By Jennifer Dorsett
Here’s our basic recipe for Instant Pot jalapeño popper chicken. Simple steps. Loads of flavor.
You can spend a little time prepping if you like the texture and extra flavor browning the meat brings, or you can simply dump all the ingredients in the pot, turn it on and get going with the rest of your evening. It’s totally up to you!
Note: This recipe was made using an Instant Pot pressure cooker, but any brand will work. There are multiple videos and articles online that may help you convert the modes suggested for the Instant Pot to your model.
Instant Pot jalapeño popper shredded chicken
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
8 slices bacon, roughly diced (see note at start of recipe)
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup chicken broth
1 7-oz. can pickled sliced jalapeños, diced, 1/4 cup juice reserved
1-oz. package dry ranch dressing mix (2 TBS.)
Salt and pepper to taste
16 oz. cream cheese, cut into pieces and softened
2 cups shredded cheddar or colby jack cheese
2 green onions, sliced
There are two ways to do this: the fast way and the faster way. If you’re in a hurry or just don’t feel up to it, it’s okay to skip the first two steps. You may even want to use a package of bacon bits instead of cooking the bacon. There’s no judgement here!
First, turn the pressure cooker on “sauté” mode. Once it is ready (the Instant Pot will beep when it has warmed enough), add the bacon and cook until done to your liking. Set bacon aside to cool and crumble later while chicken is cooking.
Carefully lift out the stainless-steel insert using heat-safe gloves and pour off some of the bacon grease, leaving a small amount in the bottom to brown the chicken breasts in. Return the insert to pot. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then brown chicken for about 2-3 minutes on each side.
Remove chicken breasts and pour out any remaining bacon grease. Do not rinse insert before returning it to the pressure cooker.
Tip: If you choose to skip the above steps, simply start with raw chicken breasts in the next step and add salt and pepper then. You can even use frozen chicken breasts, just add another 5-15 minutes to the cook time.
For reference, my 6-qt. Instant Pot model can cook two pounds of frozen meat in about 30 minutes.
Place chicken in the Instant Pot and add chicken broth, jalapeno juice, pickled jalapenos and ranch seasoning.
Place lid on and set to “manual” for 15 minutes.
When the timer indicates the cook cycle is complete, move the valve over to “venting” to quickly release the pressure. Use caution as the steam released from the valve is very warm and can burn you! I usually set the pressure cooker on or near the stovetop, so I can direct the steam toward the range vent to help avoid condensation building up on my cabinets.
Carefully remove the insert and pour all the liquid into a heat-safe glass measuring cup. Set the liquid aside before returning insert to Instant Pot. Break apart the chicken breasts using a wooden spatula to roughly “chop” them or by using two forks to shred the chicken. Or you may remove the chicken breasts to a cutting board and chop it into bite-sized pieces using a knife and then putting the chicken back in the pot. The spatula or fork method will result in a shredded look, while the rough chop will give the final dish a chunkier, less uniform appearance.
Pour about 1 cup liquid back onto chicken, being careful not to splash hot liquid onto yourself. Set the remaining liquid aside in case you need to thin the mixture later.
Add cream cheese and cheddar cheese and stir well. Set the lid back on and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to melt the cheeses. Stir again until thoroughly mixed.
Optional: stir in sliced green onions just prior to serving.
This is delicious served on slider buns or rolls, or if you’re following a low-carb diet, it can be served on lettuce leaves or in a low-carb wrap. Jalapeño popper shredded chicken can also be served over pasta or vegetable noodles.
It’s even good served cold the next day on sandwich bread, similar to chicken salad.
Here’s hoping fall temps move our way soon. In the meantime, from our Texas TableTop family to yours, be well and stay safe!