These Baked Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos are loaded with Instant Pot pulled chicken cooked in salsa verde, monterey jack cheese, and baked to perfection for an extra crispy shell. This is one of my favorite easy weeknight dinners. And don’t forget to garnish these with lots of pickled jalapeños, onions, sour cream, and extra cilantro!
We have taco night or Mexican food at least once a week in my house. This is why you will find lots of Tex Mex inspired recipes on the blog. I cook and share with you exactly the recipes we are cooking and eating for dinner.
My husband is all about soft flour tortillas and I prefer a crispy taco shell or fried corn tortilla. What about you? We have very different palettes which makes cooking super fun! 😉 Not really haha.
So this recipe encompasses my perfect crispy cheesy chicken taco. I wanted the chicken to have a little extra punch of flavor so that's why I toss it in the fresh lime juice and cilantro after it cooks. This way those flavors do not get lost.
My favorite part is the browned cheese that crisps up on the pan. You bet I am picking it off and eating it with my hands. So good.
- Simple ingredients and easy to make
- Great for taco night
- Kid friendly
- Crispy taco shells
- Lots of melty cheese
- Loaded with fresh cilantro and lime
- Chicken Breasts: Substitute for boneless skinless chicken thighs.
- Corn Tortillas: Substitute for store-bought hard taco shells. You will only need to bake these for 5-10 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Monterey Jack Cheese: Substitute for mild cheddar, colby jack, or pepper jack cheese.
Complete list of ingredients and amounts is located on the recipe card below.
before you start . . .
- Wash and pat dry the cilantro. Be sure to dry the cilantro well so that excess water does not get added into the chicken. No need to discard the stems because they have just as much flavor as the leaves.
- Shred your cheese. For the best flavor and melt, do not use pre-shredded cheese.
Step 1: Place chicken in the Instant Pot. Pour salsa on top and sprinkle the salt, garlic, and cumin on top.
Step 2: Select Pressure Cook (manual) and High Pressure. Set to 15 minutes. Let the pot release pressure naturally (valve still switched to sealing) for 10 minutes. Then, quick release (valve switched to venting).
TIP - Season the chicken after you add the salsa so the seasoning remains on top of the chicken.
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees while the chicken is cooking. Remove the chicken from the liquid and shred. Add the cilantro and lime juice to shredded chicken.
Step 4: Grease a baking sheet generously with olive oil. Microwave corn tortillas covered with a damp paper towel for 30-60 seconds or until pliable. Assemble each taco.
TIP - Do not add any of the liquid from the Instant Pot back into the shredded chicken. This makes the tacos too wet.
Step 5: Place on a grease baking sheet. Brush tops lightly with oil or spray.
Step 6: Bake for 10 minutes. Flip. Bake for another 5 minutes. Broil on high for a few minutes for extra crispy tacos.
TIP - Keep a close eye on the tacos as they broil so they do not burn.
Expert Tips & Recipe Notes
- Be sure to let the pot naturally release pressure for 10 minutes. During this time the chicken is still cooking and getting more tender. Keep the valve on sealing for 10 minutes after pressure cooking.
- Use a hand mixer to shred your chicken. This is a super quick and easy way to shred chicken breasts. It may sound odd, but it does the trick.
- Do not add any of the cooking liquid back into the chicken. The excess moisture will cause the taco shells to become soggy in the oven. Remove the chicken from the liquid before shredding.
- Corn tortillas break easily. This is why you have to microwave them. This helps them stay pliable. You can also use a wet paper towel to add some moisture back into the tortillas if they keep cracking.
- Grease the baking sheet. Be sure to spray the sheet with nonstick cooking spray or rub a little oil onto it so the tacos do not stick.
- Broil for extra crispy tacos. I like my tacos to get slightly charred on top so I usually broil them for a few minutes at the end. Watch them closely or set a timer because they will brown quickly. You can also skip this step.
Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the air fryer or oven for best results.
The only thing that can be prepared in advance is the chicken. You can cook and shred it the day before. I recommend making the tacos right before serving so they are crispy.
It is likely that you used too much oil to grease them/the baking sheet or you added cooking liquid back into the shredded chicken.
Yes. The weight of the chicken reduces by 25% during cooking. So you will need a little less than a pound of cooked chicken. You will not need the salsa since the chicken is already cooked. If the chicken was cooked with salt, just add the cumin, garlic, lime, and cilantro to the cooked chicken. Follow the rest of the recipe as instructed.
Yes. This warms them and makes them nice and crispy. Hard taco shells work perfectly for this recipe.
Like I mentioned above you can use two forks to pull the meat apart or you can use a hand mixer. Make sure you place the chicken in a large sturdy bowl. Set the mixer to the lowest speed to start.
I recommend mexican rice, chips & salsa, or a simple salad. Serve the tacos with sour cream, queso, lettuce, tomato, cilantro, pickled vegetables, or any of your favorite taco fixings.
Baked Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos
- 1 ¼ pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 2*
- 1 cup salsa verde
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ cup chopped cilantro leaves & stems
- 1 lime, juiced
- 12 corn tortillas*
- 1 ½ - 2 cups 6-8 ounces shredded monterey jack cheese*
- oil spray
- Review all recipe notes and instructions before beginning.
- Place chicken in the Instant Pot. Pour salsa on top and sprinkle the salt, garlic, and cumin on top.
- Select Pressure Cook (manual) and High Pressure. Set to 15 minutes. Let the pot release pressure naturally (valve still switched to sealing) for 10 minutes. Then, quick release (valve switched to venting).
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees while the chicken is cooking. Remove the chicken from the liquid and shred. Add the cilantro and lime juice to shredded chicken.
- Grease a baking sheet generously with olive oil. Microwave corn tortillas covered with a damp paper towel for 30-60 seconds or until pliable. Assemble each taco.
- Place on a grease baking sheet. Brush tops lightly with oil or spray.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Flip. Bake for another 5 minutes. Broil on high for a few minutes for extra crispy tacos.
Our family absolutely loves these tacos. The chicken is fantastic but what we love most is this method of making tacos. We have branched out and tried other fillings. They are in our weekly rotation. Added bonus... so easy to prepare ahead of time + the freeze super well
Thank you so much Emily!!