Instant Pot Salsa Chicken with Melted Mozzarella

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Instant Pot Salsa Chicken is an easy chicken dinner recipe with spicy salsa lime sauce topped with melted mozzarella for a hot and gooey crust on top. 

a 45 degree closeup horizontal shot of Instant Pot Salsa Chicken, plated on a white plate and served on top of a bed of shredded lettuce, with Mexican rice and black beans in the background

❤️ Why you’ll love it: This zesty chicken recipe is a dump-and-go recipe that starts with frozen chicken and will be on your table in under 30 minutes.

This family-friendly dinner can be made as spicy or mild as you like, and every bite is topped with melty, stretchy mozzarella cheese. 

Update: This is an always-popular Instant Pot chicken recipe. I’ve updated the post with air fryer lid instructions, plus new tips and photos to help you make it at home.

A close-up shot of Instant Pot Salsa Chicken, plated on a white plate, over a bed of shredded lettuce, with browned, melty cheese and a lime wedge on top, with an Instant Pot blurred in the background

How to Make Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

This Instant Pot Salsa Chicken recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL

You can adjust the spice level simply by choosing a more mild or hotter jarred salsa. If you only have medium or hot salsa and want to tamp down the spice a bit for your family or kids, you can simply replace half of the salsa with tomato sauce. For a bolder and spicer flavor, use more salsa and less tomato sauce. 

🧀 We topped the salsa chicken with mozzarella because we had it on-hand. If you want to use a more classically Mexican cheese, look for Queso Oaxaca (aka quesillo) or Queso Asadero. Both of these Mexican cheeses melt great! 

In Utah, we can find Oaxaca in our neighborhood grocery stores as well as Walmart and specialty stores. 

and overhead shot of Instant Pot Salsa Chicken, with all of the ingredients added to the pressure cooking pot, and a garnish of cilantro and limes in the bottom center and right

Can I Use Frozen Chicken Breasts?

Yes! In fact, this Instant Pot salsa chicken recipe is designed for nights when you forget to defrost the chicken for dinner. It’s an easy dump-and-go recipe that you finish in the oven or using an air fryer lid for the melty, golden crust on top. 

an overhead shot of pressure cooker Salsa Chicken, plated on a white plate garnished with a lime wedge and melty cheese, and served on top of a bed of shredded lettuce, with Mexican rice and black beans in the background

Using an Air Fryer Lid to Melt The Cheese

You can use the broiler or an air fryer lid to finish this dish. Lock the air fryer lid in place.

Select Air Fry and set the temperature to 400ºF and set time to 5 minutes. Select Start to begin.

Check halfway through to make sure the cheese is not browning too quickly. (Our cheese is perfect in 3 to 5 minutes.)

a 45 degree closeup vertical shot of Instant Pot Salsa Chicken, plated on a white plate and served on top of a bed of shredded lettuce, with a bunch of cilantro and additional limes in the background

More Taco Tuesday Recipes

This recipe is perfect for Taco Tuesday or a kid-friendly Cinco de Mayo menu. While you’re at it, try these other favorite Mexican-inspired recipes too:

  • Chile Verde in the Instant Pot is a satisfying, juicy dish of shredded chicken to make into bowls or fill tortillas.
  • Chicken Enchilada Pasta is a fast Instant Pot one-pot pasta recipe with chicken, cheese and your favorite short pasta. 
  • Instant Pot Taco Rice is a quick and flavorful rice recipe for taco night or any night.
  • Mexican Stuffed Shells from Barbara Bakes isn’t an Instant Pot recipe, but it is a cheesy, satisfying casserole with South-of-the-Border flavors.

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a 45 degree closeup horizontal shot of Instant Pot Salsa Chicken, plated on a white plate and served on top of a bed of shredded lettuce, with Mexican rice and black beans in the background
Yield: 4 to 6 Servings

Instant Pot Salsa Chicken

Prep Time 1 minute
Cook Time 12 minutes
Additional Time 15 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes

Instant Pot Salsa Lime Chicken is a fast dump-and-go dinner recipe you can cook from frozen. Plus, it's topped with melty cheese.


Ingredients

  • 1 cup mild or medium salsa
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, frozen*
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1 cup grated Queso Oaxaca, low-fat Mozzarella, or other melty cheese

Instructions

  1. Add salsa, tomato sauce, chicken, salt, pepper and lime juice to the pressure cooking pot. Cover and lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 12 minutes cook time. When the cook time ends, turn off and use a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Check and make sure the chicken is cooked to 165°F.
  2. Preheat the broiler and spray a small glass casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place the chicken in the dish. Select sauté and cook sauce, stirring frequently until sauce is desired consistency. Spoon sauce over chicken.
  3. Sprinkle mozzarella on top of the chicken and sauce, put the dish in the oven and broil until the cheese is melted and starting to brown, about 5 minutes, but watch it carefully.

Notes

*If using thawed chicken breasts, reduce the cook time to 5 – 6 minutes (depending on the thickness).

**You can also brown the chicken with an air fryer lid. Select Air Fry and set the temperature to 400ºF and set time to 5 minutes. Select Start to begin. Check halfway through to make sure the cheese is not browning too quickly. (Our cheese is perfect in 3 to 5 minutes.)

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 386Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 131mgSodium: 1363mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 47g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

At Pressure Cooking Today, we believe in making real food with fresh and familiar ingredients.

🥘 Browse my collection of the best pressure cooker recipes here on my website (some of my most popular recipes include Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli and Easy Instant Pot Pulled Pork).

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originally published April 21, 2021 — last updated October 4, 2021
Categories: Chicken