These Chicken Taco Cups are DELICIOUS and a super quick and easy appetizer to make at home. This recipe for easy mini phyllo cups with chicken is loaded with Mexican flavors and makes the perfect bite-size finger food for parties and game-day tailgating.
This post was sponsored by Rojo's to bring you this flavorful recipe!
I got an Instant Pot for Christmas and I'm obsessed with using it to make shredded chicken. It's super easy and you always end up with tender, juicy chicken.
When I was trying to figure out what appetizer recipe would be a good fit for a football party, I decided that it definitely had to include chicken somehow. My entire family loves Mexican flavors, so I decided to do something I knew my kids would eat up.
These Salsa Chicken Taco Cups are delicious and it's easy to make a large quantity.
Why This Recipe Works
These Taco Cups are a hearty but bite-sized appetizer to serve for your football parties. I paired them with a variety of salsas, homemade guacamole, veggies and homemade chips because those are always crowd-pleasers.
By serving some store-bought goodies, it helps to keep the entertaining easy and put less pressure on you as the hostess.
But you can't serve just any old salsa. Rojo's products are made in small batches using premium, fresh ingredients that give them a great homemade taste.
They come in a variety of flavors including Homestyle, Restaurant Style and Southwest Fire Roasted (my favorite).
I also made a pitcher of margaritas to kick the party off on the right foot.
Making shredded chicken in the Instant Pot couldn't be easier. You'll need:
- Mexican style beer
- Spices to season chicken, like chili powder, lime, garlic salt or something like Tajin
- phyllo cups
- cheddar cheese
- sour cream, guacamole, corn, black beans, optional
I didn't see phyllo cups on Amazon but I usually pick them up in my store. If you can't find cups, you can make your own by cutting squares of phyllo dough and pressing them into a muffin tin to make your own cups.
Or you can use wonton wrappers, or even puff pastry. The flavor will change slightly but you will still get a one-bite, crunchy appetizer.
I don't recommend using the Pepperidge Farms phyllo cups that have to be baked first and then you make the hole with a spoon. These do not hold enough filling or have the crunch like the cups I show in the photos.
The package of cups that I used had 12 cups in it. Buy as many packages as you need to for the number of appetizers you want to make for your party.
These tasty taco cups with chicken are super fast to put together once you have your shredded chicken.
Make Shredded Salsa Chicken
Add the chicken to the Instant Pot. If you don't have one, you can also simmer the chicken in water, then shred it. But the Instant Pot is so easy!
I love to make salsa shredded chicken for tacos so I decided that was a good start for these taco cups. I used Rojo's Homestyle Salsa and some Mexican beer to ensure my chicken would be full of flavor.
The minimum requirement for making it is 1 cup of liquid which means you can get creative about how to flavor your chicken.
I added seasoning to the chicken before placing it in the Instant Pot. My seasoning was a blend of chili powder, lime and salt but anything will work including just salt and pepper.
Next, I added the salsa and the beer. You can totally skip the beer if you want but I love the flavor it gives the chicken.
I set the Instant Pot to 15 minutes and then made sure that I had all the other ingredients I would need to put these taco cups together.
When the cooking time was up, I let the steam release naturally for about 15 minutes.
The chicken literally falls apart without being dried out. Every time.
I removed the chicken from the cooking liquid and quickly shredded it with two forks. I added another cup of Rojo's Homestyle salsa to add even more flavor.
Put it All Together
To make the Taco Cups, you just have to layer the ingredients into your store-bought phyllo cups. Look for these cups in the freezer section and try to find cups that look like the ones pictured.
I've tried a few types and these work the best. These came in a box of 12 so you'd need to figure out how many boxes you need to get based on how many appetizers you want to make.
What's great is that you can keep extra in the freezer and use leftover salsa chicken to make more of these whenever you want!
I added the salsa chicken first, then topped it with cheese and added a little bit of cilantro. You can pop these into the oven for a few minutes (before adding the cilantro) to get the cheese to melt.
I've made them both ways and they taste very similar so this is your personal preference.
This recipe makes a dinner size portion of shredded chicken which means, because you don't use very much for each Taco Cup, you can make A TON of these! They come together quickly and are a great party appetizer idea.
I didn't know when I made these that they would turn out to be something my kids loved too! We've had them several times now, for dinner, and I'm adding them to our regular dinner rotation.
I just serve them with some rice and beans and you've got a full meal.
These Salsa Chicken Taco Cups can be made ahead of time and put in the oven, right before serving, to reheat.
Rojo's salsas can be found in the refrigerated section of major grocery retailers, nationwide. Making your own salsa can be totally time-consuming so I like to serve store-bought.
Keep your eyes out for some new salsa flavors, like Hatch Chile Salsa and Salsa Verde, and for their new Queso Dips! Who doesn't love queso!?
Make these Salsa Chicken Taco Cups, with Rojo's salsa, for your game day parties!
This easy chicken appetizer is great for football entertaining!
Images by Dez and Tam Photography
A few more easy recipes you might enjoy!
- Dried Beef Roll Ups with Cream Cheese
- Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese Game Day Appetizer
- Best Artichoke Dip Sliders for Parties
- Beer Cheese Dip for Pretzels
- Baked Artichoke Dip (No Spinach)
- Mediterranean Bites with Feta
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Chicken Taco Cups
- 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken
- 1 container Rojo's Homestyle Salsa split
- ½ cup Mexican style beer
- Seasoning for chicken like salt and pepper or a store-bought fajita seasoning
- 1-4 packages of Frozen Phyllo Cups depending on how many are in a pack and how many you want to make
- 1-2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro to garnish
- Follow the direction on the package of your Phyllo Cups (some just need to thaw, some go in the oven to crisp up for 3 minutes).
Make the Shredded Chicken
- To your Instant Pot, add chicken seasoned with Tajin or other seasoning, ½ container of the salsa (approx. 1 cup) and beer (about 1 cup) plus ½ cup water.
- Set pot to manually cook for 20 minutes.
- Let steam release naturally for approximately 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, release the rest of the steam manually before removing the lid.
- Open Instant Pot and remove the chicken from the cooking liquid (which you can discard).
- In a bowl, shred the chicken using 2 forks.
- Add the rest of the Homestyle salsa and mix.
Put the Taco Cups Together
- In your thawed phyllo cups, add about a tablespoon of salsa chicken.
- Top with shredded cheese and top with cilantro.
- Repeat to fill the remaining cups.
- If desired, put in an oven heated to 350 degrees, to melt the cheese (approximately 3 minutes).