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Creamy salsa chicken is one of the easiest, tastiest, minimal ingredient recipes for your Instant Pot.

Creamy Salsa Chicken - Instant Pot

Course Main Course
Cuisine Instant Pot
Keyword beginner recipe, easy weeknight meal


  • 2 pounds chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 1 16 ounce jar salsa, Salsa Roja is my preference
  • 12 ounces Mexican crema, or sour cream find in the dairy section
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped, seeds removed leave the seeds in if you want heat
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • chopped cilantro
  • cotija cheese, optional, garnish
  • tortillas or rice for serving
  • oil for browning/sauteing



    This part is totally optional. Yes, it does add more flavor, but it's not necessary. I have just thrown all of the ingredients in the pot and it was delicious. If you're not gonna brown, skip down to the cook time.

    Set the pressure cooker to saute. When the pot is hot, add oil in the bottom. If you want to brown the thighs, this is the time. Brown in batches and remove to a plate. Add the bell pepper, onion, and jalapeno. Saute for about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic, cook for another 1-2 minutes. Hit cancel or turn the pot off.


  1. Whether you've decided to brown or not:

    Add the jar of salsa and the cumin. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove brown bits if you have any. Place the chicken thighs in the salsa.

    With the salsa I use, there is no need for more liquid. I have never had a problem. BUT, if you are using a really thick salsa, you may need to add 1/8 -1/4 cup of liquid to it. Use your best judgement, but I have never added liquid to this. I'm just telling you to be aware.

    Pour 12 ounces of crema (or all 15 if you're feeling frisky) on top of the chicken salsa mixture. DO NOT STIR. JUST POUR IT ON TOP. ***If you're using sour cream, do not add now!!!***

  2. Pressure on high for 10 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally.

    Carefully open the lid and stir. If you didn't use crema and are using sour cream, stir it in now. Garnish with the crumbled cotija cheese and chopped cilantro.

    Serve with warm tortillas, shred to put in tacos, or eat over rice.

Recipe Notes

If you want to cook rice with this, here's how it's done: 

In an oven safe vessel, place 1:1 ratio of jasmine rice to water.  Add salt.  Add a pat of butter for extra goodness.  Place a trivet over the chicken.  Place the pot of rice on the trivet.  Cook as above.  When you open the pot up, remove the pot of rice and fluff with a fork.