Gimme Some Oven

3-Ingredient Mexican Shredded Chicken

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This 3-Ingredient Mexican Shredded Chicken recipe is full of great flavor, easy to make in the Instant Pot or Crock-Pot, and perfect for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, salads and more!

3-Ingredient Mexican Shredded Chicken

This post is sponsored by McCormick.

With Cinco de Mayo just around the corner, I feel the need to tell you about the most delicious Mexican shredded chicken hack I recently discovered.

Seriously. It’s the perfect back pocket recipe that you can whip out when you’re short on time but craving a winner winner chicken dinner. Because as ultra-simple as this recipe is, it is equally big on flavor, and yields the most tender, juicy, irresistible chicken every time. Perfect for serving with chicken tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tamales, chilaquiles, nachos, or whatever else you may be craving.

And best of all?

All you need are 3 easy ingredients, about 3 minutes of prep time, and either an Instant Pot or a Crock-Pot to do the rest of the work for you. Can you guess the ingredients? (Drumroll please…)

Mexican Shredded Chicken Recipe Ingredients

Easy Mexican Shredded Chicken Ingredients:

Ta da! So simple, right? To make this Mexican Shredded Chicken, you will need:

  • Chicken: I recommend boneless chicken breasts or thighs, you pick.
  • Salsa: Whatever your favorite kind may be! I have made this with my favorite homemade salsa and my favorite store-bought salsa, and both were total winners.
  • McCormick Original Taco SeasoningTurns out, not all store-bought taco seasonings are created equal. I’ve become a big fan of this one over the past few years because:
    • It tastes great. Especially in this recipe.
    • I love the ingredient label. No preservatives, no MSG, no artificial flavors, no dairy…no hesitations.
    • It’s super easy and convenient, and makes this 3 minutes of prep time possible.

McCormick Taco Seasoning for Shredded Chicken

How To Make Instant Pot Shredded Chicken:

To make this recipe in the Instant Pot pressure cooker, simply…

  1. Add your ingredients: Combine the chicken, salsa and taco seasoning together in the bowl of your Instant Pot, and briefly toss to combine.
  2. Pressure cook: Then pressure cook on high for about 30 minutes. Quick release the pressure, then remove the lid.
  3. Shred: Use two forks to shred the chicken. Then give the shredded chicken a good toss in all of those juices to soak them up. (The juices will thicken a bit into a sauce as it cools.)
  4. Serve! Then dig in!

Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken

How To Make Crock-Pot Shredded Chicken:

Other option that’s just as easy, but will take a bit more time? Slow cooking. In a 4-quart or 6-quart Crock-Pot, simply…

  1. Add your ingredients: Combine the chicken, salsa and taco seasoning together in the bowl of your slow cooker, and briefly toss to combine.
  2. Slow cook: Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours, until the chicken shreds easily with a fork.
  3. Shred: Use two forks to shred the chicken. Then give the shredded chicken a good toss in all of those juices to soak them up. (The juices will thicken a bit into a sauce as it cools.)
  4. Serve! Then dig in!

Pressure Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken

Uses For Mexican Shredded Chicken:

There are countless ways you could serve this Mexican shredded chicken recipe. But I would especially recommend using it in:

  • tacos (these Mexican chicken tacos below are topped with Pico de Gallo, so easy!)
  • quesadillas
  • enchiladas
  • burritos (or burrito bowls)
  • nachos
  • tostadas
  • salads
  • tamales
  • chilaquiles
  • huevos rancheros

Also, if you are looking for some side dish ideas, these are some of my go-to faves:

As always, feel free to check out our Mexican Recipes archives here on the blog for more ideas. And also, McCormick has lots of fun fiesta-worthy Cinco de Mayo recipes on their site right now too. (I’m especially eyeing their Taco-Spiced Michelada!)

Mexican Chicken Tacos with Pico de Gallo

However you decide to serve this chicken, hope that you enjoy it, everyone!

How To Make Mexican Shredded Chicken in the Instant Pot or Crockpot

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3-Ingredient Mexican Shredded Chicken

  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 48 minutes
  • Yield: 8 -10 servings 1x


This 3-Ingredient Mexican Shredded Chicken recipe is full of great flavor, easy to make in the Instant Pot or Crock-Pot, and perfect for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, salads and more!




  1. Instant Pot Method: Add chicken, salsa and taco seasoning to the bowl of your Instant Pot, and toss briefly to combine.  Close lid securely and set vent to “Sealing”.  Press “Manual”, then press “Pressure” until the light on “High Pressure” lights up, then adjust the +/- buttons until time reads 30 minutes.  Cook.  Then very carefully, turn the vent to “Venting” for quick release, and wait until all of the steam has released and the valve has dropped.  Remove the lid.  Continue with step 3 below.
  2. Crock-Pot Method: Add chicken, salsa and taco seasoning to the bowl of your slow cooker, and toss briefly to combine.  Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours until the chicken shreds easily with a fork.
  3. Shred the chicken with two forks, then give the chicken a good toss with the remaining juices.
  4. Serve immediately.  Or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.


*A few people have mentioned getting a “burn” message on their Instant Pot.  I’ve never experienced this, but just to be safe, if you are using a thick/chunky salsa, stir in an extra 1/2 cup water along with the salsa.

This post is sponsored by McCormick, whose spices and seasonings I use regularly in my kitchen. Thank you so much as always for supporting the brands who help to make this site possible. 

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57 comments on “3-Ingredient Mexican Shredded Chicken”

  1. So easy! How much longer would you cook in IP if the chicken is frozen?

    • Hi Jan! Food safety standards don’t recommend putting frozen chicken in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. So to be safe, it’s best to thaw the chicken completely first and then pressure cook it. Hope that helps! :)

  2. 2 cups of salsa is 16 oz.

  3. Can’t wait to try this!!!

  4. Thank you! I didn’t know what to fix for dinner tonight since my kiddo has softball practice. Went to Google to read the stories and there you were! It’s in the pressure cooker as I type this ?

  5. great for huevos rancheros as you suggest, thank you, love that one since I’m not eating a lot of tortillas these days, good thinking!

  6. I just made this for dinner, and not only was it very simple, (great for weekday cooking), it was absolutely delicious! My husband absolutely loved it too! Thank you for posting this, and can’t wait to make this again!

  7. All mine did was burn on the bottom and never pressured up. Wrong salsa I guess.

  8. Yumminess! What other and liquid combo would you recommend to create other flavor profiles or for making chicken good to add to recipes (Tasty but not too strongly flavored that could replace rotisserie chicken in a recipe)??

    • I used 2 cans of stewed tomatoes, the kind with green peppers and an onion along with garlic.. I added a bit of chicken broth, like 1/2 cup or so. It was not at all spicy, but had a nice flavor.

  9. Can I use chicken taco seasoning if I don’t have regular taco seasoning?

  10. Ali!!! You did it again. Another awesome-sounding recipe to try. Can’t wait!

  11. Omg, this was so good! We made it in the Instant Pot last night and used it for nachos topped with avocado, pico and cheese. Everyone loved it!

  12. Thank you for sharing! By the way, what is your favorite store bought salsa?

    • Oooh, good question. I love a brand local to Kansas City called Margarita’s (Spicy) Salsa. But I also love the Frontera line of salsas. :)

  13. In my crock-pot as we speak!!! Taco salad after work, weeeee!!!

  14. Thank you so much for all the Instant Pot recipes! Just got one and love having a steady stream of new recipes to try :)

  15. It turned out great! So easy and tasty! :)
    Thank you!

  16. I love this recipe! It’s easy and delicious. It will definitely stay in my rotation.

  17. This was super
    Tasty and easy! My kids loved it, and it is terrific for my weight watchers diet. The kids put it over rice or in a burrito. They used it the next night for nachos in the oven with cheese and beans. I ate it with black beans and avocado.

  18. I wasn’t feeling like cooking dinner today. I decided to make chicken tacos, so I was looking for ways to cook the chicken and came across your recipe. Thank you soooo much. This was so very easy and so very delicious. I used the crockpot method and the chicken was so tender and shredded beautifully.

  19. Best recipe!! My family loves this!! I share your recipe any chance I get!! Thank you! I add more salsa to my chicken, we like it that way!! We grill our chicken, cut it up, then add salsa and taco seasoning, simmer on the stove in a pot for a few minutes, then serve….yummy!

  20. Delicious! My UP showed ‘burn’ on the screenbecause my salsa was a bit thicker there wasn’t enough liquid under the chicken. I waited till it turned off and then stored it and added 1/2 cup of water and it was amazing!

  21. I’ll admit, I was a little skeptical of making this, but I did and IT WAS GREAT!!! Never used one, but I went out and purchased a pressure cooker. I added two breast (about 1.75lbs), 16oz container of salsa, and about 3Tb of HOMEMADE taco seasoning(the store purchased packets contained unnecessary crap like MSG, maltodextrin, soybean oil, and silicon dioxide) . Was not dry at all. There was enough juices to soak in after the shredding! Went great with my cilantro lime pilaf.

  22. Super easy & delish !! I cut the recipe in half since there is only 2 of us. Will probably add some green peppers to recipe next time I make it.

  23. I do this all the time, I thought it was my own secret! Lol. Tip: it works on the stove top, too. Usually I cut boneless skinless chicken breasts into smaller pieces (4-5 inches each) to make it cook a little faster and shred easier. Then just put the chicken, taco seasoning and salsa into a pan with a lid and cook it on low for 2-3 hours. One packet of taco seasoning and half a jar of salsa usually works for 1.5- 2 lbs of meat. Voila! Even less cleanup.

  24. What is the cook time for 1 lb of chicken?

  25. What if I wanted to use half the amount of chicken? What would your recommended cook time be?

  26. I plan on making this for a party that I’m throwing this weekend. I’m going to have approximately 20 adults. How many chicken breasts should I use? Thanks!

  27. I’m looking forward to making this recipe. Your ingredients sound very very appetizing. Would be great for my Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats. Unfortunately I don’t have a crock pot, slow cooker or instant pot.

  28. This came out amazing. It was sooooooooo good. I will definitely be making this again. However because you only gave directions for Crock Pot and Instant Pot, which I have neither of, I added olive oil to sear the chicken stove top. While you recommended store bought McCormick’s Taco Seasoning, I used my own homemade dry mix rather than the processed high calorie version. This dish is only as good as the salsa you use and I bought it fresh from the deli department at my local Mexican grocery store.

  29. Can I make this in the oven? If I can, at what temperature and for how long do I bake?

  30. For the burn message I added half a cup of water and scraped the bottom with a wooden spatula until it stopped happening. Took about 2 times for me

  31. This is a really easy and quick recipe. I am going to try it tonight. My husband loves Mexican and this is about as simple as I can find.

  32. Make this all the time. I do add two cans of beans, pinto and black, plus a cup of frozen corn. Just a little different. Put in containers and freeze.

  33. This is so simple and easy. It yielded 8 burrito bowls, 4 burritos and leftovers for taco snacks, plenty of food for the whole week in one basic recipe and it’s so delicious! I’ll definitely be making this one again.

  34. I’ve never had any issue with a Gimme Some Oven Recipe, but this one did give me a burn message. And I even purchased the salsa that was suggested. So I’d say no matter what kind of salsa, add the water or broth to avoid a burn— I’ll be cleaning this up off the bottom of my pot for a while

  35. Hi made this yummy recipe on the stovetop and it made the best chicken tacos yet! The whole family loved! ♥️?

  36. This recipe turned out great! Total keeper using chicken thighs. Thank you!

  37. So easy! My boyfriend loves this and then I don’t have to cook for a few days… simply provide some corn and flour tortillas, lettuce shreds, pick, etc. He can then make a salad, burrito, tacos… We’ll see how it turns out today. LOL. I couldn’t find any chunky salsa that wasn’t expired, so I added taco sauce, taco seasoning, a quartered fresh poblano (which will cook down) , the rest of a jar (maybe 2/3 cup) of tomato purée and a cup or two of frozen tri-color pepper chunks (thanks, Trader Joe’s). I’m know it will be edible, but will it be good? I will know in 4 hours. It’s snowing a LOT right now (Happy Easter) and we’re supposedly on COVID-19 lockdown, so I’m being creative. ??

  38. Awesome!! So simple yet delicious. I just went super simple with store taco seasoning and a jar of store brand salsa and it was FABULOUS!!

  39. I made this recipe using boneless chicken thighs and mango salsa. I used a whole jar plus the taco seasoning and it turned out great! It cooked about 4 hours on high in my crockpot. I thought it might be too sweet w the salsa I used but it is very good. Factor in how easy it was to just stir the 3 ingredients together in the crockpot I give it 5 stars!

  40. Love this!! Always looking for great instant pot recipes. We’ve made it several times now and used left over chicken for “lazy mom” enchiladas the next night. Kiddos ask for it often. Thank you for the great recipe!

  41. I want to make this for a party. Can the recipe be doubled in the crockpot or will that interfere with the cook?

  42. Just was wondering if you let the chicken thaw or not?

  43. Can it be refrigerated and reheated the next day?

  44. This recipe is delicious and so easy in a crockpot My family and I also use this Mexican chicken recipe for tacos and for filling in tamales. We love that we can put it up in the morning, slow cook for 8 hours and have a delicious and healthy dinner ready at night.

  45. We use this recipe all the time. We put 2 cans of mild rotel and homemade taco seasoning in the food processor to get the salsa-like texture. We add that, a 1/4 cup water and the chicken to the instant pot. Love it!! Just put it in the instant pot. Can’t wait to eat!

  46. This was so easy to make just how I like it. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  47. Is the cook time the same if the chicken is frozen?

  48. Loved this easy recipe thathelped feed a crowd on a busy night! Thank you! It was delicious!

  49. Is 30 minutes in the instant pot too long? Normally for shredded chicken its a lot less. Does it come out dry?

    • That’s what I’m wondering. I’ve never cooked chicken in my IP for longer than 15 mins. Im trying it now at 10 mins with npr

  50. Made this recipe for a camping trip to bring to feed 10. Was super easy and delicious, and everyone enjoyed it! I used 7 chicken breasts, increased the salsa to 2.5 cups cooked it in my crockpot on low for 7 hours as directed and turned out great! Thank you for the recipe!