Café Rio Chicken Recipe: Make This Copycat Recipe Under Pressure or Slow & Easy by Donna John

Café Rio Chicken Recipe: Make This Copycat Recipe Under Pressure or Slow & Easy

To be honest, I've never heard of Café Rio. The popular Mexican restaurant is in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming. If Texas was on that list, I'm sure I would be a regular. This copycat Café Rio chicken recipe caught my attention because of the simple ingredients, versatility and how easy and quick it was to prepare.

The flavorful shredded chicken can be cooked in an Instant Pot™ or slow cooker. Italian dressing, garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, dry ranch salad dressing mix and water are whisked together and poured over the chicken. The Instant Pot™ does its magic in 12 minutes (yes, 12 minutes) and the slow cooker in four to six hours. The fork-tender chicken is shredded and mixed into the sauce. The chicken breast is delicious and loaded with flavor, but no overly seasoned or spicy. That means everyone in the family will enjoy this chicken recipe.

You can use the shredded chicken in tacos, burritos, bowls, enchiladas, quesadillas, chimichangas, salads, casseroles or in any recipe calling for cooked shredded chicken. The Mexican chicken would also be delicious served on top of black beans, rice or even quinoa. I even found someone who puts the raw chicken and sauce ingredients in bags and freezes it for later. Wonderful idea!

Café Rio chicken is officially in my dinner rotation. Now I just need to get them to open a restaurant in Texas.

Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes for Instant Pot™ and 4 to 6 hours for slow cooker

Total Time: 20 minutes to 6 hours
Servings: 6


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup Italian salad dressing
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons dry ranch salad dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup water

Here's how to make it: 

  1. To make in an Instant Pot™, combine the Italian dressing, garlic, chili powder, ground cumin, ranch dressing mix and water in a small bowl.
  2. Put the chicken into the Instant Pot™. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
  3. Cook on high pressure for 12 minutes (17 minutes if your chicken is frozen).
  4. Quick release the pressure.
  5. Shred the chicken with two forks. Mix with the sauce.

Slow-cooker Directions: Combine all the sauce ingredients in the slow cooker. Add the chicken and mix. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or until tender. Shred and mix with the sauce. 

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Related Products on Amazon We Think You May Like:

Instant Pot™ $50 & Up
Crock Pots™ $30 & Up
Chili Powder $3 & Up
Cumin $3 & Up

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I’ve never heard of cafe rio but that doesn’t mean it’s not awesome. Yummy recipe!

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