This recipe for Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken is what quick dinner dreams are made of! With just 10-ingredients, this recipe is incredibly easy to prep and cook, making it perfect for meal prep. The saucy chicken is a delicious addition to everything from burrito bowls and grain bowls to enchiladas, tacos, salads, and more. 

shredded salsa verde chicken in a black bowl

Ingredients Needed:

  • Chicken: I recommend using a combination of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and boneless, skinless chicken thighs. If you don’t want to use a combination, choose one or the other, either work great. 
  • Salsa verde: you can use any store-bought jarred salsa verde you like (I prefer Herdez brand) or you can make your own Homemade Salsa Verde. Homemade is definitely more flavorful and fresh, but jarred comes in handy when you’re short on time!
  • Garlic & jalapeño: both bring a note of freshness (especially if you’re using jarred salsa) and of course flavor. If you love spicy food, keep the ribs and seeds of the jalapeño intact or add a serrano instead. And if you’re not a fan of spice, seed and rib the jalapeño. 
  • Spices and dried herbs: a combination of cumin, Mexican oregano (marjoram or regular oregano will also work), and onion powder round out the flavors and make this chicken mouth-watering! 
  • Scallions and cilantro: I call for a hefty amount of both. They add tons of flavor, but also add a much needed dose of freshness. If you aren’t a fan of cilantro, add ½ cup parsley instead.
  • Honey: this is totally optional, but I find the salty, savoriness of the salsa verde really benefits from a dash of honey. You can also use agave or sugar. 
raw chicken, spices, herbs, salsa verde, and scallions arranges on a table top

How to Make Salsa Verde Chicken

  1. To ensure even cooking, it’s important to pound the chicken breasts into an even thickness. If you choose to use a combination of chicken breasts and thighs like I do, there’s no need to pound out the thighs. 
  2. Season the thighs lightly with salt and pepper. Bottled salsas range widely when it comes to saltiness. Season to taste at the end to avoid over salting from the beginning. 
  3. Add the chicken, salsa, garlic, jalapeño and spices to the instant pot
  4. Stir to combine, close and lock lid, seal pressure valve and cook at high pressure for 8 minutes.
  5. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes (don’t touch anything for 10 minutes, just let it do its thing). 
  6. After 10 minutes, flip the pressure valve to quick-release the remaining pressure.
  7. Carefully unlock and remove the lid. Using two forks, shred the chicken into bit-sized pieces. You can do this right in the pot, or for easier handling, transfer the chicken to a plate to shred, then return to the pot to finish. 
  8. Add scallions, cilantro and honey to chicken. Season with salt, pepper and additional honey to taste.

How to Make Salsa Verde Chicken: Video

Step-By-Step Photos

step-by-step grid of images showing how to prep salsa verde chicken
step-by-step grid of images showing how to cook salsa verde chicken and how to shred chicken

How to Serve Salsa Verde Chicken

shredded salsa verde chicken in top of white rice in a white bowl garnished with sour cream, avocado, scallions, and cilantro

Variations:

  • Stir in sour cream, Crema Mexicana, or creme fraiche at the end for a delicious creamy mixture. 
  • Make slow cooker salsa verde chicken by using a slow-cooker instead of an Instant Pot (see instructions in recipe).
  • Make salsa chicken by using your favorite red salsa.
  • Make it a soup by cooking diced onion with the chicken and adding low-sodium chicken broth and chickpeas to the cooked chicken at the end. 
shredded chicken in tortillas with sour cream, avocado and cilantro set on a white plate

Recipe Tips:

Storage: allow the chicken mixture to cool, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the chicken for 3–4 months.

Reheating: reheat salsa verde chicken in the microwave for a few minutes on high power (time depends on how much you’re reheating, start with 1 minute). Or reheat on the stovetop in a saucepan over medium heat.

close up of salsa verde chicken on top of white rice in a white bowl topped with avocado, jalapeno slices and cilantro

If you give this chicken recipe a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. You can also snap a photo & tag @zestfulkitchen on Instagram. I love hearing about and seeing your ZK creations!

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shredded salsa verde chicken in top of white rice in a white bowl garnished with sour cream, avocado, scallions, and cilantro

Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings (5 cups) 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: pressure cook
  • Cuisine: Mexican/American
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Juicy, herby, and slightly tangy, this shredded Salsa Verde Chicken is perfect for burrito bowls, tacos, enchiladas, and more. Add this to your meal plan for the week and enjoy it for a variety of meals! 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs (I like a combination of the two)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper 
  • 1 ¾ cups homemade or jarred salsa verde (16-ounce jar)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin 
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano*
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 4 scallions, sliced (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems finely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon honey, optional 
  • Serve with: rice or tortillas, Greek yogurt, sour cream or queso fresco, diced avocado, pepitas and lime wedges

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

Arrange chicken breasts on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and using a meat tenderizer or rolling pin, pound breasts into an even ½-inch thickness. Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; add to Instant Pot with salsa verde, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, oregano, and onion powder. Stir to combine, close and lock lid, seal pressure valve and cook at high pressure for 8 minutes.

Once cook time is up, allow pot to naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. Flip pressure valve to quick-release remaining pressure. Carefully unlock and remove lid.

Using two forks, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces. Add scallions, cilantro, and honey; stir to combine. Season to taste with salt. Serve with rice or in tortillas with desired toppings.

Slow Cooker Instructions

Arrange chicken breasts on a cutting board, cover with plastic wrap, and using a meat tenderizer or rolling pin, pound the breasts into an even ½-inch thickness. Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; add to slow-cooker with salsa verde, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and onion powder. 

Stir to combine, cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.

Using two forks, shred chicken into bite-sized pieces. With heat on low, add scallions, cilantro, and honey; stir to combine. Season to taste with salt.  Serve with rice or in tortillas with desired toppings.

 



Notes

Chicken: I use 1 pound of chicken breast and 1 pound of chicken thighs. You can use either if you don’t want to use a combination.

Mexican oregano: you can also use marjoram or regular oregano. 


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2/3 cup
  • Calories: 147
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 526mg
  • Fat: 2g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.5g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 27g
  • Cholesterol: 65mg

Keywords: salsa verde chicken, instant pot shredded chicken, mexican chicken, instant pot salsa verde chicken, slow-cooker salsa verde chicken

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine, EatingWell.com, AmericasTestKitchen.com, and more.

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  1. This was phenomenal and so easy to make – thank you! I skipped the jalapeño for my 3 year old and 8 month old and it was perfect! The whole family enjoyed 🙂

    1. Hi Abby! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this! I love how quick it comes together—and so versatile.