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Shredded Mexican Chicken (Instant Pot + Slow Cooker)

Super-tender chicken in the most flavorful and mouth-watering sauce, with a little kick!  Perfect for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taco salad or served with beans and rice.  

Course Dinner, Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine Mexican, New American
Keyword Chicken, Instant Pot, Mexican
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 250 kcal
Author Holly Sander


  • 14.5 ounces canned fire-roasted diced tomatoes (1 can)
  • 5 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (use 2 peppers for a less spicy version)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (omit for low-carb version)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (juice from 1/2 lime)
  • 3 pounds skinless boneless chicken breast


Instant Pot:

  1. Add 1 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes and 5 chipotle peppers to the instant pot. Mash the peppers up with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.   Add the minced garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, smoked paprika, lime juice and brown sugar (omit if following a low-carb diet.)

  2. Stir the mixture, then add the chicken breasts. Turn and coat the chicken in the tomato mixture, then close and seal up the instant pot.

  3. Set the instant pot for 20 minutes of high-pressure cooking and set the steam release valve to “Sealing.”  After 10 minutes of pressure cooking, the chicken will be fully cooked, but won't necessarily be “shreddable.”  At 15 minutes, most of the chicken will shred.  After 20 minutes, the chicken shreds easily and it’s still nice and moist.  (This is my personal recommendation).  At 30 minutes, the chicken shreds effortlessly, but it could potentially be a bit dry.

  4. The instant pot will actually take 10-15 minutes to pressurize, then it will cook the chicken for 20 minutes.  Once the time has reached zero you can carefully release the pressure nozzle manually.  Be careful of the escaping hot steam.

  5. Remove the lid and transfer the chicken to a large platter or cutting board.

  6. Use two forks to shred the chicken, leaving some of it in small chunks so it still has a little texture.

  7. Use a hand immersion blender to puree the tomato mixture left in the instant pot (or transfer to a regular blender). It should thicken up and yield a little over 2 cups of sauce.

  8. Put chicken in a large mixing bowl and pour ½ the sauce over it.

  9. Gently use a spatula to fold the sauce into the chicken.   Add more sauce if needed, or use it as a drizzle on each individual serving.

Slow Cooker:

  1. Place all the sauce ingredients and Chicken in the slow cooker, cover with the lid and cook for 4 hours on low. You'll know that the chicken is ready when it can be shredded easily with 2 forks.  Be careful to not overcook.  Chicken will fall apart into little strands and the texture will be less than ideal.

Recipe Notes

If you’re in a hurry, you can pressure cook for 10 minutes and the chicken will be fully cooked.  It won’t necessarily be easily “shreddable,” but you could make it work.


At 15 minutes, most of the chicken will shred but it still requires a little effort.


At 20 minutes, the chicken shreds easily and it’s still nice and moist.  This is my personal recommendation.  (Normally you don’t need to cook chicken this long in an instant pot, but to achieve the perfect moist, shreddable chicken, this is my choice).  


At 30 minutes, the chicken shreds effortlessly, but it could potentially be a bit dry.