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Introducing Crockpot Chicken Tacos, your new go-to dinner for satisfying all your Tex-Mex cravings. Taco night is the best night, and when you can add your slow cooker to the mix, it’s really a weeknight win. Just a few minutes of prep and a handful of ingredients and your work is done!

slow cooker chicken tacos with warm tortillas

Why You’ll Love This Crockpot Shredded Chicken Tacos Recipe

  • The Easiest Tacos Ever. We’re talking low effort, high reward here. Jarred salsa, a few pantry staples, chicken, and a squeeze of lime are all you need to make the filling for these crockpot chicken tacos. Combine everything in your slow cooker and that’s it! (Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos are also pretty dang easy, and even faster.)
  • Fantastic for Meal Prep. Make a batch of zippy crockpot chicken taco salsa filling on Sunday and use it to make tacos later in the week for easy dinners or work lunches you’ll actually look forward to (yes, that’s me throwing shade at the Lean Cuisine sitting in your work freezer). 
  • Not Just for Tacos. Just like my Shredded Chicken Tacos recipe, you can enjoy this recipe as crockpot salsa chicken by simply plating the chicken breasts with Mexican Quinoa and an easy veggie side like Roasted Acorn Squash. Or shred the chicken and use it for Taco Salad, Chicken Quesadillas, or a Burrito Bowl. Options? Endless!
crockpot shredded chicken taco filling in slow cooker

How to Make Crockpot Chicken Tacos

The Ingredients

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts or Thighs. Either option works for this easy crockpot chicken taco recipe, but note that chicken thighs give you a bit more wiggle room because they’re harder to overcook.
  • Prepared Salsa. Grab your fave salsa, whether it’s hot or mild, made with corn or pineapple, whatever. As long as it’s decently saucy, it will work for the slow cooker Mexican shredded chicken.
  • Spices. Ground chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and onion powder are bringing us to flavortown.
  • Lime Juice. Freshly squeezed, please. Bottled lime juice may be convenient, but it has a flat, dull flavor, which isn’t what you want in crockpot shredded chicken tacos.
  • Fresh Cilantro. If you’re on Team Cilantro-Tastes-Like-Soap, you can skip it, but otherwise, the fresh cilantro livens things up.
  • Flour or Corn Tortillas. Use corn tortillas for gluten-free chicken tacos.
  • Toppings. Shredded cheddar cheese, avocado, shredded lettuce—you know the drill.

The Directions

mixing sauce for crockpot chicken tacos
  1. Make the Sauce. Dump the salsa, spices, and lime juice in your slow cooker and stir.
chicken in slow cooker for crockpot chicken tacos
  1. Cook. Spoon some of the sauce on top of the chicken. Cook crockpot chicken tacos on low until the chicken registers 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 2 to 3 hours.
two forks shredded chicken in slow cooker for tacos
  1. Shred. Use two forks to shred the chicken.
crockpot shredded chicken taco filling
  1. Finish. Stir in the cilantro, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Warm the tortillas, then spoon the chicken onto them and add your favorite toppings. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover crockpot shredded chicken taco filling in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently heat the chicken in the microwave until warmed through.
  • To Freeze. Freeze the chicken filling in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave.

Leftover Ideas

Make Tex-Mex meal bowls with any leftover crockpot chicken taco filling. Use Instant Pot Brown Rice, white rice, or quinoa as the base. Add a scoop of Instant Pot Black Beans, and garnish with leftover toppings from your tacos.

crockpot chicken tacos with avocado, lime wedges, and cheese

What to Serve with Crockpot Chicken Tacos

  • Pickled Veggies. Pickled Red Onions and Pickled Jalapeños might be your first inclination, but pickled carrots and cauliflower add some tanginess and crunch too.
  • Slaw. Toss shredded cabbage with a squeeze of lime juice and a pinch of salt for a zippier taco topping than the usual lettuce, or try the slaw from my Shrimp Tacos. Or try shredded Brussels sprouts for something different (Brussels Sprouts Slaw is a thing and it’s FAB.)
  • Salsa and Guac. Store-bought guacamole is good, but Homemade Guacamole is better. I also love this Black Bean Corn Salad or a store-bought black bean salsa on these crockpot chicken tacos.
  • More Toppings. Greek yogurt, sour cream, or authentic crema for some richness. Radishes add some pep to your step. Sliced green onions or additional cilantro. Black olives if you’re a gringo and you know it.
  • Margaritas. I have lots of ideas for you: Peach Margaritas, Grapefruit Margaritas, or this Spicy Margarita Recipe.

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Choose a Good Salsa. It’s the main flavor in this recipe, so a lackluster salsa will give you lackluster crockpot chicken tacos.
  • Use Your Thermometer. Especially if you’re making this recipe with chicken breasts, which are easier to over-cook. Once the chicken registers 165 degrees F, it’s done cooking and can be shredded for the tacos. Check early and often; I recommend starting at the 90-minute mark, especially if you know your slow cooker runs hot.
  • Set It But Don’t Forget It. This is not a recipe that can spend 8 hours in the slow cooker. If you work during the day, plan on a late dinner or make the chicken on the weekend for meal prep and enjoy your tacos during the week.
crockpot chicken tacos with toppings

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

5 from 3 votes
Simple ingredients and 10 minutes of prep are all it tasks for this easy crockpot chicken tacos recipe. Salsa, spices, and lime juice make it the best!

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 3 hours 5 minutes
Total: 3 hours 15 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar prepared salsa
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice from about 1 lime, plus additional for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for serving
  • Whole wheat or corn tortillas for serving
  • Toppings of choice: shredded cheddar cheese, avocado, shredded lettuce

Instructions
 

  • In the bottom of a slow cooker, stir together the salsa, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and lime juice.
  • Add the chicken breast, turning it to coat it in the salsa mixture. Spoon some of the salsa over the top.
  • Cover and slow cook the chicken on low until the chicken is cooked registers 165°F on an instant read thermometer, 2 to 3 hours (note that slow cooker models can vary; check at the 90 minute-mark to gauge progress).
  • With two forks, shred the chicken directly in your slow cooker (or remove it to a plate to shred if that’s easier for you, then return to the slow cooker). Add the cilantro and stir to combine. Cover and let everything warm together for 5 minutes.
  • Warm the tortillas, either wrapped in a damp towel in the microwave or by lightly charring them over a gas stove. Fill with the chicken and add your toppings of choice.

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover crockpot shredded chicken taco filling in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently heat the chicken in the microwave until warmed through.
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze the chicken filling in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator, then reheat in the microwave.
  • Nutritional information is for the shredded chicken filling only.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 302kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 50gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 145mgPotassium: 1188mgFiber: 3gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 986IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 55mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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6 Comments

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  1. Insanely good. It’s easy and the whole family loves it. I like it best with the crispy taco shells made from the white corn tortillas and oil. With the leftovers I like to make chicken quesadillas. So good! Thank you, Erin.5 stars

  2. Was searching for a recipe for crock-pot chicken tacos, and stumbled across your website. What luck! There are so many recipes I want to try. Made this one today, and it was delicious (and amazingly easy). Both hubby and son approved, so it’s going in the keeper file. Thanks.5 stars

  3. Turned out great and was a very simple recipe for my taco Monday. Working from home now, so the smell of taco’s cooking all day was quite nice as well. I’ll be making this dish often! Thanks5 stars