Type “salsa chicken” into Google’s search box and you’ll turn up thousands of recipes that all sound a little something like this:

Pour an xx-ounce jar of salsa over xx pounds chicken and cook in a

slow cooker/pressure cooker/oven/stovetop for xx hours until tender.

It’s a method I’ve used from time to time when I want to make quick work of getting dinner done. The chicken never knocks my socks off, but results in a perfectly tasty dish suitable for supper.

I got to thinking about that dish when I was in Mexico last month, wondering why it is that I buy instead of make my own salsa.  I had the privilege of cooking alongside a pair of seriously skilled Mexican cooks in the Rancho La Puerta Kitchen, who prepare salsa with the same ease that I whisk together a vinaigrette.

When I returned home I set to work on salsa, spending the better part of a week steeped in chiles, onions, tomatillos, limes, cilantro and garlic. Today’s recipe is, hands down, the best thing to come out of all that experimentation.

It’s a Chicken in Salsa Verde done in the Instant Pot and departs from what you’ll find in most Google searches in that the salsa is from scratch, not a jar. Best of all, the salsa is effectively made right in the Instant Pot while the chicken cooks. By the time the chicken is done, so are the ingredients for the salsa, which get blended together once you pluck the chicken from the pot.

The combination of the salsa and chicken is terrific in tacos or burritos, spooned over steamed rice, or used as both sauce and filling for baked enchiladas.

Now put THAT in your search engine, Google!

Instant Pot Chicken in Salsa Verde

Instant Pot Chicken in Salsa Verde
5 from 4 votes

Instant Pot Chicken in Salsa Verde

This is a remarkably easy recipe, especially considering that it results in a tender chicken with a homemade, not store-bought, salsa verde. It's excellent served over rice, as a filling and sauce for enchiladas, or in tacos with all your favorite fixings. 

Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Servings 6
Author katiemorford


  • 1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeded, stem removed
  • 3/4 pound tomatillos, papery husks removed, halved
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  • Any additional ingredients for serving, such as taco fixings or cooked rice


  1. Heat the olive oil in the IP on the "Saute" setting. Add the sliced onion and saute until just tender, 6 minutes. Add the garlic, jalapeno, tomatillos, lime juice, salt, and chicken. Stir well. Secure the IP lid and set to "Manual" (high) for 12 minutes with the vent closed.

  2. Leave it to release naturally for 10 minutes. Release any remaining steam with care and remove the lid. Use tongs to lift the chicken pieces from the pot into a medium bowl (being sure all the other ingredients remain in the IP). 

  3. Add the cilantro to the IP and use an immersion blender to blend everything into a smooth sauce (or transfer to a conventional blender and blend until smooth). It will thicken slightly as it cools and yields quite a bit of sauce. Pour over the chicken and stir. 

  4. Serve as desired, such as over cooked rice, in tacos or burritos, or to make enchiladas.