Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Chicken Tacos, made with seasoned salsa chicken and all the fixings! Cook the chicken from fresh or frozen in your Instant Pot for these easy and delicious shredded chicken tacos.
Chicken tacos are one of my go-to meals when I’m making dinner for my family. These Instant Pot chicken tacos are always a hit! The chicken is flavorful but not too spicy, and everyone can add their favorite toppings to their tacos.
I’ve been making my crockpot chicken tacos recipe for years, and it’s been a longtime reader favorite. This Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos recipe is very similar to the crockpot recipe, but you don’t have to do any planning ahead. You can cook your chicken right before dinner time, and you can even cook it from frozen!
Making chicken tacos in your Instant Pot is quick, easy and hands off. The chicken always turns out tender and juicy. It’s the perfect filling for both soft tortillas and crunchy taco shells.
How to make Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
Here’s a quick overview of how to make this recipe. You’ll find lots more tips and frequently asked questions below. Find the full recipe with ingredient amounts and instructions at the bottom of this post.
To make Instant Pot Chicken Tacos:
- Put the chicken breasts in the bottom of your Instant Pot.
- Sprinkle on the seasonings: chili powder, cumin and garlic powder. Pour 1 cup of salsa over the top. I prefer to use a jar of store-bought salsa in this recipe, rather than fresh.
- Pressure cook at high pressure for 16 minutes. You can use this cook time for both fresh and frozen chicken.
- After the cook time ends, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 10 minutes. Then quick release any remaining pressure and open the Instant Pot.
- Shred the chicken, and stir in some of the salsa mixture from the bottom of the Instant Pot. See this post with three easy ways for how to shred chicken.
- Serve the chicken in tortillas or crunchy taco shells with your favorite toppings.
Will this really come to pressure with the salsa as the only liquid?
Yes! I have tested this recipe numerous 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.
Can I make this with chicken thighs?
Yes! Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work great in this recipe. Chicken thighs will turn out very moist and flavorful.
Can you use frozen chicken in this recipe?
You can use frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) 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.
Can you make the chicken with taco seasoning?
Yes, you can substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons of taco seasoning in place of the chili powder, cumin and garlic powder in the recipe. Be sure to still add the salsa whether you use taco seasoning or the individual spices.
What can I do with the leftover chicken?
There are so many ways to enjoy this shredded chicken, in addition to making tacos and burritos. You can serve the Instant Pot salsa chicken over greens to make a taco salad or use it to make chicken enchilada casserole, chicken tortilla chip casserole or chicken taquitos.
Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Recipe Tips
- Be sure to allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes after the cook time ends. During the natural pressure release, the chicken will rest and the juices will redistribute throughout the meat. This ensures that you will end up with tender, juicy chicken.
- If your chicken breasts are very small (and not frozen) I recommend decreasing the cook time to 12 minutes, followed by a 10 minute natural release.
- After you shred the chicken, stir back in some of the salsa and juices from the Instant Pot. You can add more or less of the cooking liquid, depending on how moist and juicy you want your shredded chicken to be.
- A squeeze of fresh lime juice is a delicious way to add fresh flavor to the chicken after it is cooked and shredded.
More Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipes
- Honey Garlic Instant Pot Chicken Breasts
- Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice
- Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
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 or cabbage, avocado, tomatoes, 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 turn 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 bottom of 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.
- Nutrition information is for salsa chicken only, as tortillas and taco toppings will vary.
This site contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Kristine's Kitchen!