by Olena

Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

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Olena Osipov

Instant Pot Chicken Tacos are the easiest way to get healthy tacos with the most flavour in under 30 minutes! Using fresh or frozen chicken breasts, salsa and seasoning, you get perfectly shredded juicy, tender, chicken ready to be added to a warm tortilla and loaded with the most delicious toppings!

I swear frozen chicken turned me into crazy Instant Pot lady, as you can tell by all of the healthy Instant Pot recipes I have on my site. If you haven’t done it yet, I say it’s time to invest in one for easy one pot meals, like Instant Pot chicken burritos. Believe me, once you hop on this crazy train there is no turning back!

Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos

Making chicken tacos, or any type of chicken, in the Instant Pot, is hands down the easiest way to cook chicken. Toss in your chicken, fresh or frozen, add in your taco seasoning and salsa, then set it and forget it! It really is that simple. In the 15 minutes it takes to cook frozen chicken (12 minutes for fresh), you’ll be able to warm up some tortilla wraps, get your toppings ready, and you’ve got a healthy and satisfying dinner ready in under 30 minutes!

And what kid doesn’t love tacos?! I know mine do, and because they’re so quick and easy to make, shrimp tacos and ground turkey tacos are also in our regular rotation.

Serving a crowd? Get this, no matter how many pieces of chicken breast you toss in there, the cooking time remains THE SAME for this Instant Pot taco chicken! Preparing for a game day party, potluck, or backyard BBQ has never been easier. Keep the Instant Pot warm, set out tortillas, and bowls of shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and extra salsa and have everyone serve themselves.

Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos is an easy dinner with only 2 extra ingredients, juicy shredded chicken, fresh flavours, and healthy toppings. This is a must-have recipe for every home cook!

Why This Recipe Works?

  • Quick and easy, which means it’s perfect for weeknight dinners.
  • Serves a crowd with the same amount of effort.
  • Can use fresh or frozen chicken with only a difference of a few minutes of cook time.
  • Very healthy, especially when using homemade taco seasoning.
  • Versatile, in that you can use leftover shredded chicken for so many other dishes including chicken tortilla soup or this yummy healthy buffalo chicken dip.
  • Kid-friendly, just watch how quickly they devour this shredded Mexican chicken!

Ingredients You Will Need

  • Chicken breasts or thighs: Boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs would work. Both will shred nicely. Thighs are dark meat and fattier and therefore juicier. Although, chicken breast is far from dry in this taco recipe. Keep reading.
  • Salsa: Salsa is the secret ingredient to cook chicken in to permeate a lot of flavour in a short amount of time.
  • Taco seasoning: Low sodium taco seasoning adds even more flavor without the extra sodium. Otherwise, you will need a lot of salsa.
  • Fixings: Literally anything you have in the fridge. Meat is that juicy and flavorful!
  • Corn or whole wheat tortillas: Corn tortillas are gluten-free and add more authentic taco flavour. My family loves flour tortillas cause they fit more and hold together better.
instant pot chicken taco ingredients

How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

If you are new to pressure cooking, check out my Instant Pot guide. It explains what exactly this pressure cooker does, how it works, and how to avoid failures.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet but are thinking about buying one, I explain which Instant Pot to buy in my humble opinion.

  • Cook chicken in salsa: That’s right, just add 2 ingredients for these southwest tacos and no water. Meat and salsa will release enough water to build up pressure. No burn, I promise!
  • How long to cook? 12 minutes for fresh and 15 minutes for frozen chicken. Just make sure pieces are separate if using frozen, otherwise it won’t cook through where meat is touching.
  • Release pressure right away using quick release method and shred chicken in a bowl. Rehydrate the meat by adding 1/2 cup juices from Instant Pot.
  • Assemble tacos. That’s it!

Tips for Best Results

  • Frozen chicken: Yes, you can. Make sure to separate frozen pieces. To do this quickly, put them in a bowl with warm water for 5 minutes to help separate them. Cooking time will be 15 minutes and the Instant Pot will take a bit longer to come to pressure.
  • You can double the recipe for this Instant Pot chicken taco meat and keep the same cook time.
  • The recipe is good for any size Instant Pot, including 3 quart.
  • Fresh salsa will work as well.

Add ins & Variations

  • Gluten-free: If you are looking to make this a completely gluten-free meal, stick with corn tortillas rather than flour and if you’re using store-bought seasoning, make sure to check the ingredients for hidden gluten.
  • Added heat: If you want your pressure cooker chicken tacos a little spicier, use a hot salsa over mild or sprinkle in extra chili powder.
  • Broth: Although your chicken will cook nicely with just the salsa, you’re more than welcome to add a cup of broth or even a bit of orange or pineapple juice for additional flavour.

FAQs

Do I need to add liquid to the Instant Pot?

Sometimes the answer will be yes. There are shredded chicken recipes that will require you to add liquid to the bottom and it might even say to use a trivet to place the chicken on. This is not one of those recipes. The salsa is meant to infuse flavour into the chicken as it cooks, so we want it directly on the chicken. The cooking process will naturally create its own liquid.

How long should I cook frozen chicken in the Instant Pot?

Depending on the size of your chicken breast, and even possibly the altitude you live at, will have an effect on how long to cook your frozen chicken breast. Generally speaking, 15 minutes is perfect. If you open your lid and realize parts of your chicken are still pink, feel free to close the lid and continue cooking for an extra 5 minutes or so.

What can I use leftover taco chicken for?

So many things! It’s great for meal prep for a few days worth of dinner or lunch. Enjoy chicken tacos with a side of brown rice or as a topping on a salad. You could use it as a topping for nachos, or add it to some Instant Pot taco soup. The most obvious answer might be to have tacos again the next day!

diced red onion, shredded lettuce, lime and guacamole in a red dish

Best Topping Ideas When Serving Tacos

These pressure cooker chicken tacos are quite healthy if you don’t add a lot of cheese and use corn tortillas instead of flour ones. And as always, the more veggies you add, the better it is for you!

How to Warm Tortillas

Serving Instant Pot chicken tacos with warmed up corn or flour tortillas is an added bonus!

  • Preheat cast iron or non-stick skillet really well.
  • A drop of oil makes tortillas yummier. 🙂
  • Cook 1-2 minutes per side or until charred.
  • If you have a gas/propane stove, you can warm them up directly on a burner.

Hope you enjoy this easy pulled chicken tacos Instant pot recipe and share with friends and family!

Making Chicken Tacos in Advance

Any leftover chicken will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Without, the toppings, of course! This means that you can cook the chicken well in advance and heat it up just before you’re ready to serve.

More Mexican Instant Pot Recipes

Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? My goal is to help you become confident with your Instant Pot by demonstrating each delicious foolproof recipe in step-by-step videos.

Make sure to subscribe and hit the Bell icon not to miss new videos.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos on a serving board
Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

Instant Pot Chicken Tacos {BEST EVER}

Instant Pot Chicken Tacos are the easiest way to get healthy tacos with the most flavour in under 30 minutes! Using fresh or frozen chicken breasts, salsa and seasoning, you get perfectly shredded juicy, tender, chicken ready to be added to a warm tortilla and loaded with the most delicious toppings!
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 12 tacos
Calories: 117kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts or thighs boneless & skinless
  • 1 tbsp low sodium store bought or homemade taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup salsa
  • 10-14 small corn or flour tortillas
  • Diced avocado tomato, red onion and shredded lettuce, fixings for serving
  • Guacamole cheese and yogurt, for serving (pick and choose)

Instructions

  • To any size Instant Pot, add chicken breasts, sprinkle with taco seasoning and add salsa on top.
    Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
  • Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 12 minutes for fresh or 15 minutes for frozen.
    Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
  • Display will say ON, Instant Pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure, you will see a bit of steam coming out from a release valve, then float pin will rise and countdown will begin.
  • After release pressure right away by turning valve to Venting position, wait until the float pin drops down and open the lid.
    Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
  • Remove chicken breasts into a medium bowl and shred with 2 forks. Add 1/2 cup cooking liquid from Instant Pot and stir.
    Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
  • Warm up tortillas on a hot skillet for 1 minute or so per side. Or directly on a gas burner.
  • Assemble tacos with desired toppings.
    Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

Store: Refrigerate leftover shredded chicken (without toppings) in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

    Video

    Notes

    • Make sure frozen chicken pieces are separated – not one blob. It helps to place them in a bowl with hot water for 5 minutes.
    • You can double the recipe and keep same cook time.
    • Fresh salsa should work as well.
    See post for more recipe tips and FAQ.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 2tacos | Calories: 117kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 207mg | Potassium: 296mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 115IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg
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    olena osipov in the studio

    Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

    My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

    60 comments on “Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

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    1. 4 stars
      So glad I made a double recipe!! My husband is currently on his 4th large burrito size wrap! I made 4 chicken breasts, almost 3lbs (1.2 kilos), used a whole 418ml jar of tostitos mild salsa and 2 tbsp store bought taco seasoning. Maybe the salsa was too thick coz I got the burn message soon as the pressure was up. I cancelled it, waited a couple of mins, then let the pressure out and added chicken broth I had lying in the fridge. I didn’t measure it, just poured some in. No more burn message! But maybe I put too much broth as it was pretty liquidy. Will try and save the sauce or a soup or stew.

      It tastes great! Though needs some salt (I guess that depends on your salsa) We went all out with the toppings, lettuce, red onion, green onion, cilantro and hubby made guac, so of course we needed to add yogurt and cheese as well. We used big whole wheat tortillas and wrapped it however which way it fit. Yummy! So we used up 2.5 chicken breasts tonight (hubby, me and 2 kids 5 and 3) leaving us with just 1.5 breasts for leftovers. But for leftovers I plan on adding more toppings that I already have chopped up and mixed together (bell peppers, black beans, corn, tomato – ingredients from your mexican kale salad :p) so we should have enough for round 2!

      I feel like I can also wrap these up in burritos to freeze? I guess depending on what toppings we add.

      Finished writing and hubby and kids are passed out on the sofa. Great Friday night dinner! Another wonderful recipe! Thanks Olena!

      1. Hi Arantxa. Did you stir the ingredients after you put in the salsa? Anything tomato based should not be stirred in or you will get the dreaded burn message. So glad that in the end it worked out and sounds like it was really enjoyed!

        1. No i didn’t stir. I’ve learned from you not to stir tomato-anything. I’ve made it again, 4 breasts and one jar of tostitos salsa and still got the burn message. I just turned off the IP and let it sit (I dunno how long for as I was prepping in advance) and it came out perfect still. I only worry what’ll happen when I’m more pressed for time.

    2. Silly question. My son can’t have tomatoes. Really want to make this. Any solution as to liquid/sauce would be appreciated.

    3. 5 stars
      This is one of my favorite recipes of yours! Great to have on hand for company or just for yourself! So easy, so delicious!!

    4. Do you know if you’re able to can/store homemade salsa in instant? If so can you let me know how many minutes and how much water? Thank you

    5. Halving the recipe?

      Yum, can’t wait to try this one out! If I halve the recipe (cooking for one) do I need to add any water and/or change the cook time?

      I’ve made your burritos before and LOVE them!!

      Many thanks,
      Reegan

    6. 5 stars
      Oh gosh this is over the top. The chicken is so tender and delicious. I have made it several times without the seasoning. Most taco seasoning(I use organic) I have not liked. I bit the bullet last time I used your choice of seasonings. My husband just raved about it. Last night I made it again and actually made a small jar of your taco seasoning. It’s in my cupboard just waiting to be used on as many other recipes that I can use it on. It is sooo good. Thank you

    7. When it comes to frozen, size does matter. I had two frozen breast halves that weighed a combined 1.66 lbs. Fifteen minutes was not nearly adequate, as the meat was still pink in the center when I started shredding it. I put the breast back in the instant pot and added an additional five minutes. It appeared to be done after that. I would state this recipe is indeed a keeper, but be aware that the cooking times may need adjusted so nobody gets sick from eating raw chicken.

      1. It could be the altitude you live at, Todd. Unfortunately, Instant Pot is computerized machine and it can’t be 100% precise with cooking time because also many other factors go beyond the cook time only. Overcooking chicken breasts results in rubber chicken which is just as dangerous as eating raw chicken. I mean, it is common sense not to eat raw chicken and cooking food is more than just a formula. 🙂 Glad you figured it out anyways.

    8. 5 stars
      I have cook several recipes ,I love this one I recently had to empty my email . How do I get the meatball recipe again

    9. 5 stars
      Really good!!! very flavorful. Can you do anything with the sauce leftover in the pot? Soup?

    10. 5 stars
      I love this recipe! So easy and simple, yet delish!
      One of the things I love the most is that I don’t have to thaw the chicken!
      I have served this over a salad and on low carb whole wheat wraps. My husband likes the leftover chicken heated up with melted cheddar on top!

    11. 5 stars
      I add the lettuce separately to each taco so I can refrigerate and then reheat the leftover filling without having to heat the lettuce. The whole family loves it!

    12. 5 stars
      Yummy! Except cumin seeds are not a good flavour substitute for the powder. As always Olena, thank you for helping with an easy peasy dinner.

    13. 5 stars
      The juices and salsa left when chicken is done, make awesome liquid to cook rice in! You could have the chicken over the rice next time. Or just keep chicken warm while rice cooks, Mexican-chicken rice bowls instead of tacos.

    14. 5 stars
      The only thing I would do differently next time is add the shredded lettuce and cilantro individually after it all comes out of the pot. That way you can eat it as leftovers! Kids and husband loved this, too.

      1. You are way more lucky than me! What is wrong with our family because there was no leftovers?! We always eat more than anyone else.:) But you can do that, for sure. Or shredded cabbage is a good replacement for lettuce and doesn’t get soggy. Glad it was a hit!

    15. 5 stars
      AMAZING. The whole family loved it, including my 6 year old who tends to be a bit of a picky eater and very against trying new things! I mean I still make her try stuff, but it’s just really nice when something is so good she doesn’t put up a fight lol.

      1. Yay!!! LOL I understand. I have an 8 year old who is a bit picky but I still put what he doesn’t love in front of him. Sometimes it flies by and eventually you end up with a good or not so bad eater. Giving up will lead only to a junk food eater. It’s a slow progress. Bravo, mama!

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