Instant Pot Tomatillo Chicken Stew

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Make this Tomatillo Chicken Stew in the Instant Pot for a quick easy one dish meal. Tomatillos combine with grape tomatoes and chicken thighs for a hearty chicken stew that is just a little bit spicy.

One of my favorite meals to make in my Instant Pot is stew. Whether it is Beef Stew, Lamb Stew, or Pork Stew – in a pressure cooker a stew that used to simmer for hours can be ready in minutes. I love being able to make one of my family’s favorite comfort foods after a busy day. This Tomatillo Chicken Stew is a great example, since it can be made in about half an hour in the Instant Pot.

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A bowl of tomatillo chicken stew soup in front of an instant pot.

What are tomatillos?

Tomatillos look like little green tomatoes, but they are actually the fruit of a completely different plant. Their flavor is more acidic and not as sweet as a tomato. They are popular in southwestern dishes like Salsa Verde and Chili Verde, but they are not hard to find in large grocery stores. My local grocery store stocks fresh tomatillos year round.

A pile of green chiles in a box.

How to husk tomatillo

Fresh tomatillos come wrapped in a papery green husk. The husk will peel right off with your hands, although it leaves the tomatillos sticky. Rinsing them with warm water removes the sticky residue. You can eat them raw, although I prefer to cook them to bring out a deeper taste.

Mexican tomatillo chicken stew in a bowl on a wooden cutting board.

Tomatillo Chicken Stew

This stew is a recipe I have made for a few years that I just adapted to the Instant Pot. When the tomatillos are cooked with the chicken thighs they basically dissolve and make a thick and rich broth for the stew. I stir in a pint of grape tomatoes at the very end of the recipe, but these tomatoes aren’t cooked much at all. This way the tomatoes are a little warm, but add a fresh, sweet taste to the stew. I like the combination of the tomatillo flavored broth with sweet tomatoes.

I flavored the recipe with southwestern type spices like chili powder and cumin, which combine to make it a little spicy. You could add a jalepeno pepper if you want it really spicy.

A bowl of tomatillo chicken stew on a wooden cutting board.

Cooking Tips

  • If you are using frozen chicken thighs for this recipe you need to increase the time under pressure to about 15 minutes. You could use whole boneless chicken thighs and then shred the meat before adding the tomatoes to the pot.
  • I don’t like to use chicken breast in the Instant Pot because I think it dries out too quickly and just doesn’t taste as good.
  • This recipe is also delicious made with pork tenderloin in place of the chicken.

Can I make Tomatillo Chicken Stew in the Crock Pot?

If you prefer to use a slow cooker instead of an Instant Pot this is still a tasty meal. To adapt the recipe for the slow cooker simply add all the ingredients except the grape tomatoes and coriander and cook for 4-6 hours. Then stir in the tomatoes to finish the stew off.

Find More Instant Pot Stew Recipes

A bowl of tomatillo chicken stew soup in front of an instant pot.
4.73 from 11 votes

Instant Pot Tomatillo Chicken Stew

Published By Anne
Make this Tomatillo Chicken Stew in the Instant Pot for a quick one dish meal. Tomatillos combine with grape tomatoes & chicken thighs for a hearty chicken stew.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes
Servings: 4
Print Save Rate Pin


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound chicken thighs cubed
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teapoon pepper
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 pound tomatillos peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes halved
  • coriander


  • Put the Instant Pot on Saute and add the olive oil.
    1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • Add the cubed chicken thighs, chili powder, cumin and pepper to the Instant Pot. Saute for 2-3 minute, until chicken is no longer pink.
    1 pound chicken thighs, 2 teaspoon chili powder, 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teapoon pepper
  • Add the onions to the pot and saute with the chicken for 2-3 minutes.
    1 onion
  • Add the garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Then turn the Instant Pot off.
    1 clove garlic
  • Add the sliced tomatillos and salt to the Instant Pot. Stir well and then place the lid on an lock it.
    2 pound tomatillos, 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Put the Instant Pot on Manual, and set it for 10 minutes. 
  • Once the cycle is complete use quick pressure release on the Instant Pot and take off the lid.
  • Stir in the halved grape tomatoes and serve topped with coriander sprigs.
    1 pint grape tomatoes, coriander

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Nutrition Information

Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 405mg | Potassium: 1198mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1639IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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A bowl of tomatillo chicken stew on a wooden cutting board.

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

2 thoughts on “Instant Pot Tomatillo Chicken Stew”

  1. 5 stars
    This was AMAZINGLY GOOD!!!! I loved it so much, I made it two nights in a row! I didn’t have grape tomatoes, but I did have homegrown whole ones. I just cut them in chunks and it was still so good! I loved this so much! Thank you for sharing!

  2. So delicious! I didn’t brown the chicken – in my experience skipping that step yields more tender chicken. I loved the addition of cherry tomatoes at the end. We also tossed some chunks of avocado on top before eating. Looking forward to the leftovers tomorrow!


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