Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

Are you looking for an easy way to prepare pulled chicken? Instant Pot Salsa chicken can be used for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, casseroles, and just about anywhere you like to use Mexican flavored chicken breast.

overhead view of Instant Pot Salsa Chicken in a black bowl

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No kitchen is complete without a multifunctional Instant Pot. One of the most useful cooking modes for this tabletop appliance is the pressure cooker option. When you cook under pressure, it is a snap to serve up a one-pot meal in mere minutes that taste like it has been simmering away the entire afternoon on the back of the stove. The best part of all is that it is foolproof. Load up the Instant Pot, set it, and food comes out amazingly soft and moist. No babysitting required.

One recipe that all owners of an Instant Pot need to try is Salsa Chicken. It is incredibly easy to whip up in a matter of minutes. All it takes is a total of five ingredients that you probably already have at home. Once you cook it, shred it, and keep it in the fridge. You will find lots of creative ways to use it, from Instant Pot chicken tacos to rice bowls.

How to Correctly Pull Chicken

To get the most from this recipe, both culinarily and economically, the best way to prepare the Salsa Chicken Instant Pot style is by pulling it. If you are unfamiliar with the term ‘pulled chicken,’ it means pulling the cooked chicken apart into thin strings. Some recipes may refer to ‘shredding’ the chicken, but it all means the same.

You can ‘pull’ almost any kind of meat, and it is a common way to prepare barbequed pork for sandwiches, tacos, burritos, and more.

There are several methods you can use to pull the chicken in this recipe. Most cooks prefer one way of doing it over the others, but everyone agrees on the fundamentals.

  1. For the best results, the chicken has to be warm. It is much easier to pull meat that isn’t cold. You don’t want to do it when piping hot, but it needs to be warmer than room temperature.
  2. Keep things a little cleaner, and pull your chick while it is in a large bowl. If you have disposable, food-safe gloves stashed in a drawer somewhere, now is probably a good time to use them.
  3. Let the pulled chicken cool entirely before storing it. To speed up this process, spread the chicken out on a cold baking tray, and give the shredded chicken a good stir every few minutes.

Try each of the following three methods for pulling chicken, and see which one works best for you:

  • Use your hands. This is the simplest method, but you won’t shred the chicken a finely as the other methods. To pull chicken by hand, hold it with the meat fibers verticle. Use your fingers to pull and separate the chicken at these fibers.
  • Use two forks. This is very similar to pulling by hand, except the chicken is on a cutting board, and you use the tines of two fork to shred the chicken.
  • Use a stand mixer. This method is perfect for when you have a lot of chicken to pull but not a lot of time. Put up to four chicken breasts in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on low with the paddle attachment.

Tips For Serving and Storing Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

  • Perfect for more than Southwest-inspired dishes. Try it on top of a salad or as a filling for an omelet.
  • You don’t have to use chicken breasts for this recipe. Just be sure to remove any chicken bones before cooking.
  • Salsa chicken stores well in the fridge for up to four days. Keep in the freezer for up to four months.

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Here’s a list of what you need:

  • Vegetable oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Skinless and boneless chicken breasts
  • Salsa
Instant Pot Salsa Chicken ingredients

How to Make Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

  1. Set the Instant Pot to sauté and add vegetable oil.
  2. When the oil is hot, add onions and sauté until almost translucent then add the garlic.
    sliced onions and chopped garlic in an Instant Pot bowl
  3. Add chicken breast and salsa.
    Instant Pot salsa chicken before cooking
  4. Cook on high on the manual setting for 20 minutes.
  5. Perform a quick release on the Instant Pot.
  6. Remove chicken and shred.

If you want to make this in a slow cooker, you will need to saute the onion and garlic in a skillet, and then place all of the ingredients in your slow cooker, and cook for 4 to 6 hours on low.

a bowl of Instant Pot salsa chicken

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overhead view of Instant Pot Salsa Chicken in a black bowl

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

Salsa chicken is perfect for tacos, burritos, casseroles, and so much more! Make it in an Instant Pot or slow cooker. 
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Instant Pot Recipes, Salsa Chicken
Prep Time: 12 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 37 minutes
Servings: 10
Calories: 321kcal


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • 3 teaspoons garlic chopped
  • 5 pounds chicken breast boneless and skinless
  • 3 cups salsa


Instant Pot Instructions

  • Use the saute function of the Instant Pot, when the oil is hot add onions, saute until almost translucent, then add the garlic. Add chicken breast and salsa. Cook on high on the manual setting for 20 minutes. Perform a quick release on the Instant Pot. Remove chicken and shred. 

Slow cooker Instructions

  • If you want to use a slow cooker you will need to saute the onions and garlic in a large skillet, then transfer the sauteed garlic and onions to the slow cooker. Add the chicken and salsa to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours.



Some people love to shred chicken in the stand mixers, by using the mixer blades on low speed. 


Calories: 321kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 751mg | Potassium: 1002mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Vitamin C: 6.7mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 0.9mg

About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of's Dining Out in the Home, and's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Beth

    How many servings (tacos) does this recipe make? if I am doubling or tripling the amount of chicken do I also need to double or triple the amount of salsa?

    • Stephanie Manley

      It makes very large servings. I allow for about 1/3 to 1/2 pound servings per person. If you are doubling or tripling the amount of chicken, I would double or triple the amount of salsa. You will not need to change the cooking time.

  2. Pearl

    5 stars
    Delicious! Served it with instant pot mexican rice. I love recipes that are easy to made and taste yummy too!

    A keeper!

  3. Vicki Spiers

    You were going to show us how to do the quick release for your instant pot but never did. Thinking about getting one of them and was curious about how you do the quick release. Thanks.

    • Stephanie

      I am really sorry I missed that I didn’t show you how to do a quick release. If you will allow me, I will tell you how to do it. When the Instant Pot beeps you turn the pressure release valve to the side, and it will release. My apologies for not showing this on the video.

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