Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos (Video)
You may have had a chicken lettuce wrap, but have you ever cooked or eaten Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos? These delicious tacos use spicy shredded chicken that can be made in the Instant Pot or the Slow Cooker and they’re perfect for a low-carb meal!
These Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos are one of those recipes that every Instant Pot or slow cooker fan will appreciate, because once you’ve made the spicy shredded chicken there are endless ways to use it. When I first made this recipe I experimented with the cooking sauce to get just the right spicy flavor, and then we made the chicken lettuce wrap tacos with an amazing avocado salsa that was so tasty!
But you could also use this shredded chicken with my favorite low-carb tortillas to make regular tacos, chicken tostadas, burritos, or even enchiladas. And whether you make tacos or one of the other options, I think these chicken dinner ideas will taste great any time of year.
But if you do make this spicy chicken into chicken lettuce wraps or some other variation of tacos, please don’t skip the avocado salsa, which was the perfect thing to go with the spicy meat.
What ingredients do you need for this recipe?
(This is only a list of ingredients; please scroll down for complete printable recipe. Or if you use the JUMP TO RECIPE link at the top of the page, it will take you directly to the complete recipe.)
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- Pace Picante Sauce (affiliate link), or your favorite mild or medium low-sugar tomato salsa (see notes)
- chicken stock or canned chicken broth (affiliate link) (omit for slow cooker version)
- can of diced green chiles (affiliate link)
- Cholula Hot Sauce (affiliate link), or other Mexican hot sauce of your choice (see notes)
- fresh-squeezed lime juice, I used my fresh-frozen lime juice
- Onion Powder (affiliate link)
- iceberg lettuce
- chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
- chopped red onion
What gives these chicken lettuce wrap tacos the spicy flavor?
I think using Pace Picante Sauce (affiliate link), diced green chiles (affiliate link), and a touch of Cholula Hot Sauce (affiliate link) in the cooking liquid gives these chicken tacos the perfect amount of spicy goodness. I would say these are old mildly spicy, but if you’re not into spicy food you might want to skip the hot sauce or use a bit less. And please don’t skip the lime juice that also adds so much flavor.
Will you make this chicken in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot?
I first made this spicy chicken to serve in a chicken lettuce wrap in the slow cooker (many years ago!) But now many of you would make this in the Instant Pot, so when I made it that way recently I took new photos to update the recipe with better Instant Pot directions.
Want more Keto Instant Pot ideas?
If you love using the Instant Pot check out Favorite Keto Instant Pot Recipes for more delicious ideas.
How to make Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos in the Instant Pot:
(This is a summary of the steps for making spicy chicken in the Instant Pot, check the recipe below for complete instructions including nutritional information.)
- Trim the chicken breasts and cut lengthwise into strips.
- Put the chicken strips into the Instant Pot.
- Mix salsa, chicken stock, diced green chiles, onion powder, hot sauce, lime juice, and onion powder to make the spicy sauce.
- Pour sauce over the chicken breasts.
- Lock the lid and set the Instant Pot to MANUAL, HIGH PRESSURE, 8 minutes.
- When the time is up, let the Instant Pot NATURAL RELEASE for 10 minutes; then turn the valve to release the rest of the pressure manually.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove chicken strips to a cutting board. Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE/LOW HEAT, to cook down the sauce in the pot while you pull the chicken apart into chunks with two forks.
- When sauce has reduced (about 5-10 minutes) put chicken back into the Instant Pot with the sauce and let it warm and absorb the sauce for a few minutes.
How to make Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos in the Slow Cooker:
(This is a summary of the steps for making the spicy chicken in the slow cooker; check the recipe below for complete instructions.)
- Trim chicken breasts, and cut lengthwise into strips.
- Arrange the chicken in the slow cooker.
- Mix together the salsa, diced green chiles, onion powder, hot sauce, lime juice, and onion powder. (No chicken stock is needed for the slow cooker version.)
- Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken.
- Cook in the slow cooker on LOW HEAT for about 5 hours, or until chicken is very tender.
- Remove chicken from slow cooker with a slotted spoon, let it cool; then shred chicken apart with two forks. (Turn the slow cooker to high and leave the lid partly off while you’re shredding chicken.)
- Then put the shredded chicken back into the slow cooker, stir to combine with the sauce, and let it heat up again while you prep your other ingredients.
Making avocado salsa and assembling Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos:
- Squeeze the lime juice (or use fresh-frozen lime juice like I did) and chop the red onion and the cilantro.
- Peel avocado and cut into pieces; then toss with the lime juice.
- Add the chopped red onion and chopped cilantro to the avocado and lime juice, and stir gently to combine.
- For these lettuce wrap tacos, we like Iceberg lettuce. Cut a head of lettuce in half and wash it in the salad spinner if needed, but most Iceberg lettuce won’t need to be washed.
- Peel lettuce apart to make “cups”, using two pieces of lettuce for each cup. (I trim the edges a bit with Kitchen Shears, but if you’re not taking photos you probably won’t need to do that!)
- To make the lettuce wrap tacos, fill each lettuce “cup” with some shredded chicken, and put a generous scoop of avocado salsa on top. Fold over the lettuce and eat with your hands.
More Tacos in the Instant Pot:
What Instant Pot and Slow Cooker Do I Use?
I use a 6 Quart Instant Pot for all my Instant Pot Recipes. I used my Crock-Pot 3-1/2-Quart Slow Cooker for this recipe, and you need one that’s close to this size. Click for Slow Cooker / Pressure Cooker Recipes on my other site!
Spicy Chicken Tacos:
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut into strips lengthwise (see notes)
- 1 cup mild or medium low-sugar tomato salsa (see notes)
- 1/4 cup chicken stock (omit for slow cooker version)
- 1 7 oz. can diced green chiles, not drained (see notes)
- 1 T Cholula hot sauce, or other Mexican hot sauce of your choice (see notes)
- 2 T fresh-squeezed lime juice (see notes)
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 2 heads iceberg lettuce, washed if needed
- 2 medium avocados, diced into small pieces
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (more or less to taste)
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed lime juice (or maybe a bit less if you're not a big fan of lime)
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Trim visible fat and other unwanted parts from chicken breasts and cut each one into three or four strips lengthwise. Spray the inside of the Instant Pot with olive oil or non-stick spray and arrange the chicken strips in the pot.
- Combine the salsa, chicken stock, diced green chiles, onion powder, hot sauce, lime juice, and onion powder to make the spicy sauce. Pour over the chicken in the Instant Pot.
- Lock the lid, set the Instant Pot to MANUAL, HIGH PRESSURE, 8 minutes.
- When the 8 minutes cooking time has finished, let the Instant Pot NATURAL RELEASE for 10 minutes, then turn the valve to quick release the rest of the pressure.
- Remove the chicken strips to a cutting board to cool. Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE/LOW HEAT and let the liquid simmer until it’s cooked down to about 1/2 cup. (This takes about 5-10 minutes.) While the liquid reduces, use two forks to shred chicken apart.
- Peel and dice the avocados and toss with the lime juice (in a bowl that’s big enough for all the salsa ingredients.) Add the chopped cilantro and chopped red onion and stir gently to combine.
- Cut iceberg lettuce heads in half and wash in salad spinner if needed. Peel off two pieces of lettuce to make a "cup" and fill with a scoop of chicken mixture and a scoop of avocado salsa. Eat tacos with your hands.
Slow Cooker Instructions:
- Trim visible fat and other unwanted parts from chicken breasts and cut each one into three or four strips lengthwise. Spray the inside of the slow cooker with olive oil or non-stick spray and arrange the chicken strips in the bottom.
- Mix together the salsa, diced green chiles, onion powder, hot sauce, lime juice, and onion powder. DO NOT ADD THE CHICKEN STOCK if you're cooking in the slow cooker
- Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and cook on low for about 5 hours, or until chicken is very tender. (You can cook for a shorter time on high, but I thought cooking on low gave more tender chicken.)
- When the chicken is done, remove to a cutting board with a slotted spoon. Turn the slow cooker to high and leave the lid partly off so steam can evaporate and cook down the sauce.
- Use two forks to pull the chicken apart into chunks or shredded chicken pieces.
- Put the chicken back into the slow cooker, stir to combine with the sauce, and let it heat back up while you prepare other ingredients. (If there seems to be a lot of sauce in the slow cooker, you can cook the sauce down in a pan on the stove, but I just scooped chicken out with a slotted spoon when I assembled the tacos.)
- Make the avocado salsa and lettuce-wrap tacos same as above.
We used about 2 lbs. boneless chicken for this recipe. I used my fresh-frozen lime juice. I used Pace Picante Sauce Medium, which is a good low-sugar salsa. You may wish to use Mild salsa if you're making for kids.
The diced green chiles (affiliate link) are Anaheim chiles; use a 4 oz. can if you want less spicy tacos. Start with 1 tablespoon of hot sauce and taste the mixture on your finger to see if you want more.
This spicy shredded chicken can also be used with my favorite low-carb tortillas to make regular tacos, chicken tostadas, burritos, or even enchiladas.
This recipe created by Kalyn.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 317Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 170mgCarbohydrates: 11.3gFiber: 6gSugar: 30gProtein: 22g
Nutrition information is automatically calculated by the Recipe Plug-In I am using. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee 100% accuracy, since many variables affect those calculations.
Low-Carb Diet / Low-Glycemic Diet / South Beach Diet Suggestions:
Spicy Shredded Chicken Lettuce Wrap Tacos made with a low-sugar salsa would be approved for low-carb and Keto eating plans, including all phases of the original South Beach Diet. The salsa does have some carbs, but you’re only eating the amount of sauce that clings to the chicken.
Find More Recipes Like This One:
Use Lettuce Wraps to find more dinners like this one. Use the Diet Type Index to find recipes suitable for a specific eating plan. You might also like to follow Kalyn’s Kitchen on Pinterest, on Facebook, on Instagram, on TikTok, or on YouTube to see all the good recipes I’m sharing there.