I’m pretty sure there isn’t a taco I wouldn’t eat and I could probably find a new way to enjoy tacos daily before I’d ever get bored. And these Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos will never get boring. These are packed with so much flavour and spices and they come together in just over 40 minutes (including time spent warming up and releasing the pressure). Plus they’re also completely customizable based on your own preferences.
Easy weeknight tacos that are completely hands-off thanks to the Instant Pot. You can also easily meal prep these tacos by making the shredded chicken in advance and then just preparing your toppings when you’re ready to eat.
Seriously, the Instant Pot has become a staple appliance for me over the years because of its convenience and ease of use. I used to be quite scared of the thought of using a pressure cooker, but with the Instant Pot, it’s much safer and not at all scary to use. Cooking shredded chicken in the Instant Pot is a game changer. It’s just so hands off and easy, which is exactly what you want for a quick weeknight meal.
I hope you love these Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos as much as I do.
Chicken breast: I use skinless, boneless chicken breasts, you can also use boneless, skinless thighs for a bit more flavour and fat.
Chicken broth: as your liquid in the Instant Pot, you can use water too.
Onion: you’ll need 1/2 yellow onion, diced which will be sautéed first.
Chipotles in Adobo: I love canned chipotles in adobo sauce because they bring the heat and the flavour. If you don’t like any spice, omit.
Lime Juice: I added this in at the end to balance the flavours.
Avocado: this brings the creaminess and is a great addition to help cool these tacos down. Plus, avocados are just the best, right?!
Sliced radish: for some crunch and colour, I like to thinly slice them on a mandolin.
Serrano Pepper: because you can never have too much heat, I love adding extra serrano. See tips and substitutions for other options.
Salsa Verde: I love making my quick and easy, 10 minute salsa verde for heat and flavour. It’s optional, but delicious!
Toasted pumpkin seeds: this is optional, but so quick and easy to make and it taste delishhh on these tacos. It adds the best crunch! The recipe is included at the bottom of this post too.
How to make
These Instant Pot chicken tacos couldn’t be easier to make. Here’s exactly how to make them.
Turn the Instant Pot to sauté mode first, you’re going to brown the onions and add the spices. Sauté the onions in a little bit of avocado oil for about three to four minutes, until softened. Add in your spices and continue cooking for an additional two minutes, stirring to combine.
Now add in the chipotles, chicken broth, salsa and the chicken breasts.
Lock in the lid, make sure the valve is set to sealing and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then manually release the pressure.
Open the lid, remove the chicken breast and add these to a large bowl.
Now it’s time to reduce the sauce, turn the Instant Pot to sauté mode and let it reduce to half. This will take about seven to ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using two forks, shred the chicken.
Once the sauce has reduced, turn the Instant Pot off and add the chicken back in. Give it a stir.
Now you’re ready to assemble your Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos!
- Thaw your chicken ahead of time if it’s frozen: you can use frozen in a pinch, but you’ll have to add extra time to it and make sure they’re separated and not stuck together to ensure even cooking.
- Short on time: you can skip reducing the sauce at the end, however it will be a little watery.
- No Instant Pot: make it in your slow cooker, check out how to below.
- Lettuce wraps: skip the tortillas and use lettuce wraps instead.
- Chicken breast: use chicken thighs instead (boneless and skinless).
- No smoked paprika: use regular paprika
- No ancho chili powder: use regular chili powder
- Taco seasoning: you can also use a taco seasoning of your choice if you wish
- Gluten-free: use 100% corn tortillas instead of wheat tortillas
- No salsa: add some canned diced tomatoes instead
Can I make these in a slow cooker
Absolutely! Add all the ingredients for the shredded chicken tacos into your slow cooker and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours, or cook on low for 7 to 8 hours.
Remove the chicken and shred, and add back into the slow cooker for an additional 30 minutes. Then serve and enjoy!
Customize the spice level
I like things spicy, but not everyone does. So it’s a good thing these are completely customizable to your preference.
- Omit the chipotles in adobo sauce as these are quite spicy.
- Use a mild salsa.
- Omit the serrano as a topping and omit the salsa verde.
If you want things even more spicy, add more chipotles, or add a spicy salsa. As is, this recipe provides a good amount of heat, with the addition of the salsa verde.
Can I freeze this
Prepare the Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos as is and shred the chicken. Then let it cool completely before moving into a glass container. Place that in the freezer for up to three to four months. You can also portion it out so you can take out only what you need.
Take it out the night before and keep it in your fridge to defrost.
Other Taco Recipes to try
I wasn’t kidding when I said I could eat tacos every day. There’s a million ways to enjoy them, here are some other amazing taco recipes to check out!
- Instant Pot pork carnitas (Instant Pot for the win, again!)
- Paleo coconut crusted fish tacos
- Vegan roasted cauliflower tacos
- Breakfast tacos with eggs and salsa verde
- Vegan jackfruit tacos on jicama
Other Mexican inspired dishes to try:
- Air fryer extra crispy Mexican chicken wings
- Crispy breakfast potato nests with eggs and chorizo
- Mexican street corn salad
- One pot rice and beans
- Walnut taco meat and mason jar salads
Ready to make this? Let’s get to it!
If you make these Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos please share with me, by tagging me on Instagram or leave a comment and/or review below. I truly love seeing and hearing form you!
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Instant Pot shredded chicken tacos
An easy, hands-off weeknight meal that's made in just under 45 minutes.
For the toppings
- 1 avocado sliced or cubed
- 5 radishes sliced thin
- 1 serrano pepper sliced thin
- cilantro for garnish, optional
Turn the Instant Pot to sauté mode first. Pour the avocado oil in and sauté the onions for about three to four minutes, until softened. Add in your spices and salt and continue cooking for an additional two minutes, stirring to combine.
Now add in the chipotles, chicken broth, salsa and the chicken breasts.
Lock in the lid, make sure the valve is set to sealing. And cook on high pressure for 12 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the toppings and salsa verde if using.
When the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then manually release the pressure. Open the lid, remove the chicken breast and add these to a large bowl or cutting board.
Turn the Instant Pot to sauté mode and let the liquid reduce to half. This will take about seven to ten minutes, stirring occasionally.
Using two forks, shred the chicken. Once the sauce has reduced, turn the Instant Pot off and add the chicken back in. Give it a stir.
Assemble your tacos with toppings and enjoy!
For the pumpkin seed topping
In a small pan over medium heat, pour in the oil. Once warm, add the pumpkin seeds and spices and salt. Stir often, until toasted and starting to pop, about four to five minutes.
Remove and set aside until ready to use.
An easy salsa verde to add to your tacos!
- 1 lb tomatillos husked and rinsed
- 2 serrano pepper stemmed
- 1/2 shallot large, roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1 tbsp lime juice fresh
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
Preheat the oven to broil and move the oven rack to the highest position. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and add the husked tomatillo and serrano. Broil for about 5 minutes, then remove, flip, and broil for an additional 4 to 5 minutes, until charred. Let cool slightly.
In a blender or food processor, add the cooled tomatillos and serrano pepper along with the remaining salsa verde ingredients. Pulse or blend until the mixture is mostly smooth and no large chunks of tomatillo remain. The sauce will thicken in the fridge. You can prepare this ahead of time.
Save time by making the salsa verde ahead of time. You can store this in the fridge for up to 5 to 7 days.
No Serrano Pepper: Use jalapeño, or omit for a mild salsa.