Our Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe creates juicy, flavorful chicken shreds to put in tacos or soups.
Say goodbye to dry, rubbery chicken because this recipe will up your game forever. We’ll show you the foolproof way to make perfect shredded chicken breast using your Instant Pot or any other multicooker.
Is This Recipe Healthy?
The most often-used cut for shredded chicken is chicken breast, which is also the leanest cut compared to other parts. It contains very little saturated fat, the “bad” type of fat that the USDA recommends limiting.
Less fat means less calories. If you’re interested in building muscle, shredded chicken is a tasty option to up your protein intake.
Besides saturated fat and calories, the USDA also suggests that we should cut out as much added sugar and sodium from our diet as possible.
Our Instant Pot shredded chicken recipe requires no added sugar. To keep the meat tasty and the sodium at an acceptable level, we add just the right amount of salt.
As a result, each serving of our dish has a healthy amount of calories and nutrients. To see what we mean by “a healthy amount”, check out our dietary guidelines.
What Type of Chicken Is Best for Shredding?
As mentioned, chicken breasts are the most popular choice, usually skinless and deboned. In fact, they’re so good we made a few more instant pot chicken breast recipes you’ll love. Chicken breast tends to turn out dry when not properly cooked, so shredding it is the easiest way to make it more enjoyable.
Other cuts like drumsticks, wings, or thighs make for great shreds too, but they taste even better when cooked using other methods. Their bones also make them less convenient to work with, another reason why they’re usually not the first choice for shredded chicken.
Since we’re putting the shredded chicken in tacos, we used a selection of Mexican seasonings.
Our first choice was cumin, THE must-have in most Mexican recipes when seasoning chicken. It helps give the meat that signature, unforgettable fragrance.
Then we added chili powder and paprika for an enticing color and a little kick.
We also added a squeeze of lime juice to tenderize the meat and give it a citrusy fragrance. The citrus also adds a freshness that lifts the dish.
Don’t forget to add those stalwart seasoning staples: salt, pepper and garlic powder.
The last ingredient is yellow mustard. We felt that a hint of pungency makes a world of difference, but we appreciate not everyone’s a fan of mustard.
That’s the seasonings ready, now let’s get the chicken perfectly cooked.
How to Make
There are two main important steps that decide whether your shredded chicken turns out good or not as good:
The seasoning must take place right before the searing, not after, or the powders won’t release all of their flavors.
The chicken needs to be seared until both sides are golden brown. Nothing substitutes or compares to this caramel flavor.
So what you’ll do first is rubbing the chicken really thoroughly, then searing it in the “Sauté” mode. We seared ours for 7 minutes, 3 and a half on each side.
Then, add tomatoes and broth, and close the lid. Make sure everything is tightly sealed, then cook the chicken for 10 minutes by selecting the “steam” mode.
Then, place a kitchen rag on top of the steam valve and release the pressure. Shred the chicken using two forks.
Reduce the liquid to help the meat soak up more concentrated goodness. We did so by selecting the “Sauté” mode one more time, and constantly stirring everything in the pot until all of the liquid had evaporated.
Since we’re serving the meat inside soft tacos, you can use the hands-free cooking time to get the tortillas and toppings ready. The tortillas can be baked in a 375°F oven for 3 minutes, and the toppings quickly chopped, or sliced.
Can I Use Frozen Chicken for This Recipe?
Yes you can. Any frozen meat will be cooked-through under the pressure of the Instant Pot.
To cook frozen chicken in the Instant Pot, rub it thoroughly with seasonings then sear it inside the pot. You need to give it a little bit more time as the oil temperature can be lowered.
After about 4 minutes of searing the first side, you need to check whether or not that side is golden. If not, give it some more time and give the other side the exact same cooking time.
As both sides are equally golden, proceed to add the broth and other ingredients to cook as we instructed.
How Long Does It Last?
Cooked chicken lasts for 4-5 days in the fridge and up to 6 months in the freezer. To maximize its shelf life, make sure to place it in air-tight containers or sealable bags before storing.
What to Serve With
Since we’re making chicken tacos, we couldn’t help but choose pico de gallo, the salad that works with every taco. The fresh and tangy veggies just complete the crunchy tortillas with tender chicken and creamy avocado inside.
To round up the meal, we concocted one of our gorgeous drinks: watermelon strawberry juice. Its gentle sweetness really is just what the meal needs.
These Are Also From the Instant Pot
Our Instant Pot chicken thighs recipe may be your new favorite way to cook this protein, especially when you’re doing food prep for the week. The result is fall-off-the-bone, flavorful chicken with an effortless gravy made from the juices leftover in the pot.
With minimal effort, this Instant Pot chicken Cacciatore recipe produces mouthwatering chicken pasta. We're talking tender chicken thighs smothered in a flavorful tomato sauce that you'll later spoon over the spaghetti.
Place 24 oz skinless boneless chicken breast in a large bowl. Add 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper, 1 tsp lime juice, 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp chili powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp paprika, 2 tsp traditional Dijon mustard, and 1 tbsp olive oil. Rub the meat to season thoroughly.
Select the “Sauté” mode and add in the remaining oil. Wait for the oil to get hot, then add the chicken. Cook each side for 3 and a half minutes (7 in total).
Add 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes and stir for about 1 minute. Add 1/2 cup unsalted chicken broth, seal the lid, turn the steam handle to “sealed”, select the “steam” mode, and set the timer to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, bake the tortillas in your oven at 375°F for 3 minutes. Cut the vegetables and crumble the feta if you haven’t.
Place a cloth on top of the valve to prevent hot air from getting everywhere. Release the pressure by turning the steam handle to “venting”. Shred the chicken using two forks.
Select the “Sauté” mode again and cook for about 15 minutes or until all of the liquid evaporates. Stir continually to avoid food getting stuck to the bottom.
Assemble 8 6-inch corn tortillas with 2 oz romaine, 6 oz avocado, 4 oz cherry tomatoes, shredded chicken, sprinkle 2 tbsp cilantro and 0.5 oz feta cheese. Enjoy.(Use more vegetables than the called-for amounts, if desired.)
Instant Pot Shredded Chicken
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 484Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 3g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 11g
Vitamin A 1710IU
Vitamin C 14mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Lizzie Streit is a Minneapolis-based dietitian and founder of It’s a Veg World After All. She completed her MS in Human Nutrition from Drexel University, and is an expert in culinary nutrition, recipe development, and nutrition communications. Lizzie’s philosophy is centered around making nutrition recommendations, and especially the advice to eat more vegetables, approachable and realistic. She is excited to be working with the team at Healthy Recipes 101 to ensure that their recipes are both nutritious and delicious.