Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos

Published June 28, 2017. Updated May 14, 2019

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Salsa Chicken Tacos are one of the easiest dinners you can make, and yet they are still perfectly flavorful and everyone will love them! This recipe includes methods for both the Slow Cooker and Instant Pot, so use the one that works for the equipment you have.

Salsa Chicken Tacos on plate with lime wedges

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken for Tacos and More

This salsa chicken recipe isn’t just great for tacos. Try it as a filling or topping in nachos, enchiladas, tostadas, quesadillas and burritos (and burrito bowls!).

This chicken filling is so easy to throw together, and it uses a few simple ingredients and requires minimal prep.

And did I mention the instant pot salsa chicken is perfectly tender, flavorful and even juicy? You can’t go wrong with this salsa chicken tacos recipe!

The other thing I really love about this recipe is that my entire family loves these pulled chicken tacos! My kids can be picky, but these tacos are 100% kid approved.

And if you don’t get too crazy with the toppings (like cheese/sour cream) then they are healthy too — just stick with the corn tortillas over white flour ones.

instant pot Salsa chicken filling shown here after cooking.

Salsa Chicken Ingredients

For the instant pot salsa chicken (or slow cooker, whichever you prefer!), you’ll need:

  • Chicken breasts
  • Spices (ancho chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper)
  • Garlic
  • Bottled salsa
  • Fresh cilantro

And for serving these tacos, you’ll need:

  • Corn or flour tortillas
  • Shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Guacamole or avocado
  • Sour cream
  • Hot sauce

instant pot Salsa chicken after shredding garnished with cilantro.

How to Make Salsa Chicken Filling

  • Place chicken in Instant Pot or slow cooker.
  • In a bowl, mix the spices together.
  • Sprinkle spices and garlic over chicken, then pour salsa over chicken to cover.
  • Cook 13 minutes in Instant Pot or 5 hours in slow cooker.
  • Let chicken rest briefly, then shred. Return to salsa mixture, sprinkle in cilantro, and toss.
  • Add salsa chicken to your choice of tacos, burritos, and more!

How to Cook Tortillas

I’m not a big fan of just warming corn tortillas and eating them dry, so I just brush them with olive oil and cook them in a skillet until lightly golden on each side (or just pour about 1 tsp oil into the skillet per side).

Flour tortillas I just warm briefly, about 10 seconds per side, then stack and cover.

Just don’t omit those toppings because they are what makes a taco a taco. As in, bring on the guacamoleeee (or sliced avocados on a lazy day)!

Can I Make This Recipe with Fresh Salsa?

If you’d like to make Instant Pot salsa chicken with fresh salsa instead of bottled, that’s fine! You just may need to add 1/4 cup broth (give or take) to make up for the lack of moisture in the fresh salsa.

Can I Make This Recipe With Chicken Thighs?

Definitely! You’ll want to trim off any excess fat before cooking the chicken though.

Salsa Chicken Tacos

Tips for the Best Salsa Chicken

  • Although you can technically add frozen chicken to the Instant Pot, you’ll want to thaw the chicken for this recipe before cooking it in either your Instant Pot or slow cooker.
  • If you’d prefer to make slow cooker chicken tacos, make sure to cook the salsa chicken on low heat. I don’t like to cook chicken on high heat in the slow cooker because I find it doesn’t become quite as tender.
  • I haven’t made a double batch of this recipe yet, so I can’t say for certain how doubling the ingredients would affect the cook time.

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Salsa Chicken Tacos
4.96 from 45 votes

Salsa Chicken Tacos (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)

These Salsa Chicken Tacos are one of the easiest dinners you can make and yet they are still perfectly flavorful and everyone will love them! Likely to become a new go-to weeknight dinner for you!
Servings: 5
Prep10 minutes
Cook25 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes


For serving

  • 10 corn or flour tortilla shells warmed
  • Shredded monterey jack or Mexican blend cheese
  • Shredded romaine lettuce
  • Diced roma tomatoes
  • Guacamole or diced avocados
  • Sour cream and hot sauce optional


  • Place chicken in Instant Pot. 
  • In a small bowl whisk together chili powder, cumin, coriander and 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper (some bottled salsas are super salty that's why I recommend only starting with 1/4 tsp then adding more later).
  • Sprinkle mixture evenly over both sides of chicken and sprinkle garlic over chicken, then pour salsa over chicken to cover. 
  • Close lid, turn vent to "sealing" and set Instant pot to "poultry" or "manual" setting then set to 13 minutes. If using a slow cooker cook 5 - 6 hours on low heat.
  • Once cycle is complete use quick release method according to manufactures instructions.
  • Remove chicken and let cool several minutes on cutting board then shred into pieces and return to juices in instant pot. 
  • Sprinkle in cilantro, and toss chicken to coat. Season with more salt to taste if desired. 
  • Lift chicken pieces with tongs and allow excess liquid to run off, then place in tortilla shells with listed toppings.


  • Although you can technically add frozen chicken to the Instant Pot, you'll want to thaw the chicken for this recipe before cooking it in either your Instant Pot or slow cooker. 
  • Recipe source: Cooking Classy
  • Nutrition includes corn tortillas. Toppings aren't included.
Nutrition Facts
Salsa Chicken Tacos (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 288 Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Fat 5g8%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 87mg29%
Sodium 561mg24%
Potassium 771mg22%
Carbohydrates 27g9%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 540IU11%
Vitamin C 3.1mg4%
Calcium 71mg7%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.
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  • Chris

    How long should I pressure cook for if using bone-in chicken breast?

      • Chris

        Thank you. I made it tonight. FYI it required the same time as the boneless breasts (2 breasts that were 2.2 lb total) – would say it made 4 adult servings and 2 kids. Great recipe – the family loved it!

  • Michelle Dale

    Amazeballs! My family requests this ALL of the time…so so so good

  • Becca

    I LOVE this recipe! We make it at least every 2 weeks. Also we always double the recipe, and you don’t have to adjust the time (we checked the temperature of the chicken to be sure). P.S make sure you use a good salsa because that definitely can make or break it. We use Casa Martinez chipotle fire roasted salsa and it’s so good.

  • Tenby

    This is the 2nd meal I’ve ever made in my Instant Pot and it truly converted me to cooking in my fancy new device! Honestly, I was so skeptical that shredded chicken would be ready in only 13 minutes, but when I unlocked that lid my mind was blown.

    A superb meal that the family loved! Thank you!

  • Tree

    I didn’t hear my daughter talk the whole time she ate her chicken taco (with the homemade tortilla recipe from this website), which means she loved this recipe. I used thighs instead of breasts because I prefer the darker meat. It was amazing and so easy!

  • Berkli

    Absolutely fantastic, go-to meal for when anyone is coming over. When we first discovered this recipe months ago we ate it 4 times in one week.

  • KBuch

    I LOVE this recipe so much that I’m making it for my fellow firefighters & myself tonight. I have 2 instant pots but was wondering if anyone has doubled or tripled the recipe and what the cook time ends up being? I’m going to be making 2 or 3 batches in each pot.

    • Danielle

      I cooked this tonight with frozen chicken and it turned it great! I didn’t read your notes until after it was finished cooking🤦‍♀️

    • Becca

      My family always doubles the recipe and you don’t have to adjust the time! We checked the temperature of the chicken to be sure.