Instant Pot Chicken With Cumin-Chile Sauce

March 11, 2019

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This super-simple yet flavorful Mexican-style chicken will add great pizzazz to your dinner table. It’s a great way to change up your chicken game! It’s fast, delicious, and extremely flavorful. When you start making this dish, you’ll be sure you’re putting waaayyy too much spice in it. You’re not, as long as you use chili powder, which is a mix of ground cumin, cayenne, and a few other things. If it’s not available where you are, use ½ to 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon oregano, and a ½ teaspoon sweet smoked paprika instead. Shred the chicken a bit more when it’s done if you’re using it for tacos, or serve it over rice.

Excerpted from INSTANT POT FAST & EASY © 2019 by Urvashi Pitre. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Urvashi Pitre

Food52 Review: Featured in: 10 Instant Pot Chicken Recipes for Comforting Dinners All Week Long.The Editors

Serves: 8
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min


  • 4 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 (5-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapeños, drained
  • 3 garlic cloves (minced)
In This Recipe


  1. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, chili powder, and salt. Place the chicken in a large bowl. Sprinkle the chicken with the spice mixture. Toss well to coat.
  2. Select SAUTÉ on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot, add the oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Select CANCEL.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices, onion, tomato paste, jalapeños, and garlic to the pot. Stir to combine.
  4. Secure the lid on the pot. Close the pressure-release valve. Select MANUAL and set the pot at HIGH pressure for 15 minutes.At the end of the cooking time, allow the pot to sit undisturbed for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. Serve with tortillas, sour cream, and guacamole, or over zucchini noodles.

More Great Recipes:
Mexican|Chicken Breast|Chile Pepper|Chicken|Instant Pot|Dinner|Entree

Reviews (6) Questions (0)

6 Reviews

Hindrek March 20, 2019
We found this dish to be overly salty and I got the “burn” warning on the instant pot as there simply wasn’t enough liquid in the pot. It was tasty, sure, but not one for my recipe files.
Author Comment
Urvashi P. March 20, 2019
I would love to help you troubleshoot this. It actually makes a TON of sauce when made exactly per the directions.

A few questions. Is it possible you forgot an ingredient? Is your chicken organic and therefore less likely to release water? Do you have an 8 quart? Is it possible your seal was leaking therefore letting water evaporate?

If you have an 8 quart you may need to double the recipe or add 1/c cup of water.
Matthew E. March 18, 2019
It is one of my favorite recipes now! Thank you for it! It looks delicious and flavourful that i want to taste it again!
rainbow G. March 12, 2019
Woohoo for this recipe! I almost followed it exactly, which is pretty good for me, and it was fabulous. My changes were using frozen chicken breasts (boneless/skinless) and not doing any of the steps. I stirred everything together, put it in the instant pot for 21 minutes, 10 minutes npr, open, shred chicken, mix back in. It was very delicious and my non chicken eating teenager had a hearty portion! Thanks for posting.
Thibau K. March 11, 2019
This is one of the more practical sweet chicken dishes I’ve seen because you can take just a as much as you want. I think this would be perfect if it is served with some rice or maybe some mashed potatoes. I am definetly showing this to my mother so she can make it. It just looks amazing. I hope my mother doesn't screw it up so I can taste this delicious dish. I'm definetly gonna check out some more of your recipes. Keep up the good work.

Thibau K.
sapna C. March 11, 2019
wow! such a mouthwatering recipe. It looks so delicious and flavourful. thank you so much for sharing, step by step with nice images. I Will definitely try this one. check for INDIAN FOOD AND RECIPES