Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Say hello to one of the EASIEST Instant Pot meals: Instant Pot Chicken Tacos! Made with juicy shredded chicken and your favorite taco toppings, these tacos are a dinnertime win. This recipe can be made with fresh or frozen chicken.
Why You’ll Love these Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
These Instant Pot chicken tacos are one of the Instant Pot recipes that I make most often. In fact, I’ve made them twice for dinner in the past week! There’s so much to love about this recipe.
- 5 Ingredients, 10 Minute Prep Time. Making this recipe is as simple as putting a few ingredients in the Instant Pot, letting it pressure cook, and then coming back later to shred the chicken. Dinner doesn’t get any easier than that!
- Hands-Off Recipe. While the chicken cooks in the Instant Pot, you’ll be free to make the other parts of your meal. I like to serve Mexican Rice and Fajita Veggies with these Instant Pot chicken tacos.
- Family Favorite. Tacos are a kid-friendly meal, and everyone can add their favorite toppings.
- Versatile! Serve the shredded chicken wrapped in corn or flour tortillas, or add it to a Burrito Bowl or Taco Salad.
- Perfect for Meal Prep. Like this Instant Pot Shredded Chicken recipe, you can cook the chicken up to 3-4 days ahead of time and then store it in the refrigerator to use in quick and easy meals.
- Cook from Fresh or Frozen. We’ve all been there: you forgot to thaw the chicken and dinnertime is quickly approaching. No problem! You can safely cook chicken from frozen in the Instant Pot, and this recipe is one of my favorite ways to do so.
So flavorful and talk about EASY!!! I cooked the chicken the night before and then used it to make enchiladas the next day. 10/10 loveLauren
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts: They cook up nice and tender in the Instant Pot, perfect for shredding. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs also work well in this recipe.
- Seasonings: Chili powder, ground cumin and garlic powder add flavor. If desired, you can substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons of Taco Seasoning in place of the individual spices.
- Salsa: Jarred salsa works perfect here. The salsa flavors the chicken and it’s also the liquid that allows the Instant Pot to pressurize.
If you’re wondering if the Instant Pot will really come to pressure with salsa as the only liquid, the answer is yes! I have made this recipe over a dozen times and the 1 cup of salsa is enough liquid to pressurize the Instant Pot. You do not need to add any broth or water.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
Here’s a quick overview of the recipe steps. Find the full printable recipe with ingredient amounts below.
Add everything to the Instant Pot. Put the chicken breasts in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Then sprinkle the chili powder, cumin and garlic powder over the chicken. Finally pour the salsa over the top.
Pressure cook on high pressure for 16 minutes.
Let the Instant Pot naturally release for 10 minutes. During the natural pressure release, the chicken will rest and the juices will redistribute throughout the meat. This ensures tender, juicy chicken.
Quick release any remaining pressure.
Shred the chicken. Then stir some of the salsa mixture from the bottom of the Instant Pot into the shredded chicken. See this post with three easy ways for how to shred chicken.
Serve the chicken in warm tortillas or crunchy taco shells with your favorite toppings.
To Use Frozen Chicken
You can use frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs in this recipe without changing the cook time. The only exception is that if your chicken breasts are very large AND frozen, I recommend increasing the cook time to 18 minutes. The chicken needs to be frozen as individual breasts or thighs, not one large frozen mass of chicken.
Instant Pot Chicken Tacos Toppings
- Lime: A squeeze of fresh lime juice is a delicious way to add fresh flavor to the chicken after it is cooked and shredded.
- Shredded cheese: Try cheddar, Monterey jack or a Mexican cheese blend.
- Guacamole or sliced avocado.
- Halved cherry tomatoes.
- Shredded lettuce.
- Fresh cilantro
- Chopped red onion.
- Pico de Gallo.
- Sour cream.
Ways to Use Leftovers
There are so many delicious ways to use this shredded chicken, in addition to making tacos and burritos. Use it to make Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Chicken Tortilla Casserole or Chicken Taquitos.
Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
For the Instant Pot Salsa Chicken:
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup salsa
- tortillas, shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, sour cream, limes, etc.
- Put the chicken in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Sprinkle on the chili powder, cumin and garlic powder. Pour the salsa over the top of the chicken.
- Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Set the pressure cook time to 16 minutes at high pressure. (The cook time is the same for fresh and frozen chicken. See the note at the end of the recipe for more cook time information.)
- The Instant Pot will take about 12 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down. When the cook time ends, allow the pot to naturally release for 10 minutes by leaving the Instant Pot alone (no need to press anything). Then carefully move the steam release valve to the venting position to release any remaining pressure. When the pin drops down, open the Instant Pot lid.
- Let the chicken cool slightly and then shred it using two forks, a stand mixer, or your fingers. Stir some of the salsa and juices from the Instant Pot into the shredded chicken (add more or less cooking liquid depending on how moist you want your shredded chicken to be). Serve chicken in tortillas with toppings as desired.
- You can substitute the individual spices (chili powder, cumin and garlic powder) with 1 1/2 tablespoons of taco seasoning.
- If your chicken breasts are very large AND frozen, increase the pressure cook time to 18 minutes, plus a 10 minute natural release.
- If your chicken breasts are very small and not frozen, reduce the pressure cook time to 12 minutes, plus a 10 minute natural release.
- Store leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
- Nutrition information is for salsa chicken only, as tortillas and taco toppings will vary.