I don’t know about you, but I love me some Tex-Mex food. It could be Cinco de Mayo or Taco Tuesday any day of the week in my house!
And Instant Pot Salsa Chicken is a great way to add some variety to your taco night menu. It’s a simple way to prepare seasoned chicken to use as the basis for many other dishes. I made salsa chicken in the oven for years, and now this Instant Pot version is even more convenient!
No matter what cooking method you prefer, this is guaranteed to be an easy way to prepare some seasoned shredded chicken for taco night, a game day buffet, or your next Cinco de Mayo celebration.
Why I love this Salsa Chicken recipe
Making shredded chicken in the pressure cooker gives you perfectly tender pieces of meat. It only takes 3 ingredients. Load in the Instant Pot, set the cooking cycle and walk away!
The cooking time is only 18 minutes, and the pressure cooker will require time to pressurize and depressurize. But that is actually very flexible. I will typically set this up to cook and start the cycle, then leave the house to go run a few errands.
I recommend you wait at least 20 minutes after the cycle is done before releasing any remaining pressure and opening the Instant Pot. But I have sometimes left this alone for an hour before touching it and it was just great. Gotta love that kind of flexibility. ❤️
**Be sure to scroll to the recipe card for detailed quantities and directions**
How to make Salsa Chicken in the Instant Pot
To start, place the boneless skinless chicken thighs, taco seasoning, and salsa in the Instant Pot.
Set your Instant Pot to the Meat/Stew setting (18 minutes). Cover, seal, and start.
Once the Instant Pot is finished, allow it to depressurize for at least 20 minutes before using the quick release to vent the remaining pressure.
I typically set this up an hour or more before I need it and just let it vent naturally. The Instant Pot keeps the meat warm, and I use the time to make all the other items on my list. Just always verify that the Instant Pot is fully vented (all pressure has released) before removing the lid.
Shred the Salsa Chicken
Once you open the Instant Pot, take a couple forks and shred your meat. If you let the Instant Pot keep everything warm for a long time, simply stirring with a spoon might be enough.
One thing you will notice - this is quite "soupy" just from the liquid of the salsa and the meat juices.
If I want it a little drier I typically take some out and put it in a small bowl, then take "from the top" when using the meat for a burrito or chicken quesadilla. This helps prevent these meals from getting all soggy-nobody wants that!
If you are making burrito bowls or taco salads then the liquid is probably not a problem. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
Serving Suggestions for Salsa Chicken
Use this instant pot salsa chicken recipe on the weekend, and save the chicken in the fridge in an airtight container. You'll be all set to make a quick dinner on a busy weeknight.
Use the delicious salsa chicken to make chicken quesadillas, chicken street tacos, taquitos, or a burrito bowl. Add some black beans, tortilla chips, and a little sour cream and savor the flavor!
I also found this great recipe for Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Beef to give you even more variety!
p.s. goes great with a Keto Margarita!!
Salsa chicken is something the whole family will enjoy!
I use chicken thighs, but boneless skinless chicken breasts are another great option.
Use your favorite salsa for this. If you have a jar of salsa in your fridge, just pull that out and use some in this recipe! Even homemade salsa works. I use medium “heat” salsa, but mild salsa or something a little more exciting would be fun to try. 😁
This is more likely to happen with chicken breast, and it usually means it is under-cooked. I never have this problem with chicken thighs, they always cook to a perfectly "shreddable" texture.
If using chicken breasts, you might want to add a little broth to the Instant Pot to help prevent dryness. Chicken thighs have a lot more moisture, and will result in a downright "soupy" mixture in the Instant Pot!
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
Instant Pot Salsa Chicken
- 1 - 1 ½ lb Chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
- ¾ c Salsa
- 1 TB Taco seasoning
Instant Pot Method:
- Combine all ingredients in the Instant Pot.
- Set the time to 18 minutes.
- Once the cooking cycle is done, wait at least 20 minutes before venting. The longer you wait, the easier the chicken will be to shred.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a 2-3 quart casserole dish, layer the raw chicken pieces first, then sprinkle with the taco seasoning. Pour the salsa over the top.
- Cover and bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 350°F.
- Once it is finished baking, allow the chicken to cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes, and then shred the meat. (Use two forks, or any other method you prefer – the longer you wait, the more likely the meat will just fall apart – it sometime shreds just by stirring!)
Use the chicken in your burritos, tacos, quesadillas, and taco salads. Enjoy!
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
This Salsa Chicken now has a Web Story!