An oval white casserole dish with shredded seasoned chicken. Taco fixings on the side.

Instant Pot chicken tacos

Need a quick and flavorful mid-week meal for Taco Tuesday?  Instant Pot chicken tacos is a definite winner winner chicken dinner! I feel like I hit the jackpot with this recipe because its quick, flavorful and everyone (and I mean even the pickiest of my little eaters) loves it. That is a win!

An oval white casserole dish with shredded seasoned chicken. Taco fixings on the side.
Winner winner chicken dinner!

Have you ever tried that salsa dump chicken recipe, where all you do is dump some salsa on chicken thighs or breasts and put it in the slow cooker for a few hours? In fact many people also make this in the Instant Pot too. Well, that recipe intrigued me because it was so simple. However, I’ve found I’m disappointed in it because it really fell flat on flavor (in my humble opinion). In creating this Instant Pot chicken taco recipe, I wanted something similarly simple but it also had to be full on flavor as well as family-friendly and versatile.

Flour tortilla filled with shredded Instant Pot chicken taco filling. Topped with cheese, jalapenos and scallions.
Great for taco Tuesday

I decided to include some mild salsa in the ingredients for my chicken tacos, but amped up the flavor by including plenty of Mexican herbs, spices and fresh ingredients. This recipe features garlic, marjoram, thyme, cumin, ancho chili powder and bay leaves. These seasonings bring an herby and almost slightly smoky flavor to the dish. I also used a mix of chicken thighs and a large breast. You can substitute just thighs or just breast meat if you like. However, I find using chicken thighs provides a more juicer and tasty result. And that is what I recommend in this recipe. Using the Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker also cooks the chicken incredibly fast while keeping the chicken fork tender and juicy.

Side view of flour tortilla piled high with Instant Pot chicken taco filling.
Serve with pickled jalapenos, cheddar cheese, cilantro and scallions

This Instant Pot chicken tacos recipe has quickly jumped to the top of one of my family’s weekly favorites. I’d consider it mildly spicy and therefore kid friendly. I couldn’t tell you how happy I was when my six year old said “Yum mommy! I really like these!” Making everyone happy at the kitchen table has been a bit of a challenge lately. The other reason I love this recipe is that it is very versatile. The cooked chicken (and sauce) can be used not only for tacos, but also for enchiladas, chicken tortilla soup or taco salad.

A plate of Instant Pot chicken tacos and a Mexican sunset with a homemade margarita.

If you like a bit of heat, you can easily amp up the spice by adding in finely diced jalapeno or serrano peppers. Adjust it to your taste. I find these chicken tacos also reheat or freeze (if necessary) really well. Leftovers always get used up in my household. But having that option is a real plus. Cook once and use the batch for multiple meals. No food waste is a really great thing. Serve them with your favorite taco toppings. I like them simply with a little salsa, cheese or guacamole on warmed tortillas

It’s been pretty rainy around here these past weeks. I’ve been reminiscing about past vacations to Mexico and missing the sun. To help soothe my desire to travel, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with delicious Mexican dishes. Kicking back with flavorful chicken tacos and a margarita is good for the soul. So, if you like Mexican food, you may also like my Instant Pot carnitas tacos recipe or pineapple pico de gallo as well.

Do you have an Instant Pot? What are your favorite dishes to cook in it? I hope you like these quick and easy Instant Pot chicken tacos. Give me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy cooking!


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This post contains affiliate links. See policy for full disclosure.

Products used in this recipe:

Simple Truth Organic Medium Salsa
McCormick Gourmet Collection, Ancho Chile Pepper
Spice Islands Marjoram 0.3 oz Glass Jar
Simply Organic Thyme Leaf Whole Certified Organic, 0.78-Ounce Container
McCormick Gourmet Organic Cumin Ground, 1.5 oz

Instant Pot pressure cooker/multi cooker:
Instant Pot 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi-Use Programmable Pressure Cooker

Or alternative recommended pressure cooker:
Breville The Fast Slow Pro Pressure Cooker

Instant Pot chicken tacos

Instant Pot chicken tacos are a fresh, flavorful and versatile family favorite. Not your ordinary salsa dump chicken, you’ll love this combination of fresh flavors including onion, garlic, marjoram, thyme, cumin, ancho chili powder and bay leaves.

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs and breast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 pinch freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 – 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 medium white onion (chopped)
  • 2 – 2 1/2 medium garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp dried marjoram
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Simple Truth Organic Medium salsa
  1. Remove any excess fat or skin on the chicken and pat dry. Season both sides with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Set the Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) to saute function for 15 minutes. Once heated, add in a tablespoon of vegetable oil and sear the chicken on both sides. Do this in batches. Set seared chicken pieces aside on a dinner plate.
  3. Add a little more vegetable oil if necessary. Saute the onion a few minutes until it begins to turn translucent. Add in the garlic, marjoram, thyme, ancho chili powder, cumin and bay leaves.  Saute for a minute allowing the spices to bloom. This process should take about 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Next stir in the chicken broth and salsa. Return the seared chicken pieces and any juices to the pressure cooker mixing it all together to coat it well.
  5. If there is any time left on the saute function, press cancel. Next set the pressure cooker to medium pressure and enter on the manual cook function 20 minutes. Make sure the pressure gauge is in the correct position and start pressure cooking. After the 20 minutes pressure cooking, follow natural release procedure.
  6. Remove the cooked chicken with tongs or a slotted spoon to a large casserole dish and shred it with two forks. Next set the pressure cooker to saute function again for about 7 minutes. Cook the liquid in the pressure cooker until it reduces by about half and thickens. This will take about 5 – 7 minutes. Then top the shredded chicken with the sauce and mix it in.
  7. Serve the chicken with tortillas and your favorite taco toppings such as salsa, shredded cheese or guacamole.

Use approximately 2 lbs chicken. I usually buy one package of boneless, skinless chicken thighs and one large chicken breast. You can use just breasts if you like, but thighs will produce a more juicy result.

When reheating the chicken tacos, you may need to mix in a little more chicken broth or water to avoid the chicken from drying out.



8 thoughts on “Instant Pot chicken tacos

  1. Oh, Michelle, this is such a fab recipe! I so agree with you on the instant pot. I love it ! It’s such a time and energy saver. I really love the combinations in this superb recipe. Saved!


  2. That pulled chicken looks amazingly moist! I love that you added additional spices to amp up the flavor! Must try this one!


  3. Another way to enjoy cooking on my favorite kitchen gadget Instant Pot. We love tacos especially my dad, it is always on the list to make on the weekends. Definitely trying this looks so delicious. Thanks for this recipe.


  4. This was Great!!!! It is definitely a recipe I will do again!!! My grandson gave it 11 out of 10 points!!! And leftovers…. what leftovers???
    It took longer than what the time estimated was, but so well worth the wait! Don’t change a thing!!!


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