The Best Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Legs

4.82 from 11 votes
Jump to Recipe

This post contains affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

The Best Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Legs recipe – easy chicken legs covered in BBQ sauce – from frozen recipe included too!

a hand holding a bbq chicken drumstick in front of an instant pot
Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week – and be sure to tag @sweetcsdesigns on social media – I love to see your creations!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Don’t want all the extras in a recipe post? We provide a skip to recipe button in the top left corner, as well as a clickable table of contents, just below, to help make this page easier to navigate.

We add lots of tips in our recipe – so you can make this dish, understand why it works and what each ingredient means to the flavor of a recipe. I also answer questions my friends and family have asked about my recipes, to help home cooks of any skill level better understand the processes we use and why!

Pressure Cooker BBQ Chicken Legs

Crispy, crunchy, juicy chicken legs covered in BBQ sauce are one of my favorite easy meals – they are full of flavor, can be made keto, and are everyone’s favorite finger food meals. Just like Instant Pot BBQ Shredded Chicken, its so easy in the Instant Pot!

My Crunchy Baked Chicken Drumsticks recipe and air fried chicken drumsticks recipes have been viral at Sweet C’s for years – but I am constantly asked if the chicken drumsticks can be made from frozen.

If you’re planning a chicken leg dinner, but don’t have time to defrost, this Instant Pot Chicken Leg recipe is for you – because you can make it with chicken legs right out of the freezer, no thawing required!

bbq chicken legs on a plate with green onions sliced on it

How To Cook BBQ Chicken Drumsticks in the Instant Pot

Frozen chicken legs take 12 minutes to cook, but if they are in a solid block when putting them in, they may need additional time so make sure to check the temperature of the chicken.

Partially thawed chicken legs take 11 minutes in the instant pot.

Thawed chicken legs take 10 minutes to cook in the instant pot.

Chicken legs are fully cooked at 165 degrees.

Use a good quality digital thermometer, inserted into the fattest part of the chicken leg, to read the temperature.

Be sure to not hit the chicken bone for the best reading.

bbq chicken legs on a baking sheet

Keto Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Legs

Chicken drumsticks are one of the best easy keto dinners – they are filling, easy to make, and fit into macros perfectly.

BBQ chicken legs can absolutely fit into a keto diet – but you do need to be sure to use a keto approved sauce.

BBQ sauce can be loaded with sugar and carbs – but there are plenty of BBQ sauces that fit into a low carb diet.

bbq chicken legs on a baking sheet

How To Cook Frozen Chicken Legs in the Instant Pot

One of the top questions on my viral BBQ Baked Chicken Drumsticks recipe is how to make it with frozen chicken legs.

This easy instant pot recipe is the solution – if you don’t have time to defrost chicken legs and want dinner fast, you can use chicken legs right from the freezer!

This instant pot recipe is designed to use frozen chicken legs, with no defrosting, for those times you just don’t have enough time and need dinner, fast!

How To Cook Still Frozen Chicken Legs

Place frozen chicken legs on the trivet inside of the instant pot, add 1 cup of water.

Place the lid on top, make sure to close the seal.

Cook on high for 12 minutes with a quick release, check the temperature.

If the chicken doesn’t reach 165°F, leave them in the pot.

Take out the legs that are to temp.

With the undercooked chicken still in the pot, place the lid back on and cook on high for an additional 2 minutes with a quick release.

How To Get Crunchy Chicken Legs In an Instant Pot

While these chicken legs cook to tender, juicy perfection in the Instant Pot, they will have soft skin when done in the instant pot – which is why we will either crisp them under a broiler, or using the Instant Pot Crisping lid.

Under a Broiler

Preheat the broiler on high.

Place the chicken legs on a sheet tray, season with the optional garlic powder and onion powder.

Brush the bbq sauce on one side, broil until the bbq sauce is sticky and baked on, about 2 minutes.

Turn them over and brush the other side with the remaining bbq sauce, broil for an additional 2 minutes. 

Using Instant Pot Crisping Lid

Remove pressure cooker lid from Instant Pot, and place crisping lid on.

Remove any liquid from bottom of Instant Pot.

Turn Instant Pot broiler function on high and preheat 5-10 minutes.

Place the chicken legs on a sheet tray, season with the optional garlic powder and onion powder.

Brush the bbq sauce on all sides of the chicken legs.

Place back in Instant pot on wire rack, making sure they are laid out and not placed on top of each other, so they can crisp evenly.

Broil until the bbq sauce is sticky and baked on, about 5 minutes.

Turn them over and brush once more with sauce, broil for an additional 5 minutes.

If more crunch is desired, repeat until satisfied.

bbq chicken legs on a baking sheet

What to Serve With BBQ Chicken Legs

These chicken legs make an easy and quick dinner – and pair perfectly with a ton of delicious, easy side dishes!

I am sharing some of my favorites – including low carb hits like cauliflower rice, pan fried broccolini, and bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers – but also quick favorites like the best rice pilaf, fogo de chao cheese bread, and jalapeno cheese bread.

bbq chicken legs on a baking sheet

How To Store and Reheat Chicken Legs

I am often asked how to freeze and reheat my recipes – and reheating crunchy baked chicken is one of my most popular questions!

These methods work with these baked chicken drumsticks – but also my air fryer chicken drumsticksBBQ baked chicken drumsticks, baked chicken wingsair fried chicken wings, and fried or grilled chicken drumsticks!

Store Instant Pot Chicken Legs

If you can’t make your way through all of the chicken legs and would like to save more for later, you can store leftovers in an airtight container or plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to five days or up to four months in the freezer.

Make sure to cook to piping hot when reheating.

If freezing, thaw overnight in the refrigerator until baking.

How to Bake Leftover Chicken Legs

To bake chicken legs again after refrigerating, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Coat chicken leg with BBQ sauce – just enough to coat entire leg, about 1 tbsp.

Place chicken leg on cooling rack over baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes, until piping hot.

Broil for extra 1-2 minutes to crisp.

bbq chicken legs on a baking sheet

The Best Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Legs Recipe

If you love this recipe as much as I do, please give it a five star rating and help me share on facebook and pinterest!

bbq chicken legs on a baking sheet

CONNECT WITH SWEET C’S!
Be sure to follow me on social media and get in on all the fun!

Only have 30 minutes to get dinner on the table? Sign up for my 30 minute dinner plans direct to your inbox!
Find and shop my favorite products in my Amazon storefront here!

Want to save this recipe?
Just enter your email and get it sent to your inbox! Plus you’ll get new recipes from us every week – and be sure to tag @sweetcsdesigns on social media – I love to see your creations!
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
A person holding a frozen chicken leg in front of an Instant Pot.
Print

The Best Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Legs Recipe

Easy Instant Pot BBQ Chicken drumsticks – cooked from frozen – for tender, delicious, crispy drumsticks with no thaw time and TONS of flavor!
Course Chicken
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken drumstick, chicken leg, instant pot chicken leg, instant pot chicken leg from frozen
Prep Time 3 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 21 minutes
Servings 10 drumsticks
Calories 525kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

  • 10 chicken legs or as many as you can fit in your instant pot
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder optional
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder optional
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 scallion thinly sliced, optional

Instructions

  • Place frozen chicken legs on the trivet inside of the instant pot, add 1 cup of water. Place the lid on top, make sure to close the seal.
  • Cook on high for 12 minutes with a quick release, check the temperature. If the chicken doesn’t reach 165°F, leave them in the pot.
  • Take out the legs that are to temp. With the undercooked chicken still in the pot, place the lid back on and cook on high for an additional 2 minutes with a quick release. 
  • Preheat the broiler on high.
  • Place the chicken legs on a sheet tray, season with the optional garlic powder and onion powder.
  • Brush the bbq sauce on one side, broil until the bbq sauce is sticky and baked on, about 2 minutes.
  • Turn them over and brush the other side with the remaining bbq sauce, broil for an additional 2 minutes. 
  • Garnish with optional scallions, or herbs of your choice.

Notes

Frozen chicken legs take 12 minutes to cook, but if they are in a solid block when putting them in, they may need additional time so make sure to check the temperature.
Partially thawed chicken legs take 11 minutes.
Thawed chicken legs take 10 minutes.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 525kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 62g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 328mg | Sodium: 543mg | Sugar: 9g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

You May Also Like

4.82 from 11 votes (11 ratings without comment)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




2 Comments

  1. Bev Felton says:

    This looks so good. And so easy. Do you know how I could convert to make in my Ninja Foodi?

    1. Courtney ODell says:

      Hey Bev!

      I actually use a ninja foodi and the Instant pot – use the pressure cook lid first, and switch to the air fry lid after. The crisping will go faster in the Foodi, I get a much better crunch in it! Check it after 3-4 minutes instead of 5 when crisping the legs, it will turn out great!