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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 busy weeknights and weekend meal prep! It’s easy to prepare, super versatile, and freezes well. Just 4 ingredients, 5 minutes of prep, and 30 minutes of cook and finishing time!

salsa chicken instant pot shredded chicken in a white enamel rectangular dish with lime wedges

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 an easy 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. My whole family adores this easy meal, and really, that NEVER happens!!

By the way, you do have an Instant Pot now, right? I mean, with all of the Amazon sales, I really hope you’ve invested in one. However, if you’re still unsure about whether to spend the money, let me tell you why this easy weeknight dinner recipe alone makes it worth it!

Pressure cooker salsa chicken in the Instant Pot is absolutely SO much easier than making a baked salsa chicken recipe in the oven. With just a few simple ingredients, the boneless chicken breasts always turn out tender and juicy. They’re cooked to the perfect internal temperature without the need for a meat thermometer. AND it’s nearly effortless to shred the chicken because it’s so succulent!

Simple Instant Pot Recipes for Beginners

On the other hand, if you’re one of those people who DID buy an Instant Pot, but it’s still sitting in the box from a Prime Day long past, I just want to encourage you to pull it out of the box and take the plunge. NO judgment here at all — I was you a few years back! But I can almost guarantee you’re going to fall in love with it…

Start by making these Instant Pot hard-boiled eggs. This is the perfect easy recipe for beginners, and I walk you through making them step by step.

When you’ve got the HB eggs down and are ready to move on, it’s a tie between this flavorful Instant Pot salsa chicken and this 5-ingredient cream cheese pasta. Totally your choice, but again, I will walk you through the steps from start to finish. You’ll be an Instant Pot pro in no time!!

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 shredded chicken such a great recipe? Let me count the ways:

  • Shredded salsa chicken is a great all-purpose recipe. This low carb recipe (if you care about that) is ideal in salads, tacos, nachos, burrito bowls, etc. Or simply eat it straight up!
  • This simple shredded chicken Instant Pot recipe goes from prep to dinner table in under 40 minutes, with minimal effort. Most of the time is 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.
  • This Mexican shredded chicken recipe can easily be made ahead, making it ideal for meal prep. Make a double batch of this simple recipe on Sunday, eat half for dinner, then portion out the remainder to have lunches ready to go for the week!
  • EASY CLEAN UP!! ‘Nuff said…

Shredded Chicken Recipe With Frozen Chicken In Instant Pot

Oh, AND you can even make this shredded salsa chicken using frozen chicken breasts! I know you were wondering this… Right?!

Just add an additional 5 minutes to the cook time when using frozen chicken! Keep in mind that you’ll also want to plan on the Instant Pot taking a few extra minutes to come to pressure, but this is still WAY faster than waiting for the chicken to thaw first.

instant pot shredded chicken and salsa in the instant pot with a black and white kitchen towel

Instant Pot Chicken Recipes Trivet Tip

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

USE A TRIVET. I hear SO many complaints from people on how their Instant Pot chicken breasts have turned out dry and tough, 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 up a basic trivet very inexpensively. In the meantime, ball up some aluminum foil and place it under each chicken breast to achieve the same effect.

mexican shredded chicken made in the instant pot garnished with fresh limes and lime zest in a white and black enamel tray

Flavorful Salsa Chicken Recipe

I don’t know about you, but I’ve made a lot of so-called easy chicken recipes that were totally boring and bland. But NOT this Mexican shredded 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 for robust chicken flavor.

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 mix, reserving about a half cup to stir in after shredding.

PRO TIP: As far as taco seasoning goes, you can use store bought, but for best flavor, I wholeheartedly recommend this homemade taco seasoning. I blend it with a combination of chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Mexican oregano, and black pepper. No salt, no sugar, so it’s much better than the store-bought stuff!!

As for the salsa, I strongly prefer the fresh cantina-style salsa you can find in the refrigerated produce section at the grocery store for this salsa chicken Instant Pot recipe. But feel free to use your favorite shelf stable jar of salsa or even fresh homemade salsa.

Secret for the Best Instant Pot Mexican Chicken

Finally, the REAL SECRET for making this the best-tasting shredded Mexican chicken is in how it’s finished. Before I use a couple forks to shred the cooked chicken breasts, 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 half cup of remaining salsa mixture. The uncooked salsa adds delicious depth of flavor, as well as a pop of freshness!

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

Versatile Mexican Shredded Chicken In Instant Pot

This flavorful chicken and salsa recipe is super versatile… We love to serve this spicy Mexican Instant Pot chicken over brown rice (see: how to cook brown rice in Instant Pot) or white rice (see: coconut milk rice). You can also sprinkle this chicken with salsa recipe over tortilla chips and add some melted cheese to make nachos, AND it makes amazing salsa chicken tacos.

Or occasionally, when I’m feeling super lazy, I just serve the warm chicken salsa straight up with a boatload of toppings. Let your imagination go wild, but here are some of our family favorite garnishes.

Topping Ideas For Salsa Chicken

  • grilled bell peppers and onions
  • chopped green onions and/or fresh cilantro
  • basic black beans
  • guacamole (extra for me, please!)
  • a dollop of sour cream
  • shredded cheese: Mexican cheese blend, cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack, etc.
  • more salsa: salsa verde, chunky salsa, mild salsa, burn-your-mouth-off salsa (my fave, LOL), etc.

Don’t forget a few wedges of lime to squeeze some fresh lime juice over the top!

salsa chicken recipe garnished with cut limes 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 busy weeknights and weekend meal prep! It's easy to prepare, super versatile, and freezes well. Just 4 ingredients and under 40 minutes prep to table!



  1. Place the stainless steel insert pot into the Instant Pot base, along with a steamer insert. Pour in the 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 naturally release (NPR: natural pressure release) 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. Shred chicken 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.
  10. Season with salt, as needed, and 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 cook time).

Storage: Cooked salsa chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Alternately, you can place cooled leftover 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

Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag it @unsophisticook and hashtag it #unsophisticook!

What To Serve With Salsa Chicken?

This Mexican shredded chicken Instant Pot recipe 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 Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe, I’m certain you’ll also ADORE this Instant Pot Dr Pepper pulled pork! Try it and let me know what you think…

I’d love to see how your salsa Instant Pot 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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