Instant Pot chicken tacos make a great weeknight meal! These shredded chicken tacos combine chicken, spices, and a little sweetness for one of the best chicken tacos recipes you can make at home!
This recipe is sponsored by Perdue Farms and includes affiliate links. If you purchase via these links, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
My family is a huge fan of tacos. Most nights we make this homemade taco meat and just do regular beef tacos but after being home for three months straight, our Tuesday taco night needed a little shakeup.
These chicken tacos aren’t just a little shakeup, they’re a big one from our standard beef tacos but oh my goodness, they’re so good.
The recipe is inspired by one of our favorite places to eat in Anna Maria Island – a taco shop that has the best shredded chicken I’ve personally even tried. Their quesadillas are to die for.
And making these in the Instant Pot means they’re done quickly and with a lot less effort than if you had to constantly watch the chicken on the grill or stovetop.
This recipe is also perfect for feeding a crowd – you can easily double the recipe with no additional work.
Shredded Chicken Taco Ingredients
The best thing about these Instant Pot chicken tacos is that you probably already have everything on hand to make these right now. Except maybe not all the toppings – but those are all easily found in your local grocery store!
The first ingredient obviously is chicken but let’s talk about that chicken real fast.
As an ambassador for Perdue Farms, I have a freezer that’s stocked full of all sorts of frozen chicken – thighs, breasts, wings, and more.
We tried both these Perdue Harvestland Organic boneless skinless chicken thighs and these Perdue Harvestland Organic boneless skinless chicken breasts with this recipe and I’ll just put it bluntly – the chicken thighs are better. There’s just more flavor when you combine the white + dark meat from a good chicken thigh.
But don’t worry, the chicken breasts are good too.
If you don’t happen to have chicken on hand already, I recommend stocking up so you can make these all summer long. Use the Instant Pot shredded chicken taco meat in tacos, quesadillas, on nachos, and more!
Get all the chicken (and other meat) you could ever need delivered directly to your door on the Perdue Farms website. And use THIS LINK to get 15% off your entire order plus free shipping if you place an order over $119.
So much nicer than going to the grocery store where you really have no idea if things will be in stock or not right now. I keep hoping they will be but feels like I’m unlucky every single time.
Shredded Chicken Taco Ingredients
- Chicken – as I mentioned above, we preferred these Perdue Harvestland Organic Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs but chicken breasts work too, and I’ve included a note in the recipe to adapt for chicken breasts
- Cumin powder
- Chili powder
- Garlic granules – garlic powder totally works as well, we just always have granules on hand so that’s what we used
- Dried oregano
- Smoked paprika
- Ancho chili powder or chipotle powder
- Kosher salt – note that we recommend kosher salt, not regular salt. You’ll use this for seasoning the salt and kosher salt gets into the meat better.
- Ghee – if you don’t have ghee, you can use another cooking oil like olive oil, avocado oil, or even butter. We recommend avoiding coconut oil so it doesn’t change the flavor.
- Chicken bone broth – chicken broth works just fine as well
- Lime juice – either fresh-squeezed or jarred lime juice
- Honey – we typically use raw, unfiltered honey but again, use what you have
- Taco shells – hard, soft doesn’t matter
- Cheese – I used a Mexican blend on chicken tacos but these would be good with some queso fresco too
- Taco toppings – some recommendations include pico de gallo, cabbage (this cabbage slaw would be amazing on these), cilantro, avocado, fresh lime, and this cilantro lime dressing
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
The beauty of this recipe is that because the shredded chicken is made in the Instant Pot – it’s easy AND it only gets one dish dirty. Kind of this our favorite Instant Pot basmati rice!
Okay maybe one pot dirty and all of the dishes you’ll need to prep and serve the toppings but that’s not part of the cooking right?
And don’t skip any of these steps – they’re in there for a reason and that reason is flavor!
1 – Combine your spices
The first thing you’ll need to do is combine all of your spices (not including the salt). Make sure they’re well combined so that when you add them to the chicken, they’re evenly distributed.
2 – Salt the chicken
Season both sides of each piece of chicken generously with kosher salt.
3 – Combine the chicken and spices
Put the salted chicken into a large bowl (or in the Instant Pot) then sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken. Then this is important, rub the spice mix into the chicken so that it coats every part of the chicken.
This will give you even flavor throughout the chicken.
If you put it in the Instant Pot, take the chicken (and wipe out the spices) and set it aside.
4 – Saute the chicken in the Instant Pot
Press the “saute” button on the Instant Pot and allow it to heat up until the display reads “hot.”
Add the ghee (or other cooking oil), stir with a wooden spoon, and make sure it coats the bottom of the Instant Pot.
Add the chicken top down in a single layer (you may have to do multiple batches depending on how many pieces of chicken and what size Instant Pot you have) and brown for three minutes.
Remove the chicken after three minutes and set aside. Continue with any remaining chicken pieces until everything has been browned. This gives it a really nice flavor and color.
5 – Pressure cook the chicken
Once all of the chicken is removed, add the chicken broth and lime juice to the Instant Pot to deglaze, making sure to scrape up all of the little bits of chicken.
Hello all that yummy flavor!
Once you’ve deglazed the pot, add in the honey and stir until the mixture is well combined.
Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button then add the chicken back into the Instant Pot seasoned side up (this will allow the other side to brown during pressure cooking).
Press the “Manual” button and program the Instant Pot according to the instructions in the recipe card below – different lengths of time for different types and sizes of chicken.
Close the Instant Pot, making sure it’s sealed – I’ve made that mistake before – then allow it to pressure cook.
6 – Release the pressure
Once the chicken is done cooking, do one of two things:
- For chicken thighs – allow the pressure to release naturally
- For chicken breasts – allow the pressure to release naturally for five minutes then immediately release any remaining pressure manually
7 – Remove and shred
Remove the lid from the Instant Pot (only after pressure is released) then shred the chicken with two forks, your hands, or a hand mixer.
Pour the cooking liquid on top of the chicken and toss well to coat. This adds extra flavor and juiciness to the meat!
8 – Serve warm
Serve in hard or soft taco shells with the toppings mentioned above!
Instant Pot chicken tacos are just the beginning – try it on nachos, in quesadillas, make your own chicken burritos, or even in these white chicken enchiladas!
And don’t forget, you can stock up on all the chicken to make all of those things on the Perdue Farms website – use this link for 15% of!
Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/4 tsp ancho chile powder or chipotle powder
- 2 lbs Perdue Harvestland Organic boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 TBS ghee or other cooking oil
- 1 cup chicken bone broth
- 1 TBS lime juice
- 1 TBS honey
- Combine the cumin, chili powder, garlic, oregano, smoked paprika, and ancho chili powder in a small bowl and mix to combine.
- Generously season each side of the chicken thighs or breasts with kosher salt; we usually use about 1 tsp.
- In a large bowl, combine the seasoned chicken and spice mix. Sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken and rub the spices into the chicken so that they coat every part of the chicken.
- Press the “Saute” button and allow the Instant Pot to heat up until the display reads “Hot.”
- Add the ghee and stir with a wooden spoon or tongs to evenly coat the bottom of the instant pot.
- Working in batches, add the chicken top side down in a single layer and brown for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, remove the first batch and repeat for the second batch.
- Once browned, remove the chicken and set aside on a plate.
- Add the chicken broth and lime juice to the Instant Pot and use a wooden spoon or tongs to deglaze the Instant Pot, making sure to scrape up all of the bits.
- Once deglazed, add the honey and stir to combine.
- Press the “Keep Warm/Cancel” button then add the chicken back into the Instant Pot - seasoned side up. Close the Instant Pot and make sure the pressure valve is sealed.
- Press the “Manual” button and program the Instant Pot to cook for 10 minutes under high pressure if using chicken thighs. If using chicken breasts, see notes section for alternate instructions.
- When the chicken is finished cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally if using chicken thighs. If using chicken breasts, see notes section for alternate instructions.
- Remove the lid and transfer the chicken to a large bowl.
- Shred the chicken with two forks, a hand mixer, or your own hands.
- Pour the cooking liquid on top of the chicken and toss well to coat.
- Enjoy immediately in tacos, nachos, or burritos, or allow to cool and refrigerate; the flavors only get better the longer the chicken sits in the juices.
Tips & Notes:
- Chicken thighs - 10 minutes under high pressure
- Chicken breasts (6 oz or less) - 7 minutes under high pressure
- Chicken breasts (more than 6 oz) - 9 minutes under high pressure
- Chicken thighs - allow the pressure to release naturally
- Chicken breasts - allow the pressure to release naturally for five minutes then immediately release the remaining pressure manually
More Delicious Mexican Recipes
- Easy queso fundido
- White chicken enchiladas
- Best taco meat recipe
- Taco salad bites
- Southwesten chicken salad
- Ham and cheese empanadas
Don’t forget to pin these Instant Pot chicken tacos for later!