Chili Lime Chicken is moist, tender, and bursting with flavor. This chicken is savory and sweet with a little bit of heat. It is perfect for salads, burritos, tacos, pasta, and more.

Having a delicious protein on hand for quick dinners is a necessity for anyone trying to eat healthier. Paleo Chili Lime Chicken is a favorite at our house because it is quick, easy, & delicious. Anything that I can make in an Instant Pot quickly becomes a favorite. Even better, my chili lime chicken is Paleo, Keto, and perfect for a Whole30.

A white bowl of diced chicken and onions with chili lime seasoning with a red cloth napkin and a bottle of Tajin seasoning on a gray wooden background.

The fastest and easiest way to make Paleo Chili Lime Chicken is by using an Instant Pot. It is hands-free and you are always guaranteed perfect chicken.

Don’t Have an Instant Pot?

Don’t worry if you do not have an Instant Pot – you can make this chicken in your oven or slow-cooker. (Bake at 375°F for 20-25 minutes or cook in your slow cooker on low for 4 – 6 hours.)

Table of Contents

🥘 Ingredient Notes

An image of ingredients for chili lime chicken - Tajin seasoning, kosher salt, onion, and sliced chicken breast.

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🥣 How to Make It

Chili lime chicken is so easy to make. If you have never made chicken in an Instant Pot, read this shredded chicken post for some more tips.

First, slice your chicken in half horizontally. The best way to do this is to place your palm on your chicken breast and then slice all the way through like you are cutting a bagel or a roll in half. (You can also buy chicken filets or cutlets that are already thinly sliced. If you don’t want to cut your chicken breasts in half, follow the same cooking steps but your cooking time will increase.) 

Next, place your chicken on a plate or in a bowl and coat completely on both sides with Tajin Seasoning and a sprinkle of salt. (Picture 2)

Tajin seasoning has a lot of flavor and will make some awesome chicken – especially if you give it some time to marinate. I recommend that you cover the chicken and place it in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes. If you are in a rush, you can cook it right away, but I like it better if it sits for a bit. While your chicken is soaking up all the goodness of the Tajin seasoning, chop up your onions. You can dice them or slice them – whichever you prefer – both ways work well.

Next, heat up your Instant Pot by pressing the saute button (Picture 3), then add 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil and get that nice and hot. (Picture 4)

It won’t take long to heat up – a minute or less should do the trick, as the inner pot of the Instant Pot is pretty thin.

Once your oil gets warm, lay your chicken breasts in your Instant Pot and sear for 2-3 minutes. (Picture 5)

Next, flip the chicken and sear the other side. You are not trying to cook the chicken, just giving it a quick sear to seal in the moisture and get a nice crust on the outside. (Pictures 5 – 6)

A process collage of images for making chili lime chicken an instant pot, steps 6 - 10.

Once all your chicken is seared, add your onions and then press your “Off ” or “Cancel/Keep Warm” button. (Picture 6 – 8) If you have a lot of pieces of chicken, sear them a few at a time until all are cooked. Return all of the chicken to the pot before adding onions.

Next, put the lid on and close your Instant Pot, making sure your vent is closed.

A process collage of images for making chili lime chicken an instant pot, steps 6 - 10.

Press your “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” button and set the Instant Pot to High Pressure for 7 minutes. (Picture 9) If you don’t cut your chicken in half, set your Instant Pot to cook for 14 minutes.

When the time is up, turn your Instant Pot off and let the pressure reduce naturally. Open the lid only when the pin has dropped.

Remove your chicken breasts and let them cool. Dice or shred your chicken and return it to the cooking liquids to keep all the good flavors. (Picture 10) (When I shred my chicken, I like to use my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.)

A white bowl of diced chicken and onions with chili lime seasoning with a red cloth napkin and a bottle of Tajin seasoning on a gray wooden background.

🥫 Storage/Shelf Life/Reheating

Once cooked, chili lime chicken must be refrigerated. Wait for it to cool and store the chicken and onions in their cooking liquids in an airtight container. Enjoy within 3 – 4 days or freeze for up to 6 months.

🍳 Serving Suggestions & Uses

Use your delicious chicken for salads, burritos, pasta, enchiladas, casseroles, tacos – whatever your heart desires!

✏️ Helpful Tips

• I 150% recommend slicing your chicken breasts in half so that they are nice and thin. This makes the seasoning to chicken ratio much better – more seasoning per square inch of chicken.
• I highly recommend NOT Quick Releasing your Instant Pot. Letting the pressure release on its own will keep the chicken moist.

More Instant Pot Recipes

Have You Tried This Recipe?
Please rate it and leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think!

📝 Recipe

A white bowl of diced chicken and onions with chili lime seasoning with a red cloth napkin and a bottle of Tajin seasoning on a gray wooden background.

The Best Quick and Easy Chili Lime Chicken in an Instant Pot

5 from 4 votes
Chili Lime Chicken is moist, tender, and bursting with flavor. It is savory and sweet with a little bit of heat. It is perfect for salads, burritos, tacos, pasta, and more.
Author: Kari
Servings: 4
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 7 mins
Resting Time (Natural Pressure Release): 5 mins
Total: 32 mins

Ingredients  

Optional Additions

  • ½ – 1 medium onion thinly sliced (adds a little extra something to the chicken)

Instructions 

  • Clean up your chicken by trimming off extra fat and gristle, then slice in half horizontally.
  • Completely coat both sides of each breast with Tajin seasoning and a pinch of salt.
  • Let the chicken sit in the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes for the most flavor (or begin cooking immediately if you are pressed for time.)
  • Set your Instant Pot to the saute setting and let it heat for a minute or two. It will heat up very quickly.
  • Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and then lay your chicken breasts down in the Instant Pot.
  • Sear the chicken for 2 – 3 minutes and then flip it over. You want to sear the chicken on each side to keep in the moisture and get a crispy crust on the outside. (Your chicken will not be fully cooked and that is okay!)
  • Once both sides of all of your chicken breasts are seared, add your sliced onions and turn off the Instant Pot. (If you have a lot of chicken to cook, you can sear it in batches and then return it all to the Instant Pot to cook.)
  • Stack the chicken on top of the onions.
  • Put the lid on your Instant Pot and close the vent. Press the "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" button and set your Instant Pot to high pressure for 7 minutes. (If your chicken breasts are on the thicker side or you are using a lot of chicken, increase the cooking time for a maximum of 15 minutes.)
  • When cooking is complete, let the pressure release naturally (which should take 5 – 10 minutes) and then open the vent. Wait until the pin drops and then remove the lid and take out your chicken.
  • Shred or dice the chicken and return it to cooking liquid.
  • Eat the chicken immediately or store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator once it has cooled down.

Video

Notes

I have gotten some feedback from readers, so I wanted to add a few notes:
If you are worried about getting a “burn” notice when cooking chicken, you can “deglaze” the bottom of your pot with 1/2 – 1 cup of chicken broth after searing your chicken, then cook the chicken on the trivet in your Instant Pot. If you cook it directly in the liquid, it will be really juicy, but can come out kind of bland.
I don’t ever use liquid when cooking chicken – I have always thought that the extra liquid sucked the flavor out of the chicken. My Instant Pot is a 6 quart DUO from 2012. I don’t know if that has anything to do with my results, but I never ever get a burn notice – not once. I’ve cooked chicken this way 2 – 3 times a week since 2012 and have not ever had an issue. *shrug*  Since it seems to happen a lot to others, I’m going to recommend that you add liquid and cook on a trivet if you have ever experienced that.
The other issue that has been brought to my attention is the long cooking time. Yep, it cooks for a pretty long time. BUT, this makes the chicken fall-apart tender and loaded with flavor. This isn’t like an oven where the chicken will get dry when cooked for a long time – it just gets softer and juicier. We love to eat it this way, but if you don’t, you can certainly reduce the cooking time.
Tips
  • Before cooking, slice your chicken horizontally into thin slices. You can do this by placing your palm on the chicken and slicing all the way through as if you were cutting a bagel or a roll. You could also buy chicken filets or cutlets that are already thinly sliced. 
  • If you don’t want to cut your chicken in half, follow the same cooking steps but set your Instant Pot for 14 or 15 minutes. Yep, it is a long time. But that chicken will be so tender and delicious.
Storage
  • Once cooled, store your cooked chicken in an air-tight container for up to a week. To enjoy later, you can also freeze the cooked chicken for up to 6 months. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1shredded breastCalories: 371kcalProtein: 41gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 127mgSodium: 125mgPotassium: 435mgVitamin A: 164IUCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is approximate and is automatically calculated, so should only be used as a guide.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: chili lime chicken recipe, easy mexican chicken recipe, instant pot chicken recipe, paleo chicken recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @southernbytes or tag #southernbytes!

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Hi, I’m Kari!

I am a newlywed, food blogger, health coach, and mama to a hot mess of a border collie. I love to put a new spin on old family recipes and I try to make as many meals as possible with an Instant Pot.

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Comments

  1. Just wondering if the onions in the photo and in the directions but not in the ingredients. Just wondering how much onion? Just one whole small onion? Or a cup lol idk just thought I’d ask!

    1. Sorry about that – I swear it used to be in the ingredient list. I just slice up a medium-sized onion. My husband really likes onions so sometimes I add extra 😉

  2. Wow this looks delicious! Actually all the recipes on your site do! I love southern food, especially homemade! Bookmarking your site!!

  3. IP is one of our most used tools in the kitchen, it really makes everything so quick and easy, not to mention delish! Looks yummy and perfect for a weeknight meal!

  4. 5 stars
    I haven’t used my instant pot lately, but this recipe has inspired me to get it out again. Love the chili lime combo! Thanks for all the extra tips too.

  5. 5 stars
    Oh man! This looks crazy good. But I’m going to have to sneak the limes in because my son has decided that I’m deathly allergic to limes. (I’m not even a little.)