sauce in with the liquid and onions in the pot. Cancel the Keep Warm program, select the Sauté setting, and let the mixture boil and reduce for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick and glazy (the timing will vary slightly depending on how much sugar is in your barbecue sauce).
While the sauce is reducing, use a pair of forks to shred the chicken
Mix the chicken with the BBQ sauce:
Turn off the Sauté program. Add the chicken back to the pot and toss to combine.
Stuff the potatoes and broil:
(You can skip this step if you like. Everything is already cooked through—it’s just to get the cheese bubbly and browned.)
Heat your broiler to high with a rack positioned a few inches below the heating element.
Split the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, then stuff them with the chicken mixture. Top each sweet potato with two tablespoons of shredded cheese.
Broil for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown in spots. Remove from the oven, then sprinkle with cilantro and green onions. Serve hot.
Leftovers will keep for 3 to 4 days and can be reheated in the microwave.