Instant Pot Salsa Chicken with Melted Mozzarella
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.
❤️ 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Do you LOVE this recipe?
Leave us a review below to tell us why!
Instant Pot Salsa Chicken
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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
*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.
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Hi Barbara. Would lemon juice work instead? I don’t have any limes. Sounds like a great recipe. I’m looking forward to trying it 🙂
Hi Sara – I haven’t tried it with lemon juice, but it should work just fine. Enjoy!
Thanks Barbara. I will give it a try & let you know 😊
This teacher was so grateful to be able to come home and make this recipe that utilized my Costco frozen chicken breasts! Quick, easy, used ingredients I had on hand, AND delicious. Served with rice and Mexican Street Corn (Costco frozen). Hubby approved, said he loved the cheese on top. Added a dollop of sour cream for serving. Definitely a keeper! Might slice and serve with flour tortillas next time to make soft tacos or an enchilada type dish.
So glad you enjoyed it and it was a quick and easy meal for you and your husband after a long day of teaching. Sounds like a delicious way to serve it.
Made with bone-in chicken thighs (cuz that’s what we had) and home-made Hatch chile salsa. Wonderful! Quick! Easy!
What is the side dish? Quinoa? It looks really good!!
Thanks Heather! It is quinoa https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/quinoa-almond-pilaf-recipe/. Let me know how you like it 🙂
I wonder if this would work with enchilada sauce and a little salsa?
Hi Nicole – as long as the enchilada sauce didn’t have thickeners in the ingredients. If there’s cornstarch or flour, you may need to add some water as well.
First of all, thank you for replying and so quickly. I seriously think that is the first time ever on anyone’s blog or website. I looked and there isn’t any thickener so I think I’ll try it.
I had some partially thawed chicken and no idea what I was going to do to get dinner ready on time until I saw this. My first time successfully cooking anything other than rice in the IP. Thank you!
I have made this in my Instant Pot IP DUO 60 7-in-1 and it was PERFECT. I tend to lean towards Chicken recipes and I have tried many of yours and will continue, as not one has failed me yet ! Keep them coming 🙂
It looks very good have to try this tommorow
If I wanted to triple or quadruple the recipe would I need to cook it longer?
Hi Nitasha – no you wouldn’t need to cook it longer. But don’t exceed the maximum fill line, and it will take much longer for it to come to pressure, so you may need to add some water.
Great! Thanks so much!
This looks delicious will be making it tonight! You always have such fantastic recipes for the IP, I make my own homemade salsa but it’s hot also so will tone it down, it already has the juice of 1/2 lime in it, will using juice of 2 limes make it too tart?
Thanks Margo! I love the freshness of lime, but I would just taste the sauce at the end of cooking and if you can’t taste the lime, just add it. Enjoy!
Super yummy and easy! I pulled out the pressure cooker my mom gave me for Christmas tonight for the first time just to try this recipe and I’m so glad I did! We all loved it! I served it with a side of black beans and corn and it was a perfect, light meal! Thanks! 🙂
Thanks Nitasha! That does sound like a perfect meal.
Excellent! Added some chopped up bell peppers (red, green and orange), but other than that didn’t change a thing. The sauce was a little thin, so next time I with thicken with a little cornstarch like another reviewer recommended.
Oh! My! Goodness!
Where have you been all of my cooking-life? I wanted to know if I could cook frozen chicken in the pressure cooker and voila! I found my answer along with wonderful recipes to start my pressure cooking journey.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Awww thanks Anna – so glad you found me too. Hope you enjoy the recipe.
What is tomato sauce? Is that like spaghetti sauce like prego? Thanks. I got a new pressure cooker and am terrified to actually use it.
Hi Jenn – tomato sauce is mostly just tomatoes with a little bit of salt and small amount of spices – generally sold in the vegetable section. Spaghetti sauce will be thicker and spiced with Italian spices, ready to serve on spaghetti. Try boiling some water in your new pressure cooker first and get to know how it comes to pressure and how you release the pressure. You’ll find it’s not something to be afraid of. Have fun!
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First time cooking with the pressure cooker because I was attempting to save my wife time tonight. I only used 1.5 limes and it came out too sour to eat. I’m known to be terrible in the kitchen, so I’m sure it was me. But what could have I done wrong?
Hi Eric – sorry it was sour. Did you have extra large limes? Generally you get less than 2 tablespoons juice for each lime. Did you change any other ingredients, perhaps not use salsa?
This was the first time I used my pressure cooker! The chicken came out perfectly cooked. Thanks for your guidance!
Congratulations! Way to go. Glad you liked it.
I’m making this as i write i checked with my pressure cooker at fifteen minutes was only half done so i am waiting thee arrival lol.. Can’t wait to try it..
Hi Kimberly – hope you enjoy it! Timing will vary depending on the size of the chicken breasts, whether they’re frozen solid, even how your arrange the chicken in the pressure cooker.
We just bought our electric pressure cooker today and tried this recipe. I’m not a confident cook but this was very quick and very easy and it came out perfect! The chicken breasts I bought were pretty big so I cooked them for seven minutes and they reached 165 degrees. Definitely a great go-to for my 14-year-old son and I when my husband is traveling and my son has some sports practice to get to. Tomorrow night we’ll try the teriyaki chicken wings!
Thanks Wendy! So glad you’re enjoying your new pressure cooker and my recipes.
Looks so tasty. Question: So with a stovetop pressure cooker, I’d simmer until sauce reached desired consistency?
“Select sauté and cook sauce, stirring frequently until sauce is desire consistency.”
Thanks Sharon- that’s correct. Just simmer it on the stove.
I made this over the weekend and it was tasty. It’s easy enough to make on a weeknight! I used a jar of Mrs. Renfros Peach Salsa that my husband picked up off the clearance cart a few months ago for 50 cents. He has a habit of bringing the oddest items home from the clearance cart. Thanks
This was de-li-cious! I through.
Really enjoyed. My only modification was thawed chicken at 12 minutes. Perfect.
Next time, I might toss in some green chillies. But why mess with perfection. Thanks.
Thanks Dane for taking the time to let me know how much you enjoyed it!
I’m waiting for my new electric pressure cooker to arrive and I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. Also thanj you fir the tip about pressure coming back up quickly when the food is hot. I didn’t realize that! and it will come in handy I’m sure!
Hi Debbie – Hope you love it as much as I do. Have fun!
We made it!!!!! We’ll, in truth my husband made it. We talked about the steps and got all of the ingredients together including “his” beloved pressure cooker and was it ever a hit! We had the quinoa side and it was perfect for us. Since there is only the two of us we have a meal for a quick lunch for another day and that’s just great! My husband is so proud of himself and I can’t praise him enough. For us empty meaty nesters this is perfect and when the kids stop by it’s still the perfect choice for a quick dinner so we can spend maximum time with that precious grandbaby. Thank you so much!
So fun that you made it together. I’m glad it was a hit. You definitely need to spend more time out of the kitchen when the grand baby is there.
What a great dish, and I always have Costco chicken breasts down near the bottom of the deep freeze. Now that I can rescue them from their ice encrusted catacombs and turn them into dinner in 12 minutes they might not become buried down there in the future. I followed the instructions *exactly* and found the only draw back was that like that famous potato chip, I could not eat “just one”. Thanks Barbara.
Thanks. Jeff! So glad you found them irresistible.
Hi Barbara, I showed your recipe to my husband and he immediately said, “print it out!” We’re learning to use our pressure cooker and I’m sure this will be a favorite. I’ll post after we fix it. My question is, what is the side in the bowl you’re serving with the chicken? Thank you.
Hi Mary – that is my Quinoa Almond Pilaf Recipe https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/2014/01/quinoa-almond-pilaf-recipe/. It would also be great with my Cilantro Lime Rice https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/2013/12/chipotles-cilantro-lime-rice-in-the-pressure-cooker/. Hope you and your husband enjoy the chicken.
I just made this, with a few tweaks. It was delicious. I’m so delighted that I can cook frozen chicken in 12 minutes! Thank you. Your recipes are always a success.
Thanks! So fun that you made it already. Glad you enjoyed it as much as we did.
I love seeing how you’ve adapted this for the pressure cooker. And I didn’t know that about starting with frozen chicken. Still experimenting with my pressure cooker, but loving it!
Thanks for the inspiration Kalyn. The lime really gives the recipe a wonderful, freshness. Let me know if you try my version.
Hi not everyone has an electric pressure cooker so maybe it would be a good idea to give people the adjusted cooking times?
Hi John – every pressure cooker will be a little different, but I’ve found the electric pressure cooker and the stove top pressure cooker times are the same except on very fast cooking items because the electric pressure cooker may take longer to release the pressure.
Oh boy, another great looking chicken recipe. I really need to use my pressure cooker more-I’d save myself so much time. I’m still getting used to the electric one-easy but different than the stove top one I’m so used to.
I’ll figure it out-and recipes like this will help me do that! Thanks so much Barbara-I know we’re gonna love this one. 🙂
I just made this tonight, and it turned out great! I started with completely frozen chicken breasts from Costco, and I did actually have to cook them for an additional four minutes after checking them with a thermometer when the initial 12 minute cooking time was done. Perhaps my chicken pieces were especially large. In any event, they turned out so tender and wonderful! Thanks for another fab recipe!
So glad you liked it. I think the cook time can also be affected by how the chicken breasts are arranged in the pot.