Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken

Tender shredded chicken, smothered in the most mouthwatering Mexican sauce made from salsa, green chiles, tomatoes and plenty of bold spices!  With both Instant Pot and slow cooker instructions, you’ll have this flavorful dinner on the table with minimal effort.  Such a versatile recipe, you can use it in tacos, burritos, chimichangas, enchiladas and more!

Recipes like my Baked Mexican Rice and Beef Barbacoa are great for when you want restaurant quality food, made easily at home. We love hearty Mexican-inspired meals, and this is one of my Mexican recipes you’ll definitely want in your dinner rotation!

Tender shredded chicken, smothered in the most mouthwatering Mexican sauce made from salsa, green chiles, tomatoes and plenty of bold spices!  Perfect pantry meal, and can be used for so many things (tacos, enchiladas, etc). #chicken #mexican #salsa #shredded #instantpot #pressurecooker #slowcooker #crockpot #cincodemayo #taconight

MEXICAN SHREDDED CHICKEN

I don’t know about you guys, but Mexican food is my all time favorite, and I’m pretty much ALWAYS in the mood for it.

So I’ve been tinkering around trying to come up with the perfect all purpose Mexican chicken, that would be super easy to throw together, and could be used in a big variety of ways.

When I settled on this combination, I knew this was it!  No searing or browning, no complicated ingredients, an option to make this with no fresh produce, makes enough food for a crowd, but PACKED with flavor.

This is what I would consider a “dump it in and go” kind of meal.  You literally add all the ingredients to the Instant Pot, start cooking, and walk away!

We love to serve this Mexican shredded chicken over rice (like this Verde rice), in tacos, taquitos, burritos, enchiladas (try out my homemade sauce here), over top a southwest salad, and my personal favorite… chimichangas!

HOW TO MAKE SHREDDED MEXICAN CHICKEN

  1. Add all ingredients to liner of Instant Pot.  Seriously, just dump it all in… that’s the beauty of this recipe.  No need to stir or layer anything.
  2. Add lid and pressure cook for 15 minutes.
  3. Let pot depressurize for 5-10 minutes.  Then go ahead and release any remaining pressure.  I don’t like to do a quick release here as I found it could make the chicken dry.
  4. Remove chicken and shred.  You can alternately shred the chicken in the Instant Pot, I just like to really be able to go at the chicken, and I don’t have enough room to do that without sloshing liquid around.
  5. If you want to thicken the sauce, make a slurry.  Just mix together 2 Tbsp of cornstarch and 3 Tbsp of water in a small bowl until smooth, then stir that into the sauce.  Hit “saute” and cook, stirring often, until thickened.
  6. Return chicken to the sauce.  And serve as desired!

Making shredded chicken and salsa in the Instant Pot

ADDITIONAL COOKING TIPS

  • CHICKEN – You can easily swap out the chicken breasts for boneless skinless chicken thighs, just decrease the pressure cook time down to 12-13 minutes.  When I make this using breasts, my chicken usually weighs between 3 and 3.5 lbs. so you’ll want to use about that amount of thighs.
  • FROZEN – Didn’t remember to thaw your chicken out, (I’ve totally been there!), no problem!  You can cook this recipe with frozen breasts – just increase the pressure cook time to 17 minutes.  Also, make sure the chicken breasts are separated – a big block of frozen chicken just isn’t going to cook evenly.

VARIATIONS OF THIS RECIPE

  • SPICIER – As written, I would say this recipe is about a mild heat level.  If you’d like it spicier, use HOT diced green chiles, add a chopped jalapeno to the ingredients, and/or use a hot salsa.
  • BEER – For some extra flavor, try using a Mexican beer like Modelo instead of the chicken broth.
  • OTHER SALSAS – I love the tang that the salsa verde adds to this chicken, but feel free to use your favorite salsa.  There are SO many flavors out there… the sky is the limit!
  • COOKING METHODS – this is made for the Instant Pot, but I’ve detailed how to make this in a slow cooker or on the stovetop if you’d prefer.  Those instructions will be down in the “recipe notes” section of of the recipe card.
  • NO FRESH PRODUCE – hey, I get it… there are times when you may not have a fresh onion or garlic around the house.  You can swap in 1/2 Tbsp onion powder and 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder if you prefer.

Forkful of salsa chicken in white bowl

MAKING MEXICAN SHREDDED CHICKEN AHEAD OF TIME

As with most braised meats, this shredded chicken beef tastes even better the next day!  Those flavors sit and meld together.  So feel free to make this recipe a day or two ahead of time.

STORAGE

Leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container and consumed within 5 days.

Keep in mind that more liquid can be absorbed during storage, so if you want it saucier, you may need to add a splash of chicken broth.

Bowl of mexican shredded chicken

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE

  • Instant Pot – I recently upgraded to this model and I love it!
  • Slow Cooker – I’ve had this slow cooker for years and it still works perfectly.
  • Dutch Oven – LeCreuset is my favorite brand, but they’re really pricey, so this Lodge version is a great alternative!

OTHER MEXICAN DISHES:

Homemade Salsa

Flour Tortillas

Cilantro Lime Rice

 

BE SURE TO SCROLL DOWN TO CHECK OUT OTHER READERS’ COMMENTS FOR TIPS AND REVIEWS.

AND DON’T FORGET, IF YOU’VE MADE THIS RECIPE, LEAVE A COMMENT AND PLEASE GIVE IT A STAR RATING LETTING ME KNOW HOW YOU ENJOYED IT!

Forkful of salsa chicken in white bowl

Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken

Tender shredded chicken, smothered in the most mouthwatering Mexican sauce made from salsa, green chiles, tomatoes and plenty of bold spices!
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 16 mins
Total Time 26 mins
Servings 8 - 10 servings
Calories 204

Ingredients
  

  • 5-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium yellow onion - sliced
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp ancho chile pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano - (regular oregano will work if you can't find the Mexican variety)
  • 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes - drained
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles - mild
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 1 cup chicken broth - reduced sodium
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke - (optional)

FOR GARNISH:

  • sliced jalapenos
  • minced fresh cilantro

Instructions
 

  • Add all ingredients to the liner of an Instant Pot.  No need to stir.
  • Secure Instant Pot lid, making sure the valve is set to "sealing". Press the Pressure Cook or Manual button and use the +/- buttons to set the timer for 16 minutes.
  • Once the timer beeps, let the pot depressurize on it's own for 5-10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. When the pin drops, remove lid and set aside.
  • Remove chicken breasts to a large bowl and shred.

TO THICKEN THE SAUCE

  • In a small bowl, stir together 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 3 Tbsp water until smooth. Pour this mixture into the pot with the sauce and select "saute". Cook for several minutes, stirring often, until thickened to your tastes.
  • Toss shredded chicken with as much of the cooking liquid as you'd like.

Notes

** prep time does not include the time for the Instant Pot to come up to pressure, as this will vary from person to person.  Mine took about 15 minutes.
 

SLOW COOKER DIRECTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
  3. Remove chicken and shred, then return to the sauce.
  4. Serve as desired.
 

STOVETOP DIRECTIONS

  1. Add all ingredients to a very large dutch oven and heat to boiling.
  2. Reduce heat to MED LOW and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until all chicken is cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken and shred, then return to the sauce.
  4. Serve as desired.
Author The Chunky Chef
Tried this recipe?Mention @the_chunky_chef or tag #thechunkychef!

 

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Recipe Rating




10 comments on “Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken”

  1. I love this shredded chicken, it comes out so good, so fast, and so easy.

  2. This was amazing! Even better the second day. So much flavor. My family loved it!

  3. What will be cooking time if I scale down to 2 chicken breasts? 

  4. We use this as filling for enchiladas! So tasty. We use Siete grain-free tortillas and dairy-free cheese on top and bake at 400 for 20 minutes, finish with a broil. Thanks for this recipe!

  5. This would be great to make and enjoy all week long for lunch! Love how versatile it can be!

  6. The easiest and best way to make chicken! Love how moist it is too!

  7. Sounds like a dinner that everyone will love in my family!

  8. Ooooooo… This looks so good! I want to pile it on top of nachos. 🙂

  9. Served this for dinner (tacos) tonight and it has easily become a new family favorite dish! Looking forward to enjoying leftovers for dinner tomorrow, indeed!

  10. I finally started using my Instant Pot! It only took me a year. I need to try this!