I've been making Mexican Shredded Chicken on the stove top for years and years. Same basic recipe, but it takes twice as long and I hated watching the pot to make sure that it didn't run out of liquid!
The Ninja Foodi has changed all that for me! No worries if you don't have a Ninja Foodi, you can use any electric pressure cooker and get the same fantastic results!
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What type of Chicken should I use?
I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts that were semi-frozen, but you can use any kind of chicken you like.
For chicken thighs, I would get the boneless, skinless kind for the easiest preparation, but you can use bone-in, skin on. Here are my suggestions for different types of chicken.
Frozen Bone-in, Skin On Chicken Thighs:
Follow the same instructions for frozen chicken breasts, but after cooking remove the thighs from the pot and remove the skin and bones. Then shred and return to the pot. Sometimes the chicken thighs will fall apart in the pot and that will make it really easy to pick out the skin and bones without having to remove the entire thigh.
Thawed Bone-in, Skin on Chicken Thighs:
I would decrease the pressure cooking time to about 15-20 minutes when using thawed chicken thighs. Then remove them from the pot and take off the skin and remove the bones. This should be very easy to do.
If for some reason, your chicken thighs aren't shredding easily, just turn the sear/sauté on high and simmer for another 5 minutes or until they are falling apart.
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts:
It really makes no difference if your chicken breasts are frozen or thawed. I have done it both ways and the 25 minute of PC time works for both.
Since the chicken breasts are almost fully submerged in the liquid, they do not dry out even when thawed. You can always decrease the time for thawed chicken breasts to 20 minutes and see if they shred easily.
If they don't, just use the sear/sauté on high to simmer until they shred easily.
TIP: Don't remove your chicken breasts from the broth right away if you want to remove them to shred. Let them sit in the broth for at least 5-10 minutes or they might dry out when removed.
Frozen Bone-in, Skin on Chicken Breasts:
If your bone-in, skin on chicken breasts are frozen, I would increase the PC time to 30 minutes. This of course depends on their size. If they are small, 25 minutes should be enough time.
Once they are cooked, let them sit in the pot in the broth for 5-10 minutes before removing them. This will help them stay nice and moist.
What is the best way to shred the chicken?
The best way to shred the chicken is in the pot in the broth. I used my Mix 'N Chop from Pampered Chef and it worked great! You can use any utensil that is safe for the non-stick surface of the Ninja Foodi.
The chicken is so tender that tongs will work!
Try to avoid removing the chicken from the pot to shred. The quick change in temperature can pull the juices out of the chicken and have it become dry and stringy.
If you have to remove it to shred, let it sit in the pot in the broth for 5-10 minutes before removing it.
I know some people use their kitchen aid mixer and that will work, too. I just don't see the point in dirting another bowl when the chicken will shred right in the pot!
What can I use Mexican Shredded Chicken for?
This is a basic recipe that can be used for a ton of different meals! I love to have it on hand for a quick dinner or lunch.
Some of my favorite ways to use are:
Chicken Enchiladas: I actually have a recipe for delicious Chicken Enchiladas coming out soon and you don't want to miss the Homemade Enchilada Sauce! It is so easy and so delicious!
Mexican Shredded Chicken Salad: This recipe is perfect for topping a basic salad with the chicken. It is one of my favorite ways to serve it! I also used the Homemade Enchilada Sauce as a the salad dressing. Squeeze a bit of lime on and oh my, it's good!
Tacos: This Mexican Shredded Chicken recipe works great for hard or soft tacos. Simply fill the taco shell or flour tortilla with the chicken and use your favorite taco toppings. Quick, Easy, & Delicious!
Chicken Chimichanga: I'm working on a recipe for this right now and it's so good! Fill a flour tortilla with the Mexican Shredded Chicken, homemade refried beans, cilantro lime rice, and cheese. Then Air Fry to golden perfection. YUM!
The possibilities go on and on.
What can I do with the leftover broth?
DON'T THROW IT AWAY! If you don't want to use it right away, freeze it. It makes the perfect base for a Chicken Tortilla Soup or an Enchilada Soup.
The broth is a perfect base for any Mexican style soup. You can turn it into a quick Tortilla Soup by adding some corn and black beans. Or a creamy Enchilada soup by adding 1 batch of Homemade Enchilada Sauce, a package of cream cheese and some shredded Mexican Cheese. YUMMY!
You can even freeze the leftover broth to make your next batch of Shredded Mexican Chicken. Just add in a little more chicken stock (maybe ½ cup) and some more chicken and you will be good to go!
Is this Mexican Shredded Chicken Spicy?
No, not at all. You get the flavor of the jalapeno pepper, but it is not spicy.
Of course, you can omit the pepper or double it if you like spice. For a spicier Mexican Shredded Chicken, I would add in ½-1 tsp of Chipotle pepper for a nice smoky heat. Cayenne pepper would be fine, too.
How to Make Mexican Shredded Chicken in the Ninja Foodi or Pressure Cooker
There really isn't anything to making this delicious shredded chicken. You can use frozen or thawed chicken breasts, so no worries either way.
If your chicken breasts are individually frozen, the time of 25 minutes is just fine. If they are frozen clumped together, you might want to increase the time to 30 minutes to make sure they cook completely.
Add 1 can (14.5 oz) of diced tomatoes to the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi or electric pressure cooker. I used fire roasted tomatoes in this recipe because I love them and they really add a nice depth of flavor (they aren't spicy), but you can add any type of diced tomatoes that you like.
Add 1 cup of chicken broth, ½ diced onion (I used a sweet onion), spices, sliced jalapeno pepper. Give it a stir to combine the spices.
Cut the stems off of the bunch of cilantro and chop into ½" size or so. No need to be exact with this, they cook down and become very soft during the PC time. Reserve the cilantro leaves for whatever you turn this Mexican Shredded Chicken into. If you don't like cilantro, simply omit it.
Next, add in your chicken and nestle it in the pot so it is submerged in the liquid as much as possible. This will ensure that the chicken absorbs the flavors of the broth and help to keep it moist during the pressure cooking time.
Place the pressure lid on and set the Ninja Foodi to high pressure for 25 minutes. When the time is up, allow it to natural release for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and shred the chicken right in the pot. I used my Pampered Chef Mix 'N Chop and it worked great!
If your chicken isn't shredding easily, turn the sear/sauté on and simmer for a few minutes or you can go back under pressure for another 5 minutes. I would do another 10 minute NR to ensure the chicken doesn't dry out.
Now you are ready to serve your Mexican Shredded Chicken! I decided to use it as a salad topping and it was so delicious!
Mexican Shredded Chicken
- Ninja Foodi Pressure Cooker & Air Crisper
- Add the fire roasted tomatoes, chicken stock, diced onion, sliced jalapeno pepper, and spices to the inner pot of the Ninja Foodi and stir to combine the spices.
- Cut the stems off of 1 bunch of cilantro and chop into about ½" size and add to the pot. Reserve the cilantro leaves for garnish in the dish you make with the shredded chicken.
- Nestle the chicken breasts into the pot and try to get them as submerged as possible. Put the pressure lid on and turn the valve to seal. Set the pressure on high for 25 minutes. When the time is up, allow the pot to natural release the pressure for 10 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure. Use a Mix 'N Chop to shred the chicken right in the pot. Use in your favorite Mexican dish and enjoy!
ABOUT THE RECIPE AUTHOR, LOUISE LONG
Louise is a full-time recipe creator and food blogger @ The Salted Pepper. She has over 30 years of experience with cooking and recipe development. She owned a restaurant for several years and was a full-time RN until retiring to blog full-time.
Louise has several very active Facebook groups that help people with the basics of cooking and getting the most out of the Ninja Foodi.
Seeing the need for easy, delicious, and high quality recipes, she is focusing all of her efforts creating recipes specifically for the Ninja Foodi. Her recipes are easy for the home cook to follow and provide step-by-step instructions.
Louise is also a YouTube creator and you can find most of her recipes in video format on The Salted Pepper YouTube channel.
She is very responsive to messages and eager to help in any way she can.