One meal that baby, toddler, kids and even adults will love! These Salsa Chicken Tacos make for an easy and delicious family dinner! Using the Instant Pot this recipe comes together in less than 30 minutes, with 3 simple ingredients. They can also be made in a slow cooker.

Graphic for post- family favorite salsa chicken tacos - instant pot - 3 ingredients - 30 minutes with images of a spread of tacos for dinner and each families members plate - baby, toddler, kid and adult.

Reasons to Love these chicken tacos

  • great for the whole family – baby, toddler, kids and adults
  • made in less than 30 minutes in the Instant Pot
  • can also be made in the slow cooker
  • 3 easy to find ingredients (i’m counting the spices as 1 ingredient here, cuz if you don’t have them on hand, then you can omit them)
  • great for leftovers – nachos, quesadillas, salads, sandwiches
  • easy to make into a meal for picky eaters
  • takes less than 5 minutes to prep
  • 1 pot meal
  • great with any toppings you have on hand
  • can be made gluten-free, low carb, dairy-free and paleo
ingredients for easy salsa chicken on a counter.

Ingredients

  • Chicken: you can use boneless skinless breasts or thighs in this recipe. I had a package of chicken breasts in my freezer so that is what I used.
  • Salsa: you can use any salsa that you have on hand (red or green) but you probably want to go with a mild version so it’s not so spicy for the kiddos 😉.
  • Spices: I add a pinch of chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt to the top of the chicken before I add the salsa to give the chicken a deeper flavor without adding any heat. If you don’t have any of these spices on hand, then you can totally omit them without compromising any flavor.

How to Make Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

These instructions look long – but trust me – this recipe takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish and is beyond easy to make.

  • Add Chicken: place the chicken in the Instant Pot.
  • Add Spices: sprinkle the chicken with mild chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt.
  • Pour in Salsa: add in the salsa and place the lid on the Instant Pot.
  • Cook: set for 10 minutes on high pressure. Naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes and then manually release the rest of the pressure.
  • Shred Chicken: take the chicken out of the Instant Pot and place it on a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken. Or you can place the chicken into a stand mixer and shred the chicken on low, yes this really works!
  • Important – Put Some Chicken Aside: once shredded, the chicken won’t have a ton of spices or salsa on it. This is a great time to put some aside for baby or toddler.
  • Also Important: Carefully pour the salsa out of the instant pot into a small bowl or measuring cup (don’t worry, we will add some of this back in later). Because the chicken releases water when cooked, I have found that most of the time when I cook chicken in an Instant Pot there is just way too much liquid. I have found that most kids don’t like soggy salsa chicken so I like to control the amount of liquid that goes back into the Instant Pot with the chicken. I usually use about half of the liquid.
  • Add Chicken and Salsa: place the shredded chicken back into the Instant Pot and then add the salsa back in a little at a time, until you have the right chicken and salsa ratio.
Spread of taco night for family with easy salsa chicken as the main.

How to Serve these chicken tacos to the entire Family

These are just a few suggestions on how I would serve this to my family. You can serve it any way that works for your family. Also, have fun with the toppings. Those are what taco night the best!

Baby

This is a great meal to serve to baby that is either doing baby-led weaning or in the finger food stage. Shredded chicken, refried beans (look for a brand that has no added fat and is low-sodium), mashed avocado and strips of red peppers. For the chicken, it’s best if you serve to baby after you cook and shred it but before mixing it back into the Instant Pot with the salsa. This way the chicken will still have flavor but not a ton of salsa on it. Beans and mashed avocado are nice and thick for a baby to eat with either their hands or a GOOtencil. For babies under a year, you can steam the red pepper strips in the microwave for 20-30 seconds to make them super soft to chew.

Toddler

Some toddlers have a hard time eating taco shells, so I would usually deconstruct my kiddos tacos for them on their plate. I would serve shredded chicken, beans with cheese, strips of peppers and a dollop of dip and some fruit I have on hand. You can certainly serve a hard or soft tortilla on the side if they ask for one.

For picky eaters – by adding in the dip and sprinkle of cheese you are making foods that are maybe new or not your toddlers favorite easier to eat. The fruit is there as a safe food and something they can start with if the other foods seem overwhelming (you can pick any fruit your toddler likes for this meal). The chicken is shredded and has most of the salsa and spices removed (this happens when shredding the chicken after cooking) and is a little more approachable than chicken flavored with salsa which has lumps in it.

Kids

Serve pretty much the same as an adult would eat it. A chicken taco with all the toppings, side of black refried beans with a sprinkle of cheese and a salad with peppers. I add the cheese to the beans (even though it’s also on the taco, because my daughter is still unsure of beans and this makes it a little more approachable for her). My oldest doesn’t love salad dressing but it is on the table if she wants to add it to her salad.

Adult

Of course, you can make the chicken into tacos, and you should! I ate a ton of chips while making this dinner 🙊 so I opted for a big chicken taco salad instead. Lettuce, chicken, cheese, peppers, and a big scoop of mashed avocado with a drizzle of salsa and ranch on top (not shown), with some more chips and a margarita (also not shown;).

More EAsy Family Dinners

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Instant pot full of salsa chicken for family taco night

Get the recipe: Easy Salsa Chicken Tacos

5 stars (2 ratings)
One meal that baby, toddler, kids and even adults will love – these salsa chicken tacos make for an easy and delicious family dinner!

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 2 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp water (optional – see instructions)

Instructions 

Instant Pot

  • If using a thicker salsa (like the one pictured above) add in 2 tablespoons of water to the instant pot. If you are using a thinner salsa, usually found in the produce section of your grocery store, you can skip the added water.
  • Place the chicken into the Instant Pot. If doubling the recipe, make sure the chicken is in a simple layer at the bottom of the pot.
  • Sprinkle on the chili powder, garlic powder, paprika and salt.
  • Pour the salsa on top of the chicken. Do not mix.
  • Place lid on the Instant Pot and lock it into place. Move the steam valve to the seal position and manually set the Instant Pot to 10 minutes on high pressure. Let naturally release for 5 minutes and then manually release the rest of the pressure.
  • Transfer the chicken to a cutting board using 2 forks, shred into bite-size pieces. This is a great time to keep in chicken separate for baby or toddler that doesn't like as much flavor.
  • Transfer the salsa liquid to another bowl or measuring cup – don't worry we will add it back in.
  • Place the shredded chicken back into the instant pot, adding back the salsa liquid a little at a time until you get the right chicken to salsa ration. Depending on how much water is in the chicken, I usually use half of the salsa.

Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

  • Using the same ingredients, you would cook the chicken in a slow cooker for 4-6 hours or until cooked all the way through.

Notes

Age: 9+ months 
Frozen Chicken: if using the Instant Pot, you can definitly use frozen chicken. I would add 2 minutes onto the cooking time. But no other moditifcations are needed. 
Salsa: you can use any salsa you have on hand, though I would recommend using a mild salsa if serving to kids;). For thicker salsas (like in the pictures above) you will have to add in 2 tablespoons  of water into the instant pot. If you are using the fresh salsa that is found in the produce section of the grocery store, then you can skip the extra water. 
Storage: you can store any leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. 
Shredding Chicken: you can place the chicken on a cutting board and shred with 2 forks OR you can place the chicken into a stand mixer or use a hand held mixer and shred the chicken on low, yes this really works!
Leftovers: you can use this chicken in quesadillas, in lettuce wraps, on top of a salad, inside a sandwich, in burrito bowls, on nachos or anything else you can think of. 

Equipment

Instant Pot
Calories: 119kcal, Carbohydrates: 2.5g, Protein: 17g, Fat: 4.4g, Saturated Fat: 1.2g, Cholesterol: 50mg, Sodium: 250mg, Potassium: 251mg, Fiber: 0.8g, Sugar: 1.1g, Calcium: 19mg, Iron: 1mg

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