Tacos aren’t just for Tuesday anymore! These chipotle chicken tacos are packed with smokey and spicy chipotle flavor, plus you let the instant pot or slow cooker do all the work!
I’m breathing fresh photos into this popular recipe from 2017. This recipe got rave reviews when it was originally posted, so I’m excited to repost it today! A great easy weeknight meal!
This recipe was one of the first Instant Pot recipes I ever posted, and it’s still one of my favorite recipes. What I like about making chipotle chicken tacos with shredded chicken is that they are so juicy and flavorful you don’t need to make another sauce to go on top of them (which is required in most taco recipes.) They kind of just work, all by themselves, with whatever toppings you want. I’ve always made these with avocado, crunchy bell peppers, and black olives. But you could also do guac and traditional shredded lettuce to add some cheese if you want! Honestly, however, you top these tacos will be delicious with the smokey hot chipotle chicken underneath!
The nice thing is, shredded chicken is easily frozen and stored away for an emergency night. I don’t know about you, but I always keep some variety of taco meat in my freezer because I always have taco shells and taco toppings in the fridge. It’s the perfect emergency dinner for any time! Let me know if you try this one!
How to Make Chipotle Chicken Tacos
*This is a written section with step-by-step photos of how to make this recipe. For the printable recipe card, please scroll to the bottom of this post.
First, saute your onion and garlic until translucent and tender in a pan or the instant pot on saute function. If you use a slow cooker, transfer the mixture to the slow cooker. Then, add broth and lime juice to the Instant Pot/pressure cooker or slow cooker.
Mix up your seasonings and rub them all over the chicken, being sure to coat all the surfaces well.
Place the chicken in the instant pot or slow cooker.
For the instant pot/pressure cooker, cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Naturally, release for up to 20 minutes.
For the slow cooker, cook on high for 4-6 hours.
Next, shred your chicken in the instant pot or slow cooker. If there is too much liquid in the instant pot, set it to the saute function for 20-30 minutes and allow it to boil off the liquid. The slow cooker is less likely to have extra liquid because much evaporates while cooking. However, if 2/3 the way through cooking you notice extra liquid, you can set the lid slightly ajar to vent and allow excess liquid to evaporate. I find these steps are important because it concentrates the flavor in a way that would be possible by just pouring off the liquid. But, if you are happy with the taste of the meat once shredded, you could just drain any excess liquid. Or, as a final option, pour the excess liquid into a small pan. Boil that until concentrated and return to the slow cooker or instant pot and mix with the meat.
Transfer the meat to another bowl so you can build your tacos!
Swaps and Substitutions
Let’s talk ingredients:
- Salt- I used Himalayan sea salt. Himalayan and Celtic salt are a bit less salty than traditional table salt, so you may find that if you sub regular salt, this recipe could be very salty. Try subbing 3/4 a teaspoon of table salt if you don’t have Celtic or Himilayan.
- Smoked Paprika – I love smoked paprika. It has a bit of a richer flavor. However, you can sub regular paprika if that is all you have.
- Dried Oregano – Do not omit.
- Chipotle Peppers Powder – Choose your brand carefully. They each have a slightly different flavor and hotness. Make sure you specifically get CHIPOTLE, or it won’t have the chipotle flavor.
- Chicken Broth – This just adds saltiness and more flavor to the chicken, but you can omit it and use water instead. You may want to add a little more seasoning in the end.
- Lime Juice – Do not omit, and do not sub lemon juice. It won’t taste the same.
- Onion – Do not omit. I used a white onion, which I think is the best for Mexican food. But, if you prefer another type of onion-like red or sweet yellow, that will work fine.
- Garlic – I like fresh garlic for any instant pot or slow cooker recipe. However, you could sub a tablespoon of garlic powder in a pinch. Do not omit unless you hate garlic.
- Chicken Breast – I have not tried this recipe with anything but chicken breast, but I have a hunch that boneless chicken thighs would also be okay.
- Avocado Oil – Avocado oil is my preferred cooking oil, especially for Mexican food. However, you could substitute an extra virgin olive here or canola oil. (See Are You Using the Right Cooking Oil?)
- Taco Ingredients – Optional, but highly suggested! Feel free to customize.
How to Store and Freeze Chipotle Chicken Tacos
Store: Store meat and taco toppings separately in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days.
Freeze: This recipe freezes well for later! Freeze shredded meat in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Defrost under refrigeration and reheat in the microwave. I don’t recommend freezing the toppings. It’s best to buy those fresh. However, I frequently keep a package of Siete tortillas in my freezer for emergencies!
Serve this recipe with:
You May Also Like:
I’m kind of obsessed with all things Chipotle…
- Raspberry Chipotle Sauce
- Honey-Chipotle Sauce
- Honey Chipotle Salmon
- Honey Chipotle Wings
- BBQ Chipotle Sauce
- BBQ Chipotle Chicken Salad
- Southwest Chipotle Sauce
- Southwest Chipotle Quesadilla
- Hot and Spicy Chipotle Dip
More chicken recipes you may like:
- Honey Chipotle Chicken
- Raspberry Chipotle Chicken Tacos
- Ground Chicken Taco Meat
- 8 Paleo Chicken Marinades (including this one)
Chipotle Chicken Tacos
- 1 teaspoon Celtic or Himalayan salt
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon oregano dried
- 1 tablespoon chipotle peppers powder
- ¼ cup chicken broth for instant pot or 3/4 cup for the slow cooker
- ¼ cup lime juice for instant pot or slow cooker
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 lbs chicken breasts I get all my meat from Butcher Box
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
Instant Pot Directions:
- Using the sauté function, sauté the 1 onion chopped and 2 cloves garlic in 1 tablespoon avocado oil until translucent and tender, about 2 minutes.1 onion chopped, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- Add in chicken broth and ¼ cup lime juice. Combine the spices (1 teaspoon Celtic or Himalayan salt, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon oregano, 1 tablespoon chipotle peppers in a small bowl or jar. Rub the spices evenly on each side of the 2 lbs chicken breasts .1 teaspoon Celtic or Himalayan salt, 1 tablespoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon oregano, ¼ cup chicken broth, ¼ cup lime juice, 2 lbs chicken breasts , 1 tablespoon chipotle peppers
- Set chicken on top of onions and in broth/juice. Press it down, so it’s mostly covered by liquid but not entirely.
- Place the lid on the instant pot and set the valve to sealing. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, let naturally release for 20 minutes, and then quick release.
- Shred the chicken with two forks. If there is too much liquid, turn the instant pot on to the sauté function and sauté until all the liquid evaporates, and you are just left with super flavorful chicken.
Slow Cooker Directions:
- Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker. First the broth and lime juice, then the onions and garlic, then the chicken. Make sure the chicken is fully covered by the liquid. Add more chicken broth if needed.
- Cook on high for 4-6 hours or until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165F and you can easily shred it with a fork.
- Build your tacos with desired toppings!1 avocado, 1-2 Roma tomatoes, 1 small can black olives, green onions for garnish, 12 cassava tortillas