Pressure Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken Thighs

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! 

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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. The alcohol will cook off in the process. So don’t worry about that. 

If you don’t have any beer on hand, you could swap it 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 an 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 use this chicken. It would also work great as a filling for my baked chicken tacos, air fryer taquitos, 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. 

baked chicken tacos, black bean and corn quesadillas, and pulled pork nachos

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

Pressure Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Tender chicken thighs pressure cooked with a blend of Mexican spices and cerveza then shredded and broiled to crispy perfection.

Ingredients

  • 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*

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove the cooked chicken and shred. Use the sauté function to reduce the remaining liquid while you shred the chicken.
  5. Optional: Use the broil function for 8-10 minutes for crispy edges.

Notes

*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.

Nutrition Information Notes

  • Each 4-ounce serving of Mexican shredded chicken has 4 WW SmartPoints (blue).
  • With chicken breast instead of thighs, each serving has 170 calories, 26g of protein, 2g of carbs, 4g of fat, and 3 WW SmartPoints.
  • With half chicken breast and half chicken thighs, each serving has 190 calories, 24g of protein, 2g of carbs, 8g of fat, and 2 WW SmartPoints.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Servings Serving Size: 4 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 200Total Fat: 11gCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 22g

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20 thoughts on “Pressure Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken Thighs”

  • I hate shredding chicken, but this recipe made it WORTH IT. Made it with breast meat and chicken broth and still was bomb. Then I put it into Mason’s baked tacos with some cheese. YUM. Wish I had made more! As a recipe note, I put the shredded meat back into the remaining liquid in the pressure cooker as the liquid cooked off.

  • Unbelievable recipe! I am a novice cook and this seriously impressed everyone, and it was so easy! The boyfriend is a very picky eater, and he loved it, too. The broiling is key – I don’t have the broiling function on my pressure cooker, so I did it on a sheet pan in the oven and it worked beautifully. Will definitely be making this again, thanks!

  • Just tried this today and holy smokes! This was so freaking good! I loved the kick. This will definitely be in rotation with my prep.

  • I LOVE THIS RECIPE!! It is a staple at our house. We use out instant Pot and the chicken perfect shreds eeverytime. We have made tacos with this chicken, quesadillas, and we also layered it on top of nachos. We sometimes will blend canned chipotle peppers with an onion, salt, couple serranos, and garlic to make spicy chipotle chicken! Thanks Mason

  • Great for meal prep! I did this in my slow cooker since I don’t have an instapot and it turned out great. I had never cooked with coriander before and now I use it in a bunch of other stuff! The only beer I had on hand was an IPA so i was worried that would make it taste funny but it still turned out great, will make again!

  • I loved this chicken recipe! I had it on a tortilla and topped it with lime juice, diced onion, cilantro, and hot sauce. It was perfect!

  • I made the Mexican shredded chicken in my Ninja Foodi. This recipe is the bomb! Extremely easy to shred and tons of flavor! It also reheats very well. Honestly, I thought the chicken tasted just as good or even better the next day!

  • Love this recipe!! I had to use smoked paprika as my store was out of chipotle chili powder but it was amazing and will be making it a lot in the future.

  • I have made this several times now and AMAZING every time! Have used chicken breast and thighs (thighs had more flavor but chicken breast still bomb) and used root beer and ginger ale instead of the beer and holy hannah just love this recipe!!! 10/10 highly recommend!

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