This recipe for Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken is what quick dinner dreams are made of! With just 9-ingredients, this recipe is incredibly easy to prep and cook, making it perfect for meal prep. The saucy chicken with green salsa is a delicious addition to everything from burrito bowls and grain bowls to enchiladas, tacos, salads, and more. 

Calling all Mexican-flavored chicken lovers! This recipe is for you. I’ve made this chicken verde a recipe that’s foolproof and full of flavor. I definitely recommend making a big batch as meal prep for the week to use in enchiladas, tacos, and soup!

I’ve tested and perfected this recipe two ways for you: in the Instant Pot as well as the slow cooker. Could there be anything better? Both have minimal prep time and the machine does the cooking for you. Plus you can use store-bought salsa verde or try our favorite homemade recipe if you want to take the extra step.

Shredded salsa verde chicken in a large black serving bowl with a spoon set in it.

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

  • Made with less than 10 simple ingredients. Most of the ingredients for this recipe you probably buy every week or have on hand!
  • Perfect for meal prep and freezing. Make this recipe on a Sunday and eat throughout the week in enchiladas, tacos and burrito bowls. The leftovers also freeze beautifully.
  • Use bought or make homemade salsa. This recipe is versatile. If you’re short on time then use pre-made salsa, or make our favorite homemade salsa to start (you won’t regret it).
  • Use the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker. Depending on how much time you have or which appliances you own, I’ve made this recipe foolproof for you both ways.
Raw chicken breast and chicken thighs on a plate with fresh scallions, cilantro, spices, garlic and salsa verde set set to it on a counter.

Ingredients for Salsa Verde Chicken

  • 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. 

ZK’s Tip

  • To make shredding the chicken easier, place it in the stand mixer and run on low speed until shredded, then return to the sauce.

How to Make Instant Pot 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. 
Chicken breast being pounded out on a cutting board between sheets of plastic wrap.
  1. 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. 
  2. Add the chicken, salsa, garlic, jalapeño and spices to the instant pot
Raw chicken breast and chicken thighs in a pot covered in salsa verde, garlic and minced jalapeno.
  1. Stir to combine, close and lock lid, seal pressure valve and cook at high pressure for 8 minutes.
Raw chicken breast and chicken thighs in a pot covered in salsa verde.
  1. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes (don’t touch anything for 10 minutes, just let it do its thing). 
  2. After 10 minutes, flip the pressure valve to quick-release the remaining pressure. Carefully unlock and remove the lid.
Cooked chicken in salsa verde in a pot.
  1. 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. 
Shredded chicken on a large white dinner plate with two forks.
  1. Add scallions, cilantro and honey to chicken. Season with salt, pepper and additional honey to taste.

How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Salsa Verde

  1. 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.
  2. Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; add to slow-cooker with salsa verde, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, and onion powder. 
  3. Stir to combine, cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. 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. 
  5. Serve with rice or in tortillas with desired toppings.

Expert Tips for Recipe success

  • For some easy added flavor, you can try searing the chicken on both sides before adding to the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Just be sure not to cook the chicken fully through.
  • Make the salsa verde from scratch or opt for the time saving trick of using store-bought.
  • Be sure to remove the seeds of the jalapeno to ensure the dish is mild. If you like spicy, then leave them in!
Shredded salsa verde chicken served over rice in a shallow white bowl topped with avocado, cilantro and jalapenos.

What to Serve with Salsa Verde Chicken

Variations

  • Make it creamy. Stir in sour cream, Crema Mexicana, or creme fraiche at the end for a delicious creamy mixture. 
  • Use the slow cooker instead. Make slow cooker salsa verde chicken by using a slow-cooker instead of an Instant Pot (see instructions in recipe).
  • Use red salsa rather than green. Make salsa chicken by using your favorite red salsa.
  • Make it a simple flavorful soup. Cook diced onion with the chicken and add low-sodium chicken broth and chickpeas to the cooked chicken at the end. 
Shredded salsa verde chicken tacos in flour tortillas topped with diced avocado, sour cream, and cilantro.

Storage & Make-Ahead Instructions

  • For the Refrigerator: allow the chicken mixture to cool, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • For the Freezer: Once the chicken has cooled to room temperature, you can also freeze the chicken for 3–4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours before reheating.
  • To Reheat: warm 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.

FAQs

Can I use store-bought salsa verde?

Yes! Store-bought is a great time saving tip for this recipe.

Can I make this with red salsa instead of green?

Yes, this recipe is also delicious with a classic red salsa.

Can I use frozen chicken breasts instead of fresh?

Frozen chicken breasts will work, we do recommend fresh since frozen can change the consistency of the sauce.

Does this chicken freeze well?

It’s great for freezing, just let it cool to room temperature then

Shredded salsa verde chicken served over rice in a shallow white bowl topped with avocado, cilantro and jalapenos.

More Mexican Inspired Recipes

If you’re looking for more shredded meat recipes, try Chicken Barbacoa or Mexican Shredded Beef! Like this Salsa Verde Chicken recipe, it can be served as tacos, burritos, rice bowls, nachos and more. I especially love it in Shredded Beef Enchiladas.

My Quick Chili is another great weeknight meal that tastes like it simmered all day. Pair it with by Cornbread (or Gluten-Free Cornbread) to make it a full meal.

Carne Adovada is a great low-and-slow simmered recipe for a cozy Sunday night dinner. It’s a traditional New Mexican dish consisting of tender pork and a vibrant dried chile sauce.

Easy Salsa Verde Chicken (Instant Pot & Slow Cooker)

4.94 from 15 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Yield 8 servings (5 cups)
Category Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican/ American
Author Lauren Grant

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

  • 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 (one 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.

Equipment

Video

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. 
Storage: 
  • For the Refrigerator: allow the chicken mixture to cool, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  • For the Freezer: Once the chicken has cooled to room temperature, you can also freeze the chicken for 3–4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or on the counter for a few hours before reheating.
  • To Reheat: warm 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 2/3 cupCalories: 147kcalCarbohydrates: 5.5gProtein: 27gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 526mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3g
Like this? Leave a comment below!I love hearing from you and I want to hear how it went with this recipe! Leave a comment and rating below, then share on social media @zestfulkitchen and #zestfulkitchen!
Shredded salsa verde chicken served over rice in a shallow white bowl topped with avocado, cilantro and jalapenos.

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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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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    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.

  2. 5 stars
    This was sooooooo good! Adding to list of go-to easy dinners! Used regular oregano as did not have Mexican, and did add the honey. Served over rice with a bit of sour cream. My husband loved as well!

  3. 5 stars
    This was an amazing dish, I made tacos out of it and my father and boyfriend absolutely loved them, they each had 3 big tacos each!!!!