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 17-19 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 12 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.
Just a reminder that chicken breasts can vary quite a bit in size.  If yours are on the larger side, add 2-3 extra minutes to the pressure cooking time.

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!

If changing the recipe serving quantity, the recipe plugin will change the ingredient values for you, but it does NOT change the written instructions, those are manually added and not subject to a slider/button. You will have to extrapolate that multiplication to any amounts listed in the instructions.

For example: if an ingredient calls for 4 cups, and you doubled the recipe, it will automatically change to 8 cups. In the instructions, if I say “use 4 cups of cheese”, you will have to realize that since you doubled it, you use 8 cups, not 4

 

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18 comments on “Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken”

  1. Just made this last night and my partner said this was the best thing I have ever made, and she generally really loves my cooking.

    I am going to be “that guy” and say what I did to change it. (But hopefully not too much, cause I always get annoyed by those reviewers, lol)
    Fully intended to make this using salsa verde, but at the last minute I was told she wasn’t the biggest fan of verde (though was reassuring me that she was going to be fine with it). However I ran back out to the store and got a 16oz jar of a jalapeno cilantro roasted tomato salsa. And I used both cups of that instead of the 1 cup of salsa verde and 15oz of diced roasted tomatoes. Possibly meant that I had to reduce the sauce at the end a bit longer that usual, but the corn starch thickener really helped things.

    I also sautéed the onions a bit, followed by the garlic right before I dumped everything else in. The chicken I had cut up into large chunks, not sure if that matters in the end, but I had seen it suggested elsewhere.

    I served it over some cilantro lime rice.
    🙂

    Found this recipe on google. Looking forward to trying out your other recipes!

  2. So good we’re having this dish again tomorrow with company coming for tacos. Making it ahead this time because as you said, it’s even better the second day! Experimenting with diced tomatoes with habaneros in place of the fire roasted variety. 
    But I’m new to the instapot. If I am cooking 1.5 of the recipe, do I increase the cooking time, and if so, by how much?

    • So happy you enjoyed this recipe!! I love the idea of tomatoes and habaneros 🙂 Generally speaking, when you increase the volume of the recipe for pressure cookers, you don’t need to increase the cook time. However, I like to add a minute or two, just to be safe 🙂

  3. I would recommend cutting up the chicken breasts. The thicker ones were not cooked in the middle. 

  4. Very, very good recipe!  We used the chicken the first day for quesadillas.  I was a tad bit skeptical because I knew it would probably make a lot of sauce – it did, and it was great!   I never thickened the sauce.  I actually separated much of the sauce from the chicken (about 4 cups) after our first meal, thinking I’d use the chicken for other meals that didn’t need so much sauce.  But then, my husband and I would put about a cup of sauce in a bowl, add the chicken back, some tortilla chips, and maybe a dollop of sour cream (and shredded cheese for him), and make an instantly super delicious chicken soup.  The chicken and sauce are very flavorful.  Had to print this recipe for keeps!  Thank you!

  5. We can’t get enough of this chicken. There’s so much you can do with it. The sauce is delicious. The next time I make it I might add 8oz cream cheese to the sauce after the chicken is out and being shredded.

  6. This shredded chicken recipe is fast, easy, and delicious! It was my first recipe in my new InstaPot Ultra Mini. I just halved the recipe and it worked great!

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

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

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

  10. 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!

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

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

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

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

  15. 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!

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