Mild Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

Mild Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

Chicken Taco Ingredients

Mild Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

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I Love Tacos

I insist on having tacos once a week because I love them, even the mild ones. Then I love the leftover taco meat for salads, quesadillas, and breakfast burritos. These mild chicken tacos in the instant pot are a super easy recipe to set it and forget it. It still has substantial flavor but is mild enough for a more sensitive pallet. It also pairs well with all the salsas and hot sauces I’ve tried if you like them spicier.

Spiciness

I love the heat, but my husband can’t take too much kick. If you can’t take the heat use a bell pepper and leave out the cayenne. If you use a deseeded jalapeno, you’ll still get the flavor, but you’ll need hot sauce to actually make it spicy. I’ve also tried this recipe with 3 serrano peppers and thought it had a pleasant kick. But it was a bit too much for my husband.

 

Three mild chicken tacos on a white plate on a wood table

Substitutions

Onions

I tend to get either a white or a yellow onion depending on what looks best while I’m shopping. I wouldn’t try a red one with this recipe.

Peppers

There are a lot of many wonderful peppers out there. If you can’t take any heat whatsoever, you can use a sweet pepper, like a bell pepper. I like to use a larger deseeded jalapeno for flavor but without the spiciness. A poblano or Anaheim pepper will also give flavor, without too much heat if you can find them. I’ve tried this recipe with three serrano peppers, thinking that with two pounds of chicken, it wouldn’t be too spicy for my husband. He survived. But I’m not making that mistake again.

Chicken

I prefer the tenderloins for both taste and cholesterol reasons. My second favorite choice is chicken breasts, but it just doesn’t taste as tender. You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs, but I personally don’t think it’s worth it. They give a fattier taste that I don’t enjoy, but you will still get tacos. Which is a much better place, than dinner without tacos.

Chicken Stock

I’ve used both chicken stock and chicken broth. They both work. I like low-sodium if I can get it. If you don’t have either, just use some water. The important detail is that you have enough moisture, so it cooks correctly in the instant pot.

Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic

The fire-roasted tomatoes with garlic are my favorite variety of canned tomato. The fire roasting really adds something to the overall flavor and color of every dish I’ve used it in. We are also big garlic fans, so more garlic in the tomatoes is a plus. You can use fire-roasted tomatoes without garlic and just add about 2 teaspoons of minced garlic for a very similar result.

If you can’t find the fire-roasted (which has happened to me) you can use diced tomatoes with the extra minced garlic. You won’t get the exact same flavor and color, but you will still have hot fresh taco meat.

Detailed Directions

I always recommend that you start every recipe by wiping down your counters and washing your hands, so you have a clean place to cook.

Chicken Taco Ingredients

For the onion and pepper, I just chop them in my food processor until they are chopped finely. I want them to mix so well with the shredded chicken that eating around them doesn’t come to mind. Make sure to chop them at least bite-sized if you prefer a chunky texture. Next, measure out the rest of your ingredients and throw them into your instant pot.

Sliced apple and rolling pin

Then set your instant pot to cook on high for 15 minutes. When it’s done allow for a natural release of 10 minutes, before carefully venting your pot. Finally, shred and eat!

Potatoes cooking in oven

Recipe Notes

If you want to halve the recipe, you will need to adjust the cooking time to 8 minutes. Keep the 10-minute natural release. If you depressurize too quickly, you’ll suck the water out of the chicken, and it will taste dry.

This taco meat keeps well in the fridge and makes for excellent leftovers. I think it still tastes good 5 days after cooking. Because it uses two pounds of meat, I make it with leftovers in mind.

What you can prepare ahead of time

  1. Pre-chop your onion and pepper
  2. Pre-portion your chicken in a ziplock
  3. Pre-mix all spices and put in a container
  4. Then the night off, you just dump your chicken, veggies, spices, chicken stock, and can of tomatoes in and you only need to measure one thing, the chicken stock.
3 Chicken Tacos on a Plate

Mild Chicken Tacos

These mild chicken tacos in the instant pot are a super easy recipe to set it and forget it for 8 servings of taco meat.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 173 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds Chicken Tenderloin
  • 1 Onion white or yellow
  • 1 Pepper Jalapeno
  • 0.5 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 15 oz can Fire-roasted Tomatoes with Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne (optional)

Instructions
 

  • Chop Veggies.
  • Measure Ingredients.
    Chicken Taco Ingredients
  • Mix everything in the instant pot.
  • Cook on high for 15 min.
  • Natural release 10 min.
  • Vent carefully, to avoid gettingsteam in your face.
  • Shred chicken.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Notes

What you can prepare ahead of time
  1. Pre-chop your onion and pepper
  2. Pre-portion your chicken in a ziplock
  3. Pre-mix all spices and put in a container
  4. Then the night off, you just dump your chicken, veggies, spices, chicken stock, and can of tomatoes in and you only need to measure one thing, the chicken stock.
Keyword Chicken, Dinner, Weeknight
Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Potato

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

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Why I like this Recipe

It’s tasty. From the first time we made it, it has just wowed us again and again. The chicken is so tender you can shred it with spoons. Then the flavor is spicy and buttery. It pairs perfectly with a hot baked potato. It also takes less than 30 minutes in my instant pot, which is perfect for a weeknight dinner.

We generally serve it fresh over potatoes. After fighting over the leftovers, we either eat them on a salad, or in a sandwich. The richness of the buffalo sauce that comes out is perfect for a potato and they never need any additional toppings like butter or sour cream.

I’m normally all about substitutions and recipe flexibility, but not for this recipe. There are a few ingredients that I strongly recommend avoiding any substitutions if you can. If you do substitute something, you will probably still get some tasty buffalo chicken, but I think it will lose the wow factor.

Buffalo Chicken Ingredients: Chicken tenderloins, buffalo sauce, ranch, butter, and chicken stock

Thought about Allergies and Substitutions

Chicken Tenderloins verses Breasts verses Thighs

Tenderloins are more tender than breasts. Their texture is a key part of what brings this recipe to the next level. I have tried this recipe with chicken breasts and can say it will work if that’s all you have. It just won’t be as tender. I have not tried it with thighs. I generally avoid them because they are higher in cholesterol than breasts and this recipe already has a little bit of butter.

Frank’s Red Hot

We use the original and buy it in the large bottle. I’ve thought about using one of their spicier varieties, but I think it would be too spicy for my husband. Both the butter and the ranch dressing help to cut the spiciness, if that is a big concern of yours.

I like Frank’s Red Hot because it tastes great and doesn’t have too many ingredients. I’m sure that there are people out there allergic to it, but it doesn’t have any of the common food allergens, like dairy and soy. I have not tried this recipe with any other brand. I think it will still work, but I suspect you won’t get the same level of wow.

Ranch Dressing

I’ve seen many variations of this recipe with Hidden Valley Ranch packets. Too many people in my family are allergic to those, so I avoid them. My husband can have most types of fat-free ranch, which works very well in this recipe. I normally have some on hand for my salads anyway. I’ve used both Hidden Valley and Kroger brand. Both have given me tasty results. I don’t know if the full or reduced-fat versions will give the same results.

Chicken Stock

I don’t think it matters too much which type you choose here. Feel free to substitute this one. You can use chicken stock or chicken broth, whatever you have on hand. I use low sodium when I see it on sale. Or I buy the regular as a set of six from Costco. I have not been able to notice a difference.

Butter

I know it’s not good for me, but it’s so good. Also, 2 tablespoons for 4 servings, isn’t a ton of butter, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself. We use unsalted because that’s what we generally have available. I haven’t tried this recipe with canola oil because I think the rich taste of the sauce would go away. Margarine might be a good dairy-free substitute, but it contains soy, so I won’t buy it. In the end, I’m recommending the butter.

Detailed Directions

As usual, I recommend you start with washing your hands and giving your counter a quick wipe down. Then mix all 5 ingredients and place them in your instant pot.

Buffalo Chicken Ingredients in Pot

Cook on high for 8 minutes. Then do the natural release for 10 minutes. This is a great time to start prepping the rest of your meal like reheating potatoes, toasting buns, or making your salad. After the natural release, open the vent carefully to not get spicy steam in your eyes. Once it has returned to room pressure, open the lid, and shred the chicken. It’s so tender that this should be easy.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Cutting Board

Use your tongs and thoroughly toss in the sauce. I like to give it a moment to really soak up some last-minute flavor before putting on top of a potato and eating it. Enjoy!

Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Potato

Recipe Notes

This chicken is good for any shredded chicken dish: loaded potatoes, wraps, sliders, rice bowls, salads, sandwiches, etc. It keeps well, but because it’s so tasty it never lasts passes day two in our fridge.

Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Baked Potato

Instant Pot Buffalo Chicken

Tasty shredded buffalo chicken that takes less than 30minutes total cook time in your instant pot.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 230 kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound Chicken Tenderloins
  • 0.5 cup Frank's Red Hot
  • 2 tablespoons Fat-free Ranch
  • 0.25 cup Chicken Stock
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter

Instructions
 

  • Put all ingredients in the pot and stir until the chicken is coated.
    Buffalo Chicken Ingredients in Pot
  • Cook on high for 8 minutes.
  • Naturally release for 10 minutes.
  • After the natural release, open the manual release carefully to not get spicy steam in your eyes.
  • When it returns to room pressure, open the lid, and shred the chicken.
    Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Cutting Board
  • Toss the chicken in the sauce.
  • Serve and enjoy!
    Shredded Buffalo Chicken on Baked Potato

Notes

This chicken is good for any shredded chicken dish: loaded potatoes, wraps, sliders, rice bowls, salads, sandwiches, etc. It keeps well, but because it’s so tasty it never lasts passes day two in our fridge.
Keyword Chicken, Dinner, Spicy, Weeknight