This Instant Pot Salsa Chicken can be thrown together in under an hour with very little hands-on time! It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal or for meal prepping ahead of the week.

a plate of shredded salsa chicken garnished with cilantro and purple onion sitting on a green kitchen towel

We have all experienced a night or two when everyone in your family wants something different for dinner and you can’t decide who “wins.” Someone wants tacos (someone ALWAYS wants tacos), someone wants a salad, and you’re up for anything as long as it is tasty, requires minimal effort, and can please everyone ASAP! This Instant Pot salsa chicken is the answer to those nights. It can be used in a variety of ways that will make sure everyone gets what they want, and the best part is how quickly it comes together. You can easily use it on top of a salad, in tacos, or in a burrito bowl!

Recipe Ingredients

ingredients for instant pot salsa chicken sitting on a marble surface
  • Chicken – to start, you’ll need 2 pounds of either boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts.
  • Salsa Verde – you’ll also need 1.5 cups of salsa verde. Do note that if you want to keep things super simple, 12 ounces of store-bought jarred salsa verde will work great too!
  • Sea Salt – a 1/2 teaspoon of coarse sea salt helps to lightly season the chicken (we don’t need much seasoning because the salsa verde is so flavorful!)
  • Cilantro (optional) – whether in a burrito bowl, taco, or salad, we really love topping this chicken with fresh chopped cilantro.
  • Red Onion (optional) – again, regardless of how you use this shredded salsa chicken, sliced red onion tops it beautifully!

How to Make

Making this salsa chicken honestly couldn’t be any easier! You’ll just add two pounds of chicken to your Instant Pot along with 1.5 cups (12 ounces) of salsa, and a little bit of salt. Toss it all together to make sure the chicken is well-coated, then set the Instant Pot to cook for 30 minutes. Once the timer goes off, it’s up to you whether you want to let the pressure release naturally, or if you want to release it manually to save a bit of time. When the pressure has released, you’ll open the lid to find tender, flavorful chicken!

chicken thighs and salsa verde in an instant pot
an instant pot set to cook on high pressure for 12 minutes
a plate of shredded salsa chicken with two forks sitting on the plate

How to Shred Chicken

It’s up to you how to shred your chicken, but we tend to go with one of these two easy methods:

  1. Shred with two forks. This is the tried-and-true way best for shredding smaller batches of chicken. You’ll just pull at the chicken with the two forks until it is fully shredded.
  2. Use an electric mixer. A stand mixer with a paddle attachment works best here, but really any mixer will do! This method is best for large quantities of chicken (think – doubling this recipe) when you don’t want to spend a long time shredding. Simply place the chicken in a bowl, turn your mixer to its lowest setting, and mix up the chicken just like you would a batter. Within about 15 seconds you’ll have a full bowl of shredded chicken!
a plate of shredded salsa chicken garnished with cilantro and purple onion sitting on a green kitchen towel

Our favorite thing about this dish is that you have nearly endless possibilities for how to use it. Because of that, it’s also a great recipe to double so that you can keep extra on hand! Here are a few ideas for serving this chicken:

  • Make tacos. You can keep it simple, or you can add a bunch of toppings, a slaw, or fajita veggies.
  • Make burrito bowls with white rice or cauliflower rice, guacamole, and sauteed onions and peppers.
  • Have a nacho night! Pile chips with this chicken, black beans, cheese, then load up on all the toppings – guacamole, sour cream, salsa, chopped cilantro, and whatever else your heart desires.
  • Make a Mexican-Inspired salad. Think greens, black beans, corn, some diced bell pepper, tortilla strips, and maybe a little jalapeno ranch.
  • Make a cheater green chicken chili. You can easily turn this recipe into a green chicken chili by adding two cups of broth while it cooks, then squeezing in the juice of one lime and stirring in a few handfuls of greens once it’s done. Garnish with a little sour cream and cilantro and you’ve got one tasty dish.
a bowl of salsa chicken and rice garnished with cilantro, avocado, limes, and red onion

If you find this recipe as versatile as we do, then make sure to keep a jar of your favorite salsa verde on hand and when you just aren’t quite sure what to make you can whip this Instant Pot Salsa Chicken again! Hopefully, this recipe makes those nights when everyone wants something different just a little easier. Enjoy!


What is the best type of chicken to use for shredding chicken in the Instant Pot?

We love using boneless, skinless chicken thighs for making shredded chicken because their higher fat content means that they don’t dry out in the Instant Pot. If you aren’t a fan of dark meat though, our second-best choice is boneless, skinless chicken breast tenders, which retain a little more moisture, followed by boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Can you put frozen chicken breast in Instant Pot?

Yep! One of our favorite things about the Instant Pot is that you can cook food from frozen in it. If you’re using frozen chicken, you can use the same cook time of 30 minutes – just anticipate that the pot will take longer to come to pressure.

What’s the best type of salsa to use?

We tend toward salsa verde, but you can absolutely use a red salsa in its place! It’s truly whatever you prefer. When looking for salsa, we recommend looking for one with minimal ingredients and additives. Pick one that you enjoy eating by itself because the salsa will be providing the majority of the dish’s flavor.

Is it easier to shred chicken hot or cold?

We prefer shredded our chicken while it’s still hot (or at least warm), but either will work just fine.

Can I freeze this dish?

Yep! Shredded chicken freezes great, and this salsa chicken is no exception. Just store it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag, label it, and eat within 3 months. It reheats easily in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

4.23 — Votes 9 votes
By Cassy Joy Garcia
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
Servings: 5 servings
The perfect quick protein for your next dinner!


  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa verde
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Sliced red onion for garnish


  • Place the chicken in the Instant pot and toss with the salsa and sea salt. Seal the lid of the Instant Pot and set to cook on the manual setting for 30 minutes.
  • Once the timer goes off, manually release the pressure by turning the valve on the Instant Pot from ‘sealed’ to ‘venting.’ Once all the steam has been released, remove the lid from the pot.
  • Shred the chicken with two forks You can eat it as-is, or use it as a filling for tacos or in burrito bowls!

Recipe Notes

To Make in the Slow Cooker:
Place the chicken in the slow cooker and toss with salsa and sea salt. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low on 8 hours, until the chicken shreds easily with a fork.


Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 116mg | Sodium: 930mg | Potassium: 809mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 478IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

Additional Info

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 5 servings
Calories: 239
Keyword: chicken, easy, freezer, instant pot, Salsa verde, slow cooker

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About the Author

Cassy Joy Garcia, NC

Cassy Joy Garcia, a New York Times best-selling author, of Cook Once Dinner Fix, Cook Once Eat All Week, and Fed and Fit as well as the creative force behind the popular food blog Fed & Fit.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Made it tonight for dinner and my family loved it. I also added some frozen corn and served it with some sour cream on top. For my 2- year-old I did not bring his chicken back to the sauce after shredding it, as it might be a bit too spicy for him. Everybody loved it! Thank you!!!

    1. We are so glad to hear this, Thais! Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughtful additions and feedback. -Team FF

    1. That is great, Jenn! Thank you for taking the time to share with us!

  2. Prob a silly question- but what if I mix the thigh meat with breast meat? My husband isn’t a fan of thighs, but I agree it is juicier!

    1. Hi mixed the thigh meat with breast meat and it turned out perfectly!

  3. 3 stars
    Decent, but not very strong flavor. (We used Whole Foods 365 brand Salsa Verde.) This actually ended up very watery/liquidy though. Some of it was absorbed as we shredded the chicken, but a lot never was, which made it pretty soupy. Definitely a quick and easy meal if you’re strapped for time or ideas, but otherwise not our favorite.

  4. Absolutely delicious! I made this last night so we could have taco bowls for dinner and leftovers will be used for my husband’s lunches this week. I’ve had inconsistent results with chicken breasts in the IP lately, but this was perfect! Incredible flavor, moist chicken, and everyone (including my 3, 5, and 7 yr olds) cleaned their bowl! Thank you for this one!!

    1. I used Siete Foods red enchilada sauce and it is SO good! Burritos, rice bowls… it didn’t even last to try it on nachos.