Row of salsa verde chicken tacos.

Salsa Verde Chicken {Perfect for Tacos}

Servings: 6
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes


For Chicken

  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 8 oz each)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (1 tsp)
  • 1 (4 oz) can mild green chilis, drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped seeded anaheim pepper
  • 1 (16 oz) jar salsa verde, highly recommend Pace brand salsa here*
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

For Tacos

  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil for cooking tortillas, optional
  • 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • Sour cream, chopped red onion, and lime wedges (optional)


Slow Cooker Method

  1. Lay chicken into slow cooker (4 - 7 quart). Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper (you can add more later), cumin, and garlic.

  2. Pour in salsa verde and sprinkle in canned green chilis and Anaheim chilis. Cover and cook on low heat 4 - 5 hours or high heat 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until chicken is tender and cooked through.

  3. Remove chicken from slow cooker (leave salsa mixture). Let rest on cutting board 5 minutes then shred.

  4. Return to slow cooker (I ladled out 1 cup of the salsa mixture first but that's optional), toss and let rest on warm heat 10 minutes or up to 30 minutes if time allows. Toss in cilantro.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Add 1/2 cup salsa to Instant Pot, add chicken and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper (you can add more later), and cumin, and garlic. Then pour in remaining salsa, canned green chilis and Anaheim chilies over chicken to cover.

  2. Close lid, turn vent to "sealing" and set Instant Pot to "poultry" or "manual" setting then set to 13 minutes.

  3. Once cycle is complete use quick release method according to manufactures instructions.

  4. Remove chicken and let cool several minutes on cutting board then shred into pieces and (optionally ladle out 1 cup juice from the pot) return chicken to juices in instant pot, let rest on warm setting 10 minutes if time allows.

  5. Sprinkle in cilantro, and toss chicken to coat.

How to Make into Tacos

  1. Heat tortillas a skillet (as many as can fit in a single layer) in a little olive oil (or brush tortillas with oil then heat) over medium-high heat until golden brown spots appear then flip and cook opposite side. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

  2. Lift chicken pieces with tongs from slow cooker or Instant Pot and allow excess liquid to run off, then place in tortillas in a row in the center then top with toppings (lettuce, cheese, avocado etc).

  3. Serve immediately after assembling with lime wedges for spritzing if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • *I tested four different bottled salsa verde's side by side and Pace salsa won easily. It has a well balanced flavor, not too salty, not too tart and tangy and not too spicy. It is yellow tomato based + tomatillos whereas others are just tomatillo.
  • Nutrition estimate based on 2 tacos per person, does not include optional ingredients.

Possible Variations:

  • Use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts if that's what you prefer.
  • This uses medium salsa so it's slightly spicy (but wasn't too much for my kids), if you'd like it extra spicy add in a few seeded chopped jalapeños.
  • Try it with Mexican blend cheese instead of Monterey Jack.
  • Stir in some softened cream cheese (I'd start with 4 oz) into the salsa verde at the end before you return the chicken to the pot for creamy salsa verde chicken tacos, yum! Skip the lime because I don't think you'll need it.
  • Go the extra lazy route and serve in crispy corn taco shells instead (no heating required). Just be sure to drain chicken well.