Classic Shredded Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde, Made In the Instant Pot

Homemade tacos are not just a delicious dinner to have occasionally, or even once a week on Taco Tuesday.

They are a necessity.

Top-down shot of three round corn tortilla topped with shredded chicken, salsa verde, pico de gallo, and chopped cilantro, next to bowls of more red and green salsa, lime wedges, and scattered chopped herbs on a blue background.

I love tacos. I’m about as obsessed as anyone can be with them.

And honestly, what’s not to love about tacos? There are so many possibilities when it comes to making the perfect one.

Several corn tortilla topped with shredded chicken, crumbled cheese, and salsa, on a bright blue background with bowls of salsa and spices, and scattered lime wedges and chopped fresh herbs.

You can choose from corn or flour tortillas, crispy or soft. For proteins, you can have anything from beef to poultry to pork, fish or shrimp. And vegetarians and vegans can enjoy them as well, filled with everything from cauliflower to jackfruit.

When it comes to the toppings, there are dozens upon dozens of options. Salsas, hot sauces, vegetables, fruits, and cheeses are just the tip of the iceberg.

I love tacos because the amount of fun and creativity you can have with them feels infinite.

Of course, no matter how creative I get with my adventures, I tend to gravitate back to one recipe in particular:

The classic shredded chicken taco.

Top down shot of a fanned out stack of yellow corn tortillas beside a dish of salsa verde, with one tortilla in the foreground topped with shredded chicken and green sauce, on an electric blue background.

There’s something about this version that always satisfies my craving. The juicy, flavorful poultry goes with any kind of tortilla or shell, and you can top it with practically anything your heart desires.

For me, when I think classic, I think roasted salsa verde. The tomatillos in green salsa recipe below bring a bright tartness to the spicy salsa that elevates whatever type of tortilla you put it on.

These are also delicious in a cocktail – if you haven’t tried it yet, check our our recipe for a tomatillo-jito. It’s a must-make!

With the sultry chicken, it is an amazing complement to an otherwise slightly heavy, savory taco.

Of course, I use the term “heavy” because I definitely load up my tortillas with a ton of meat.

But I digress…

Top-down shot of three clear glass bowls of grene salsa verde, spiced shredded chicken, and red pico de gallo, with lemon wedges, a small dish of chopped onion, and a fanned out stack of yellow corn tortillas, on a bright blue painted wood background.

The magic of this particular recipe is that the star of the dish, the shredded chicken, is the easiest version you will ever prepare. You can make it in a slow cooker or, if you prefer not to wait hours for it, in the Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot is one of those magical machines that I use as often as I can in my kitchen. The miracle of being able to easily cook anything I want in a fraction of the time conventional cooking methods take is always a big selling point, especially on hectic weeknights.

Top down shot of a corn tortilla topped with shredded chicken, crumbled cheese, and pico de gallo, with a fanned out stack of more yellow tortillas and a clear glass dish of green homemade roasted salsa verde, on a bright robin's egg blue background.

All you have to do is add your chicken, a homemade seasoning blend, and some stock to your slow cooker or Instant Pot.

Then, simply set it and forget it.

By the time it is done cooking, you will have succulent meat that is falling apart because it’s so tender. Shredding has never been so easy, trust me. You will barely have to put in any effort to make this chicken into a pile of pulled meat that’s heaven on earth in a tortilla wrapper.

A hand holds a chicken taco up to the camera, with more chicken and salsa on top of corn tortilla on a blue background.

Load it up with all of the suggested accompaniments, and you’ll see why this is a meal I keep coming back to, time after time.

Simple, flavorful, and easy to make – this is what the humble taco is all about. Recipes don’t get much better than that, now do they?

Print
A corn tortilla chicken taco topped with salsa and crumbled cheese, with another one behind it next to a square glass dish of chopped onion and a round glass dish of green salsa, with scattered chopped cilantro and lime wedges on a bright blue background.

Shredded Chicken Tacos with Roasted Salsa Verde


  • Author: Meghan Bassett
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings
  • Category: Tacos
  • Method: Slow Cooker, Broil
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex

Description

Homemade shredded chicken tacos are an easy dinner the entire family will love. Served with roasted tomatillo salsa verde, it’s a classic.


Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approx. 1 to 1 ½ lbs)
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 2 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth

For the Tacos:


Instructions

  1. Stir together chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, ground cumin, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Add chicken to an Instant Pot or slow cooker. Sprinkle over the homemade taco seasoning. Pour over chicken broth.
  3. For the Instant Pot, cook for 20 minutes on high pressure. Allow to release pressure naturally. For the slow cooker, cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours.
  4. Remove chicken from Instant Pot or slow cooker to a cutting board. Shred with two forks. Set aside and keep warm.
  5. While the chicken is cooking, make the roasted salsa verde. You can find the recipe here.
  6. Warm the tortillas. Top with chicken and roasted salsa verde. If you like, add pico de gallo, queso fresco, and cilantro, or your choice of toppings. Serve with hot sauce and lime wedges.

Keywords: tacos, chicken, tomatillo, salsa verde

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep Vegetables, and Measure Ingredients

Remove the husks from the tomatillos and rinse them well.

Two large boneless, skinless chicken breasts on a small white plate, on a brown wood tabletop with a white onion, two green tomatillos, a glass bowl of various ground spices, a jalapeno, and a lime.

Chop jalapeno and onion for the roasted salsa verde.

Measure the remaining ingredients, and group them together according to the different parts of the recipe – chicken, salsa, and taco assembly.

Step 2 – Make Homemade Taco Seasoning

In a small bowl, stir together the chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, ground cumin, salt, and pepper.

A clear glass dish of various individual spices that have not yet been mixed, including onion powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, black pepper, oregano, cumin, cayenne, paprika, and salt, on a wood background.

Stir to make sure the spice mixture is well combined.

Homemade taco spice seasoning mix in a glass bowl, on a striped wood background.

This is a great spice mixture to have on hand in your spice rack, so feel free to double or triple the recipe so you’ll be well stocked for the next time you need it. Seasonings can also be adjusted to your personal taste, in terms of heat level and salt content.

Step 3 – Cook the Chicken

Add chicken breasts to either a slow cooker or Instant Pot.

Top with chicken broth and the homemade taco seasoning. No need to stir to combine!

Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts topped and surrounded with a red spice mixture in the bottom of an Instant Pot.

Place the lid on top and cook.

For a slow cooker, cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. Check halfway through cooking, and add more liquid if necessary. You will know the chicken is done when it is cooked through, and starting to fall apart.

For an Instant Pot, cook for 20 minutes on high pressure. Allow to release pressure naturally.

Step 4 – Shred Chicken

Remove chicken from the slow cooker or Instant Pot, making sure to drain off any excess liquid.

Top down shot of spiced shredded chicken breast on a white cutting board with two forks.

Place the chicken on a cutting board, and shred well with two forks. Keep warm by covering with aluminum foil and setting aside.

Step 5 – Make the Salsa Verde

You can get the recipe here.

Top-down shot of a food processor with green homemade tomatillo salsa at the bottom, on a wood background.

Step 6 – Assemble Tacos

To assemble the tacos, start by warming the corn tortillas for about 15 seconds in the microwave, between damp paper towels.

Evenly distribute the chicken between the tortillas.

A small glass bowl of shredded, slow cooked chicken breast beside a small glass bowl of tomatillo salsa verde, with a few corn tortilla on a light blue surface.

Add a couple of teaspoons of the roasted salsa verde on top, along with your choice of pico de gallo, queso fresco, and freshly chopped cilantro.

Vertical top-down image of spiced shredded chicken on a corn tortilla, with more tortillas and a dish of green salsa on a bright blue background.

Serve immediately with hot sauce and lime wedges.

Homemade Taco Bar, Any Night of the Week

One of my favorite ways to serve up tacos is to build a taco bar. It doesn’t matter if it’s a party or a typical weeknight meal, taco bars always liven up the party.

A corn tortilla chicken taco topped with salsa and crumbled cheese, with another one behind it next to a square glass dish of chopped onion and a round glass dish of green salsa, with scattered chopped cilantro and lime wedges on a bright blue background.

Here’s what you’ll need for a simple taco bar setup:

  • Corn tortillas, flour tortillas, or taco shells
  • Homemade shredded chicken
  • Roasted salsa verde
  • Homemade pico de gallo
  • Queso fresco (or your choice of shredded or crumbled cheese)
  • Crema or sour cream
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Hot sauce
  • Lime wedges
  • Anything else you love on your tacos

Simple, am I right?

Chicken tacos with salsa and cheese on corn tortillas, with dishes of green and red salsa, lime wedges, and scattered finely chopped cilantro on a light blue background.

Alongside your favorite cocktails or cold beers and a bowl of homemade tortilla chips, with a few scoops of a refreshing fruit sorbet or sherbet for dessert, your fiesta is ready to go!

Here are a few more of our suggestions, for delicious pairings:

No matter how you serve up these tacos, rest assured that you will be guaranteed a delicious meal that everyone will love. It’ll be a classic recipe in your own home before you know it.

Tell us what you would add to your own custom taco bar in the comments below, and don’t forget to rate the recipe when you try it.


Don’t forget to Pin It!

A collage of photos showing different views of a Instantpot Shredded Chicken Taco recipe.

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published by Shanna Mallon on March 30, 2011. Last updated: October 30, 2018 at 7:34 am. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

Flavorful and juicy shredded chicken tacos are an easy weeknight dinner that the entire family will love. Served with roasted tomatillo salsa verde, pico de gallo, and queso fresco, you get all the classic flavors, straight from the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Get the recipe now on Foodal. #chickentacos #instantpot #texmex #tacotuesday #tomatillo #foodal

7 thoughts on “Classic Shredded Chicken Tacos with Salsa Verde, Made In the Instant Pot

  1. Thank goodness I had Mexican last night, or else I would be in that unfortunate circumstance of requiring tacos NOW. As it is, I need to make them soon…

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