This Instant Pot chicken fajitas recipe proves that a healthy meal (that’s also delicious) isn’t hard to make.
When our schedule is a bit tight, dump-and-go recipes are our favorite go-to. Once the buttons are pressed, we can waltz around the house doing chores, knowing dinner’s ready when the timer rings.
If you foresee such a busy night, give this recipe a try. We’ll show you how chicken fajitas can come together in just 25 minutes or less and still taste wonderful.
Are Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas Healthy?
Pressure-cooking is a healthy cooking method, but what goes into the pot matters even more. In this respect, our chicken fajitas recipe is pretty wholesome.
First of all, each serving of the dish will provide you with 459 calories, a healthy amount for any main dish.
Each serving also provides you with 42 g of protein, about 42-91% of your daily needs.
Plus, we included just enough dairy and salt to make the food flavorful while keeping the saturated fat and sodium levels within limits (7.7 g and 557 mg per serving, respectively).
Main Ingredients for Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas
1. The Chicken Cut to Pick
In our experience, get skinless and boneless chicken breasts and you’ll find cooking a lot easier. All you need to do is cut them up into strips and they’re ready for cooking.
While it’s true that thighs and drumsticks are the more flavorful cuts, they require more prepping. You need to remove the skin and bones yourself, which is a hassle, and we think it’s best to save them for other dishes.
Plus, with a good mix of seasonings, chicken breasts can be just as tasty.
2. Chicken Fajitas Marinade
Since this is a Mexican staple, you need cumin, paprika, and chili powder. They’re the secret behind the vibrancy and amazing smell of Mexican foods.
To give the meat a depth of flavor, we add some garlic powder and onion powder. You can use fresh garlic and onions, but the powders are concentrated and provide more flavor.
Of course, the meat will be bland without a good dose of salt and pepper.
Most importantly, you need to marinate the meat with a squeeze of lime juice. It tenderizes the meat and gives it a bright tanginess.
Although not traditionally called for, a pinch of Cajun seasoning will give the chicken a spicy kick, we found. It’s a blend of cayenne, chili powder, paprika, and herbs like oregano and thyme — optional, but we highly recommend it.
We also discovered that Dijon mustard intensifies the flavor of the meat. We love the hint of pungent sweetness it adds.
It’s better to marinate the meat in this mixture first, but if you don’t have the time, that’s fine. You can season it while it’s cooking.
3. The Veggies
Some recipes decide to skip the onions and bell peppers, but to us, they’re a necessity. They’re crunchy and mildly sweet, bringing a balance of flavor to the dish.
4. The Tortillas
There are different types of tortillas out there, but we prefer the traditional choice: corn tortillas. They taste better and are gluten-free.
No matter what tortillas you use, be sure to heat them up briefly. There are many ways to do this, as we’ll show you in the ‘cooking tips’ section below.
How to Cook Chicken Fajitas in the Instant Pot
Here is what a typical Instant Pot chicken fajitas recipe looks like:
Cook the chicken on ‘sauté’ mode
Add the vegetables
Add the broth and cook everything on ‘meat/stew’ mode
Bake the tortillas while waiting
Reduce the liquid inside the pot
Serve with toppings
Here’s how you can speed things up:Jump to Recipe
Tips for Cooking on Busy Days
Instead of cooking everything on saute mode, you can add all the ingredients to the pot and cook them all at once. Select ‘meat/stew’, adjust the timer to 10 minutes, then close the lid and allow the machine to do its job.
Meanwhile, you can bake the tortillas in the oven. There are two ways to do this.
If you have muffin trays, flip them upside down and you’ll find perfect crannies to tuck the tortillas into. Our tray only fits 4 at a time, so we needed to bake them in two batches.
If you don’t, you can still utilize the metal rack inside your oven. Drape each tortilla over two metal bars (you can fit 4-7 tortillas at once) and bake them at 400°F for 3 minutes.
Can You Use Frozen Chicken?
Yes, you can use frozen chicken for this Instant Pot chicken fajitas recipe.
Frozen chicken can be too hard to slice with a knife, so you should leave it submerged in water for a while. Use that time to clean, prep the vegetables, and maybe measure out the ingredients.
Once the prepping is done, the chicken should be soft enough to cut into thin strips. As soon as they’re ready, cook them like you would room-temp chicken — they should take up a similar amount of time.
How to Store, Freeze, and Reheat Leftover Chicken Fajitas
Our chicken fajitas consist of tortillas, chicken and vegetable filling, and toppings like cheese, jalapeños, Greek yogurt, and coriander. All should be covered and stored separately in the fridge — the cheese may last longer, but everything else will last for up to a week.
We don’t recommend freezing these ingredients. Cooked chicken may freeze and thaw well, but the vegetables will lose their crunchy, juicy texture.
To reheat, simply cook the chicken and vegetables in a pan over medium heat and bake the tortillas in the oven. Everything should take about 2-3 minutes.
Side Dishes for Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas
Being a Mexican staple, chicken fajitas go great with salsa or guacamole. We prefer our salsa, Pico de Gallo — it’s just so tangy and refreshing.
To complete the meal, a cool, sweet beverage like our watermelon juice is perfect. It balances out the tanginess of the salsa and brings the total calories to a beautiful 750.
Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas Recipe
- 22 oz skinless boneless chicken breasts cut into strips
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter 1 oz
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 1 tsp traditional Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- 4 oz red onions sliced
- 2 oz red bell peppers sliced
- 2 oz green bell peppers sliced
- 1/4 cup unsalted chicken broth
- 8 6-inch corn tortillas
- 2 oz cheddar cheese shredded
- 1 oz jalapeños sliced
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 tbsp coriander chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Plug in the Instant Pot, select ‘sauté’ mode and add the following to stir and cook for 2 minutes: 2 tbsp (1 oz) butter, 22 oz chicken, 1 tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp mustard, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp Cajun, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp chili powder.
- Add the sliced vegetables to the chicken: 4 oz red onions and 4 oz bell peppers, both colors. Stir around for about 1 minute.
- Pour in 1/4 cup chicken broth and close the lid. Turn the steam handle to ‘sealed’, select ‘stew/meat’ mode, adjust the cooking time to 5 minutes, and leave to cook.
- Meanwhile, take a muffin tray and flip it upside down. Tuck the tortillas into the spaces to form a taco shell shape, then bake in the preheated oven for about 3 minutes. Our tray can fit 4 tortillas at the same time, so we did it in two batches.
- Place a kitchen towel over the steam handle and use a spoon to turn it to the ‘venting’ position. Wait for the hot steam to escape, then open the lid, select ‘sauté’ mode again, and cook for 10 minutes. Use this time to bake the tortillas you have left. Once the chicken’s done, turn off the machine and place it in a large bowl.
- Measure out the toppings in separate bowls: 2 oz cheddar cheese, 1 oz jalapeños, 1/4 cup Greek yogurt, and 2 tbsp chopped coriander. Assemble the fajitas by placing a fair amount of everything into the shell (eyeballing is important) and enjoy.