10 Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken Barbacoa

Just 10 minutes and a pressure cooker is all you need to make this SERIOUSLY DELICIOUS Barbacoa Chicken!  It’s the perfect meal for weekly meal prep and when you want a killer nacho topping! 

So remember my sharing with you a few weeks ago my experience with the mother of all nachos I had at this one restaurant? They were this ridiculously massive piling of beef barbacoa nachos that we ate for 4 days that resulted in a slight obsession in my house. Yeah so I had to do it, I had to make barbacoa. But I couldn’t just stop at beef (don’t worry, that recipe will be coming up soon!). Oh no, I had to also go with chicken because um, chicken rocks and it’s super high in protein. Plus when you do weekly meal prep, chicken is almost always a must-have.

Now this recipe is crazy easy. I’d say the hardest part was lugging out my blender from the one cabinet and then putting it away. I’m not one that keeps ‘stuff’ on her counters. Even my stand mixer that I use almost every day I put away. Yeah, I know… “but if you use it every day, save the effort and leave it out.” I hear ya and I used to be like that but Mr. Fantabulous hates ‘clutter’ and likes clean lines. Honestly, once I saw how my kitchen looked with those clean lines I was sold.

So as you read above this dish takes 10 minutes in the pressure cooker once it comes up to pressure. If you wanted you could most definitely make this in the crockpot – go with about 4 hours on high but you’ll need more liquid for sure. And if you wanted to make this in the oven you can do so as well. I would go with 300F for maybe 4-5 hours (though check it after 3).

But for this girl, I’m all about the Pressure Cooker. My life is CRAY-CRAY busy right now with the huge project, this damn house, and life that I don’t have time to “cook” over the stove or oven. I mean I still cook every day but when you can make the same deliciousness in a bajillion percent less time, why wouldn’t you?

This recipe is a mixture of thighs and breasts. You can use all of one type if you want but normally when I make my pulled chicken I use both types of meats as I like the richness the dark meat brings plus dark meat has more iron in it, which is something I need in my life.

So dark meat is relatively ‘new’ in my house (maybe the past 2 years or so). I just never ate it and Mr. Fantabulous was so Mr. Fit that the man would never dare eat a meat so high in fat. But the one day I was at the butcher’s shop and they had some ridiculous price on boneless thighs. I just had to get them. I brought them home and made these amazing Pressure Cooker Honey BBQ Boneless thighs and OMG we both fell in love.

This recipe is one that as I was saying early definitely needs to become one of your go-to meals as it’s truly so versatile.

This is awesome on nachos, tacos, burritos, over quinoa, in a wrap, on a bun, on a spoon…

And.. OMG this, in a Barbacoa Bowl!


Once the chicken was done I lugged out my stand mixer as the chicken was super hot and I was tired. Okay fine, I was lazy and didn’t feel like hand/fork shredding chicken. Into the mixer went the chicken and a few spins with the paddle attachment and my chicken was shredded.

As you can see I left some larger sizes. I like meats like this where I can have chunks (which is odd as I have this aversion to chunks in foods – chunky tomato sauce, chunky onions… gag). But with this type of meat, I want to see it. And plus when you have the beef barbacoa, you get those charred ends. OMG people!

So when you make this, and you will tell me how you used the barbacoa. What type of creative recipes will you use this in?

If you don’t have a pressure cooker then I HIGHLY suggest one of these!

For stove top go with: For Electric go with either: or

10 Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken Barbacoa


Serves: 6-8

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  • 4lbs boneless/skinless chicken (mixture of breasts and thighs)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 Tbl tomato paste
  • 1 Tbl garlic, minced
  • 4 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 3 Tbl lime juice
  • 2 chipotle peppers
  • 1-2 tsp adobo sauce (more means it’s hotter)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or water)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3-4 Tbl chopped cilantro
  1. In a blender, combine the vinegar, tomato paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, cloves, pepper, salt, lime juice, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, sugar and stock. Blend to combine.
  2. To at least a 6qrt pressure cooker, add the chicken, bay leaves and the liquid from the blender. Lock the lid, set the timer for 10 minutes on high. When the timer is done, do a quick release on the pressure.
  3. Remove the lid and shut off the pressure cooker. Using tongs, take out the chicken pieces placing them either into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or on a plate. If using the mixer, turn it on and mix just until the chicken is shredded (leave some chunks). If doing it by hand, use 2 forks and shred the chicken. Remember you want some bigger pieces.
  4. With the liquid still in the pressure cooker, remove the bay leaves (discarding them) and place the shredded chicken back into the liquid. Add in the cilantro, stir and let it rest in the liquid for 10 minutes.
  5. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the chicken and serve or place in a lidded container.
  6. With regards for the liquid, you can discard or, after straining the fat out, freeze it for later uses. It’s great as a liquid for dirty rice, pasta dishes and quinoa.
Serving ideas:
- Nachos
- Burritos
- Quesadillas
- Barbacoa Bowls
- Sandwiches
- Pizza toppings





14 Responses to “10 Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken Barbacoa”

  • Karen says:

    My husband and I both loved this recipe – I just halved it for the two of us. Delicious flavor – made bowls with rice, chicken, black beans, avocado, etc. My husband already has his eyes on the leftovers. Thank you for a great recipe

  • Becky says:

    This is delicious, and I LOVE the electric exploding pot. But why in god’s world would you say to discard the liquid? A base for soup? Rice cooked in this liquid? Anything? The liquid that is left behind is truly gold.

    I used skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs. At the very end, I degreased the liquid a little bit. However, what is left behind is purely delicious.

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Becky,

      In the last step I give the option to discard it or do as I do and save it for other items (dirty rice, etc), well once the fat was removed from it. Oh I love using bone-in meats – such a more intense flavor!

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • caren says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you had made this without the pressure cooker. I don’t have one. I use the stove oven and crockpot. It sounds great just not sure if it works with other methods. Caren

    • TKWAdmin says:

      You could use a slow cooker. Just cook on high for 3-4 hours. Up the liquid though by double. Keep an eye on it as you don’t want it to dry out.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Kaleigh says:

    Do you happen to have a recipe for dirty rice using the leftover liquid?

    Btw I love this recipe! I have halved it twice for my boyfriend and I, and tonight I am making the full recipe for a big dinner with my in laws and niece and nephew!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      Hi Kaleigh!

      Yeah! I’m so happy you loved it!

      For the dirty rice I cook brown (or white rice) in the leftover liquid. 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of liquid. While that’s cooking I’ll cook up some 1/2 lb chorizo and 1/2 pound of pork of chicken sausage til browned. Next I’ll saute up a large minced shallot and a diced bell pepper. Once translucent I’ll add the chorizo and sausage back to the pan, mix and add in some minced green chilies. I’ll add the cooked rice, some chopped parsley and mix it together. Adjust for salt/pepper. Since barbarcoa has some heat you can add cilantro and top it with sliced avocado.

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Karly says:

    What even was life before the pressure cooker/instant pot? This looks SO good, and I love love love how quick and easy it is!

    • TKWAdmin says:

      HAHAHA! I think life before the pressure cooker involved a stick, rocks and fire. LOL Thank you so much for your kind words; I really appreciate it! I’ll be posting the beef barbacoa recipe soon. I’ll be honest here, you’re going to want to make both versions because even to this day I can’t pick a favorite.

      But then again, I shouldn’t have to, right? LOL

      Best Kitchen Wishes!

  • Melissa Valencia says:

    Made it tonight! Topped with black beans, lettuce and cheese. Super easy and so tasty!!!

  • SandyToes says:

    Thanks, Lori, this sounds delicious! Who doesn’t love barbacoa? And with chicken? Yes, please. I think it a nice change from the chicken chile verde recipe from Serious Eats that I seem to always use for tacos and enchiladas. It’s nice to change things up, am I right?

    I’m with you on pressure cooking and so glad you’re giving us more recipes for it. You know I’m nuts for your poached chicken breasts and use them every chance I get, especially now that’s it hot here in Tampa. That technique is in my personal Genius Recipes folder along with Ina Garten’s Pecan Bars and about a dozen others.

    I have to grin every time you mention your aversion to chunks. I hear you, as I despise chunky cooked tomatoes and soft-cooked onions. I mean, if the onions are minced, fine. And I’ll happily eat chunks of raw tomato and onion, all day long. But otherwise, let’s blend that tomato sauce or cooked salsa, can’t we? And for the love of all that’s holy can we please stir fry those onions just until they’re tender-crisp? Please?

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