Instant Pot chicken breast should be a quick, go-to for fast weeknight dinners.
This Italian inspired dish gets dinner on the table in under 30 minutes. Literally, it takes 5 minutes to prep, 7 minutes for your Instant Pot to pressurize, and 15 minutes of cook time.
And, I know that you expect healthy recipes here on Recipes and Me. They’re kinda our thing.
But, here’s the fact–we all have crazy days where things don’t go perfectly. Your life can get in the way of your health priorities.
All it takes is a day where you leave work late, have an after-work dental exam, or a kid who misses the school bus home.
Bam! You’re running behind. So, what do many do in those cases?
Like many, you might hit the drive-thru lane and order greasy food through a squawk box.
So, I am not proposing that this meal is “health food.” However, I am suggesting that having these ingredients on hand for those crazy evenings is a healthier option than fast food.
In addition to the original recipe, I will offer alternatives to make it low-carb or gluten-free.
Let’s Compare Italian Instant Pot Chicken Breast Against Popular Takeout
Just for fun, let’s stack Italian Instant Pot Chicken Breast against the offerings of two popular Italian chains.
As I researched each of these, I had an epiphany.
Four days each week, I run three miles. With each run, I burn roughly 400 calories. That hard work adds up to 1600 calories weekly.
I would need to add approximately 90 minutes of running to my weekly runs by consuming either of these meals!
Pizza Hut – Spaghetti & Meatballs (individual order)
One order of Pizza Hut’s Spaghetti & Meatballs (which they serve with garlic bread on top of all the pasta!) will cost you 980 calories.
Of those, 310 calories are fat! Worse yet, it contains 1950 grams of sodium, or 81% of your daily need.
Our recipe swaps out beef/pork traditional meatballs with a lean protein–boneless skinless chicken breast.
Domino’s Italian Sausage Marinara
Domino’s “lighter” sauce is a marinara like our Instant Pot chicken breast recipe. However, they serve their pasta marinara topped with Italian Sausage.
The cost to you?
690 calories, 34 grams of fat (52% of your daily amount), and 1620 mg of sodium (68%).
The main difference that saves calories in this offering versus the Pizza Hut meal is that does not come with bread.
Our Chicken Breasts and Marinara Recipe
As you’ll see on our recipe card, our meal comes out to 432 calories and only 4 grams of fat. Plus, we cut the sodium to 210 grams.
And, that’s all done without sacrificing wonderful flavors!
Why Is Instant Pot Chicken Breast in Italian Marinara Healthier?
This recipe offers you a steep reduction in both fat and sodium when compared to the takeout options. As the recipe is written, you will still have carbs.
However, you can also control your portion size. I suggest you use a smaller plate. Plate one serving and walk away.
When the restaurants serve you, it’s too tempting to eat it all in one sitting for some people (myself included)!
Additionally, instead of serving it with bread, you can make a nice, green tossed salad while the pasta cooks.
And, you will see that I sneak in a can of diced tomatoes that will feed even the pickiest kids some veggies!
A home-cooked alternative to carry-out Italian--with less fat and sodium!
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- 14 oz. low sodium chicken broth
- 1.5 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut up into strips)
- 24 oz. jar of less sugar marinara sauce
- 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes in Italian Seasoning
- 1 tablespoon of Mrs. Dash Herb & Garlic
- 1 box of organic fettuccine
- 1/2 cup of fat-free mozzarella cheese
- Coat the inside of your Instant Pot with 1 tsp. of olive oil. This makes easier clean up later.
- Place all ingredients, except for the cheese, into the pot. Break the fettuccine into shorter pieces to fit, if necessary.
- Put your Instant Pot on the "poultry" or "chicken" setting (depending on your exact model. Set time for 15 minutes.
- After the timer beeps, carefully release the steam and let the pot depressurize.
- Lift the lid and stir the pasta. There may be some excess liquid, but it will thicken as the pasta absorbs it.
- Add the cheese over the top and let it melt, then stir it in.
- Serve and enjoy!
This makes a giant batch of pasta. It's ideal for a family or when you want leftovers to enjoy for lunch!
Serving Size1 cup
Amount Per Serving Calories 432 Total Fat 4g Saturated Fat 1g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 59mg Sodium 210mg Carbohydrates 76g Net Carbohydrates 0g Fiber 2g Sugar 70g Sugar Alcohols 0g Protein 25g
Other Ways to Make This Dish Healthier
I use an organic brand of pasta that I purchase on Amazon. If I’m going to eat the carbs, I can at least ensure they are well-sourced.
Also, you can consider the following substitutes:
- Switch up white pasta for whole wheat pasta
- Try spinach noodles
- Purchase gluten-free pasta if you need to go GF.
- Make Zucchini Noodles for low-carb.
- Cook the sauce and chicken in the Instant Pot, release the pressure valve, and cook the zoodles for two minutes. They’ll cook almost instantly Yum!
Final Thoughts on Using the Instant Pot for Chicken Breast
Your Instant Pot can be a game-changer in feeding your family fast, easy, and delicious meals.
The preparation begins early–at the grocery store. Stock your pantry with options that allow you to make dinner on the fly and without much prep time.
Then, you will be able to skip the fast food joints and enjoy healthy dinners.
The limit? Your imagination. You’ll find quickly that your Instant Pot and chicken breasts are a winning combination.