Instant Pot Café Rio Chicken–this quickly cooked shredded chicken is perfect to serve with your Mexican dinners on salads, in burritos, in enchiladas or over rice.
Click here for the SLOW COOKER VERSION of this recipe
Instant Pot Café Rio Chicken
Today’s recipe for Instant Pot Café Rio Chicken goes along well with the Café Rio Cilantro Lime Rice I posted yesterday and the Café Rio Black Beans I posted a couple weeks ago. I guess I’m just a little obsessed with making Café Rio food at home! My favorite way to eat these recipes is to start with a large bed of romaine lettuce and then top with the rice, beans, tomatillo dressing, chicken and finally some tortilla chips. My favorite tortilla chips are called Juanita’s and they are super addicting! This is a great meal for anyone and can easily be made gluten free.
This Instant Pot Café Rio chicken is a super easy recipe because it literally only calls for 5 ingredients. I like to use a combination of chicken breasts and chicken thighs. The fat that is in the thighs balances out the dryness and lack of flavor that is typically associated with chicken breasts. You’ll need about 17 minutes of cooking time for the chicken to cook. Plus the pressure cooker will take about 10 minutes to come to pressure and then you’ll definitely want to let the pressure release naturally for at least another 5 minutes. So the total time in the pot is around 35 minutes.
More Café Rio Copycat Recipes
Instant Pot Café Rio Black Beans
Slow Cooker Café Rio Black Beans
Slow Cooker Café Rio Chicken Salad
Café Rio Tortilla Soup from Tried and Tasty
Café Rio Sweet Pork Quesadilla from Oh Sweet Basil
What Instant Pot/Slow Cooker Did You Use?
For this Instant Pot Instant Pot Café Rio Chicken recipe I used my 6 quart Instant Pot Duo 60 7 in 1*. I love this Instant Pot because it has the yogurt making function which I use almost weekly. It has two pressure settings (high and low), and there are also little slots in the handles so that you can rest the lid there instead of putting it down on your counter-top.
Click here for the SLOW COOKER VERSION of this recipePrint
Instant Pot Cafe Rio Chicken
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 17 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: Makes 15 servings 1x
- 1 cup Italian dressing
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 2 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen is okay)
- 2 1/2 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat (frozen is okay)
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Add the Italian dressing and the chicken broth to the pot. Add in the rest of the ingredients. Cover the pot and turn the valve to “sealing.” Push manual and adjust the time to 17 minutes.
- When the pressure cooker beeps let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and then remove the lid.
- Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and shred and then add the chicken back into juices inside the Instant Pot. Stir and then serve the chicken. You may need to salt and pepper to taste.
I used my 6 quart Instant Pot for this recipe an 8 quart would also work. If you want to use a 3 quart mini then you’ll need to cut the recipe in half or quarter the recipe.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Instant Pot
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Great addition to our family list of recipes. Spicy, not too spicy – tangy from the Italian dressing. Really great flavors. We serve ours over Basmati rice. Simple and tasty. Thank you!
You’re welcome Shelley!
Wow, I made this tonight for my family. Half ate the chicken over cilantro lime rice and the other half put it on a tortilla and topped it with your Creamy Tomatillo Ranch Dressing. I am pinning this to our family favorite board. Thanks!
It is a family favorite here too Allie! Glad yours like it 🙂
Kara Middleton says
5 pounds of chicken??
Yes this makes a ton! It’s perfect for serving a crowd. You can cut it in half if you’d like: https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/how-to-halve-instant-pot-recipes/
Best go-to instant pot recipe! Use it for lots of different meals–tacos, salads, nachos, etc. We”ve even had it with sauerkraut! Delicious!
Glad you like it Stephanie! It’s so easy that’s why I like it!
This is such a great recipe – we love it! Also, it freezes really well. We package it into smaller portions and then freeze it, but we use it so much it’s not in there for long! Super versatile chicken. Thanks!
Good idea on freezing it!
So, is this 5lbs of chicken or
‘Either’ chicken breast or thigh
It’s 5 total pounds, half breasts and half thighs.
Jill Scalzo says
Has been anyone tried this over rice or pasta?
I eat it with the cafe rio rice! it’s great.
Trina Perkins says
I wish that Nutritional information could be given in a different measurement that 1/15th .. i.e. like 1 cup. I guess you could weigh everything and then divide by 15 and then weight 15 portions of that weight out but who does that?
I love getting pressure cooker recipes from you. Like another reader, I don’t have an IP yet (but I have bought 3 for family members)….
Question: If I halve the recipe and use frozen chicken breast – do I use the same amount of other ingredients, i.e., Italian dressing, etc.?
Jack in Kailua
Just halve everything and keep the cooking time the same.
Do you think this could be made in a crockpot, and if so how long to cook. Don’t have an instant pot
Here is the slow cooker version Mary: https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/slow-cooker-chicken-rio-salad/
I’m in a time crunch does it have to be NPR? Will it alter it much with an instant release?
It won’t be as tender but you can do it if you’re in a hurry.
Scott Richhart says
This is a fantastic recipe! Thanks so much for making it available.
This turned out amazing! I used 2 very large frozen chicken breasts at 25 min with 15 min natural release. Mine did turn out a little spicy because I must have spicy chili powder but still was so good, very moist!
So glad you liked it Laura!
I bought whole chickens on sale….can this be made with a whole chicken? Would there be any changes in the process?
I bet you could cook the whole chicken and then just tear off all the meat from the bones. You’d definitely need to increase the cooking time for a whole chicken though. I would try out 25 minutes for a whole chicken.
For the Italian dressing, are you using oil based Italian? I’ve never eaten at a Cafe Rio, so am excited to give this a try.
Karleen Warkentin says
Is it soupy enough to serve over pasta, or is it ok to add a can of Cream of Chicken Soup at the end of cook time?
You could add a can of cream of chicken soup…that would work I think!
Tracy B says
It was delicious and easy to make.
Great to hear this Tracy!
Thalia Arellano says
Love this recipe it’s a super easy way to make chicken and my boyfriend begs me to make it every week!
So glad you and your boyfriend like it Thalia!!
So, no water. Just the Italian dressing. Do I put the chicken on a trivet and pour everything over the chicken? Or, no trivet and just pour the dressing and seasonings over the checkin and toss to coat?
No need to use a trivet. The Italian dressing seemed to be enough liquid for my pot to come to pressure. Just pour dressing in the pot add the chicken and seasonings and let it do it’s thing!
Can I use Lite or Fat free Italian dressing?
Yes you can.
My pot never sealed, even though I had it set on the seal button. It just kept venting, and then the screen said “burn”. I just wasted all my chicken. Maybe not enough liquid?
What size instant pot are you using?
Can I use all chicken breast. We don’t like the dark meat. Your recipes are awesome. I always look forward to checking to see whats next. Thank you soooo much. Do you have a good recipe for beef short ribs?
Sure you can use chicken breasts. And yes I have a recipe for short ribs: https://www.365daysofcrockpot.com/instant-pot-crock-pot-beef-short-ribs/
Hi, 5 lbs of chicken seems like too much for me. If i cook 2lbs what would you suggest for the cooking time?
You can halve the recipe but just keep the cooking time the same 🙂
I’m fairly new to the instant pot. Your recipe doesn’t have water added. Is there enough just in the chicken not to need the extra water for presure?
With the Italian dressing there is enough liquid for the pot to come to pressure.
We just got an insta pot and the Family wanted to try this chicken first and then make the “ramen” like build a bowl tortilla soup. We also are making slow process Dutch oven beef stew to have the appreciation of a meal prepped for the next day (chicken with friends) and the stew tonight. Planning on kids wanting soft chicken tacos and adults having soup. Some cilantro lime rice is next for pot fresh and ready when neighbors come over Sunday! I will post our pics and responses
New two instant pots. When you say “let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes”, do you mean that at the end of the cooking cycle the unit turns off and it seeps for 15 minutes and then you open the lid? Or is that when you let the unit go to keep warm for 15 minutes and then you turn it off and release the pressure?
You just let the until turn to the warm setting. Let it count up to 15 minutes. Then turn the valve to venting and let any remaining pressure escape and then open the lid. Welcome to the Instant Pot world!!
Stuart Kaufman says
What would go with this… rice, potatoes. vegies? I’m pretty much a new cook at age 73 🙂
Good for you! I serve with rice or sometimes on top of a salad.
Hi. This looks great and I’m excited to try it. I definitely don’t need 5 lbs of this, so can I freeze leftovers?
yep it freezes great!
Is it 5 lbs of chicken total? Or just 2 1/2 lbs of breasts OR 2 1/2 lbs of thighs?
5 lbs total…it makes a lot!
Michelle Troxel says
Hi. Made this and although yummy seemed to not have enough sauce I only used three chicken breasts that were halved. Can you suggest something? I have an 8 qt instant pot.
Could you double the sauce?
Sarah Babbel says
So no water? Just the dressing? Sorry I’m a instant pot beginner.
yep no water!
Made this last night and everyone loved it 🙂
Can this recipe be used with frozen chicken? If so, how long to pressure cook? Thanks
Sure thing. I would cook frozen chicken for maybe 25 minutes…if it’s not done you can always add more minutes. Let me know how it goes!
Do you recommend the chicken be frozen or thawed? Is the cookin time different for frozen chicken?
The recipe as written above is for thawed chicken. If you use frozen you’ll increase the cooking time by 5 minutes or so.
Tandy Hall says
I have made this twice and shared the recipe many times. Everyone has been amazed at the flavor! just delicious!!
So glad to hear this!
Hi! Great recipes! Love Café Rio! I’m intrigued by this recipe and that it calls for Italian dressing. What dressing did you use? I’d love to make this but the Italian dressing thing gave me pause! Lol
Hi Kristen, I just use whatever is on sale. Kraft, store brand,etc.
Do you use dry Italian dressing in the packet or wet Italian dressing?
wet, from the bottle
I love your instant pot recipes but I have another brand electric pressure cooker. Would the cooking times be the same? They look pretty accurate based on other recipes I’ve made. Thanks!
I’m sure the times would be very similar!!
I just wanted to thank you for all these wonderful instant pot recipes along with the slow cooker versions. I really appreciate all the information you give in using the instant pot each time. I really like my instant pot but was surprised how long the total cooking time was. These recipes are getting me interested in using it more.
You’re welcome Suzanne! Thanks so much. I am so glad that this is helpful to you 🙂
Roberta Rosen says
thank you for the instant pot recipes. I just go my pot and look forward to seeing more of these recipes.
You’re so very welcome, Roberta! It’s been a fun project for me 🙂