Have you heard of the infamous Crack Chicken? Well I’ve cut it down to size and turned that calorie bomb into this Instant Pot Mexican Inspired, Healthy Crack Chicken. Healthy Crack Chicken means: Bring on the Guac!
This post is sponsored by Litehouse Foods and they are reinventing how we all make guacamole . . . I’ll get to that revolution in a sec. You are gonna Flip. Out.
Crack Chicken. Have you heard of it? Have you tried it? Does the name bug you in a way that makes you turn away from it then peek over your shoulder to see what exactly Crack Chicken is? I totally get it.
And peeked I did, long enough to see that it was probably delicious, but not quite worth the calories. Triple Layered Chocolate Cheesecake . . . worth the calories. Chicken . . . not so much.
So to be straight with you, I don’t know what the real Crack Chicken tastes like. BUT, I do know that this Mexican Inspired version of Crack Chicken is slimmed down, spiced up (but not spicy, so don’t be scared), and irrrr-eeee-sistable. With a bonus of VERSATILE!
My first tasting of this was in this quesadilla form below. Next was a taco salad (gah! I could eat that everyday!). Then taquitos (this got the kid vote). Then there was the wrap you’ll see in the video (whoa 😮 ). Now I’m thinking hard shell tacos, wonton wrappers, nachos, stuffed tomatoes, tostadas, tamales . . . Coming soon: Marci’s Mexican Crack Chicken Food Truck . . . It’s gonna be BIG!
Let me calm er’ down for a sec to talk about a couple of important things here.
First, the question on every Instant Pot/electric pressure cooker owner’s mind:
HOW DO I MAKE SHREDDED CHICKEN IN MY INSTANT POT THAT’S NOT TOUGH AND CHEWY?
I swear I have tried all 599 methods I’ve researched on the internet and here is my conclusion (correct me if I’m wrong):
It’s not going to be perfect every single time. It’s the greatest mystery of my life, why it’s perfection 90% of the time and then BAM! Chewy.
If you want a guarantee, use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts. Those thighs will not let you down ever! Unlike my own thighs that bulk up enormously if I even think of doing squats.
So if you want my go to method, here it is:
MARCI’S (MOSTLY) BULLETPROOF METHOD FOR MAKING SHREDDABLE CHICKEN BREASTS IN THE INSTANT POT
1) Use good quality chicken. I buy my meat from one meat department only because it gives me the best results. If you live locally that store is Smiths Market Place. They will prep all my meat for me too with big smiles on their face. I LOVE them!
2) Don’t use giant chicken breasts. I find if they are big thick breasts, they just don’t work as well. I like to cut them horizontally through the center to make them thinner.
3) More time, not less. I know a lot of people say that if it’s chewy, it’s over cooked. Which makes sense, but if I want it to shred, I cook longer. 20 minutes is my rule of thumb.
4) Natural Release, Always.
5) Be cautious of stacking. Again, the consistency goes down when I start stacking a whole bunch of chicken on top of each other. I see people doing this all the time and wonder what magic they have discovered that I haven’t!
6) How much liquid? I’m not selling my soul on this one yet. For this recipe I only use 1/2 cup. For this amazing Chicken Enchilada Soup, the chicken is cooked in the liquid and comes out perfect every time. So for me, cook time makes a bigger difference than the amount of liquid.
7) For perfectly shredded chicken, I love to throw it in my food processor for about 5 pulses. I know a lot of people like to do it with a stand mixer, but I feel like it turns it to mush. I MUCH prefer the chops of the food processor.
BONUS: HOW TO MAKE JUICY CHICKEN BREASTS FOR SLICING:
That info can be found with this recipe for Instant Pot Hasselback Chicken Cordon Bleu or Buffalo Chicken Waffle Fries. It doesn’t shred well, but this Rich Lum technique makes for a very moist chicken breast for slicing, dicing, or eating with a fork and knife.
Now that we’ve got that covered, lets move on to another very important business matter.
HOW TO MAKE AMAZING GUACAMOLE IN 1 MINUTE OR LESS
No joke. 1 minute using this revolutionary jar of Litehouse Guacamole Herb and Spice Blend (I found it in the produce section of my grocery store). Inside this magical bottle is a mix of freeze dried red onions, cilantro, lemon peel, tomato, red chili, garlic, and cumin. All you do is mash an avocado, dump in this Guac mix, add a fresh squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt and BOOM! You’re done! You can eat it right away, but 30 minutes in the fridge is like, WHOA! Add extra lime or salt to taste and devour it with a side of Healthy Crack Chicken. Yum!
This Guacamole Blend is only one of many products created by Litehouse. I love companies that make wholesome eating easy and convenient, and Litehouse does just that with a huge variety of dressings, dips, blue cheese (I’m dying to try this one!), herbs, and the most delicious Honey Crisp Apple Cider. I find most of their products in the refrigerated section of the produce department.
Last item of business:
GIVEAWAY is now over. Congratulations Monica!
To enter simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite cooking tip/hack in the kitchen. It can be Instant Pot related or not, just give me your best!
Enjoy this Healthy, Mexican Inspired Crack Chicken with a side of Green Veggie Rice very very soon! I dare say it will become a regular in your home.
Tools/Ingredients used to make Instant Pot Mexican Inspired Healthy Crack Chicken
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Instant Pot Mexican Inspired Healthy Crack Chicken
A healthier Mexican inspired version of the very popular “Crack Chicken”, this Instant Pot Mexican Crack Chicken is as versatile as it is addictive.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs (if breasts are especially large, cut them in half horizontally. I feel like they cook up more tender this way)
- 1/2 cup salsa (if it’s a very thick salsa, add 1/4 cup water to the pot as well)
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 ounces 1/3 less fat cream cheese or whipped cream cheese
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- cilantro to garnish
- optional toppings: pico de Gallo or salsa, guacamole, sour cream or plain yogurt, taco shells or flour tortillas
- Add chicken breasts to the pressure cooker pot, placing them in a single layer across the bottom as much as possible. Add salsa, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes.
- While chicken is cooking, prepare pico de gallo and guacamole if using homemade.
- When pressure cooking is complete, use a natural release.
- Remove 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.
- Add cream cheese and pepper jack cheese to the pot. Select saute to melt the cheese and whisk until smooth. Stir in the black beans and shredded chicken.
- Use the chicken for quesadillas, taquitos, hard shell tacos, soft taco wraps, taco salad, etc. Serve with pico de gallo, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro, or any other favorite Mexican style toppings.
I haven’t cooked this from frozen yet, but this is how I would do it:
- Place a freezer safe ziplock inside the pressure cooker pot. Arrange the chicken in a single layer with the other ingredients in step 1. Seal the bag and freeze inside pressure cooker pot until solid, then remove the bag from the pot and place back in the freezer until ready to use.
- When ready to cook, add 2-3 tablespoons 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 then proceed with the rest of the directions above.
- I haven’t froze the cooked, shredded chicken, but I suspect it would work fine. I will update here once I have tried it.