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Here’s the latest installment in my easy chicken dinners series: Instant Pot Chicken Tacos. If you happened to miss the other recipes, you can check them out here: Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken and Roasted Chicken Thighs and Delicata Squash.
I just love using my Instant Pot to make fillings for taco night. Bone-in chicken thighs usually take about 25 minutes to cook in the oven, but they take just 12 minutes in the Instant Pot. The resulting chicken is tender, moist and packed with flavor. You can also use the Instant Pot to reduce the pan drippings and make a delicious sauce for the chicken!
In this recipe, I’m using Foster Farms Bone-in Skin-on Chicken Thighs, and I remove the skin but keep the bone in. The bone adds more flavor to the chicken while helping it stay nice and juicy. I’ve found that this cut of Foster Farms chicken is the most readily available in grocery stores near me, but feel free to use boneless, skinless if you prefer. Continue reading for the recipe.
How to Make Chicken Tacos in an Instant Pot
To make Chicken Tacos in an Instant Pot, you start by seasoning bone-in, skin-off chicken thighs with salt, pepper, chile powder, cumin and Mexican oregano. I used New Mexican chile powder here, but you can use whatever you’ve got on hand.
Next, peel and slice an onion into large rings and line the bottom of your instant pot with the onion rings (see photo below). Place seasoned chicken on top of the onion rings, then tuck 2 jalapeno halves and 4 garlic cloves in between the chicken. Grate the zest of 1/2 orange and 1 lime over top, then pour in the juice of 1/2 orange and 1 lime.
The layer of onion rings will keep the bottom chicken thighs from overcooking while adding some nice onion flavor to the filling!
Cover the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally, then remove and shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Strain the remaining pan juices and return them to the Instant Pot. Cook the liquid using the saute function until reduced, then fold into the shredded chicken. Finish by seasoning to taste with salt!
How Long to Cook Chicken Thighs in an Instant Pot
Bone-in chicken thighs (skin on or off) cook in 12 minutes on high pressure in an Instant Pot. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs cook in 10 minutes on high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally (up to 15 minutes).
The tortillas of choice here are small, flour tortillas that have been slightly charred on the stovetop. As for toppings, I like to use a spicy red salsa, a mix of chopped onion and cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
Other delicious topping options are green salsa, sliced avocado, crispy chicken skin or melted cheese!
Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- 6 – 8 Foster Farms Bone-in Skin-on Chicken Thighs (or boneless skinless)
- 1 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 3/4 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano, rubbed between your fingers to break into smaller bits
- 3/4 chile powder*
- 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced into large rings
- 1 jalapeno, halved
- 4 garlic cloves
- Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
For serving: small flour tortillas, chopped onion, chopped cilantro, salsa, lime wedges
- Remove the skin from the chicken thighs and discard or save for another use (like making crispy chicken skin in the oven!).
- Add salt, oregano, chile powder, cumin, and black pepper to a small bowl, stirring to combine. Season chicken all over with the seasoning mix.
- Place onion rings in the bottom of an Instant Pot in an even layer. Place chicken on top of the onion rings, then tuck jalapeno halves and garlic cloves between the chicken. Top with citrus zest, then pour citrus juice down the side of the Instant Pot, so it reaches the bottom of the pot without disturbing all the spices.
- Seal the lid and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. Release the pressure naturally (up to 15 minutes), and using a tongs, transfer chicken to a large container. Shred meat using two forks, then season to taste with salt. Discard the bones. Strain the cooking liquid, then return the liquids to the pot. Using the saute function, reduce the sauce until thick (about 8 to 10 minutes). Toss shredded chicken in the sauce, then check for seasoning one last time.
- To serve, warm flour tortillas on the stovetop. Top tortillas with the chicken filling, chopped onion and cilantro and salsa. Finish with a squeeze of lime.
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