This Mexican shredded chicken is perfect for your next Taco Tuesday or meal prep. The chicken is fall-apart-tender, packed with flavor, and picky eater approved. And it’s a super easy recipe you can have on the table in about 30 minutes.
Each serving has 22 grams of protein with just 2 grams of carbs, 11 grams of fat, and 200 calories. And I’ve included notes for swapping chicken thighs for chicken breast in case you’d like to bring the calorie and fat content down a bit, but we’ll get to that later!
How to Make Mexican Shredded Chicken Thighs in a Pressure Cooker
I’ll walk you through the recipe, covering ingredient modifications and pressure cooker notes in the post below. If you’re a pressure cooker chicken expert and would like to skip ahead, you’ll find a printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
In case I forget to cover your question in the post, feel free to drop a comment at the bottom.
Step 1: Coat boneless skinless chicken thighs in olive oil and season with chipotle chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, salt, cinnamon, and coriander.
Like I mentioned in my spicy coconut pulled chicken thighs recipe, boneless skinless chicken thighs are simply the bee’s knees when it comes to shredded and pulled chicken recipes. The tiny bit of extra fat goes a long way in making tender, juicy chicken that falls apart when shredding with forks. It’s also great for flavor and reheating without turning to rubber, too!
All that said, you could certainly swap them out for chicken breast if that’s all you have on hand or if you wanted to save some calories. Here’s a nutrition breakdown for chicken breast only and half chicken breast, half chicken thighs (per serving):
- Macros with chicken breast: 170 calories, 26g of protein, 2g of carbs, and 4g of fat
- Macros with 1 pound of each: 190 calories, 24g of protein, 2g of carbs, and 8g of fat
As for the spices, I’m betting you have everything on hand except maybe ground coriander. If that’s the case, pick some up. It makes a difference! You can use it in other recipes like my air fryer Mexican potatoes and chili coconut ground chicken.
Step 2: Using a pressure cooker’s sauté function, cook the chicken thighs for 2-3 minutes per side.
I used the 301 model 6.5-quart Ninja Foodi for this Mexican shredded chicken. I’ve tested it in an 8-quart Instant Pot with nearly identical cook times as well.
One important tip for this step is to make sure the pot is hot before you add the chicken thighs. If it’s not, you won’t get the magical Maillard reaction we’re after here. You’ll also end up with chicken that’s not fully cooked after pressure cooking if you put the chicken in too soon.
A good way to test if the pot is ready is to flick some water inside. If it sizzles, you should be good to go.
You’ll have some crowding in the pot with all 2 pounds of chicken thighs, and that’s okay. You just want to develop a little color on both sides. The pressure cooking will fully cook the chicken thighs.
Step 3: Add a 12-ounce cerveza, seal, and pressure cook the chicken thighs for 5 minutes.
Feel free to use any cerveza or beer for pressure cooking. Most of the alcohol will cook off, but some may remain in a shorter cook like this. If you’re concerned about the alcohol content, use a non-alcoholic cerveza like I used for my healthy carnitas and slow cooker Texas chili recipes. Or swap the beer 1:1 for chicken broth.
You might lose a little flavor, but it’s not a make or break substitution by any means. If you wanted another alcohol-free option that still brings the flavor, check out the combo I used for my pressure cooker pork tenderloin carnitas.
Pressure cooking notes: I always recommend using a food thermometer to make sure chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF. It’s also worth mentioning, chicken breast tends to be thicker than thighs. So using chicken breast may require a slightly longer cook time.
Step 4: Use a pressure cooker’s sauté function to reduce the remaining liquid while shredding the chicken thighs. Add the chicken to the sauce and broil for 10 minutes.
With the 12-ounce cerveza and rendered fat and water from the chicken thighs, you’ll probably want to reduce the remaining liquid at least a little bit. If you wanted to speed things along, you could always create a 2:1 cornstarch slurry and mix it in.
The broil function is unique to the Ninja Foodi and Instant Pot Air Fryer + Pressure Cooker Combo. So if you’re using another pressure cooker without this function, you could transfer the shredded chicken to a baking sheet to broil in the oven.
How to Make This Mexican Shredded Chicken in a Slow Cooker
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you could coat the chicken in the olive oil and seasoning blend before adding to a crockpot or slow cooker. Then pour the cerveza around the chicken, adding broth or water to mostly cover the chicken. Using my Carolina BBQ Crockpot Shredded Chicken as a guide, I’d ballpark the cook time to be around 2-3 hours on high.
You could then transfer the shredded chicken to a baking sheet to broil in the oven and reduce the remaining liquid in a saucepan over medium heat to drizzle over the broiled chicken.
Serving Your Shredded Mexican Chicken
Not to toot my own horn, but this Mexican shredded chicken is so good, a little lime juice and cilantro is about everything you need for amazing tacos. You could also add a little freshly diced white onion and hit them with some fat free Greek yogurt like my Brushfire tacos.
My chicken and cheese air fryer taquitos and air fryer chicken quesadillas recipes both use this chicken. It would also work great as a filling for my baked chicken tacos or worked into something like my black bean and corn quesadillas.
And if you’re feeling extra creative, you could work it into my buffalo chicken empanadas in place of the buffalo chicken or make some of my low calorie tortilla chips for nachos. Check out my pulled pork nachos for a great example of chips to shredded chicken ratio.
All righty then. You’ll find the full recipe card below. If you have any recipe questions I didn’t cover, leave a comment at the bottom of the post. Otherwise enjoy your pressure cooker shredded chicken!
Pressure Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken
Tender chicken thighs pressure cooked with a blend of Mexican spices and cerveza then shredded and broiled to crispy perfection.
- 2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 2 Tbsp (32g) Olive Oil
- 2 tsp Kosher Salt (or 1 tsp table salt)
- 2 tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 tsp Chipotle Chili Powder
- 2 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Ground Coriander
- 12 oz Cerveza*
- Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl. Coat the chicken in olive oil in a large bowl before adding the spices. Stir to evenly coat.
- Set a pressure cooker's sauté function to high and let the pot heat up. Add the chicken thighs and cook for 2-3 minutes to develop color before flipping and cooking an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cerveza and make sure none of the chicken thighs are stuck to the pot. Seal and pressure cook for 5 minutes on high with quick release pressure (vent immediately) or until the chicken thighs reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.
- Remove the cooked chicken and shred. Use the sauté function to reduce the remaining liquid while you shred the chicken.
- Optional: Use the broil function for 8-10 minutes for crispy edges.
*I used Modelo Especial. Any cerveza or beer will do the trick. You can also sub the beer 1:1 for chicken broth.
For Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken
Coat the chicken in the olive oil and spices and place in a crockpot or slow cooker. Pour the beer around the chicken. (You may need to add a little chicken broth or water depending on the size of your crockpot.) Cook on high for 2-3 hours until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
You could transfer the shredded chicken to a baking sheet to broil in the oven and reduce the remaining liquid in a saucepan over medium heat, if desired.
For Stovetop Pulled Chicken
Sear the chicken thighs in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add everything to the pot and simmer for 20-25 minutes, covered, until the chicken is fully cooked and fall apart tender. You can broil right in the Dutch oven for crispy shredded chicken.
Source: Dutch Oven Pulled Chicken
Nutrition Information Notes
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Servings Serving Size: 4 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 11gCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 22g
Thursday 26th of January 2023
This chicken is amazing!! My whole family loved it. It is the best thing I have ever made in my Instant Pot. I will definitely be making it regularly. Broiling the meat at the end was a nice touch...it never occurred to me to do that before.
Thank you so much for such an easy and delicious recipe. Can't wait to try more of your recipes :)
Sunday 30th of October 2022
Delicious! I used my stand mixer to shred. Definitely take the time for the broiling step.
Saturday 17th of September 2022
How long would I need to cook bone-in thighs?
Thursday 21st of April 2022
This recipe truly is the best. I made it twice the first week I tried it, and probably 6 times in the last month. Teenager approved! Don’t change a thing!
Friday 22nd of April 2022
That's high praise. Thanks, Christine!
Saturday 5th of February 2022
My new go to chicken taco recipe, so delicious