Instant Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken - Dump and Go Dinner

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Instant Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken - Dump and Go Dinner

The Cook
4 Servings
4 Ingredients

Simple and speedy this Pesto Ranch Chicken is a great meal to throw in your Instant Pot pressure cooker for an easy dinner. Chicken thighs are cooked in a ranch seasoned pesto to flavorful, juicy perfection.

4 Servings
4 Ingredients


  • 2 pounds Chicken, Thighs, Boneless/Skinless
  • ¾ cups Pesto
  • 2 tablespoons Ranch Dressing Mix
  • ½ cups Chicken Broth/Stock



  • Labels

Cooking Instructions

Freeze For Later Cooking Day Directions

Easy Assembly/Dump and Go

These directions help you cook or prepare this meal PRIOR to being frozen for serving later (see Serving Day Directions when you are ready to prepare it to eat).

Why would I want to freeze this?

  1. Divide all ingredients into indicated number of freezer bags.
  2. Label and freeze.

Make From Frozen Serving Day Directions

Prog. Pressure Cooker

These directions help you cook or reheat this meal AFTER it's been frozen for when you are ready to eat it.

  1. Prep from frozen
  2. **Depending on your container size/shape and your serving size, you may need to adjust cooking times given as it is based on 4 servings frozen in indicated container.**
  3. Place frozen contents in Instant Pot.
  4. Lock lid into place and seal steam nozzle.
  5. Cook on high pressure for 9 minutes.
  6. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.

Make It Now Cooking Directions

These directions are for cooking this recipe to serve immediately and NOT to freeze for later.

  1. **Due to the nature of pressure cooking there is always room for inconsistency. The times given here are based on 4 servings fresh. If you are using more servings you may need to increase your cooking time.**
  2. Combine pesto, ranch dressing mix and chicken broth in a bowl.
  3. Place chicken inside Instant Pot and spoon pesto sauce on top, covering chicken.
  4. Lock lid into place and seal steam nozzle.
  5. Cook on high pressure for 9 minutes.
  6. Let pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then release any remaining pressure.


Join the discussion
  1. I made my own pesto and ranch, it was very good but I would cut back on the stock (too much liquid). According to directions, I used the round containers, sautéed the frozen hunk for 5 minutes and cooked in the instant pot for 9 minutes. The chicken was still frozen! I cooked it for an additional 9 minutes.

    FYI, I’m new to this. You don’t need to defrost, right?

    1. Welcome, Lisa! You are correct that you don’t have to defrost items before they go into your Instant Pot. I’m sorry to hear it was still frozen for you. Did you by chance use chicken breasts instead of thighs? I ask in part because I like to change up the cuts of meat sometimes myself. 🙂 If that isn’t the case, we have a couple posts that are pretty helpful when it comes to learning the ways of the Instant Pot. You can check those out here and here. If you run into any other bumps, feel free to jump on a chat with us between 10am and 2pm EST on weekdays or between 2pm and 5pm EST on weekends and we’d be happy to help in any way we can.

      1. Hi. This was my first venture into frozen instant potting and I had similar results to Lisa. I used breasts and I thought the tips and tricks 201 said 8-10 minutes so I did 10. Did I misunderstand something? I cut the breasts up into smaller chunks, but I guess during the defrost the chicken stayed clumped together and didn’t cook on the inside of the clump. Also, after the saute, it was still a pretty big frozen hunk. Some liquid had come off. Is the saute suppose to break apart the pieces? Thanks!

        1. Hi Jarrod – we’re so sorry you had this experience! When you cooked your frozen meal in the Instant Pot, did you follow the “Make from Frozen” instructions on the recipe page? Per those instructions, after the 5 minute saute, you should pressure cook for 9 minutes and then allow to natural release for 5 minutes. The saute will not break apart the pieces, it just creates some liquid so that the pot can come to pressure. If you’d like to hop over to chat with our customer engagement team (the little orange icon on the bottom right), we’d be happy to help you troubleshoot further!

        2. I always defrost mine slightly and don’t go straight from frozen. it just doesn’t work for me with chicken.

  2. Hello!

    Just wanted to share that I made this recipe using frozen chicken thighs…I did half the portion…set the IP to Poultry for 20 minutes and let it slow release. Paired it with Trader Joe’s Zucchini Fries. So delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I can’t find a place to make notes, so just for my future reference…this didn’t fully cook in my 8 qt in the time listed from frozen. I stirred it and set it for an additional 2 minutes, and it was fine. In the future I’ll just do 12 minutes to start and think that’ll be fine. 🙂 Tastes wonderful though, thanks!!! This was using boneless, skinless thighs.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. There are a variety of things that can affect the cook time in the Instant Pot, including using an 8 versus 6 quart pot, so we always recommend doing exactly what you did – adding a few extra minutes at the end if you find a dish isn’t cooked through. We’re glad you enjoyed it!

  4. I tried to cook the recipe from frozen and had to throw it out because it kept burning to the bottom of my instant pot. I waited for 5 minutes and had partially thawed it in the sink before that. Super disappointed because it smelled so good

    1. So sorry you had a poor experience. Perhaps next time try thawing it out prior to cooking to guarantee a better experience.

  5. I did 10min not frozen chicken and still turned out uncooked. Thought that seemed too short! Suggestions? Put lid back on to repeat

    1. Debrah, so sorry to hear that your recipe didn’t go as planned. We would suggest; making sure that your seal is in place, you’re cooking on high pressure (using the poultry setting may be a good idea if you are not already doing so), and that you are allowing the entire 5 minutes of natural pressure release. Additionally, if you are cooking more than 4 servings worth of chicken at a time, you will want to adjust your cooking time.

      We hope this helps!

  6. Hello! I’m fairly new to pressure cooking, so I wanted to ask before I attempt this recipe. Instructions with the pressure cooker state to always add a certain amount of water at the bottom of the pot. Is that something I do with this recipe? Or am I able to leave out the water since there is broth?

    1. That is a commonly asked question. Recipes need at least 1/2 – 1 cup of total liquid for the pot to come to pressure. Liquids don’t have to be water. In the case of this recipe, the liquid is broth. The broth, plus the water from the chicken, will produce enough pressure for this recipe to work.

  7. Because my freezer is always full to the limit, I leave water out of recipes and make a note on the label to add it on serving day. Added bonus, I don’t have to sauté for 5 minutes at the start. My family love this recipe.

    1. Hi Kalen – thanks for your tip, that’s a new one for us! If you wouldn’t mind, could you send us an email or chat and let us know which recipes this works for you?

  8. Is it the same cooking time, if I use chicken breasts instead? Also, can I do this in the slow cooker as well? Thanks!

    1. Hi Sandy! Cooking time will change for breasts. We suggest adding just 2-3 minutes and doing a quick release to check on it. The pot will already be heated so it will come back to pressure quickly if you need to add more time. We have a great post on making adjustments to recipes in your instant pot here:

      We also have a slow cooker version that you can find here:

  9. Made my own ranch seasoning mix, used Costco jarred pesto and frozen chicken breasts so I elongated the time to 15 minutes. It turned out awesome!!! We shredded it and put it on brioche buns but would be great with pasta, doodles, etc. Definitely a do again and would be a crowd pleaser for a party.

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