This juicy Instant Pot Mexican chicken cooks so quickly – dinner will be ready in a flash!
Just saute for a few minutes (in the Instant Pot, no extra pan needed!), toss all the other ingredients in, and let the pressure cooker do its work.
This chicken is full of delicious spices and super tender. And, you can use it in so many dishes: casseroles, tacos, salads, the list goes on!
Shredded Mexican Chicken
Cooking chicken can be tricky.
Too long, and it gets too dry. Too short, and it isn’t safe to eat.
But when you get it just right, it can be wonderfully juicy! That’s where the Instant Pot (<- affiliate link to the one I have in 6 quart size) comes in.
It basically takes the stress out of cooking chicken. You still want to check at the end (with a meat thermometer, or you can just cut into it) to make sure it’s fully cooked, but it’s so much simpler!
Just remember: if the chicken breasts you’re using are especially small or large, adjust the cooking time accordingly by 1-2 minutes.
(Check out my Crockpot Mexican Chicken recipe if you’d rather use a slow cooker – it comes out just as tender and yummy and is great to prep in the morning so it’s ready later in the day!)
This chicken is delicious in enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos, burrito bowls, and even sandwiches and wraps!
It’s amazing for meal prep – you’ll have cooked chicken ready to use for the rest of the week. Matt and I didn’t hate having all this yummy chicken around – I ate a lot of chicken, black bean, avocado, and arugula burritos and I wasn’t mad about it. Rice bowls are always a win too though!
Instant Pot Mexican Chicken Ingredients
To make this Instant Pot Mexican chicken, you’ll need:
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
- smoked paprika (regular paprika works too – the smoky flavor will just be reduced)
- chili powder
- ground cumin
- canned diced tomatoes with green chilies
- canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (it’s totally fine to leave this out if you can’t find it, but it adds some great flavor)
- optional: cayenne pepper (use this only if you like your chicken spicy!)
To make this recipe even simpler (or if you don’t have time to go to the store), you can use a jar of salsa instead of the diced tomatoes/chilies and canned peppers.
How to Make Mexican Chicken in the Instant Pot
To make this Instant Pot Mexican chicken, start by seasoning the chicken with the spices mentioned above (full details + measurements are in the recipe card at the end of the post), and salt and pepper.
You can leave out the salt if any of your spices contain salt, by the way – sometimes chili powder mixes do and it might be too salty to do both!
Then, brown it directly in the Instant Pot with a drizzle of olive oil on “saute” mode (with the lid off) for a couple minutes on each side. This will help to lock in the juices and add flavor!
Next, add the other ingredients on top of the chicken, close the lid, seal it, and set it to high pressure for 8-9 minutes (depending on the size of the chicken).
When it’s done, use the manual steam release to release the pressure.
After that, open the lid and check the chicken with a meat thermometer. (It should be 165 degrees F or higher – if not, cook it for another minute or two).
If fully cooked, use two forks to shred the chicken.
Enjoy right away, or if you’re meal prepping for later, set aside to cool. The chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Shredded Chicken Recipe Inspiration
Now, let’s talk recipe ideas! This chicken is so versatile and can be used for tons of dishes, including:
- Chicken Quesadillas
- Grain Salad Bowls (especially this Mexican Brown Rice Salad Bowl!)
- Chicken Tacos
- Mexican Lasagna
- Healthy Chicken Enchiladas
- Chicken White Bean Chili
- Chicken & Black Bean Burritos (replace the egg/sausage in my Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos with chicken for a freezer-friendly lunch or dinner!)
- Quinoa Taco Salad (toss the chicken on top!)
- Stuffed Peppers with Chicken
- Mexican-Inspired Pasta Salad
- Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans (+ add shredded chicken)
So many yummy options to try!
And that’s it: how to make the tastiest, juiciest Instant Pot Mexican chicken!
You’ll find the full recipe at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!
Do you have any go-to Instant Pot recipes you love? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re looking for more Instant Pot recipe inspiration, I’ve got you covered:
- Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers
- Maple Mustard Instant Pot Chicken Thighs
- Instant Pot Vegetable Soup
- IP Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- IP Farro Risotto with Spring Veggies
- Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash & Vegan Bolognese
- Instant Pot Chicken Fried “Rice” with Quinoa
- 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt (omit if your other spices - like the chili powder - include salt, and instead add salt to taste once chicken is cooked)
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional, add if you want it spicy)
- cooking spray or vegetable oil
- 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies*
- 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce*
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped, grated, or minced
- Mix the chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the chicken and massage to evenly coat the chicken with the spices.
- Put your Instant Pot on 'saute' mode and wait for it to heat up. Add a spritz of cooking spray or quick drizzle of oil and add the chicken. Sear for 2 minutes on each side, until browned and fragrant.
- Add the diced tomatoes with green chilies, chipotle, and garlic, and toss to combine.
- Put on the lid, seal, and set your Instant Pot to the High Pressure mode for 8-9 minutes (depending on the size of your chicken).
- Use the manual steam release to release the pressure. Once ready, open the lid and check the chicken with a meat thermometer. (It should be 165 degrees F or higher - if not, cook it on high pressure for another 1-2 minutes).
- Use two forks to shred the chicken, and enjoy!
*If you can only find a 10 oz can of diced tomatoes and green chilies, use that plus a 4 oz can of diced green chilies to make up the difference!
**In a pinch, you can also use a jar of salsa in place of the diced tomatoes and chilies and chipotle chilis.