Taco night just got a whole lot easier with this recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Tacos! Made with just 5 ingredients, this dump-and-cook Instant Pot Chicken Recipe comes together with minimal effort and spectacular results.
But the easiest taco recipe that I find myself turning to time and time again, is this recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Tacos.
Why You Will Love Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Simple, Yet Flavorful. This only calls for 4 simple ingredients! But each ingredient has been carefully selected to make the most flavorful shredded chicken taco meat.
- Fast. From start to finish, Instant Pot Chicken Tacos are ready in under 30 minutes!
- Allergy-Friendly. Instant Pot Chicken Taco Meat is gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, and soy-free.
- Works with Frozen Chicken. Forget to thaw your chicken? No problem! With an electric pressure cooker, you can still enjoy chicken taco meat in record time.
- Versatile. While tacos are the obvious choice, you can serve up this shredded Tex-Mex-flavored chicken in salads, burrito bowls, or enchiladas. The options are endless.
Notes on Ingredients
- Chicken Stock: For the cooking liquid use homemade chicken stock, instant pot chicken stock, or quality store-bought stock for the best flavor.
- Chicken: Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or chicken thighs for this recipe. The cooking times include modifications for using fresh or frozen chicken.
- Taco Seasoning: I always keep homemade taco seasoning on hand. It is simple to make, free from preservatives, and simply tastes better. But feel free to use a store-bought Taco Seasoning mix or just add garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and onion powder to bump up the flavor of the chicken.
- Salsa: Use your favorite brand of store-bought or homemade salsa. Keep in mind using hot salsa, will result in spicy taco meat.
- Limes: You do not want to overlook the fresh lime and zest in this recipe. This addition adds brightness and dimension, making this recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Tacos the best!
- Spice Level: You can control the level of spice by using mild salsa and omitting the cayenne pepper from the homemade taco seasoning. Alternatively, you can increase the heat level by using medium or hot salsa and adding up to ¼ teaspoon of additional cayenne pepper.
- No Salsa? The salsa really adds the perfect flavor to this recipe, as the flavor is already developed and nuanced. However, you can use a can of diced tomatoes with green chiles in place of the salsa if needed.
Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
The following tips are provided to help you achieve perfect results. You will find the detailed instructions in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
Tip #1: Combine Taco Seasoning with Chicken Broth. I recommend mixing the broth and taco seasoning together before adding the chicken. That way whether your chicken is fresh or frozen, it will be evenly seasoned.
Tip #2. Top the Chicken with Salsa. You want to dollop the salsa over the uncooked chicken. This will prevent the salsa from potentially triggering a burn notice.
Tip #3: Pressure Cook According to Size. Just like my recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Breast, the cooking time for Instant Pot Chicken Tacos is determined by the size of the chicken breasts or thighs and whether or not your chicken is fresh or frozen.
- For chicken breasts/chicken thighs that are about 6 ounces each: Cook for 6 minutes on high pressure if thawed/fresh and 10 minutes if frozen.
- For chicken breasts/chicken thighs that are about 8 ounces each: Cook for 7 minutes on high pressure if thawed/fresh and 11 minutes if frozen.
- For chicken breasts/chicken thighs that are about 10 ounces each: Cook for 8 minutes on high pressure if thawed/fresh and 12 minutes if frozen.
Tip #4: Allow Pressure to Release Naturally. To keep the chicken tender, be sure to let your pressure cooker be for at least 10 minutes after the cooking time has elapsed.
Tip #5: Shred the Chicken with a Handheld Mixer. While you can use 2 forks to shred the chicken, using a handheld kitchen mixer or 2 forks, shred the chicken right in the cooking juices.
Tip #6: Add Lime Zest and Juice. Don't forget to add the lime zest and fresh lime juice to the shredded chicken taco meat. This will take this recipe from good to exceptional!
Tip #7: Serve with a Slotted Spoon. To keep your tacos from getting soggy, use a slotted spoon to dish out the taco meat.
The options are endless for how you serve this chicken taco meat. I personally, love to serve the shredded chicken on homemade tortillas and top it with guacamole and lettuce. You can also use this Mexican Shredded Chicken as the base for Chicken Enchiladas or to top a Taco Pizza.
How to Double the Recipe
Shredded Chicken Taco Meat is great to have on hand for lunches, and busy nights, and to stock in your freezer. This is why I always double or triple my recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Tacos.
- To Double the Recipe: To make up to 2 pounds of shredded Mexican Chicken, you do not need to increase the amount of liquid, but you will want to double both the taco seasoning and salsa. The juice and zest of one lime will still be enough to brighten this Chicken Taco Meat.
- To Triple the Recipe: Use 2 cups of chicken stock, ¼ cup of taco seasoning, and 1 cup of salsa. Use the zest and juice of two full limes when preparing 3 pounds of chicken.
- Refrigerate: The best way to store leftover Instant Pot Shredded Mexican Chicken is to allow it to cool and then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: If you won't be enjoying the leftovers within 4 days, store the taco meat in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: If needed, thaw the chicken in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat by sauteeing on low heat on the stove, using the saute function on the Instant Pot, or for 1-2 minutes per serving in the microwave.
More Tex-Mex Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot White Chicken Chili
- Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Instant Pot Burrito Bowl
- Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas
- Instant Pot Chicken Chili
I hope you enjoy this simple recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Taco Meat. And please leave a comment and review below.
Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Combine 1 cup of chicken broth and 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning in the inner pot of a 6-quart instant pot. If using an 8-quart model, combine 1½ cups of broth with 2 teaspoons of taco seasoning. Nestle the chicken into the liquid. Dollop the salsa evenly over the chicken.
- Place the lid on the pressure cooker, being sure the vent knob is sealed and/or the lid is locked. Using the manual or pressure cook button, select the desired cooking time.For chicken breasts/chicken thighs that are about 6 ounces each: Cook for 6 minutes on high pressure if thawed/fresh and 10 minutes if frozen.For chicken breasts/chicken thighs that are about 8 ounces each: Cook for 7 minutes on high pressure if thawed/fresh and 11 minutes if frozen.For chicken breasts/chicken thighs that are about 10 ounces each: Cook for 8 minutes on high pressure if thawed/fresh and 12 minutes if frozen.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for at least 10 minutes. That means just leaving the pressure cooker alone. It is okay if it is on keep warm.
- Once the pressure has been released, remove the lid from the pressure cooker. Using 2 forks or a handheld kitchen mixer on low speed, shred the chicken right inside the inner pot. If you are worried about scratching the inner pot or juices flying everywhere, transfer the chicken to a large bowl and then shred the meat.
- Serve as a base for chicken tacos, in burrito bowls, or in enchiladas.
- Once shredded, add the zest and juice of the fresh lime and stir well to incorporate.