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Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

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Instant Pot salsa chicken is the easiest Instant Pot recipe ever! All you need is two ingredients: salsa and chicken breasts. Make flavorful and juicy pressure cooker shredded chicken to use in tacos, rice bowls, enchiladas, and more.

Partially shredded cooked salsa chicken on a blue plate next to two forks.

The Easiest Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

This Instant Pot salsa chicken is my EASIEST Instant Pot recipe. Two ingredients and 30 minutes is all it takes to make the juiciest salsa chicken, perfect for busy weeknights, meal planning, or feeding a crowd.

I’ve been making slow cooker salsa chicken forever, sometimes with chicken breasts and other times with thighs. Salsa chicken is my go-to recipe for flavorful chicken that I’ll use in everything from tacos to rice bowls, salads to enchiladas. You guys asked for an Instant Pot version, so here it is!

Why You’ll Love This Shredded Chicken Recipe

  • Two ingredients. You need only two ingredients to make this salsa chicken, plus some simple seasonings. It’s the perfect dump-and-go meal before grocery day.
  • One pot. I love that the Instant Pot makes one-pot dinners a breeze. This salsa chicken comes together entirely inside the IP, for super-easy cleanup.
  • Versatile. There are so many ways that you can use this flavorful Mexican chicken in loads of delicious, healthy meals. It’s ideal for easy meal prep, rice bowls, and serving as is with your favorite sides.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Let’s have a quick look at the easy ingredients for salsa chicken. Don’t forget to scroll to the recipe card for the full recipe amounts and details.

  • Chicken – Since I shred the chicken after it’s cooked, I make this recipe using skinless, boneless chicken breasts. You can also use chicken thighs if you prefer.
  • Salsa – You’ll need one cup of chunky salsa. I almost always use store-bought. It’s convenient and the texture is perfect for the pressure cooker.
  • Seasoning – Salt, pepper, cumin, and a pinch of oregano. Alternatively, substitute this combo with your choice of seasoning blends, like taco seasoning. See further in the post for easy variations.

How to Make Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

You’re not going to believe how easy this Instant Pot salsa chicken is to make. Follow these 3 steps to perfect chicken in the pressure cooker:

  1. Prepare the chicken. Give the chicken a generous seasoning on both sides, then add it to the Instant Pot with the salsa.
  2. Cook. Seal the lid and set the pot to cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Afterward, allow the pressure to naturally release.
  3. Shred. Lastly, open the lid and transfer the chicken to a plate, then shred it using two forks. Return the shredded chicken to the pot and give it a stir. Your salsa chicken is ready to serve! 
Cooked salsa chicken inside the Instant Pot.

Tips for Success

I’m sure your salsa chicken will turn out delicious! Keep these last-minute tips in mind:

  • Give the shredded chicken a few minutes to soak up the flavors. After returning your shredded chicken to the juices inside the Instant Pot, use the warm setting and give the chicken 5-10 minutes to soak up the flavors of the salsa.
  • Use a jarred or canned chunky salsa. These tend to have more liquid than fresh salsa, which is needed to build up steam inside the pressure cooker.
  • If your salsa chicken turns out a bit watery, this could be because you’re using a thinner salsa, or the chicken was holding more water. To fix this, use the saute setting on the Instant Pot to cook off some of the excess liquid afterward.
  • Check the chicken for doneness. Before shredding, check that your chicken breast is done by taking the temperature using an Instant Read thermometer. Chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165ºF at the thickest part of the breast.
  • To make this recipe in the slow cooker instead, follow the recipe as directed, adding all ingredients to the slow cooker or crock pot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and easily shreddable.

Common Questions

Why did my chicken come out tough in the Instant Pot?

Chicken that’s overcooked has a tough, rubbery texture. Do your best to avoid cooking it for too long.

Can I make this recipe with chicken thighs? 

Yes, you can substitute the chicken breasts in this recipe with the same amount (1 pound) of boneless skinless chicken thighs.

Can I use frozen chicken?

Yes! You can make this Instant Pot salsa chicken with frozen chicken. Unlike slow cookers, it’s safe to cook chicken in the Instant Pot straight from frozen. I recommend adding 2-3 minutes to the cooking time.

Can I freeze leftover salsa chicken?

Definitely! Once cooled, store the shredded chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag, and keep it frozen for up to 3 months. See below for more storage tips.

Easy Recipe Variations

There are so many ways that you can customize this chicken recipe. Here are some ideas:

  • Diet-Friendly – This salsa chicken is easy to make paleo-friendly, Whole30, and/or gluten-free with the appropriate salsa.
  • Seasoning – Replace the basic seasoning in this recipe with your choice of store-bought or homemade seasoning blend. Try homemade taco seasoning or this zesty homemade Sazon seasoning.
  • Sweet Corn – Add frozen or drained canned sweet corn.
  • Beans – Up the nutrition and add canned black beans, pinto beans, or a medley to the pot before cooking. Remember to rinse and drain them first. (Also try my salsa chicken with black beans and corn).
  • Veggies – Diced onions, bell peppers, carrots, and celery are all great additions.

Ways to Serve Salsa Chicken

Salsa chicken is so versatile! You can eat it with just about anything. It’s the perfect topping for rice bowls and an easy filling for tacos, burritos, wraps, etc. Try these healthy serving suggestions:

  • Rice – Salsa chicken and cilantro lime rice (also made in the Instant Pot!) for easy Mexican-inspired burrito bowls. You can also serve it with quinoa or fluffy white Instant Pot Rice.
  • Tacos – Serve salsa chicken in flour tortillas with your favorite taco toppings. Try avocado, sour cream or crema (or Greek yogurt), jalapeños, shredded cheese, and a squeeze of lime.
  • Salad – This shredded chicken makes the best protein topping for salads. Try it with my avocado quinoa salad or a meal prep-friendly taco salad.
  • Quesadillas – Use your pressure cooker shredded chicken as a filling in homemade chicken quesadillas
  • Enchiladas – Salsa chicken makes a saucy filling for easy chicken enchiladas. You can even use this chicken as a stuffing for stuffed sweet potatoes.
  • Meal Prep – Portion salsa chicken over rice or quinoa with your choice of vegetable side. I like to combine it with sweet corn and fresh pico de gallo like in these healthy chicken taco poblano rice bowls.

Can I Prepare This Recipe Ahead? 

For an easy freezer meal, add all the ingredients – chicken breasts, salsa, seasonings – to a freezer bag. Seal and lay the bag flat to freeze, and keep it frozen for up to 3 months. All your ingredients are ready to go for last-minute dinners! Defrost the ingredients in the fridge, add them to the Instant Pot, and cook. 

How to Store Salsa Chicken

  • Fridge. Store salsa chicken airtight in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. You can use leftovers in loads of meal prep ideas! Enjoy salsa chicken cold or reheated on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • Freezer. Once cool, store this salsa chicken airtight and freeze it for up to 3-4 months. Thaw leftovers in the fridge before reheating.
Instant Pot salsa chicken served in a flour tortilla with taco toppings.

More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

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Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

4.67 from 39 votes
This Instant Pot salsa chicken recipe is so quick and easy! Make this juicy 2-ingredient pressure cooker shredded chicken to use in tacos, rice bowls, salads, and more.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Partially shredded cooked salsa chicken on a blue plate next to two forks.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Yield: 5 servings
Serving Size: 1 /2 cup


  • 1 pound skinless boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  • black pepper, to taste
  • pinch oregano
  • 1 cup chunky salsa


  • Season chicken on both sides with spices.
  • Place into the Instant Pot and cover with salsa.
  • Cover and 20 minutes. Natural release.
  • Once the Instant Pot releases the pressure, put the chicken onto a plate and use two forks to shred.

Last Step:

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 If using a slow cooker, cook on low for 4-6 hours or until the chicken is done.


Serving: 1 /2 cup, Calories: 125 kcal, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Protein: 22 g, Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 66 mg, Sodium: 379 mg, Fiber: 1 g