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Spicy Shredded Instant Pot Salsa Chicken (4 Ingredients!)

This delicious spicy shredded Instant Pot salsa chicken recipe is equally perfect for weeknight dinners and weekend meal prep! It’s easy to prepare, super versatile, and freezes well. Just 4 ingredients and under 40 minutes prep to table!

4-ingredient salsa chicken recipe for weeknights and meal prep in a white enamel rectangular dish

Easy Salsa Chicken

Oh, hey there! I know it’s been awhile — back to school and all that entails with five kids seems to have gotten the best of me for the past month or so…

But I’m back with a salsa chicken recipe that’s going to rock your world! It’s seriously, SERIOUSLY good, uber versatile, and super simple to prepare in your Instant Pot.

You do have an Instant Pot now, right? I mean, with all of the Amazon sales, I really hope you’ve invested in one. And if you’re still on the fence, I can almost guarantee a stellar deal will be coming up on Black Friday! Yes, I did go there… I’m in no hurry to wish away summer, but all the lovely fall things and holidays are right around the corner.

Ideal Instant Pot Recipes for Beginners

If you’re one of those people with an Instant Pot still sitting in the box from Prime Day (no judgment here — I was you a few years back), let me encourage you to pull it out and first make these Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs. It’s the perfect beginner recipe, and I’ll walk you through the process step by step.

When you’ve got the HB eggs down and are ready to move on, it’s a tie between this delicious Instant Pot salsa chicken and these Instant Pot sweet potatoes.


instant pot salsa chicken made with just 4 ingredients in a white enamel dish garnished with lime wedges

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

So what makes this Instant Pot salsa chicken so awesome? Let me count the ways:

  • Salsa chicken is a great all-purpose recipe. Use it in salads, tacos, nachos, burrito bowls, etc. Or simply eat it straight up!
  • It goes from prep to table in under 40 minutes, with most of the time being hands off, so you can focus your attention elsewhere.
  • Salsa chicken freezes well! So if you’re not sure you can finish the leftovers, simply toss the remainder in a Ziploc bag and freeze it for later.
  • It can easily be made ahead, making it ideal for meal prep. Make a double batch on Sunday, eat half for dinner, then portion out the remainder to have lunches ready to go for the week!

Oh, AND you can even make this salsa chicken using frozen chicken breasts! (I know you were wondering this.) Just add an additional 5 minutes to the cook time, and you’ll want to plan on the Instant Pot taking slightly longer to come to pressure.

shredded instant pot chicken with salsa and limes

My #1 Instant Pot Salsa Chicken Tip

One more thing before we get to the actual salsa chicken recipe — let me just share an important tip for Instant Pot shredded chicken in general…

USE A TRIVET. I hear SO many complaints from people about how their Instant Pot chicken breasts have turned out dry and lackluster, and I can pretty much guarantee that it’s because they didn’t use a trivet when making them. The goal is not to boil the chicken, but to pressure steam it, which requires the chicken breasts to sit above the liquid, not in it.

My Instant Pot came with a steamer insert, but if yours did not, you can pick one up very inexpensively. In the meantime, ball up some aluminum foil and place it under each chicken breast to achieve the same effect.

flavorful and tender salsa chicken recipe in a white enamel dish

Salsa Chicken Recipe

Are you ready to make the most flavorful and tender salsa chicken ever? We’re talking layers of flavor here, folks — not simply dumping some salsa over a few chicken breasts in your Instant Pot and calling it good.

1st LAYER: chicken stock — pour 3/4 cup of chicken stock into the bottom of the Instant Pot insert.

2nd LAYER: chicken breasts — place the trivet (or balled up aluminum foil) in the Instant Pot and lay your desired number of chicken breasts on it.

3rd LAYER: salsa/seasoning mixture — top with a 16-oz. container of restaurant style salsa mixed with a tablespoon of taco seasoning, reserving about a half cup to stir in after shredding.

TIP: As far as taco seasoning goes, you can use store bought, but I wholeheartedly recommend this homemade taco seasoning. And for the salsa, I strongly prefer the fresh restaurant-style salsa you can find in the refrigerated produce section, but feel free to use your favorite brand.

instant pot salsa chicken recipe in a white enamel dish with a matte black bowl of lime wedges on the side

Secret for the Best Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

Finally, the real secret for making this the best-tasting shredded salsa chicken is in how it’s finished. While I’m shredding the chicken, I switch the Instant Pot to the soup setting to reduce the remaining chicken broth and salsa down. Then I stir the shredded chicken back into it, along with the remaining half cup of the salsa mixture. This adds depth of flavor, as well as a pop of freshness from the uncooked salsa.

We love to serve this spicy salsa chicken over brown rice (see: cooking brown rice in Instant Pot) or alongside this Instant Pot Mexican rice with a few wedges of lime to squeeze over the top!


shredded instant pot salsa chicken recipe made with 4 ingredients in a white enamel dish

Spicy Shredded Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

Yield: 6 cups shredded chicken
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This delicious spicy shredded Instant Pot salsa chicken recipe is equally perfect for weeknight dinners and weekend meal prep! It's easy to prepare, super versatile, and freezes well. Just 4 ingredients and under 40 minutes prep to table!


  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2-lbs.)
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 (16-oz.) container fresh restaurant-style salsa, divided
  • 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)


  1. Place the stainless steel insert pot into the Instant Pot base, along with a steamer insert. Pour in chicken stock.
  2. Arrange the chicken breasts, on top of the steamer insert. Stir the taco seasoning into the salsa. Reserve about 1/2 cup of the salsa/seasoning mixture, and pour the rest over top of the chicken.
  3. Lock the lid on top of the Instant Pot and make sure the steam release knob is turned to “sealing”.
  4. Press the Manual (Pressure Cook for the new IP-DUO60) button on the front. High pressure should automatically be selected, but if it’s not for some reason, press the Pressure button to toggle it to high.
  5. Use the plus or minus buttons to set the cook time to 15 minutes. Wait a few seconds and you should hear a beep. At this point, the display will read “on”, indicating that the Instant Pot is pressuring up. Once it comes to pressure (about 9-10 minutes), it will switch to the timer to pressure cook the chicken for 15 minutes.
  6. When the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR) for 5 minutes. Then use a thick towel or a pair of tongs to turn the steam release knob to “venting” to release any remaining pressure. If you’ve never experienced this before, it can be pretty forceful, so pull your hands away quickly, stand back, and allow the steam to escape.
  7. Once the pressure is released, remove the lid and transfer the chicken breasts to a platter with a pair of silicone-tipped tongs and shred with two forks.
  8. While you're shredding the chicken, press the Sauté button and then the Adjust button to select "high" to reduce the remaining chicken stock mixture in half.
  9. Press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn the Instant Pot off. Then add the shredded chicken and remaining fresh salsa/seasoning mixture and stir. Serve warm with cut lime wedges (optional).


Frozen chicken breasts: You can use frozen chicken breasts in this recipe. Keep in mind that the Instant Pot will take slightly longer to come to pressure, and add an additional 5 minutes to the cook time (for a total of 20 minutes).

Storage: Cooked salsa chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Alternately, you can place cooled salsa chicken in a freezer Ziploc bag and freeze for up to two months.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 servings Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 116.9Total Fat: 1.6gSaturated Fat: 0.0gCholesterol: 0.0mgSodium: 139.1mgCarbohydrates: 1.3gFiber: 0.2gSugar: 0.2gProtein: 27.3g

How much did you LOVE this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or share a photo on Instagram with the hashtag #unsophisticook!

What Goes With Salsa Chicken?

This Instant Pot salsa chicken is soooo versatile and can be served with a wide variety of sides for a complete meal. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

P.S. If you love this salsa chicken recipe made in the Instant Pot, I’m certain you’ll ADORE this Instant Pot Dr Pepper pulled pork! Let me know what you think…

I’d love to see how your salsa chicken turns out… Tag me @Unsophisticook on Instagram or use the hashtag #Unsophisticook so I can check it out. Enjoy!

Steph Godwin

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

Also, a tip I learned on Pinterest, when you're IP is doing the NPR, if you put a damp towel on the glass part of the lid, it makes it a lot easier, and safer, to do the QR, aka quick release. I still recommend you steer clear of the steam valve when you do your QR, cuz there will still be steamer coming out!!

Steph Godwin

Wednesday 5th of August 2020

I've tried this recipe once before, n OMG it was delicious!! I'm making it again right now, gonna make chicken quesadillas for dinner, yum!! Tysm for sharing this amazingly quick n easy recipe!!


Tuesday 28th of April 2020

I fixed this on a work day (during COVID19) when I had 30 minutes before work & a nonprofit board meeting for 99 mins after work. We only had bone in chicken thighs with skin. I used a trivet as recommended & the problem with shredding is I will eat Meat but not touch it raw or cooked except with utensils. So when I had to interrupt my teleconference to stop the instapot & return to meeting now time to shreds. Dumped salsa on chicken. Then 30 mins later removed from cooling Instapot & put all in a casserole dish & covered wirh wrap & sat in microwave on 30% x3 mins. Told my mom to turn microwave off to keep warm. So that was @615 & has another hour of meeting. Added more salsa & prepackaged guacamole & chips. Tomorrow with more time will serve worth zucchini or calabacitas. Yumm next time boneless skinless thighs for sure! Oh & added a block of cream cheese on top awesome sauce!


Wednesday 26th of August 2020

@Beth, I shred chicken with a hand is fast and yet you can easily control the amount of shredding.

Tara Kuczykowski

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Whoa, I don't know how you manage to get anything done between meetings! Will have to try the cream cheese -- sounds delish.


Wednesday 4th of March 2020

I made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious! I served it in taco shells with the usual taco fixings and a salad. There is plenty left for lunches tomorrow. I used frozen chicken breasts and it made more liquid than anticipated even after cooking it down. Definitely making it again with a couple of tweaks. Thanks!

Tara Kuczykowski

Thursday 5th of March 2020

So glad you love it, Diana! Yes, frozen chicken breasts can add more liquid, as can using chicken breasts that are injected with salt water or other additives to plump them up. If you find you have too much liquid after reducing it down, just add part of it to the chicken and maybe hold on to the remainder to add to leftovers.

Chini Littles

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

I dont have an insta-pot but this looks delicious. Could you get the same result if cooking in a slow cooker?

Tara Kuczykowski

Tuesday 7th of January 2020

Yes, you can make it in your slow cooker, too! I'd reduce the chicken stock to about 1/2 cup and cook it on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. You'll know it's done when you can shred the chicken easily with a fork.

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