09.27.22

Instant Pot Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos

If you’re looking for an easy Instant Pot or slower cooker meal for busy weeknights, or when hosting football watch parties, give these Instant Pot Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos a try!

Instant Pot Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos

As we all know, Instant Pot (or slow cooker) recipes are great for busy weekdays. Simply prepare your meal then walk away and let the Instant Pot do the work! Which is what makes these recipes perfect for football watch parties or when hosting in general as well. You can get your recipe started then prepare everything else ahead of your guests’ arrival. 

Instant Pot Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos

For these Instant Pot Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos, chicken is first perfectly seasoned and then browned. Next, the chicken slowly simmers in a delicious chipotle mixture that is brightened by a bottle of beer. And if you’ve never cooked chicken in beer, you are in for a treat. It adds the perfect flavor to the sauce while also helping to tenderize your chicken. But don’t worry, the alcohol cooks off so this is still great for the whole family — my girls loved this recipe!

Instant Pot Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos

While your chicken is cooking, you’ll make a quick avocado crema that only further brightens this dish. Pile up your tortillas with your preferred toppings — I like the full work-up with shredded lettuce, thinly sliced radishes, cilantro, and cotija cheese — then top with the avocado crema and all you’ll need are lime wedges + another beer for drinking, and you are set! 

To make this even easier when serving your family or guests, you can also set up a build-your-own taco station. Set the chicken out with all of the topping options and let everyone create their own perfect tacos or lettuce cups, making it even easier for you!

Instant Pot Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos

Instant Pot Beer-Braised Chicken Tacos
Serves: 12
Print
5 from 14 votes
Total Time35 mins

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil more as needed
  • 2-3 chipotle pepper in adobo minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Two 4-ounce can mild chopped green chiles
  • One 12-ounce bottle Modelo Especial sub Pacifico

For the Avocado Crema:

  • 1 large ripe avocado peeled and seed removed
  • ¼ cup jarred jalapeno slices
  • 2 tablespoons brine from the jarred jalapeno slices
  • cup fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 1 garlic clove peeled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice about 1 lime
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Optional For Serving:

  • Corn tortillas or lettuce cups
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Radishes thinly sliced and cut into matchsticks
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Cotija cheese
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

Prepare the Chicken | Instant Pot Method:

  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, and garlic powder. Stir until well incorporated. Season both sides of the chicken with this seasoning mix.
  • Turn the Instant Pot on the sauté function and heat the oil. When hot, in batches to not overcrowd the Instant Pot, sear the chicken until golden brown on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set browned chicken aside and continue cooking until all chicken is browned, adding additional oil if your Instant Pot runs dry.
  • Next, add the chipotle pepper and tomato paste. Stir to toast the paste, about 1 minute. Add the green chiles and beer to the Instant Pot and whisk to combine.
  • Nestle the chicken back into the Instant Pot and turn the saute function off. Securely fasten the lid on top of the Instant Pot, making sure the vent is sealed. Press the "manual" and then set the time to 15 minutes. Walk away from the Instant Pot and let it do its thing! Note: If your IP doesn't have a manual button, set it to 'high pressure.’
  • When the cook time is complete, release the pressure manually by carefully turning the valve. When all of the pressure has been released, remove the lid and transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet (do not discard the remaining liquid in the IP). Using two forks, shred the chicken then add back to the Instant Pot.

Prepare the Chicken | Slow Cooker Method:

  • In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, paprika, and garlic powder. Stir until well incorporated. Season both sides of the chicken with this seasoning mix.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the chicken until golden on each side, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set aside.
  • In the bottom of a slow cooker, combine the chipotle peppers, tomato paste, green chiles, and beer and whisk until well combined. Nestle the chicken into the sauce, cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6.
  • When cook time is complete, shred the chicken with two forks directly in the slow cooker or transfer the chicken to a rimmed baking sheet to shred with two forks (do not discard the remaining liquid in the slow cooker) and add the chicken back to the slow cooker. Serve with avocado crema.

Make the Avocado Crema:

  • In a blender or using an immersion blender, combine the avocado, jalapeno slices and brine, cilantro, garlic, lime juice, and salt. Set aside.
  • Serve as desired and top with the avocado crema.

35 Comments

  • Reply
    Susan
    October 24, 2022 at 7:31 pm

    5 stars
    This recipe was simple and delicious. Every recipe I have made of yours has always been a winner in our house. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Emily
    October 17, 2022 at 11:13 pm

    I am making this for 6 so 2 lbs of chicken thighs. It still says to use 1 modelo bottle. Is this accurate even though it’s less chicken thighs than serving 12 (4 pounds)?

  • Reply
    Emily
    October 17, 2022 at 3:42 pm

    I want to make this for 6 people. The recipe calls for the same amount of beer as serving for 12. Is this accurate even though it is less chicken?

  • Reply
    Lauren Dietrich
    October 17, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    5 stars
    These are SO good! And easy! And I just want to eat avocado crema with a spoon! You knocked it out of the park with this one, Alex! Will be on our weekly rotation!

  • Reply
    Meghan
    October 16, 2022 at 4:57 pm

    5 stars
    So tasty and easy to pull together! The crema was a hit – love the addition of the jarred jalapeños and brine, never would’ve thought to try that and it was so yummy!

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 18, 2022 at 1:10 am

      Thanks, Meghan!!

  • Reply
    Erin F
    October 16, 2022 at 2:37 am

    5 stars
    Made these tonight for a football get together and and the entire family loved them! I followed the recipe exactly. So flavorful!! Another winner recipe, Alex!

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 18, 2022 at 1:11 am

      Thank you, Erin!! Glad they were a winner!

  • Reply
    Susan
    October 12, 2022 at 10:06 pm

    5 stars
    Yum!!! Made this tonight and it was delicious! For the crockpot version, should the shredded chicken be added back to the pot/juices like you do for the Instapot version?

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 12, 2022 at 11:12 pm

      You can shred it directly in the slow cooker depending on the style of yours, but if not, yes, shred then add it back into the slow cooker! Just updated the directions. Glad you enjoyed this!!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    October 4, 2022 at 2:01 am

    5 stars
    Delicious!!! So flavorful.

  • Reply
    Rosemary
    October 4, 2022 at 12:27 am

    5 stars
    I always forget about my Instant Pot but I’ll definitely be making these again! The chicken is super tender & flavorful, the topping suggestions are spot on & the avocado crema is a total rockstar. Perfect for entertaining or a quick weeknight dinner with plenty of leftovers!!

  • Reply
    Dale
    October 3, 2022 at 2:17 am

    5 stars
    Wowza! I used skinless bone in chicken thighs and the bones easily fell away from the chicken when shredding. The chicken was spiced perfectly and the avocado crema had the perfect zing! Radish matchsticks and watercress added extra crunch and pep. Can’t wait to make this for friends!

  • Reply
    Ann
    October 2, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    5 stars
    Made exactly as described, delicious! This will be a family favorite, Thank you

  • Reply
    Kate
    October 2, 2022 at 10:43 pm

    5 stars
    Followed the recipe exactly and we loved it! So similar to carnitas but felt light enough to add into the regular rotation. Garnish suggestions were spot on!

  • Reply
    Sandy
    October 1, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    I’m not seeing the note about the chipotle pepper and adobe?

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 3, 2022 at 5:40 pm

      Oops, just removed! When recipe testing, I was going to make a note here then realized it was no longer needed. Thanks for catching!

  • Reply
    Kady
    September 30, 2022 at 1:18 am

    My avocado crema came out way too thick. Flavor is great! What can I add to loosen it up a bit?

    • Reply
      Alex
      September 30, 2022 at 5:35 pm

      You can add a bit more lime juice!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    September 29, 2022 at 5:33 pm

    Any suggestions to make this gluten free?

    • Reply
      Alex
      September 29, 2022 at 5:50 pm

      I would sub in low-sodium chicken broth for beer (still 12 ounces/1.5 cups) plus 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar should work here!

      • Reply
        Laurann
        October 6, 2022 at 3:44 pm

        5 stars
        I did the GF suggestion (for 18 servings haha) and it turned out so good.

        • Reply
          Alex
          October 6, 2022 at 4:08 pm

          Love that, perfect dish for a large crowd!

  • Reply
    Nicole
    September 29, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    Do you recommend freezing the leftovers?

    • Reply
      Alex
      September 29, 2022 at 4:59 pm

      Yes! This recipe freezes well!

      • Reply
        Analaura Carrillo
        October 4, 2022 at 5:52 pm

        Hi can this be made on stove top?

        • Reply
          Alex
          October 15, 2022 at 2:11 pm

          yes! if you do it in a dutch oven over low heat for 3-4 hours, should be great!

  • Reply
    Kim L.
    September 28, 2022 at 8:24 pm

    5 stars
    I made this with 3 pounds of chicken breast and multiplied the ingredients accordingly. Knowling that the chicken breasts would cook much quicker than thighs, I cooked on high in my pressure cooker for only 10 minutes and it is perfect. I also quartered the chicken breasts so that more surface area would be covered with the seasoning. Delicious!!! However, do not overcook if using chicken breasts instead of thighs.

  • Reply
    Julie
    September 28, 2022 at 12:24 pm

    Can I use any beer I have in my fridge? Like an IPA?

    • Reply
      Alex
      September 28, 2022 at 3:23 pm

      I would recommend a lighter beer for this! Like Modelo, Pacifico, Dos Equis etc. And IPA may be too strong/hoppy of a flavor for this.

  • Reply
    Renee
    September 27, 2022 at 11:44 pm

    Can you sub chicken breast? My husband refuses to eat thighs. I know-he doesn’t know what he’s missing

    • Reply
      Alex
      September 28, 2022 at 10:40 am

      haha, yes! You can here– they should still turn out very good

    • Reply
      kim
      September 28, 2022 at 8:28 pm

      5 stars
      Renee, I just made this recipe with 3 pounds of chicken breasts that I quartered and only cooked for 10 minutes. I think 15 minutes would have overcooked them, given that chicken breasts usually cook faster than thighs. Good luck!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    September 27, 2022 at 11:08 pm

    5 stars
    Saw this on Instagram, and had to make it!! It is so flavorful and delicious. Another keeper recipe by Alex. 😁

    • Reply
      Alex
      September 28, 2022 at 10:40 am

      Yay!! So glad!

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