Shredded Chicken Tacos

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These shredded chicken tacos are quick and easy to make in the Instant Pot. They’re also very healthy and tasty.

With only two simple ingredients, you’ll be sure to have taco night made easy! The simplicity of this recipe makes it easy to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Add as much or little of toppings as desired!

wooden board with shredded chicken tacos and small bowls of garnishes.

Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

This recipe for instant pot shredded chicken tacos is incredibly easy and versatile. We love it because our children can choose their favorite toppings and flavor combinations.

You’ll fall in love with these Shredded Chicken Tacos! Made in the Instant Pot in less than 30 minutes, they’re easy, delicious, flavorful, and healthy!

They’re healthy because they use only 2 clean ingredients. There’s nothing processed or any unwanted ingredients! Serve them with your favorite healthy taco shells, in a taco bowl, or as a taco salad!

These tacos can also be made in any pressure cooker of choice, like a Ninja Foodi or whatever your favorite option is! Pressure cooking makes dinner time a breeze!

This is also an excellent meal prep option for busy weeknights.

three tacos stacked next to an instant pot.

Ingredients

Don’t you just love a recipe that calls for only 2 basic ingredients? This taco recipe only requires chicken & salsa! Then you’re free to choose which toppings/flavor combinations you love.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts — you can substitute for half & half boneless skinless chicken breasts and boneless skinless chicken thighs, if desired.
  • 16 oz jarred salsa — use the whole jar & unstrained
  • taco shells — use your favorites! Thrive Market offers some really good grain free options that we try to snatch up when we place our monthly order. Or use flour tortillas for soft tacos!

Our favorite organic salsas are the La Preferida brand and the Thrive Market brand of salsa. Of course you could also use homemade salsa too!

This recipe also works with frozen chicken breast, just increase cook time to 12 minutes.

instant pot chicken tacos ingredients in small bowls and plates.

Instructions

Place chicken in instant pot and top with salsa.  Add the lid, set on manual high pressure for 10 minutes.

The Instant pot will take about 10 minutes to heat up.  After cook time is complete, wait 10 minutes before releasing steam valve.  Remove chicken from pot and shred with 2 forks or fork and tongs on cutting board.

You could even use a hand mixer or stand mixer to shred the chicken up quickly!

salsa over raw chicken inside of the instant pot.
cooked chicken in the salsa in an instant pot.
shredding the chicken with forks.

Place chicken back into pot and stir.  Before serving, drain excess liquid by straining chicken in colander or fine mesh strainer.

Adding the chicken back in with the juices gives it more flavor and helps the chicken to stay tender until ready to serve.

Straining excess liquid before use prevents tacos from getting soft.

shredded chicken combined with the salsa.
straining off the liquid from the shredded chicken tacos with a fine mesh strainer.
adding the shredded chicken to taco shells.

Add your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Here’s some of our favorite topping suggestions:

  • shredded cheese
  • homemade guacamole
  • fresh tomatoes from the garden
  • sour cream
  • shredded lettuce
  • fermented hot sauce
  • lime juice
  • fermented jalapeños
  • chopped onions
  • chipotles, jalapenos, or other favorite peppers
  • cilantro
  • salt & pepper to taste
three shredded chicken tacos with cheese, cilantro, jalapeño and salsa garnishes.
shredded chicken tacos on with counter with jalapenos and salsa in small white bowls.

How to store and reheat leftovers

Have leftover shredded chicken? Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days.  If chicken hasn’t been previously frozen, you can also freeze leftovers in a freezer bag or other freezer-safe container for about 3-4 months.  Defrost in refrigerator or place container and contents in a container of cool water to thaw.

Reheat in a sauce pan over medium low heat until warmed through.

Leftover ideas: quesadilla, burrito, nachos, rice bowl, taco salad.

More favorite easy dinner ideas:

Want to try something different? Try my shredded bbq chicken for an interesting take on these tacos!

FAQ (frequently asked questions)

How much time do you add to Instant Pot if chicken is frozen?

Depending on the size of the chicken, you would add about 2-4 minutes of extra cooking time to the Instant Pot. You would then allow the pressure to release naturally for about 10 minutes.

How long does it take to cook a pound of chicken in an Instant Pot?

One pound of boneless chicken breasts or thighs would take 10 minutes to cook in the Instant Pot. Note: it takes an additional 10-12 minutes for it to come to pressure. Just be sure to arrange the meat in a single, even layer in the pot. This will allow it to cook more evenly.

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side view of chicken tacos with cheese and cilantro on top.

Shredded Chicken Tacos

These shredded chicken tacos are one of our favorite easy recipes for busy weeknight dinners. Not only are they made quickly in an Instant Pot, they are also customizable with your favorite toppings like cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, and guacamole.
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Pressure & Release Time 20 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Serving Size 6

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place chicken in instant pot and top with salsa.  Set on manual high pressure for 10 minutes.
  • Instant pot will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and cook.  After cook time is complete, wait 10 minutes before releasing steam valve.  Remove chicken from pot and shred with 2 forks or fork and tongs on cutting board.
  • Place chicken back into pot and stir.  Before serving, drain excess liquid by straining chicken in colander or fine mesh strainer.
  • Heat taco shells in toaster oven for 30-40 seconds on toast (optional).  Fill shells with chicken and top with your favorite toppings.

Notes

This recipe also works with frozen chicken breast, just increase cook time to 12 minutes.
Straining excess liquid before use prevents tacos from getting soft.
Leftovers can be stored in refrigerator up to 3 days.  If chicken hasn’t been previously frozen, you can also freeze leftovers in a freezer bag or other freezer-safe container for 3-4 months.  Defrost in refrigerator or place container and contents in a container of cool water.  Reheat covered in microwave or on the stovetop.  
Leftover ideas: quesadilla, burrito, nachos, rice bowl, salad

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