Plain shredded chicken is boring. Honey Chipotle Shredded Chicken is a smoky, spicy, sweet party in your mouth! Addictive, versatile, and healthy, it's gonna be your new monthly staple!
I've said it before, I'll say it again. Life is too short for bland, boring food to have a place at our dinner tables.
You know the saying “Eat to Live, don't Live to Eat.” Well that's just ridiculous. I could survive on plain, boring chicken, but would that really be LIVING? I think not.
And what's wrong with “living to eat”? I can't possibly be the only person that gets excited for dinner while they're still eating breakfast.
That saying needs a makeover. “Eat to FEEL Alive!” Right?! Are you with me?!
Now that I have my new logo for a TIDBITS t-shirt, let's talk about how to turn plain shredded chicken into the meal of your dreams.
My number one favorite might always be this Mexican Crack Chicken, but today's recipe for Honey Chipotle Chicken is a VERY close second place, more like 1.5.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS CHIPOTLE CHICKEN
- Spicy, Sweet, Smoky, Tangy – when you can hit all those notes in one dish, you know it's rockstar status
- Versatile! Think rice bowl, quesadilla, nachos, salad, tamales, and on and on . . .
- E – Z Street. This recipe is going under the category “simple enough for my kids to make”
- It uses one of my favorite, intensely flavored ingredients – canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
WHAT ARE CHIPOTLE PEPPERS IN ADOBO SAUCE
In my early stages of cooking, I had no idea what these were, so just in case you're drawing question marks, here's the low down.
“Chipotles in adobo are smoked and dried jalapenos rehydrated and canned in a sweet and tangy puree of tomato, vinegar, garlic, and other spices” (Source: Serious Eats). Straight from the can the peppers themselves are very spicy. The sauce, however, is a bit less spicy, but VERY fragrant and flavorful. A little of the peppers or sauce or both will go a long way in recipes.
To store leftover chipotles in adobo, place in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to three weeks. For longer storage (and convenience in cooking) I like to puree the peppers and sauce together and freeze it in a small ziplock bag. Just smoosh the puree to the bottom of the bag into a log shape, freeze, then next time you need a little, just snap off a piece. You could also freeze it in cubes, using an ice tray.
HOW TO MAKE YUMMY CHIPOTLE CHICKEN
- Arrange your chicken on the bottom of the pot. Mix up the sauce and pour over the chicken. Pressure Cook it
- When done, shred your chicken
- Add chicken back into the sauce and give it a toss. If you're like me, hoard all of the pieces of chipotle peppers for yourself
Once you have a pot full of this addicting chicken, the sky is the limit on what you can use it for. My favorite is to serve it over Brown Rice (White Rice or Green Rice would also work) and top it with roasted baby bell peppers, diced avocado, Homemade Yogurt, and a handful of Trader Joes Corn Chips.
I'm so excited for you to try this recipe! Chicken breast recipes are quite possibly my number one request on the blog and my husband and I loved this chipotle chicken so much. I'm sure at some point my kids will forgo their strike of only liking chicken in nugget form and love it as well.
EXTRA TIDBITS: HOW TO MAKE TENDER INSTANT POT SHREDDED CHICKEN
I get this question so much! I talk in detail about it on this Instant Pot Perfect Shredded Chicken post, but basically:
- Use quality chicken
- Don't use monster sized breasts
- Natural pressure release
MORE EXTRA TIDBITS: BASIC ROASTED VEGETABLES
I make roasted vegetables of some kind most days of the week and they are especially good in combination with this chicken. Here is my go-to method for roasting veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, baby bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, etc
- Add large bite-size vegetables to a gallon size ziplock bag and drizzle with 1 -2 tablespoons olive oil (just enough to lightly coat). Seal the bag and shake, shake, shake. This is the best way I know to make sure your veggies get coated evenly. Dump them on a sheet pan lined with nonstick foil, sprinkle with kosher salt and cracked pepper, cook in a 425°F oven until they are tender and browned, 10 – 15 minutes. Done!
TOOLS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT CHIPOTLE SHREDDED CHICKEN
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Instant Pot Chipotle Shredded Chicken
Smoky shredded Instant Pot Chicken bursting with a flavorful combination of heat and sweet and just begging for alllllll the toppings!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 40 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Entree
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Mexican
- 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 – 4 chipotle peppers from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce (leave them whole)
- 2 tablespoons of adobo sauce from the can
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Optional: 1/4 – 1/3 cup heavy cream
- roasted veggies (see note), diced avocado or guacamole, brown rice, cilantro, sour cream, cotija cheese (or use your favorite cheese), corn chips, etc
- Add chicken breasts to the pressure cooker pot, placing them in a single layer across the bottom as much as possible.
- In a small bowl, whisk to combine chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt cumin, apple cider vinegar, tomato sauce, and honey. Pour over the chicken, do not stir.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.
- While chicken is cooking, prepare your toppings (roast veggies, chop avocado, grate cheese, make rice, etc – see notes)
- When pressure cooking is complete, use a natural release.
- Move the chicken to a plate and shred with two forks or place it in a food processor and pulse a few times for a smaller dice, being careful not to overprocess it to the point that it turns to mush.
- Note: For more spice, shred the chipotle peppers into the chicken. For a mild version, remove the peppers and serve on the side to people who like it spicy.
- Return shredded chicken to the pot and stir into the sauce.
- Optional: Add heavy cream to the liquid in the pot for a silkier, mild sauce.
To make a Chipotle Chicken Bowl
- Put a scoop of rice in a bowl, top with shredded chicken and your favorite toppings.
- Place a freezer safe ziplock inside the pressure cooker pot. Arrange the chicken in a single layer with the other ingredients in step 2. Seal the bag and freeze inside pressure cooker pot until solid, then remove the bag from the pot, place bag in the freezer until ready to use.
- When ready to cook, add 1/4 cup of water to the pressure cooker pot. Remove chicken and other ingredients from ziplock and place inside the pot.
- Cook at high pressure for 30 minutes, proceed with remaining directions.
- As written, the chicken is a mild spice level. To increase spice level, add extra chipotle peppers or shred cooked peppers into the chicken instead of leaving them whole. To decrease the spice level, use fewer chipotle peppers, remove the peppers once the chicken is cooked, and/or add cream to the cooked shredded chicken
- Cook rice in a separate pressure cooker while the chicken cooks. White Rice, Brown Rice, or Green Rice are all good options
- As a rule of thumb for roasted vegetables, I chop them into bite-size pieces, toss in a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast them in a 425°F oven for 10 – 15 minutes. This works great for mini bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, onions, zucchini, etc
- Other great uses for this chicken include quesadillas, tacos, nachos, tacos salads, tamales, etc
- To freeze leftover chicken, place in a freezer safe ziplock and use within 3 months
- Nutrition facts are for the chicken only
Keywords: Instant pot, shredded chicken, mexican food
Recipe adapted from Creme de la Crumb