Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

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This Instant Pot Salsa Chicken is easy, healthy, and one of the most versatile dishes you can make! Make it with red or green salsa and use it for tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, salads, and more.

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This easy Instant Pot Salsa Chicken makes getting a Mexican-inspired meal on the table easier than ordering takeout. Make it with chicken breasts or chicken thighs and your favorite red or green salsa.

Serve it with some Quick Refried Beans or a Mexican Chopped Salad and save the leftovers for easy meal prep.

This is one of those versatile recipes that will quickly become a staple. While we all think of tacos immediately, there are actually so many different eats to serve salsa chicken in everything from classics like quesadillas and taco bowls to casseroles, stuffed peppers, soups, and more.

It is literally the easiest thing to make and the chicken comes out perfectly tender and delicious every time thanks to the pressure cooker.

Why We Love Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

  • Versatile: You can make so many variations of this dish by switching up the salsa, changing the way you serve it, or adding in extras like black beans, corn, or even cream cheese.
  • Great for leftovers: Make up a big batch of this to have it ready to go in the fridge. Make quesadillas, tacos, burrito bowls, enchiladas, burritos, taco salads, and wraps. This chicken works in so many dishes. 
  • Pantry staples and budget-friendly: This is basically a two-ingredient recipe since you only really need the chicken and salsa. 

There are so many different uses for salsa chicken. Once you start making it, I promise that it will be something you always want to have on hand. 

Salsa chicken shredded in an Instant pot with green salsa.

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

  • Chicken: This recipe works with chicken breast or chicken thighs. Boneless and skinless options work best and cook quickly. Frozen or defrosted chicken can be used. Just see the instructions below for cooking frozen chicken in the instant pot.
  • Salsa: Use red or green salsa, choosing something that you enjoy eating on its own. Any type will work.
  • Spices: To kick up the flavor, I like to add garlic powder, onion, powder, and cumin to season the chicken. Taco seasoning adds even more flavor or simply use salt and pepper.
  • Chicken broth: This recipe doesn't use chicken broth since their is plenty of liquid in the salsa. If you prefer to use less salsa for a milder flavor, you can swap in chicken broth.

Best Salsa for Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

The magic of this recipe is that you can constantly switch up the flavors by choosing different salsas to use with the chicken. This also allows you to control the level of spice depending on what your family prefers.

Some of the best salsa options include roasted green tomatillo salsa, mild chunky red salsa, or a smoky chipotle salsa. You can choose to use thin salsa or thick, chunky salsa depending on what you like best.

Experiment but always remember to only choose a salsa you would happily eat with chips. The salsa is the main flavor component so it needs to be one with a great flavor. You can also make your own homemade salsa for this recipe. 

How can I use frozen chicken in the Instant Pot?

This recipe will work with frozen chicken breasts or frozen chicken thighs as well, you will just have to adjust the cooking time slightly.

  • For frozen chicken breasts, they will need about 12 minutes to fully cook. This can vary slightly depending on the size of the chicken breasts, and smaller breasts may cook more quickly, in 8-10 minutes. 
  • For frozen chicken thighs, set the Instant Pot to 14 minutes to ensure that the chicken comes out fully cooked. 
  • For both recipes, please note that it will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure and they will need to naturally release for 6-8 minutes. 

Recipe Ideas and Variations

  • Add beans and corn: To make this more of a complete meal, consider adding a can of black beans or pinto beans to the Instant Pot along with some canned or frozen corn. Make sure to drain and rinse any canned products before adding them to the pot. Then simply double the spices to ensure everything has tons of flavor. Some people also like to add a canned of drained tomatoes as well, especially to a thinner salsa.
  • Make Creamy Salsa Chicken: Once the chicken is cooked and shredded, consider adding a creamy element. Try adding in some reduced-fat cream cheese, sour cream, or Greek yogurt to make a creamy salsa chicken. The cream cheese option is seriously amazing. It is similar to the creamy and spicy chicken in this Slow Cooker Jalapeno Chicken.

Instant Pot shredded salsa chicken in a bowl with fresh cilantro and a spoon.

Ways to Serve Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

This recipe is incredibly versatile and there are so many different ways to serve this easy salsa chicken. Here are the ones we use the most often:

  • Tacos: Heat up some corn tortillas, grab all your favorite toppings, and make the best shredded chicken tacos. We like ours with diced onions, cilantro, avocado, and some queso fresco.
  • Burritos: Grab a whole grain or flour tortilla. Load it up with cooked rice or cauliflower rice, beans, lettuce, and salsa chicken. Roll it up and dinner is ready to go! For wet burritos, cover the burritos with some of the extra salsa and then melt cheese on top.
  • Burrito Bowls: If you want to save on calories, make a burrito bowl instead of using white or brown rice and your favorite beans. Add lettuce, corn salsa, cilantro, and cheese on top.
  • Quesadillas: Gran some shredded cheese and salsa chicken to make a really tasty quesadilla. This is a great use for leftovers and a way to create a whole new meal with anything left over. 
  • Meal Prep: This recipe is amazing for meal prep. Make a double or triple batch and pack up the leftovers for lunches all week.

Creative Recipe Ideas for Salsa Chicken in the Instant Pot

Think outside the box and use this salsa chicken to make all kinds of other dishes. Also great for using leftovers.

  • Soup: Grab some chicken broth, beans, corn, and diced tomatoes and quickly turn this into a tasty soup. You may need to add some extra spices or could consider adding a pack of taco seasoning.
  • Enchiladas: Roll this into corn tortillas and pour some extra salsa on top. Sprinkle with cheese and cook for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees in a covered dish until the salsa is bubbling and the cheese is melted.
  • Casserole: Turn this into a salsa chicken casserole by combining it with cooked rice, pinto beans, corn, and undrained diced tomatoes, Drizzle some extra salsa on top and add a layer of cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees until the cheese melts and everything is heated through.
  • Pasta: We love making this into a spicy pasta dish. Once the chicken is cooked and shredded, add in some reduced-fat cream cheese. Toss with pasta and some sauteed bell peppers and mushrooms. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions about making this Instant Pot Salsa Chicken.

Many times rubbery chicken means that the chicken was cooked for too long. When chicken cooks for too long, it gets rubbery and dry. When cooking chicken breasts, try not to cook them for longer than 8-10 minutes so they don't overcook. Adding liquid like salsa or chicken broth also helps to ensure tender chicken. 

If you are using fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts, they will take 8-10 minutes on high in the Instant Pot.  If you are using frozen chicken breasts, they will take 10-12 minutes in the Instant Pot. 

The Recipe
Instant Pot Salsa chicken shredded in a bowl with green salsa and cilantro.

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

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  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups salsa

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Add half of the salsa to the Instant pot.

Green salsa in an Instant Pot.

Add the chicken to the Instant Pot in a single layer. You can use chicken breast or chicken thighs.

Chicken thighs and green salsa in an Instant pot.

Sprinkle the chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Pour the remaining salsa on top.

Chicken covered in salsa in an Instant Pot.

Close the Instant Pot and seal it. Set the pot to Manual for 10 minutes.

Front display of an Instant Pot set to 10 minutes.

Let the Instant Pot naturally come to pressure. Once the chicken finishes cooking, let it naturally release for 5-7 minutes. Carefully remove the lid.

Cooked chicken in salsa in an Instant Pot.

Shred the chicken using two forks. You can also simply slice or chop the chicken.

Shredded chicken in green salsa in a pressure cooker.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 209
Calories from Fat 2
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 132mg
Sodium 757mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 3g
Protein 30g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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