Three-ingredient Mexican Shredded Chicken cooks in just 10 minutes in the Instant Pot! Moist, delicious shredded chicken with south-of-the border flavor is so great in everything from Mexican dishes to salads.
This Mexican chicken recipe is delicious and also one of the easiest Instant Pot recipes you'll make. It's a great recipe for an easy dinner and a healthy meal with minimal effort and maximum flavor! The whole family will love it.
You can use it in so many ways. This easy Mexican shredded chicken recipe is a low carb low calorie keeper!
- Why you'll love it
- What makes this skinny?
- Recipe Ingredients Notes
- Cooking Times for Large or Frozen Chicken Breasts
- How to Make Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken - Step-by-Step
- Best Method to shred chicken
- Recipe Tips
- How to Use the Mexican Shredded Chicken
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Storing Leftovers
- More recipes you'll love!
Why you'll love it
Having an ingredient like this Mexican shredded chicken is a 'must have' in your skinny food arsenal. You'll love it because:
- it's so FAST & EASY to make
- only 3 ingredients
- it's moist and packed with flavor
- easy to to change up to give it different flavor and heat levels
- it can be used in SO many ways (ideas below)
- can be made with fresh or frozen chicken
- great for meal prep
What makes this skinny?
It's made of only lean boneless chicken breasts, seasoning and salsa. All are low in calories. No oil is needed or used.
Recipe Ingredients Notes
Only three simple ingredients are needed!
Salsa. Use restaurant-style, or a more liquid salsa for this recipe versus a less liquid salsa like pico de gallo. It can be smooth or chunky but should have more liquid (see photos).
You can make it as spicy (or mild) as you prefer. Just pick the heat level you like when you select the salsa you'll use.
Taco Seasoning. Store-bought or homemade taco seasoning can be used. We like using homemade taco seasoning which has a perfect blend of spices and is not as salty tasting as store bought taco seasoning.
Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts. You'll need 2 pounds of boneless skinless breasts are used; 4 8-ounce breasts as an estimate.
Chicken breasts range widely in size and the larger the breasts the longer cooking time is required. Aim for 4 boneless breasts equaling a total of 2 pounds.
Cooking Times for Large or Frozen Chicken Breasts
Instructions are included for larger chicken breasts and frozen ones too.
Up to 12 ounces - 10 minutes cook time
Over 10 ounces or using frozen chicken breasts - 15 minute cooking time
How to Make Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken - Step-by-Step
Full printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
STEP 1. Preparation
Combine the salsa and taco seasoning and stir to fully mix (photo 1).
Pour half of the salsa mixture into the Instant Pot. Spread to lightly cover the insert bottom (photo 2).
Add the chicken breasts side by side (photo 3) and pour the remaining sauce over them (photo 4).
STEP 2. Pressure Cook
Seal the lid and set the vent to SEALING. Set the Instant Pot to HIGH PRESSURE (Manual setting) for 10 minutes.
NOTE: if using frozen chicken breasts or very large breasts (12-ounces or more) set the time to 15 minutes instead.
When cooking completes allow a NATURAL RELEASE for 10 minutes. NOTE: the pressure may not take that long to release.
Follow with a Quick Release to relieve any remaining pressure.
Remove the chicken from the pressure cooker and keep the Instant Pot on WARM (default setting after cooking).
STEP 3. Shred the chicken
Use our favorite method to shred chicken (below) or place the chicken on a cutting board and use 2 forks to shred the chicken. Return it to the Instant Pot (photo 6). Turn the meat to fully coat with the sauce.
Best Method to shred chicken
This is a life-changer tip if you haven't done it before. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, place the cooked chicken breasts into the bowl of the stand mixer. Run the mixer on a very low speed just to shred the chicken. High speeds will shred the chicken into very small pieces (usually smaller than you'll want).
It only takes 30-60 seconds. No mess, no fuss. It works for other cooked meats too!
Boneless skinless chicken thighs can also be used. Adjust the calories accordingly.
Coat the chicken with the sauce. After cooking and shredding the chicken putting it back in the Instant Pot and coating it with sauce makes a huge difference. This allows more surface area of the chicken to be coated with the sauce which makes the chicken moister and more flavorful.
Store leftovers with the sauce. Keep the sauce to store with any leftovers or if freezing the chicken.
How to Use the Mexican Shredded Chicken
This delicious recipe will become a favorite especially when you realize how many ways there are to use it! Here are some ideas:
- Any Mexican food recipes: enchiladas, burritos, tostadas, nachos, taquitos
- In soups and salads (great for a Taco Salad)
- In omelets or air fryer frittatas
- Over cauliflower Mexican rice with some black beans, fresh shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, favorite toppings and a drizzle of lime juice (think slimmed down burrito bowls). Use a dollop of non-fat plain Greek yogurt on top of the chicken instead of sour cream.
- On our Black Bean Spaghetti taco pasta
Frequently Asked Questions
The only important aspect is using a more watery salsa. The rest is up to what you enjoy. If you love a smoky, spicy salsa chipotle salsa is great. Love green chilies? Try a salsa verde. You could even use enchilada sauce. It's a very flexible recipe.
Yes although monitor it closely. The blades of a hand mixer tend to process the chicken into smaller pieces faster than the paddle attachment of a stand mixer.
In the Refrigerator:
Store in an airtight container with the cooking liquids for up to 4 days.
In the Freezer:
Add the chicken and cooking liquids to a freezer safe container or freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave. Consider freezing in single portion servings for easy use for emergency dinner rotation!
More recipes you'll love!
Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken
- 1 cup restaurant-style salsa
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning homemade or store bought
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts 4 8-ounce chicken breasts
- Combine the salsa and taco seasoning; stir to fully mix together.
- Pour half of the mixture into the Instant Pot and spread to lightly cover the the bottom of the insert.
- Place the chicken breasts beside each other in the Instant Pot. Pour the remaining salsa mixture on top of the chicken.
- Close the lid, set the valve to SEALING. Select MANUAL HIGH PRESSURE and adjust the time to 10 minutes.
- After the cooking completes, allow a Natural Release for 10 minutes or until the pressure is released (it may be shorter than 10 minutes).
- Open the lid and turn the Instant Pot to WARM. Remove the chicken from the instant pot and shred with two forks or using a stand mixer with paddle attachment.
- Place the shredded chicken back into the Instant Pot and coat fully with the sauce.
Up to 12 ounces - 10 minutes cook time
Over 10 ounces or using frozen chicken breasts - 15 minute cooking time How to Store In the Refrigerator: Store in an airtight container with the cooking liquids for up to 4 days. In the Freezer: Add the chicken and cooking liquids to a freezer safe container or freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave. Consider freezing in single portion servings for easy use for emergency dinner rotation!
This is delicious. I've made it so many times now I thought I should leave a rating! We use it for wraps, on taco salad and for meal prepping. It's just perfect. And freezes great too!
This was a huge hit at my house! We loved it! Thanks for the recipe!
Super easy! Super quick! And so flavoursome with all the seasoning! So succulent!
This chicken is so easy and delicious! Definitely going to a be a go-to recipe for our taco nights- we all loved it.
You had me at 3 ingredients! I love how flavorful this chicken is, and so easy to make too! I'll definitely be keeping this recipe in my back pocket.
I love making a bunch of this at the start of the week and using the chicken through the week for tacos and salads. So simple, you'd never believe it's just a few ingredients!
Toni we had guests staying with us last week and I made a big batch of this chicken ~ it was the hit of the visit!
This was such an easy and flavourful way to make Mexican chicken. Using the salsa and taco seasoning was such a clever way to infuse flavour into the meat! Will make again!
Did not work for me. I didn't even use a chunky salsa and my instant pot wouldn't cook it because it would trigger the "burn" sensor and ultimately stop cooking
Toni Dash says
Hi Amanda. I'm sorry you are having difficulty with the recipe. Can you confirm you followed the recipe exactly? Used a 6 quart instant pot? Used more liquid salsa as indicated in the recipe?
Newer Instant Pot models can be more sensitive to triggering burn warnings. I've made this recipe more times than I can count but have never had that happen. If the answer to the questions above is all 'yes' then I'm wondering if you did not have enough of the salsa underneath the chicken. Burn warnings tend to happen when there is food sticking to the Instant Pot liner (which is why it's important to always deglaze the liner between a sauté and pressure cooker cycle). Have you had a burn warning with your Instant Pot on other recipes and if 'yes' can you share what types? As you can see from the comments this recipe has worked for many people so I'm guessing it has to do with your particular Instant Pot. Happy to try to help if I can!
Shredding meat in the stand mixer is incredible! That is a game changer. Can’t wait to try it with pork barbecue.
Toni Dash says
Yay! It truly was a life changer for me too. So glad you liked it.
This is so much better than I ever imagined it would be. Loved it!
This was super easy and I make a lot for meal prepping. Great recipe!
Love this recipe! I made mine from frozen so thanks for the tips on how to do that.
Gina Ceraso says
Just made this last night and my family loved it. I just wish I had leftovers!
This was perfect for chicken tacos for my family! I also added some corn and black beans at the end! So good!
Stacey Crawford says
It does not get any simpler than this, and such a versatile recipe. I love how tender and juicy the chicken turns out in the IP.
This recipe is game changer! So delicious and so easy!
What a fabulous recipe; definitely making this tomorrow! I love that it requires only a few ingredients! 🙌🏾
This shredded Chicken is delicious. I can definitely use it for tacos or other sandwiches.
I wish you would include an alternative cooking technique for those of us without an InstaPot. I’m still a dedicated slow cooker or Dutch oven cook. Thank you.
Toni Dash says
Hi Jan! We do when the recipe will translate to other cooking modalities. Unfortunately not all Instant Pot recipe can be made with the same ingredients in slow cookers or on the stove top without really recreating the recipe.