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Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas

Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas are such an easy weeknight meal. Toss the chicken in the delicious spice mix, top with the peppers and onion and let the Instant Pot do the rest of the work. It’s sure to become a family favourite!

Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas in a white serving bowl with handles, garnished with lime and chopped cilantro.

This recipe has been tested way more times than I’d like to admit (let’s just say we’ve eaten a lot of fajitas over the last little while). I wanted to find a method for making fajitas in the Instant Pot that didn’t completely dissolve the delicate peppers or result in a mixture that was too “soupy” and bland.

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I tried pot-in-pot to solve the liquid issue, but it was hard to fit enough chicken in a nice layer in the inner pot, resulting in uneven cooking. In the end, I kept it simple by cooking everything right in the insert, but minimized added liquid and cook time to give the tastiest result.

Fair warning – the peppers will be on the soft side if you cook them in the Instant Pot. If you prefer crunchy peppers, I suggest sticking to stovetop or baked methods for fajitas. See all my tips for success toward the end of the post!

Ingredients

Below is an overview of ingredients and the steps to make fajitas. See the recipe card below for the detailed quantities and instructions!

For the seasoning

In a pinch, you can use a packet of fajita seasoning. I do find that you need a little more seasoning in a pressure cooker to get big flavour, so I recommend making your own using the spices below. It’s worth the extra couple minutes of prep time!

  • Cornstarch – to thicken the sauce. You can leave it out, if you prefer not to use it.
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Smoked paprika – regular paprika works too
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

For the fajitas

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts – cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • Olive oil – to help the seasoning stick to the chicken and not stick to the insert.
  • Bell peppers – thinly sliced. I prefer the sweeter taste of red, orange and yellow, but green also works!
  • Red onion – thinly sliced. A small onion, or half of a medium/large onion.
  • Chicken broth or water – you need a small amount of additional liquid to avoid a burn warning.
  • Lime juice – this adds really nice flavour. The fajitas are great without lime too, just be sure to add more broth/water to replace the liquid if you skip it.
Labelled ingredients for Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas viewed from overhead.

How to make Instant Pot chicken fajitas

First, mix together all the ingredients for the seasoning mix in a small bowl.

Next, in a medium bowl, add the sliced chicken and olive oil. Mix until the chicken is coated, then sprinkle in the seasoning. Continue to mix until the chicken is evenly coated in all the seasoning.

Layer the seasoned chicken in the bottom of the insert, then pour in the broth and lime juice. Layer the peppers and onion on top.

Close the lid, set the vent to sealing and pressure cook on High for 4 minutes. At the end of cooking time, quick release the pressure.

Give it all a stir and let the mixture rest for a few minutes for the sauce to thicken, if desired. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, leaving the excess liquid in the pot. Serve with your favourite garnishes.

Chicken fajita filling in an Instant Pot being scooped with a wooden spoon.

Tips for Success

Make your own spice mix. This seasoning mixture is super flavourful, so I highly recommend it over the store-bought packet.

Season the chicken in a separate bowl. If you mix the chicken with the seasoning in the pot, it can cause a burn warning (I speak from experience haha). I usually hate dirtying an extra bowl, but it’s worth it in this case!

Layer the chicken in straight pieces. If you care about having straight chicken pieces, place them in the Instant Pot that way. Whatever shape they’re in before cooking, will be the shape after cooking!

Don’t skip the added liquid. In an effort to reduce the “soupiness” of the final result, I tried many experiments, including pot-in-pot and no added liquid. You definitely need the quarter cup of extra liquid in an 8-quart model to avoid a burn warning and I recommend it for the 6-quart, to be safe. You don’t need more added liquid because the chicken, peppers and onion all release liquid while cooking.

Quick release. Normally, I like to let my chicken natural release for a bit, but in this recipe it would cause the peppers to get way too soft. Quick release is the way to go!

Give it a broil. If you prefer a crispier texture to your fajitas, you could carefully transfer the mixture to a baking sheet using a slotted spoon, top with some of cooking liquid, toss, then broil for 3-5 minutes.

Instant Pot chicken fajita filling in stacked folded tortillas on a white plate.

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Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas in a white bowl with handles.

Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas

Laura Lawless, BASc
Instant Pot Chicken Fajitas are such an easy weeknight meal. Toss the chicken in the delicious spice mix, top with the peppers and onion and let the Instant Pot do the rest of the work. It's sure to become a family favourite!
5 from 2 votes
Servings 4
Calories 273
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 mins
Inactive time 20 mins
Total Time 39 mins

Ingredients

For the seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder

For the fajitas

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thinly sliced (1/2-inch pieces) (three 8-ounce breasts)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup chicken broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (juice of one lime)
  • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced (red, yellow or orange)
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced

For serving

  • tortillas
  • avocado
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • salsa
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • lime wedges
  • fresh cilantro

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl, mix all the seasoning ingredients until well combined.
  • Place the sliced chicken in a medium bowl. Add the olive oil, stir to coat, then sprinkle in the spices. Gently mix it up until the chicken is evenly coated in spices. Tip: don't do this mixing right in the Instant Pot – the spices can stick to the bottom of the insert and cause a burn warning.
  • Layer the seasoned chicken evenly along the bottom of the Instant Pot insert. Pour in the broth and lime juice. Layer the bell peppers and onion on top of the chicken.
  • Close the lid and set the vent to sealing. Pressure cook on Manual High pressure for 4 minutes (your Instant Pot may have a "Pressure Cook" button rather than a "Manual" button, depending on the model). It will take 10-15 minutes to come to pressure.
  • At the end of cooking time, quick release the pressure. Give it a stir to coat the peppers in onion in the sauce. You can let it rest for a few minutes to let the sauce thicken slightly, if desired. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, leaving excess liquid in the pot. Serve with your favourite garnishes. Store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Notes

  1. Inactive time indicates the time it takes for the Instant Pot to come to pressure and release pressure. 
  2. This recipe was tested in both 6-quart and 8-quart Instant Pot models. 
  3. Nutrition estimate does not include the ingredients in the “For Serving” section. 

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Equipment

Instant Pot (8 qt)
Measuring Spoons
Juicer
Scoop Colander

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 273kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 801mg | Potassium: 840mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2467IU | Vitamin C: 82mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg
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Hey, I’m Laura!

Creator of The Recipe Well


I love food and cooking, but hate doing the dishes. I use my nutrition degree to create easy, approachable recipes that will help you find your happy place in the kitchen.

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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. Hi Laura! Can’t wait to try this! Do you think it would be an okay recipe to freeze? Thinking about making extra for an upcoming camping trip.

    1. Laura Lawless, BASc says:

      Hi Madison, I think you *could* freeze this, but I suspect the peppers won’t hold up that well during reheating. They’re fairly soft from pressure cooking. Probably best to enjoy this one right away. Hope you have a great camping trip!

  2. 5 stars
    Made this last night. It was so delicious. The seasoning was perfect. I have enough left over for tonight. Will definitely be making this again soon.

    1. Laura Lawless, BASc says:

      Thrilled to hear this! Thanks for leaving a review!

  3. 5 stars
    This was so delicious and so easy to make! Highly recommend.

    1. Laura Lawless, BASc says:

      So happy you enjoyed it, Kim!