Pulled Chicken Tacos

Pulled Chicken Tacos

The Spruce / Laurel Randolph

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 30 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
942 Calories
21g Fat
113g Carbs
71g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 942
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 26%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 146mg 49%
Sodium 1523mg 66%
Total Carbohydrate 113g 41%
Dietary Fiber 7g 26%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 71g
Vitamin C 4mg 18%
Calcium 124mg 10%
Iron 9mg 50%
Potassium 794mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Pulled chicken tacos are an easy stress-free weeknight meal that doesn't sacrifice on flavor. Whether you have chicken breasts or chicken thighs in your fridge, this simple recipe can be made with white or dark meat. There are also instructions for preparing the chicken in an Instant Pot (or another electric pressure cooker) or a slow cooker.

No matter how you choose to cook the shredded chicken, you'll end up with a tender, flavorful filling for tacos with minimal effort. Top your tacos with your choice of salsa, avocado, cheese, or all of the above. Or make a toppings bar so everyone can choose their own!


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or thighs

  • 1 small onion, peeled and quartered

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

  • Corn or flour tortillas, warmed, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Pulled chicken taco ingredients
     The Spruce / Laurel Randolph
  2. Add the chicken in a single layer to a deep skillet. Add the onion, garlic, and broth. Season with salt and pepper.

    Pulled chicken tacos
     The Spruce / Laurel Randolph
  3. Over medium heat, barely bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Partially cover. Skim any foam that forms off the top and flip the chicken over if needed. Cook the chicken breasts for 10 to 15 minutes, or until just cooked through. Do not overcook. Cook thighs at a low simmer for 30 minutes, or until tender and cooked through. Drain and reserve the broth, discarding the onion and garlic.

    Pulled chicken tacos
    The Spruce / Laurel Randolph
  4. Shred the meat with two forks or let cool enough to shred with your hands. Add 1/4 cup of the reserved broth (save the rest for soup), chili powder, cumin, and paprika to the pan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the broth is simmering. Add the shredded chicken and stir well. Turn off the heat.

    Pulled chicken tacos
    The Spruce / Laurel Randolph
  5. Add the lime juice, stir, and taste for seasoning. Add salt and pepper as needed.

    Pulled chicken tacos
    The Spruce / Laurel Randolph
  6. Serve on warm tortillas with your choice of toppings.

Recipe Variations

  • To make in an Instant Pot, follow steps 1 and 2. For chicken breasts: cook at high pressure for 5 minutes and use a natural release. For chicken thighs: cook at high pressure for 10 minutes and use a natural release. Follow the remaining steps as written, using your pot's sauté function or the stovetop.
  • To make in a slow cooker, follow steps 1 and 2. For chicken breasts: cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. For chicken thighs: cook on low for 5 to 6 hours. Shred the chicken and add it back to the slow cooker along with 1/2 cup broth and the spices. Cook an additional 30 minutes to an hour on high and serve.