Easy Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Tacos

This Instant Pot Salsa Chicken recipe can be made in just 20 minutes with the help of your electric pressure cooker and five simple ingredients.

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One of the first recipes I posted on this blog was for Crockpot Salsa Chicken. But even more now, I make that recipe in my Instant Pot.

Why?

Instead of cooking the chicken for 4-5 hours on low in my crockpot, I throw the chicken into my Instant Pot and let it cook for just 20 minutes.

You can even throw frozen chicken breasts right in. The cooking time will be the same!

The result is juicy (never dry) chicken that shreds easily and is packed with flavor.

Also, because you’re using jarred salsa, it’s easy to control the heat by purchasing salsa that’s your desired heat level – mild, medium or hot.

Ingredients needed

Ingredients for salsa chicken labeled on counter.
  1. Chicken. You can make salsa chicken with chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs.
  2. Jar of Salsa. Use your favorite brand of jarred tomato salsa. Or, try making your own homemade salsa! Salsa verde is also delicious in this crockpot chicken recipe.
  3. Onion. Yellow, white or red onion will all work here.
  4. Jalapeno. If you’re sensitive to heat, be sure to seed the jalapeno. You can also leave it out entirely.
  5. Taco Seasoning. Store bought packaged taco seasoning or homemade taco seasoning work great!

How to make it

It’s super easy to make this Instant Pot Salsa Chicken! Here’s the simple process:

  • Season the chicken. Start the recipe by sprinkling the chicken on both sides with the taco seasoning.
  • Load up the instant pot. Place the chicken breasts on the bottom of the instant pot. Next, add the salsa, onion and jalapeno.
  • Pressure cook the chicken. Seal the Instant Pot and set to HIGH pressure for 20 minutes. Once the cook time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. This should take 10-15 minutes.
  • Shred and serve. Remove chicken breasts from the instant pot and shred with forks. Place chicken back in the salsa mixture and stir to combine. Season with salt, to taste.
Shredded salsa chicken in bowl with lime wedges.

How to serve it

  • Tacos. Serve it taco-style in soft or hard shells. Or, make chicken burritos.
  • Lettuce Wraps. Serve it in lettuce wraps for a low carb option.
  • Chicken Burrito Bowls. Serve it bowl style on top of instant pot rice or instant pot quinoa, with your favorite toppings. It also pairs well with Mexican riceblack beans, and this Mexican Corn Salad.
  • Salad. Serve it as a chicken taco salad with your favorite toppings: shredded cheese, sour cream, beans, onions, diced tomato, avocado, green chiles, lettuce, and extra salsa.
  • Chicken Quesadillas. Add some of the shredded chicken to these Air Fryer Quesadillas.
  • Nachos. Pile the chicken on some tortilla chips with your favorite toppings.

Variations

  • Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken: Swap out the traditional red salsa for salsa verde.
  • Cream Cheese Salsa Chicken: Add an 8-oz. block of cream cheese to your instant pot when you add back the shredded chicken. Stir until combined and melted.
  • Crockpot Salsa Chicken: Try my slow cooker version of this recipe too.
Salsa chicken arranged in tortillas.

Recipe FAQs

Can you overcook a chicken in an Instant Pot?

Yes. For best results, cook your chicken for just 20 minutes in the instant pot, with a natural pressure release.

How long does it take to pressure cook chicken in an Instant Pot?

While the cook time is just 20 minutes, it will take time for the instant pot to build and release the pressure. Estimate in an additional 30 minutes to account for that time. So total cook time is around 50 minutes.

Can you put raw chicken in an Instant Pot?

Yes! The instant pot is great for cooking raw chicken. It comes out deliciously tender and flavorful.

Can you put frozen chicken in the instant pot?

Yes! You can make this recipe with frozen chicken. The cook time will remain the same, but it will take a bit longer for the pot to come to pressure.

Can I stack chicken breasts in the instant pot?

Yes! You can layer the chicken on top of each other, or stack them side by side.

Can I use chicken thighs?

Definitely! The cook time will remain the same.

Can you freeze Salsa Chicken?

Salsa Chicken will store in the freezer for up to three months. I like to portion it into individual ziploc bags and freeze it flat. Then, when you’re ready to use it, just thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and heat it up in a saucepan on the stove.

How to make ahead & store

  • Storage. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
  • Freezing. Allow the chicken to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
  • Reheating. Reheat leftovers in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Wine pairings

•Look for lighter-bodied, fruit-focused reds like Beaujolais or Grenache.
•Alternatively, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Vinho Verde are good white wine pairing options.

More taco recipes

More instant pot chicken recipes

Did you try this instant pot chicken salsa tacos?

If you loved these instant pot chicken tacos with salsa, I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

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Shredded salsa chicken in bowl with lime wedges.

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

Salsa Chicken can be made in just 20 minutes with the help of your Instant Pot and five simple ingredients.
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Chicken:

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (boneless & skinless )
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 1 jalapeno ( seeded and sliced)
  • 1 16-ounce jar salsa (mild, medium, or hot depending on heat preference)
  • Kosher salt (to taste)

For Serving:

Instructions

  • Rub chicken breasts with taco seasoning and place in bottom of Instant Pot.
  • Spread chopped onion and jalapeno over the chicken breasts. Pour salsa over top.
  • Seal the Instant Pot and set to HIGH pressure for 20 minutes.
  • Once the cook time is up, allow the Instant Pot to release naturally. This should take 10-15 minutes.
  • Remove chicken breasts from Instant Pot and shred with two forks. Place chicken back in Instant Pot and stir to combine. Season with salt, to taste.
  • To serve, spread chicken on lettuce leaves or tortillas and top with any desired toppings.

Notes

*If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the chicken is done. You can leave the slow cooker on low for up to 8 hours.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Nutrition

Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 273mg | Potassium: 629mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 139IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

This post was originally published in 2017. It was updated in 2023 to add new information and photographs. The instant pot salsa chicken tacos recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

12 thoughts on “Easy Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Tacos”

  1. Jarred salsas or taco or enchiladas sauces like from La Victoria are a great cheat way to marinate and add a lot of flavor to food! I was shocked too they were 100 years old – they are classic because I’ve always remembered them being around, but who knew 100 years classic!

    Reply
  2. Holy crap you’re making me seriously re-think getting an instapot. I’ve been on the fence. But with school about to restart for my kids it sounds like a great thing to have at the house for quick and delicious dinners. And this, like always, looks incredible! And I love your wine recommendations 🙂

    Reply
  3. This recipe was so simple, cheap, quick and tasty! I’ve made something like this in my slow cooker before, but I didn’t have hours to spend on it today. This was a really great alternative! A huge hit at my house!!!

    Reply
  4. I am nervous that there is not even a tiny bit of water added. It won’t burn without more liquid than just the thick and chunky salsa?!?!

    Reply
5 from 6 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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