Moist shredded chicken made in the Instant Pot and perfect for a crowd. Simply seasoned and great for tacos, sandwiches, nachos and more.
Are you looking for a crowd-pleasing chicken dish for your next big get together? This easy shredded chicken is just the ticket. It’s so easy to make using an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker AND tastes amazing. Add some tortillas and you’ve got tacos. Add some chips and cheese, you’ve got nachos. Slap a hearty serving on a hard roll and BAM! Sandwich, sliders, burritos, toquitos, tostada’s… the list goes on.
For our last family reunion, I was in charge of one of the lunches for about 100 people. What to make? I came up with a crowd-pleasing nacho bar. It was dang tasty! We had tortilla chips seasoned shredded chicken, nacho and cheddar cheese sauce, and all the grand toppings (lettuce, guacamole, olives, onions, salsas, and more). The best part about it was how east and delicious the shredded chicken was to make.
HOW TO MAKE SEASONED SHREDDED CHICKEN?
It may surprise you how easy this shredded chicken is to make especially with an Instant Pot.
The ingredients you need are quite simple:
- Chicken breast
- Taco seasoning (your favorite kind or brand)
- Water (1 cup to allow the Instant Pot to properly come to pressure and cook the chicken)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Equipment you’ll need:
- Instant pot or electric pressure cooker
- Tongues or large forks
- Stand mixer, optional for shredding the chicken super fast
Start by pouring 1 cup water into the Instant Pot. Add chicken breasts then sprinkle 1 tablespoon taco seasoning PER POUND of chicken evenly over the chicken breast. This means if you are cooking 4 pounds of chicken breasts you’ll want to sprinkle 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup taco seasoning over the chicken.
Secure the Instant pot lid and insure the steam valve is set to not vent. Hit the MANUAL button, set timer for 25 minutes. That’s it! Let the Instant pot do the work. After the timer goes off, let the pressure cooker NATURAL RELEASE, which means letting the pressure come down as the temperature comes down WITHOUT touching the release valve, for 10-15 minutes.
Once you see those special letters and numbers L0:15 you’re ready for the magic. Carefully release and remaining steam and pressure. Open the lid and remove the chicken. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid to add back in later. Save the rest for soup later in the week, freeze it or throw it away.
HOW TO SHRED CHICKEN FAST USING A STAND MIXER:
I learned this trick from my older sister. You can use a stand mixer equipment with the paddle or bread hook attachment to shred chicken quickly. Talk about a time saver!
Place while pieces of cooked chicken in the stand mixing bowl. I like to fill the bowl no more than 1/3 to 1/2 full. Turn machine on for 3-5 seconds at a time in a pulsing manor. This will allow you to shred the chicken but stop before it turns into mushy baby food chicken. We’re going for shredded chicken not pureed.
PRO TIP: Shred chicken into pieces slightly bigger pieces than you actually want to serve. As you mix and stir the remaining seasoning, liquid, salt and pepper the chicken will naturally continue to shred more fine.
FLAVOR PACKED CHICKEN:
Here is when the shredded chicken gets a flavor lift. Start by adding a 1/2 tablespoon additional taco seasoning per pound of chicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Lastly, remember that cooking liquid I said to save… It’s time to add some extra flavor. The cooking liquid is full of chicken broth and flavor. Add a small amount at a time until you achieve your desired wetness. I like my shredded chicken wet but not swimming.
If you want more seasoning or a bigger taco seasoning punch add up to an additional 1/2 tablespoon seasoning per pound for a total of 1 tablespoon per pound.
This recipe is designed to allow you to adjust the seasoning level to your liking and application.
DO I NEED TO ADJUST THE COOKING TIME IF I MAKE MORE OR LESS CHICKEN?
Here’s the cool think about pressure cooking, cook time depends on the chunk size of the meat and not the amount as a whole. If you have small chunks, they will cook faster than if you have large chunks. This recipe is designed for chicken breasts that weigh about 3/4 to 1 pound each.
CAN YOU FREEZE COOKED CHICKEN THAT’S BEEN SHREDDED?
Yes, absolutely! I love using this recipe when I find a super sale on chicken breasts. I love making a large amount of this shredded chicken then portioning, vacuum sealing and freezing it for later use. This shredded chicken will keep up to 3 months in the freezer, even longer if properly vacuum sealed.
MEAL IDEAS THAT USE THIS SEASONED SHREDDED CHICKEN:
- Taco soup
- Taco pizza
LOOKING FOR OTHER QUICK AND EASY INSTANT POT RECIPES? YOU MIGHT LIKE THESE:
- Mac and Cheese in the Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
- Salted Caramel Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oatmeal
- White Chicken Chili
HERE’S THE FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE. ENJOY!
- 4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4-6 breasts whole)
- 1/4 cup + 1/4 cup (divided) taco seasoning, your favorite or preferred kind or brand
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Note: This recipe is scalable for your needs and the size of your electric pressure cooker. Do not fill cooking pot more than half full.
- Pouring 1 cup water into Instant Pot (6 or 8 quart size). Add chicken breasts then sprinkle 1 tablespoon taco seasoning PER POUND of chicken evenly over the chicken breast. This means if you are cooking 4 pounds of chicken breasts you'll want to sprinkle 4 tablespoons or 1/4 cup taco seasoning over the chicken.
- Secure the Instant pot lid and insure the steam valve is set to not vent. Hit MANUAL button, set time to 25 minutes.
- After the timer goes off, let the pressure cooker NATURAL RELEASE for 10-15 minutes.
- Carefully release and remaining steam and pressure. Open the lid and remove the chicken. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid to add back in later. Save the rest for soup later in the week, freeze it or throw it away.
- Shred by hand using two forks or with a stand mixer equipped with a paddle attachment.
- If using a stand mixer with paddle attachment (which I highly recommend for any large amount of chicken), place whole pieces of cooked chicken in the stand mixing bowl. Fill the bowl no more than 1/3 to 1/2 full. Turn mixer on for 3-5 seconds at a time in a pulsing manor. This will allow you to shred the chicken but stop when it reaches a large shred verses a mushy baby food chicken puree. Keep shredded chicken pieces larger than you'd like the final shed to be. As you mix additional seasoning and liquid in, the chicken will continue to shred.
- Increase the flavor by adding a 1/2 tablespoon additional taco seasoning PER pound of chicken. i.e. 2 Tablespoons for 4 pounds of chicken.
- Add reserved cooking liquid 1/4 cup at a time until you achieve your desired wetness. I like my shredded chicken wet but not swimming so I may only use 1/4-1/2 cup of the liquid. Taste.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. If you feel it needs more seasoning add up to an additional 1/2 tablespoon seasoning per pound or 2 tablespoons for 4 pounds of chicken.
- This recipe is designed to allow you to adjust the seasoning level to your liking and application.
Store leftovers in the refridgerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 189Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 1242mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 35g