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These truly quick and easy shredded chicken tacos are a weeknight favorite. The tender, flavorful chicken cooks in a flash in the Instant Pot, and everything else comes together in minutes.

shredded chicken tacos
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Why we love this recipe

Everyone loves chicken tacos. This recipe makes them quick and easy without sacrificing a thing. We love that:

  • The chicken is tender and flavorful and totally hands-off. Just place it in the Instant Pot with a few simple seasonings, and it’ll let you know when it’s ready.
  • The rest of the ingredients come straight out of the fridge. Pick your favorite hot sauce, salsas, and cheese, dice up an avocado, and you’re ready to go.

We have tons of homemade Mexican-inspired condiments on Umami Girl, from cilantro sauce to pickled red onions and more, but I’m here to say that sometimes the fastest, simplest approach is best. This is it. (And if you’re in that moment, you might like our 5-Minute Black Bean Taco Bowls too. I know I do.)

Also, not gonna lie, I love that this recipe reminds me just a little bit of everyone’s new favorite song.

What you’ll need

Here’s a quick look at the ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe.

ingredients in bowls
  • You’ll make a batch of our Instant Pot shredded chicken with the seasonings suggested for tacos (you can use a tablespoon of taco seasoning or 1 teaspoon chili powder + 1 teaspoon ground cumin + 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika). See the notes in the recipe card below if you don’t have an Instant Pot and would like to make the chicken on the stovetop or in the oven.
  • I like to use taco-sized soft flour tortillas for this recipe, but you could use soft or crunchy corn tortillas too.
  • You get to choose the toppings, but I really like to use my favorite jarred salsa verde, pico de gallo from the store, shredded extra-sharp cheddar, a diced avocado tossed with a bit of lime or lemon juice and salt, and Cholula. A sprinkle of chopped cilantro is great too but not necessary. Whatever makes you happy is the right choice here.

How to make it

Here’s all you need to do to make shredded chicken tacos. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post.

  1. Cook the chicken breasts. You can do this in the IP, on the stovetop, or in the oven.
  2. While the chicken is warm, shred it with two forks.
  3. You can assemble the tacos or let people do their own. We usually do the latter, both because it’s quicker and easier and because it always seems to increase buy-in and user satisfaction when kids get to make their own.
  4. It’s taco night! On a weeknight. That’s it.

Expert tips and FAQs

What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?

No problem! Scroll down to the notes section of the recipe below for instructions on how to cook chicken breasts for shredding in the oven or on the stovetop.

You can also use rotisserie chicken for this recipe. Just buy one and shred up the meat.

What if I want to make more of the elements myself?

We like doing that too sometimes. Try our soft corn tortillas, cilantro sauce, pico de gallo, and pickled red onions.

What else can I do with the shredded chicken?

We love it on nachos, in chili, and in enchiladas, for starters. Or just toss it into a salad! So easy, so good.

Can I make this in advance?

Sure, you can make the chicken in advance and assemble the tacos right before serving.

How long do leftovers keep?

Store leftover shredded chicken tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week. If you like, stir in a bit of the cooking liquid to keep it super-tender.

How to serve it

This easy meal is great as-is. But if you want to make it a party, try adding some of our other favorites:

Love tacos?

Here are our other favorite recipes.

shredded chicken tacos

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shredded chicken tacos
5 from 2 votes

Shredded Chicken Tacos

By Carolyn Gratzer Cope
This fun and flavorful meal is weeknight-friendly without sacrificing anything. The chicken cooks quickly, and the toppings come straight from the fridge.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
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Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder, spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 12 taco-sized flour tortillas
  • 1 cup salsa verde
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • Cholula

Instructions 

  • Pat chicken breasts dry with paper towels.
  • To make the chicken in the Instant Pot: Pour chicken broth into Instant Pot and add chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt. Arrange chicken breasts in a single layer in the Instant Pot. Close lid and set vent to sealing. Cook on manual, high pressure, for 8 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes before carefully doing a manual release. See notes section for oven and stovetop cooking instructions.
  • Shred chicken with two forks while still warm.
  • To assemble the tacos, place some shredded chicken on a flour tortilla and top with avocado, salsa verde, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, and Cholula.

Notes

  1. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t worry! You can cook the chicken breasts one of two ways:
  2. In the oven: Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the center. Place chicken breasts in a small roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with the spices. Turn with tongs to coat evenly. Bake until cooked through, 20 minutes give or take. (You won’t need the chicken broth if you use this method.)
  3. On the stovetop: Set a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Rub the chicken with the salt and spices. Cook the chicken for five minutes, then flip and cook one minute more. Add chicken broth, cover pan, and simmer until cooked through.
  4. You can cook the chicken in advance if you like. Shred it while it’s still warm.
  5. Leftover chicken can be stored tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week. I like to stir in some of the cooking liquid to keep it moist.
  6. Instant Pot shredded chicken is great in lots of other dishes, too. To see our recipe with other flavor and serving suggestions, click here.
  7. Nutrition information is per taco.

Nutrition

Calories: 312kcal, Carbohydrates: 28.5g, Protein: 24.6g, Fat: 10.8g, Fiber: 1.3g, Sugar: 1.1g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Mexican-Inspired
Cuisine: Mexican
Tried this recipe?Mention @umamigirl or tag #umamigirl!

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Carolyn Gratzer Cope Bio Photo

About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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