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Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken

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Instant pot salsa verde chicken is an incredibly flavorful and tender chicken dish. Make this salsa chicken with a few simple ingredients, like Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde, boneless chicken breasts and thighs, and spices. Turn it into creamy chicken chile Verde just by adding sour cream at the end. The pressure cooker makes this an easy weeknight favorite chicken recipe.

a white casserole dish of creamy Instant Pot chicken Chile verde ready to serve

Uses for Salsa Verde

Salsa verde is an amazing sauce that can be used in so many dishes. Home cooks can make salsa right homemade or buy it premade. Trader Joe’s Salsa Verde is my favorite! Look for the jar that says Trader Joe’s Hatch Valley Valley Salsa – it’s made from green chile peppers. Another reliable brand, and a close second favorite, is the Heredez Salsa Verde.

Salsa is an important ingredient in this chicken chile Verde instant pot dish. The flavors of the onions, garlic, tomatillos, and lime juice all come together with the chicken breasts and thighs to create culinary magic.

What’s the difference between Chicken Salsa Verde and Chicken Chile Verde

These are two similar-sounding dishes that actually taste quite different. They are both amazing in their own right, but it’s worth clearing up how they’re different.

Chicken Salsa Verde is a lighter dish made with tomatillos, onions, garlic, spices, and chicken.

Chicken Chile Verde has more of a deep Chile flavor. Most recipes use poblano peppers, jalapeños, Anaheim chiles, tomatillos, onions, and garlic. Traditionally Chile Verde is made with diced pork, but you’ll see recipes with chicken thighs instead of pork. It’s a heartier dish that’s akin to a stew with shredded chicken.

Both Chicken Salsa Verde and Chicken Chile Verde can be made in the Instant Pot, Crock pot, or on the stove.

Ingredients for Salsa Verde Chicken

What do you need to make this instant pot chicken salsa verde? Here are the ingredients and some notes about them.

  • Cooking oil: This can be canola or olive oil.
  • Boneless chicken breasts: You can use fresh or frozen chicken breasts.
  • Boneless chicken thighs: Fresh or frozen works well.
  • Salsa Verde: I like Trader Joe’s Hatch Valley Salsa.
  • Ground cumin: Spices like cumin bring out an earthy depth of flavor.
  • Dried oregano: This adds a little herb flavor to the dish.
  • Dried garlic powder: garlic powder adds a richness of flavor.
  • Salt and pepper: Salt is crucial to balance the other flavors and it helps tenderize the chicken.
  • Optional sour cream: If you’d like to make this a creamy salsa verde chicken, you can add a little sour cream to the sauce.

How to Make This Instant Pot Chicken

Here are the instructions on how to make this chicken Chile verde instant pot meal. It’s only 10 minutes of cook time and 10 minutes to release the steam.

  • Add a little oil to your pressure cooker pan to prevent sticking or getting a burn notice. It also cuts down on the amount of time for the pot to come to pressure, and pressure cooks faster. Add chicken to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Pour the Trader Joe’s green salsa and spices over the chicken. 
  • Close the lid and turn the sealing lever to seal if needed. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes cook time (12 minutes for frozen). Then allow the pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes before performing a quick release to release the pressure. 
  • Remove the chicken from the pot and shred with two forks. Stir in sour cream for creamy salsa verde chicken, and use an immersion blender to create a creamy salsa verde sauce.
a casserole dish of Instant Pot Chicken Salsa Verde

Creamy Salsa Verde Chicken

If you want to make this into a creamy version of salsa verde chicken, add a 1/2 cup of sour cream or softened cream cheese after cooking. Then use an immersion blender or pour the sauce into a blender and mix.

If you pour it into a blender, use caution when removing the lid because of the hot liquid.

Get the full salsa chicken recipe and prep video below!

How to Shred Chicken in Mixer or by Hand

Shredding chicken in mixer

Did you know you can shred your chicken using a mixer? Here’s how:

Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to shred chicken quickly and easily. Place the chicken in the mixing bowl. Mix at low speed for up to 1 minute until the chicken is all shredded.

Shredding chicken by hand

Another great way to shred chicken (and the most classic way) is to use two forks and a mixing bowl.

Before shredding the chicken by hand, place them in a large bowl and cut the chicken breasts in half. Hand shred with two forks by placing them in the middle of the chicken pieces and pull each fork in opposite directions.

Serving Suggestions for Chicken Verde

Now that you have this super yummy salsa verde chicken, how are you going to eat it? One of the best ways is right out of the pot and in a bowl. Sprinkle the top with some crunchy pepitas, fresh cilantro, minced green onion, or a dollop of sour cream.

Shredding the chicken gives you even more options! You can use it as a dip for chips, in chicken enchiladas, in a casserole with pinto beans, rice, corn, and cheese, or to make chicken nachos.

One of my favorite ways is to add the shredded chicken to corn tortillas and make chicken tacos. Or make burrito bowls with the shredded chicken, beans, rice, cheese, and top with salsa, sour cream, and tortilla chips.

Freezing and Reheating Salsa Chicken

After you make the salsa chicken, you may have some leftovers. There are a couple of things you can do to keep it fresh and serve it later.

Store it in an air-tight container and the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat from the fridge, remove the container’s lid and place it sideways on the bowl so it lets a little air escape. Then heat it in 30-second increments until the temperature reaches 165º F.

To freeze the instant pot salsa verde chicken, put it in a freezer bag or air-tight container, label it with its name and date. Freeze it for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to eat it, let it completely thaw in the fridge or use the defrost function on your microwave to thaw. When you’re ready to serve it, heat it up in the microwave the same as above.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does salsa verde taste like?

Salsa verde is tangy from the tomatillos, and since they are cooked with onions and garlic, the flavors all come together to make a delicious sauce.

Is salsa verde the same as chimichurri?

No, salsa verde is made by cooking tomatillos, onions, and garlic while chimichurri is made by blending fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, and oregano with vinegar, oil, and other spices.

What is the difference between salsa and salsa verde?

Regular red salsa is made with tomatoes and is not cooked. Salsa verde is made with green tomatillos and chiles and is cooked.

a bowl of salsa verde chicken

Instant Pot Chicken Salsa Verde Recipe

a casserole dish of chicken salsa verde ready to serve
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Instant Pot Salsa Verde Chicken

This Chicken Salsa Verde Instant Pot is the perfect easy weeknight recipe or prep ahead meal. Make it for dinner tonight or early in the week so you can use the chicken to create other meals.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword One Pot Meal, Weeknight Dinner, Easy Dinner, 30 minute meals, Meal Prep
Prep Time 2 minutes
Cook Time 28 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 223kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot (or any electric pressure cooker)

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp cooking oil
  • 1 pound boneless chicken breasts (fresh or frozen chicken)
  • 1 pound boneless chicken thighs (fresh or frozen chicken)
  • 1 jar (12 ounce) Salsa Verde (I like Trader Joe's or Hatch Valley brands)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Creamy Salsa Verde Chicken (optional)

  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Instructions

  • Add a little oil to your Instant Pot pan to prevent sticking or getting a burn notice. Add chicken to the bottom of the Instant Pot. Pour salsa and spices over the chicken.
  • Close the lid and turn the sealing lever to seal, if needed. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes (12 minutes for frozen), then allow pressure to naturally release for at 10 minutes before performing a quick release.
  • Remove chicken from pot and shred (see notes below) or serve as boneless chicken breasts and thighs. Stir in sour cream for Creamy Salsa Verde chicken, and use an imersion blender to create a creamy salsa verde sauce. Serve over rice with tortillas, over tortilla chips and top with cheese to make nachos, make chicken tacos or burritos.
    Keep leftovers to use in another recipe like Chicken Enchiladas or Green Goddess Cobb Salad.

Video

Notes

How to shred chicken with a mixer or by hand:
Use a stand mixer or hand mixer to shred chicken quickly and easily. Place the chicken in the mixing bowl. Mix at low speed for up to 1 minute until the chicken is all shredded.
Before shredding the chicken by hand, cut the chicken breasts in half. Hand shred with two forks by placing them in the middle of the chicken pieces and pull each fork in opposite directions.

Nutrition

Serving: 4ounces | Calories: 223kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 81mg | Potassium: 245mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 91IU | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 1mg

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