Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken

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.

Shredded Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken Breasts

Related: We also use our Instant Pot to make chicken bone broth

Salsa Verde Chicken Cooked in an Instant Pot

Years ago, we shared these delicious salsa verde chicken enchiladas, which received rave reviews. Inspired by its success, we couldn’t resist sharing another recipe featuring our beloved salsa verde.

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:

  1. Add at least 1 cup of liquid to the bottom of the Instant Pot (in our case that’s salsa verde)
  2. Add the chicken to the pot and seal the lid.
  3. 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.

Instant Pot Chicken

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).

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
Placing chicken breasts into the Instant Pot
After sautéing garlic and adding salsa verde to the Instant Pot, we add chicken, seal the lid and cook at high pressure for 8 minutes.
The chicken is done, now add cilantro and sour cream
When the chicken is done, we shred it, and then put it back into the pot with the salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.

We love serving the chicken with rice; try our cilantro lime rice or wrapped in homemade flour tortillas (the best!).

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

  • PREP
  • COOK

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.

Makes about 4 cups of shredded chicken

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.

If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #inspiredtaste — We love to see your creations on Instagram and Facebook! Find us: @inspiredtaste

Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1/2 cup / Calories 251 / Protein 28 g / Carbohydrate 9 g / Dietary Fiber 2 g / Total Sugars 5 g / Total Fat 11 g / Saturated Fat 4 g / Cholesterol 85 mg / Sodium 813 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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12 comments… Leave a Review
  • HANNAH November 1, 2022, 1:10 pm

    I had this can of enchilada sauce and was too lazy to make enchiladas. I love chicken Verde and chose this recipe and try out my pressure cooker. I added some paprika and cumin. I use my kitchenaid paddle to shred the chicken. Instead of sour cream at the end, I used a crema I made the night before. Consisted of sourcream, mayo, pickled jalepenos, lime and cilantro. The flavor was outstanding! Super easy. I made Fajita spiced rice, and refried black beans to go with it.

  • Lacy October 2, 2022, 2:35 pm

    LOOOVE this. It’s one of my family’s favorites. I use the Herdez Mild Salsa Verde and it tastes amazing. So easy and so good. The sauce really makes this. I cook som jasmine rice to go with as mine is super sauce-y. The rest of my fam eats in tortillas and I eat mine from a bowl with tortilla strip chips as I like a little crunch. It’s a quick meal that doesn’t taste quick.

  • Lee M June 14, 2021, 11:43 am

    I was going to make another recipe from y’alls site last night but didn’t have the energy. Saw this and how fast it was. I was NOT disappointed! Added my own spices to jack up the heat a bit and threw it on corn tortillas. I’m having it for lunch today!! Thanks!

  • Jenny February 17, 2019, 7:59 pm

    Can I add and cook rice in this recipe?

    • Joanne May 2, 2019, 1:21 pm

      Hi Jenny, While I have made rice in a pressure cooker, I have not added it to this recipe. Without testing it, I’m not sure how it would turn out. I’m a bit worried the rice will be overcooked since the chicken takes longer than rice to cook in a pressure cooker.

  • Caroline Severns January 2, 2019, 7:03 pm

    Can I use frozen boneless chicken breasts or do they need to be thawed?

    • Joanne May 2, 2019, 1:20 pm

      Hi Caroline, You can use frozen chicken breasts in the recipe. The preheat and cook time will be longer — more like 10 to 12 minutes.

  • Steve June 23, 2018, 1:47 pm

    Nice recipe! I’m going to try it out I was wondering if I doubled the recipe do I need to also double the cooking time or does that stay the same? Thank you!

    • Joanne November 16, 2018, 1:42 pm

      Hi Steve, The cooking time should be the same.

  • Andrea Miller June 4, 2018, 11:44 am

    The instructions don’t say when to add the chicken…so I put it in at the same time as the salsa Verde or after??

    • Adam June 4, 2018, 5:35 pm

      Great catch! You add the chicken after you have made the sauce. We updated the recipe.

  • Pamela Inouye May 4, 2018, 8:51 am

    I just can’t wait to try this very soon. I keep you posted!


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