We are big fans of using the Instant Pot for cooking chicken breasts, and one of our absolute favorites is this simple and delicious salsa verde chicken recipe. Whether using an Instant Pot or any other pressure cooker, this dish always turns out juicy, tender, and packed with incredible flavor. It pairs perfectly with rice and cooked grains or can be enjoyed inside tortillas for an easy meal.
Related: We also use our Instant Pot to make chicken bone broth
Salsa Verde Chicken Cooked in an Instant Pot
Packed with the vibrant flavors of tomatillos, peppers, cilantro, lime, and garlic, salsa verde adds a burst of flavor to any dish. In this recipe, we highlight the incredible flavors of salsa verde by infusing them into tender and flavorful chicken cooked in a pressure cooker.
How to Cook Chicken in an Instant Pot
To cook chicken in an Instant Pot, follow these easy steps:
- Add at least 1 cup of liquid to the bottom of the Instant Pot (in our case that’s salsa verde)
- Add the chicken to the pot and seal the lid.
- Cook on high pressure for the desired amount of time (I share suggestions below), and then release the pressure using the quick release button or toggle.
In our recipe, we are using 1 pound of thawed boneless chicken breasts, so the cook time is 8 minutes with a 5 minute natural release. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe.
Can You Use Frozen Chicken in the Instant Pot? You can cook frozen chicken in an Instant Pot (or electric pressure cooker). There will be a longer preheat and cook time for frozen chicken compared to thawed. Frozen chicken breasts should take around 10 to 12 minutes.
How to Make Amazing, Flavorful Instant Pot Chicken
If you can add ingredients to a pot and close a lid, you can make this chicken! As you can see from the steps above, cooking chicken in an Instant Pot is EASY. You could just use water or broth for the liquid in the bottom of the pot, but for the best, most flavorful chicken, use salsa verde (also called tomatillo salsa).
- Start by cooking some garlic in a little olive oil — since the Instant Pot has a “Sauté” button, this happens right in the cooker. No other pans are needed.
- Add salsa verde. When the garlic is lightly toasted, pour in salsa verde. Place chicken into the salsa — use chicken breasts or thighs — then secure the lid and switch to the “Pressure Cooker” mode. Depending on the type of chicken you are using (breast, thigh, fresh or frozen), the cook time will vary.
- Release the pressure and shred the chicken. When the cook time is done, let the Instant Pot naturally release for 5 minutes then release the remaining pressure with the quick release button/toggle. Shred the chicken, and then then stir it back into the salsa along with some sour cream and cilantro.
More Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Recipes
- Our Favorite Bone Broth is made in a pressure cooker. Think of bone broth as a more intense, velvety broth. It can be used in recipes calling for stock or broth, but also doubles as a delicious and comforting soup to enjoy by itself.
- Instant Pot Pot Roast is so tender, it melts in your mouth. This easy recipe makes ultra-flavorful beef guaranteed to satisfy the entire family.
- Our Ultimate Pulled Pork is amazing when made in a pressure cooker. See our tips as well as how to make it in a slow cooker.
- These Instant Pot Eggs could not be simpler! If you are looking for a 100% foolproof method for how to cook hard or soft boiled eggs, this is it.
Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken
We love this Instant pot chicken breasts recipe with a creamy salsa verde sauce. The Instant Pot is a programmable pressure cooker, if you don’t have one, this recipe can be adapted to be used by any pressure cooker. You can use any cut of chicken for this, chicken thighs will make the most tender shredded chicken, but chicken breast works nicely.
You Will Need
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups salsa verde or green enchilada sauce, try our homemade salsa verde, see notes
Salt, to taste
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs
1/2 cup sour cream
Handful fresh chopped cilantro
1Add oil to the bottom of the Instant Pot (or electric pressure cooker). Select the “Sauté” setting and choose high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the garlic and stir it around the pot for 10 seconds. Pour in salsa verde and cook until warmed through. Taste the salsa and season with salt if needed. Cancel the “Sauté” function.
2Nestle the chicken into the warmed salsa then secure the lid. Select the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” function and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Note that the timer will not start until there is enough pressure inside the pot so the timer may not start for a few minutes.
3When the cook time is up, do not immediately open the lid and instead let the pressure naturally release for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, release the remaining pressure by using the quick release button (be careful to keep your hands and face away from the venting steam).
4Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and use two forks to shred it (you can also do this in the in the pot itself). Stir the shredded chicken, sour cream and the cilantro into the salsa verde sauce. Serve over rice, cooked grains or in tortillas.
Adam and Joanne's Tips
- Salsa verde: We love our homemade version, but when we don’t have time to make it, use store-bought. So far, our favorite brands are Frontera by Rick Bayless and Hatch. If you buy canned salsa, you’ll find you have about 1 2/3 cups of sauce. Don’t bother opening an extra can, just fill the measuring jug to the 2 cup line with a little water.
- If, when you remove the chicken, the chicken is not all the way cooked through, turn the Sauté function back on and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
- Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values. Nutrition provided is for the lemon garlic version of the recipe. We assumed chicken breast.