Pressure Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat

Instant PotChickenTaco

The pressure cooker makes short work of shredded chicken! Season chicken thighs with some spices, set it, and let the pressure take over—you'll soon have enough shredded chicken taco meat to feed a crowd.

Photography Credit: Coco Morante

Whether you’re making weeknight tacos for your family or hosting a potluck party for a crowd, making shredded chicken in the pressure cooker is such time saver.

Cooked in a mixture of Mexican spices and tangy pineapple juice, chicken thighs quickly become tender and easily shredded, ready for piling into tortillas.

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This recipe is a riff on Elise’s original slow cooker version, just sped up in the pressure cooker. (I love my Instant Pot!)

I didn’t do much to change Elise’s recipe—it’s delicious as is. My one tweak for the pressure cooker was to use ketchup instead of tomato paste to ensure that there was enough cooking liquid for the pot to come up to pressure; if it’s too thick it won’t.

With the ketchup and the pineapple juice, I had just enough liquid to make my 6-quart Instant Pot pressure cooker seal up properly. If you’re using a larger pressure cooker, add an extra can of pineapple juice so there’s enough liquid.

Once the chicken is finished cooking, I recommend removing it from the pot with tongs or a slotted spoon and then reducing the cooking liquid into a sauce on your pressure cooker’s “Sauté” setting.

Pressure Cooker Shredded Chicken shred the chicken with forks

Try These Pressure Cooker Staples!

Pressure Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings

For stovetop pressure cookers, cook for 12 minutes at high pressure and perform a quick pressure release after cooking. Reduce the cooking liquid over high heat on the stovetop.


For the spice rub:

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne

For the chicken:

  • 2 1/2 pounds (about 8 medium) boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup

For the tacos:

  • 1 dozen corn tortillas
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup sliced radishes
  • 2 large avocados, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

Special equipment:


 1 Make the spice rub: In a small bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the spice rub.

How to Make Chicken Taco Meat in the Pressure Cooker

2 Combine everything in the pressure cooker: Add the chicken to the pressure cooker. Arrange the thighs in a single layer in the pot. Sprinkle with the spice blend, then pour over the pineapple juice and ketchup. Stir to coat the chicken evenly.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken combine all ingredients in the pressure cooker Instant Pot Shredded Chicken add the chicken

3 Pressure cook the chicken: Place the lid on your pressure cooker. Make sure that the pressure regulator is set to the “Sealing” position. Select the “Poultry” or “Manual” program and set the time to 15 minutes at high pressure.

It will take about 15 minutes for your pressure cooker to come up to pressure, and then the actual cooking will begin. The total time from when you seal the pressure cooker to the finished dish is about 30 minutes.

Pressure Cooked Shredded Chicken pressure cook the chicken

4 Release the pressure: You can either perform a quick pressure release by moving the vent from “Sealing” to “Venting,” or you can let the pot depressurize naturally (this takes about 15 minutes).

How to Make Chicken Taco Meat in the Pressure Cooker release the pressure

5 Separate the chicken and cooking liquid: Use tongs or a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken thighs to a plate or cutting board.

Instant Pot Chicken Taco Meat cook the chicken Instant Pot Chicken Taco Meat separate the chicken from the liquid

6 Reduce the cooking liquid: Select the “Sauté” program on the pressure cooker and let the cooking liquid reduce for 10 minutes.

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken reduce the liquid

7  While the liquid is reducing, use a pair of forks to shred the chicken thighs.

Pressure Cooker Shredded Chicken shred the chicken with forks

8 Toss the shredded chicken with the reduced liquid and serve: Return the chicken to the pot with the reduced cooking liquid and toss it to coat the chicken evenly. Serve it in tortilla shells with the fixings listed above.

Leftover shredded chicken will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to three months.

How to Make Chicken Taco Meat in the Pressure Cooker combine the chicken and the juices

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Coco Morante

Author of The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook and The Ultimate Instant Pot Cookbook. A self-taught cook and classically-trained soprano, Coco Morante writes and sings in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she lives with her husband and their beagle. For more recipes, visit her blog, Lefty Spoon.

More from Coco

23 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Janeen

    Excellent base recipe. Since I layered the chicken and added the spices and juice, I couldn’t taste the liquid since using raw chicken. Had I tasted, I could have adjusted the seasonings (needed a bit more heat and salt for our liking). Other than that, the flavor was there and it was delicious. We topped with cilantro, onions, cilantro-lime yogurt crema, and squeeze of lime! Don’t forget to char your corn tortillas!!!


  2. Daniel

    This is my second time making this recipe! And it is very delicious thank you

  3. Jessica

    Finally! A taco meat recipe that has some flavor!! :) This was so delicious, really flavorful. You guys never let me down!!


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  4. Pamela

    I can’t use the pineapple juice because of an allergy. Can I just substitute chicken broth? Or should I use something a little sweeter as a sub? Thanks for your help!

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Michelle S.

    I haven’t actually made it yet but I’m going to very soon. I have a couple of questions first though. 1) I hate chicken thighs and prefer breasts, so how much breast meat would I use? 2) Would the cook time still remain at 15 minutes? 3) Is it possible to use beer instead of pineapple juice?

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