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.
Other recipes to use up your can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: Chipotle Peach BBQ, Chipotle BBQ Ribs, Stuffed Bell Peppers, or Chipotle Ranch Panini.
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
MORE EASY INSTANT POT RECIPES
- Instant Pot Easy Chicken Pot Pie
- Instant Pot Caribbean Jerk Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Enchilada Soup
- All our Instant Pot Chicken recipes
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
- 1/4 cup water
- 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
- Pour 1/4 cup water into the pressure cooker pot. Add chicken breasts to the 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
The whole family loves this recipe!
Mine does too! Smoky but not too spicy 🙂
Excited to try this recipe! Do you by any chance have suggestions for using boneless thighs instead? They’re normally thinner than breasts so I feel like they’d probably need a shorter cook time. Either way, can’t wait! 🙂
Paige, I haven’t tried it, but I would likely go with the same cook time, but not as long of a natural release since thighs don’t dry out typically. You’ll love this one!
I give this recipe ALL THE STARS. Never again will I eat plain chicken. I followed the recommendation and served it in bowls with rice, roasted bell peppers, diced avocado, and homemade yogurt. Next time I may try it in tacos piled high with a lime slaw.
I didn’t have any issues with a Burn message on my Instant Pot, but then again my 2016 Instant Pot Duo has never given me a burn message. I think I’m glad I have an older model that seems less finicky.
Candice, Your bowl makes my mouth water just thinking of it! I Love the taco idea! I’ll never get rid of my older models, they’re so much easier to work with. I’ve been experimenting with the newer models with my recipes though so I don’t mess up anyone’s dinner. I should probably tweak this one, but I’ve never had issues with it either.
Another dinner ruined by a burn notice. Followed directions exactly in a 6qt instant pot. I even used Pam cooking spray on the insert before the chicken went in. There is an oversupply of instant pot recipes online that aren’t tried and true. Having the identical appliance is supposed to cut out the variables, but I’m finding the opposite.
Angie, Bummer, that’s so disappointing, I know! I’ve never had the burn notice with this one, but there are indeed some Instant Pots that burn easier than others. My oldest one never burns, while my newer ones tend to be more sensitive. If you try it again, add 1/2 cup water or chicken broth.
Hi! Can I make this dish from frozen?
Alicia, Yep! I just do 1 1/2 the cooking time.
Love the taste!
But I am getting burn messages…4 of them last night as I tried to cook it. What do I do about that? I was so frustrated! Twice it was the chicken, then it was the sauce itself. Tried adding water, then red wine….
Still tasted fabulous, but I wasn’t in a very good mood to enjoy it
I’m fairly new to the instant pot, but this never used to happen on any of the recipes I made, and now it’s happened on the last three or four. What am I doing wrong?
Sherryl, there is nothing more frustrating when it comes to pressure cooking! Just curious, is your pot a newer model, and is it a 6 or 8 quart?
We like things spicy so I added 5 of the peppers and cut 3 of them open. I also sliced some red onion And added it prior to cooking. The family loved it! I used thighs with the bone and skin because that’s what I had. I also did stir things around after putting it into the pot. I did not get a chance to shred the meat because someone took a thigh out before I got the chance to do it!
Ashley, I like your spicy style 🙂 I’m glad you guys loved it!
Katie A says
Ok. This is hands down one of the best chicken recipes My family and I have ever had. I now make it every other week so there is almost always some in the fridge and we put it in all sorts of things, tortillas with feta, rice bowls with avocado, etc. Thank you so much.
Katie, Isn’t it great!? So many people shy away from it because they think it will be too spicy, but it really isn’t. It’s on my own menu for this week. Thanks for sharing!
Made it last night. Used whole small can of chipotles in adobo. It was a big hit. Could i use beef instead?
Jim, you’re speakin’ my language with the whole can of chipotles! I can eat them straight out of the can:). I’ve made it with pork before (which was terrific) and I think it would be amazing with beef. Let me know if you try it!
M S says
Wow! This is my first comment on a recipe, but it’s well deserved. This is the best recipe I’ve tried recently. Tons of flavor. I use the whole can of chipotles and adobo sauce because I love spice. Makes six days worth of lunches with two chicken breasts. Amazing! Trying your other recipes now 🙂
Melanie, I love this chicken too! I add the whole can and then sneak the peppers out to put on my own bowl. I love it super spicy! I’m so glad you loved it 🙂
Olo’s Chipotle Paste!! https://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-1392612/
It’s amaaaazing. Amazon probably has it too. It’s so delicious and you can really control the spice, and it’s super convenient.
This sounds sooo yummy. Is there a reason you couldn’t cook the rice “pot in pot” method at the same time with the chicken?
Eliza, I tried it, my rice was overcooked so I decided to leave that out of the directions. Pot in pot rice usually only takes about 10 minutes from my experience. Have you tried it with this long of a cook time?
I have, but with long-grain brown rice only. I think it’s one of the only grains that can take that much cooking. Wild rice too, I think.
That would be amazing if it was cooked through in that time! I haven’t tried PIP brown rice, I need to. IF you give it a go with this recipe, let me know how it turns out please!
I made it tonight and did PIP well-rinsed long-grain brown rice (1c plus 1c water) and it was perfect! The chicken is fantastic, thanks so much for the recipe. And any time I can get two things done at once with less dishes, it’s a win. I used Chipotle Paste instead of the peppers in the can. I can’t tolerate much spice, so I’ve found the paste the best way to control it and it’s so easy. Had it with corn chips (Trader Joe’s are my fav too!) and greek yogurt and rice, of course. Delicious!
Eliza, Yay! I’m so excited about your find! And Chipotle Paste!? I need to hunt that down asap!
Michael P Cleaves says
Cooking this as we speak. As written I have gotten 2 deadly “BURN” errors. Luckily I have an extra pot insert. Chicken (one layer as directed) was completely stuck to the bottom. I am on my third attempt, this time stirring the sauce before cooking.
Not sure why you suggest not stirring. Can you explain the thought here?
Smells great so far 😉
Michael, dang, that’s frustrating. I didn’t stir it because I wanted the thinner liquid on bottom. Did it work better for you to stir it?
Michael P Cleaves says
Ahh, thanks for explaining Marci!
It worked great with the stir! Maybe a quick blast of cooking spray before adding the chicken would do the trick too. Regardless, this tasted fantastic. I have done other pulled chicken with the instant pot and chipotles in adobo, but the flavor was always a bit one dimensional. This was perfect!
Also cut the salt in half and didn’t miss it. I might increase the honey a bit next time as well, but this recipe has a great framework to build form! Kudos!
Great! Thanks for letting me know how it turned out. I adore this sauce!
This was for dinner tonight and it was a hit. So very easy to make in my Instant Pot Duo 6 qt. I was bold and broke the chipotle peppers down in the sauce. I wanted to savor the flavor. It turned out very delicious and we had it with a side of broccoli mac and cheese. Thank you for posting this.
Gayle, I’m so proud of your bravery 🙂 . I LOVE chipotle peppers. The side of Broccoli mac and cheese sounds amazing!
This was delicious over rice! I’m not crazy about the texture of chicken in the instant pot- No fault of the recipe, just personal preference. I’ll cook the chicken separately next time and I’ll be finding other uses for this sauce.. it would make great enchiladas. Simple recipe but very delicious! Thank you!
Patricia, have you ever tried chicken tenderloins? They work really great and I love the texture. Yes, this sauce is divine 🙂