Instant Pot: Spicy BBQ Chicken Tostadas

Please tell me I'm not the only one. Every so often, I'll look in my pantry  or fridge to find an over abundance of a random ingredient... and I'll have no idea how it happened. Maybe a grocery store sale I took advantage of? Or even the rare chance my husband went grocery shopping and picked them up? This time, the ingredient in question was corn tortillas. I had way too many packages and needed a way to use them. Thankfully, I have a nice list of Tex-Mex and Mexican inspired recipes that I could serve up and/or use with corn tortillas. The most recent dish I made were these Spicy BBQ Chicken Tostadas. Shredded sweet and spicy bbq chicken makes a delicious filling to top crispy corn tostadas along with our favorite garnishes...

When it comes to Tex-Mex fare, taco seasoning is commonly used to flavor meats like chicken, beef, pork, even seafood. Rather than using a packaged taco seasoning mix or even making my own, I thought about trying a different seasoning. Tex-Mex fare doesn't have to taste like tacos, right?! I came across a spicy BBQ chicken rub recipe that I used on bone in/skinless chicken thighs. Rather than eating as is, I removed the chicken off the bone, shredded and use that as a topping for tostadas. It was delicious and I especially liked the sweet and spicy flavor the BBQ rub imparted on the chicken. That flavor was due to the use of dark brown sugar and a nice hit of cayenne pepper, which was a nice balance. Feel free to top your tostadas as you wish. I kept it simple with sour cream, pico de gallo, a touch of cheese and a nice squeeze of fresh lime juice. It was a refreshing, colorful and light dinner, perfect for a Tex Mex Tailgate!

Instant Pot: Spicy BBQ Chicken Tostadas


  • 2 tablespoons sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 pounds bone in, skinless chicken thighs
  • Tostadas (store bought or homemade*)
  • Sour cream
  • Shredded cheese of your choice
  • Salsa or pico de gallo
  • Lime wedges


  1. Plug in the IP with insert set in place. Combine all the spices in a small bowl. Generously rub the spice mixture on the chicken thighs, making sure to thoroughly coat. Transfer chicken into the IP with chicken broth.
  2. Generously rub the spice mixture on the chicken thighs, making sure to thoroughly coat. Transfer chicken into the IP with chicken broth. 
  3. Secure the lid of the IP and ensure the valve is set to SEALING. Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 7 minutes on HIGH pressure.
  4. Press MANUAL and adjust the time to 7 minutes on HIGH pressure. 
  5. The display will reflect ON while the IP comes to pressure. Allow a few minutes for your IP to come to pressure. 
  6. Once at pressure, the display will reflect 7 (the number of minutes you initially set) and will begin to countdown to 0 minutes. 
  7. When the IP beeps after pressure cooking for 7 minutes, turn the setting on top of your IP to VENTING. Doing so allows the IP to quickly release any remaining pressure (also known as QPR or QR). I use a wooden spoon to carefully turn the setting to avoid close contact with the potential steam. You may also want to turn your UIP away from cabinets to allow the released steam to escape freely. The pin at the top of your IP will drop when all pressure has been released and it's safe to open. 
  8. Open up your IP when the pin has dropped (allow a few minutes for this to happen). The IP will automatically default to the WARM mode.
  9. Using 2 forks, remove the chicken from the bones. and discard bones.  Use this seasoned chicken or your tostadas.
  10. To assemble your tostadas, spread a dollop of sour cream on top of the tostadas. Top with a heaping tablespoon of the spicy bbq chicken. Garnish with your favorite toppings and enjoy!
  11. *To make homemade tostadas, briefly fry corn tortillas in oil until crisp and lightly browned. Drain on a paper towel and cool slightly before topping.
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