Instant Pot Salsa Chicken is a simple but delicious meal that cooks in just 8 minutes. Enjoy this shredded chicken with rice and beans, in a taco or scattered over nachos!
Classic salsa chicken is made by sprinkling chicken breasts with taco seasoning, covering with salsa and baking in the oven. During the last few minutes of cooking, you top the chicken with cheese and let it get all melty and bubbly.
Prepared in an Instant Pot, this version of salsa chicken really takes things to the next level (without any added effort!). Thighs are the preferred cut of meat here, so the finished chicken is tender and juicy. Continue reading for the recipe.
How to Cook Salsa Chicken in an Instant Pot?
To make salsa chicken in an Instant Pot, you place boneless skinless chicken thighs in the Instant Pot along with onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, oregano, chopped garlic, chopped jalapeño and prepared salsa. You then secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
Let the pressure release naturally (up to 10 minutes), then take the chicken out of the Instant Pot and shred it. If the juices in the pot look thin, you can turn on the sauté function and reduce them (I reduced mine for 10 minutes).
Once you’ve got the sauce to the right consistency, stir in the shredded chicken along with sliced scallion and chopped cilantro. Finish by seasoning to taste with additional salt.
I prefer to use my own spice blend instead of using taco seasoning, so I can have complete control over the flavorings. You probably have most of these spices already in your pantry!
The one special spice I used here is Mexican oregano. It’s got a slightly different flavor compared to the oregano you can usually find in stores. You might be able to find Mexican oregano in the hispanic/latin section of your grocery store (not in the spice aisle). If you can’t find it, use regular oregano here instead.
The salsa featured in these photos is mild, fresh salsa from a local Mexican market. Feel free to use your favorite salsa here (jarred or fresh). Just keep in mind that salsas can vary in seasoning, and you’ll need to adjust salt accordingly.
Also, I’m recommending that you use a a mild salsa here to keep the heat under control. I used a medium salsa once and the heat intensified once I reduced the sauce. It was still delish, but VERY spicy.
Instant Pot Salsa Chicken
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 1/2 cups prepared mild salsa (jarred or fresh)
- 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon oregano (Mexican if you've got it!)
- Kosher salt
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- Handful chopped cilantro, plus more for sprinkling
Serve with: rice and black beans
Toppings: chopped cilantro, cotjia cheese (cheddar or Monterey jack also good here), and freshly squeezed lime juice
Place chicken thighs, salsa, garlic, jalapeño, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, oregano and 1 teaspoon salt* in an Instant Pot, stirring to combine. Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Let pressure release naturally (up to 10 minutes).
Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a bowl and shred. If the juices left in the pot are thin, turn on the sauté function of the Instant Pot and let reduce to desired consistency. I reduced my sauce for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat, return the chicken to the sauce and stir in scallions and cilantro. Season to taste with additional salt.
To serve, spoon salsa chicken into a bowl with rice and beans. Top with cheese, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
* Prepared salsas can vary in salt level. If you are unsure of how salty your salsa is, you may want to use a little less salt in the beginning and add more at the end as needed.
Here are some other Instant Pot chicken recipes on Kitchen Konfidence!5