Instant Pot Salsa Chicken is the best way to cook tender and moist chicken in under 30 minutes. This recipe is full of salsa verde and taco seasoning mix for the best Mexican flavors! Whip up a quick, easy, and healthy dinner dish to make for tacos, burrito bowls, or to serve with your favorite salad.  

Tender, shredded chicken breasts in a bowl.

Pressure Cooker Shredded Salsa Chicken

Growing up in Texas, there has been a tremendous influence from Mexican cuisine on my style of cooking.

Whether that means adding a dash of cayenne pepper to a Butternut Squash Soup recipe, including a bit of jalapeño in some Homemade Honey Cornbread, or spicing up some Crock-Pot Shredded Chicken with a jar of salsa verde.

All savory food tends to taste a little bit better, and a lot more like home to me, with a touch of Tex-Mex flavors.

The inspiration for this Instant Pot Shredded Salsa Chicken recipe actually came one night when I was crushed for time and really wanted a tender, juicy, shredded chicken recipe to serve as tacos.

This Crock-Pot salsa shredded chicken recipe has always been a huge success in the past, so why not throw it in the pressure cooker and see what happens?!

Well, the first batch came out a little too watery (after all, slow cooker recipes tend to evaporate a bit more liquid than pressure cooker recipes do!) but showed promise as it was literally falling apart as I was shredding it with a fork!

So with a little tweaking, this recipe was born and was served as these Easy Shredded Chicken Tacos! It is full of delightful Mexican flavors and is so tender and easy-to-shred.

Salsa, onion, chicken breasts, red onion, and taco seasoning mix as the ingredients in an Instant Pot shredded salsa chicken recipe.

Ingredients

There are only a few simple ingredients for this shredded chicken recipe:

  • Chicken. This recipe was originally created using organic skinless, boneless chicken breasts. However, if you happen to have thighs (bone-in or boneless) you can always use that instead. You might need to adjust the cook time accordingly, though.
  • Red onion. A sweet or white onion will substitute well.
  • Garlic. Fresh garlic cloves are recommended, but ½ teaspoon of garlic powder can also be substituted.
  • Taco Seasoning Mix. This homemade taco seasoning was used in this recipe. You can also use a store bought kind, but may need to adjust the amount of additional salt you add.
  • Salsa. A mild salsa verde, or green sauce, is best. You can easily make your own Tomatillo Verde Salsa. If you like your salsa chicken to be a bit spicier, feel free to use a medium salsa. Don’t have salsa verde on hand? A regular red salsa, like this Roasted Salsa, will work great, too.

How to Make Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

Below are the steps to make this Instant Pot Salsa Chicken recipe at home:

Sauté the Onions

Set a 6-quart Instant Pot to the sauté function and cook the onions in the oil for 2-3 minutes.

Add crushed garlic and continue sautéing for 1 minute. These steps add a lot of flavor.

Scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot to ensure there are no bits stuck to the bottom of the pot so you don’t get a burn notice.

Add the Chicken and Cook

Set the chicken breasts in the Instant Pot. Sprinkle the taco seasoning over the top of the chicken.

Pour the salsa verde and water in, as well.

Cook for 10 minutes on high pressure. Once the timer goes off, do not open the Instant Pot for 10 minutes to allow for some natural release.

After 10 minutes has passed, open the valve to let any remaining pressure out.

How to Shred Chicken in the Instant Pot?

The best way to shred is by using two forks. Place them on the chicken breast and pull apart in opposing directions. Repeat this process until the entire amount is shredded.

There are also a few simple tips and tricks you can follow that will ensure your chicken shreds easily and stays juicy and tender.

  1. It is best to shred chicken when it is still warm but cool enough to touch.
  2. Using two forks is the easiest way, but you can also shred it with your hands.
  3. Immediately after shredding, put it back into the juice so it does not dry out.

How to Serve Instant Pot Salsa Chicken?

There are so many different ways you can serve this shredded salsa chicken.  A few of my favorite meals include:

  • As shredded chicken tacos with flour or corn tortillas and a bit of avocado and cotija cheese.
  • In a burrito bowl with some caramelized red onions.
  • In Mexican chicken quesadillas.
  • Or on top of your favorite taco salads—don’t forget your favorite taco toppings, like avocado, tomato, sour cream, black beans, and salsa.
A hand picking up a corn tortilla full of Instant Pot salsa shredded chicken with tomatoes and avocado.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: You can chop the onions a day early. This whole meal actually keeps well for a couple of days, too.
  • How to store: If you have any leftover shredded chicken, it will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • How to freeze: This recipe freezes exceptionally well if you shred the chicken first and then place it in a freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag.  This recipe keeps in the freezer for up to 4-6 months.
  • How to reheat: You can warm up the chicken in the microwave or a saucepan on the stove.

How long to cook chicken in Instant Pot to shred?

It only takes about 10 minutes in the Instant Pot to cook the chicken to shred. Be sure to allow for a 10-minute natural release before opening the cooker.

Why is my Instant Pot chicken hard to shred?

If your chicken is hard to shred, it might be because you didn’t cook it long enough or didn’t add enough water. Depending on the amount of chicken, cooking it for 8-10 minutes should yield a tender texture. Whether using broth, salsa, or water, you’ll want to ensure your chicken has the right amount of cooking liquid.

A ladle full of shredded salsa chicken from an Instant Pot bowl.

Does chicken get tough in Instant Pot?

If you cooked the chicken for too long or not long enough in the Instant Pot, it might get tough. It sounds weird, but there’s a magic zone where chicken reaches the perfect texture, ideally between 8 and 10 minutes with 10 minutes of natural pressure release.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Dealer’s choice. While breasts are leaner, the dark meat of chicken thighs are more flavorful.
  • DIY. Whip up your own batch of taco seasoning and homemade salsa for this recipe.
  • Get creative. This chicken is delicious on bowls, tacos, burritos, or by itself.
  • Go big. Make a double batch so the whole family can enjoy it and have leftovers.
  • Top it off. Diced avocadosdiced tomatoes, fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, and even pickled jalapenos are delicious with this chicken.
A spatula scooping up Instant Pot salsa chicken.

What to Serve with Salsa Shredded Chicken?

This salsa shredded chicken is the perfect base for so many meals. Try any of these sides with this easy recipe.

You can’t go wrong with Homemade Tortilla Chips and GuacamoleRoasted SalsaPico de Gallo, or Fresh Tomato Salsa.

Mexican Street CornCilantro Lime Rice, and Refried Beans or Instant Pot Refried Beans are also must-haves.

Other Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

Want a few other healthy Instant Pot chicken recipes? I’ve got you covered.

The opportunities for variation are endless with this Instant Pot Shredded Chicken.

For warming one-pot mains, try this Instant Pot Orange ChickenInstant Pot Chicken Tortilla SoupInstant Pot Chicken Vegetable Soup, or this Instant Pot Yellow Curry Chicken.

Tap stars to rate!

4.67 from 27 votes

Instant Pot Shredded Salsa Chicken

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken is full of salsa verde, taco seasoning mix, Mexican flavors, and can be ready  in under 30 minutes!  This Instant Pot shredded chicken is a quick, easy, and healthy dinner recipe to make for tacos, burrito bowls, or to serve with your favorite salad.
Yield 6 servings
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 25 minutes
Total 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ lbs. chicken breasts
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ red onion finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning mix
  • ¼ – ½ tsp. salt to taste
  • ¾ cup salsa verde mild
  • ¼ cup water

Instructions 

  • Set a 6-quart Instant Pot to the sauté function. Add oil and diced red onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until onions become translucent.
  • Add crushed garlic and continue sautéing for 1 minute. Turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot to ensure there are no bits stuck to the bottom. Add chicken breasts on top of the onions.
  • Sprinkle taco seasoning mix and salt on top of the chicken.
  • Pour in salsa verde and water. Pick up chicken breasts to let some of the liquid get underneath them.
  • Cover the Instant Pot with the lid and make sure the pressure release valve is set to sealed.
  • Cook chicken for 10 minutes on high pressure. Do not open the Instant Pot for 10 minutes after the timer goes off for a 10-minute NPR.
  • Open the pressure release valve and let any excess steam out.
  • Shred the chicken with two forks and let sit in the liquid for 5-10 minutes before serving.
  • Serve salsa shredded chicken as tacos, in a burrito bowl, or on top of your favorite salad. Enjoy!

Tap stars to rate!

4.67 from 27 votes

Notes

  • *If you would like your chicken to be slightly spicier, you can use a medium salsa instead of mild.
  • Regular salsa can also be used in place of the salsa verde.
  • Homemade taco seasoning mix was used in this recipe, but a packaged mix can also be used. Make sure to adjust the amount of salt added accordingly.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead of time: You can chop the onions a day early. This whole meal actually keeps well for a couple of days, too.
  • How to store: If you have any leftover shredded chicken, it will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • How to freeze: This recipe freezes exceptionally well if you shred the chicken first and then place it in a freezer-safe container or Ziplock bag.  This recipe will freeze well for up to 4-6 months.
  • How to reheat: You can warm up the chicken in the microwave or a saucepan on the stove.

Nutrition

Calories: 196kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 614mg, Potassium: 490mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 442IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. 5 stars
    I melted an 8.oz bar of cream cheese into the liquid while I was shredding the chicken separately. Blended it all together and the result was incredible! Served with tortilla chips over rice.

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Amy! That sounds delicious. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!