This slow cooker Mexican chicken simmers in salsa and taco seasoning to make the EASIEST, juicy, delicious hands-off crockpot chicken tacos (or burritos, enchiladas, and more)! Versatile, freezer-friendly, healthy, and takes just minutes of prep!
There are so many reasons to love this crockpot chicken taco recipe. It’s healthy, diet-friendly, flavorful, meal prep and freezer friendly, easily adaptable, and almost too easy to make. I mean, it requires just a few ingredients (mostly pantry staples!) and no pre-cooking or prep work for the chicken. Just shove everything in the crockpot, stir it, and let the machine do all the work for you. It’s that easy!
Where my general crockpot shredded chicken makes for a super versatile, all-purpose protein, this slow cooker Mexican chicken combines tender, juicy chicken in a flavor-packed salsa, taco seasoning (for smoky, spicy flavor), lime, and cilantro sauce. The meat is perfect for delicious Mexican dishes like these crockpot chicken tacos, and great for taco Tuesdays, large gatherings, and busy days.
Load the tacos with your favorite taco fixings for a simple, crowd-pleasing dinner. Plus, the chicken tastes even better the longer it sits, so it’s great meal prep. Best of all, along with easy shredded chicken tacos, this slow cooker Mexican shredded chicken also works well in burritos, over rice, baked potatoes – the possibilities are endless!
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos Ingredients
Six ingredients (plus salt & pepper) are all you need to pull together a super flavor-packed slow cooker taco chicken recipe, perfect for making crockpot chicken tacos.
- Chicken: I usually use boneless skinless chicken breasts, though skinless chicken thighs also work, but will take slightly longer to cook than breasts (and are fattier).
- Salsa: Use store-bought or homemade mild, medium, hot red or green salsa. Alternatively, use Rotel (canned tomatoes with chiles) or fire-roasted diced tomatoes.
- Seasonings: You don’t need much to make delicious chicken for tacos. I use
- Salt (sea salt/kosher salt),
- Black pepper,
- Smoked paprika.
- Lime juice: Fresh is best, though bottled works in a pinch.
- Cilantro: Use parsley instead, if preferred.
- Taco seasoning: I make homemade taco seasoning, but feel free to use store-bought adjust/choose one that’s your desired heat level.
- Tortillas: You can use store-bought or homemade hard-shell or soft corn or flour tortillas to assemble the slow cooker chicken tacos. For a lower-carb option, make Mexican chicken lettuce wraps instead.
Taco seasoning for chicken
It’s so simple to make your own taco seasoning, free from additives and preservatives, adaptable to your preferred sodium/spice level, and made with just a few pantry spices, so there’s no need to run to the store. Just mix the spices, toss in a jar, shake, and voila!
How to make shredded chicken tacos in crockpot
First, pat the chicken dry and rub the spices into the meat.
Then, transfer the salsa, lime juice, chopped cilantro, and taco seasoning to the crockpot. Add the chicken and stir.
Cover the crockpot with a lid, and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours until tender and juicy.
Once ready, remove the meat from the slow cooker and leave it to rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle and redistribute. Then shred it either in the crockpot with an electric mixer, in a stand mixer, or on a chopping board with two forks.
Finally, place the shredded chicken taco meat back into the sauce and mix well.
To assemble the slow cooker chicken tacos
If you’re using soft corn tortillas, you’ll need to heat them first. There are several methods to heat corn tortillas:
- In a foil-wrapped stack in the oven (at 350ºF/175ºC for 15-20 minutes),
- In a dry skillet (20-30 seconds per side),
- Over an open flame (with tongs, just 10-20 seconds per side until warm and lightly charred).
If you’re using method 2 or 3, place heated tortillas in a stack under a clean dish towel or in the oven at a low temperature to keep them warm until it’s time to assemble.
Then, while the chicken is resting, prepare any toppings. Rinse and chop vegetables, pull together a quick sauce, etc.
Finally, use tongs to add some Mexican chicken to each tortilla. Top it with your favorite taco toppings, a little extra cilantro, and lime juice, and enjoy!
The best chicken taco toppings
These crock pot chicken tacos make for such an amazing crowd-pleasing meal because they’re so easy to adapt with your favorite toppings. If you’re serving a crowd, create a taco bar so everyone can build their own.
- Fresh salsa – like Pico de Gallo or even a fruity mango salsa,
- Diced tomatoes – large or halve/quarter small cherry tomatoes,
- Diced red onion – for acidity and “bite”,
- Shredded lettuce – iceberg works well for crunch,
- Homemade ‘slaw – non-mayo based,
- Grilled corn – for a sweet, slightly smoky flavor,
- Black olives – for briny, tangy flavor,
- Avocado – diced, mashed, guacamole, or avocado crema,
- Cheese – either shredded cotija or mature cheddar or crumbled queso fresco/feta,
- Sour cream – or Greek yogurt/Mexican crema – to soothe heat,
- Chipotle sauce or sriracha – or your favorite hot sauce, to add more heat,
- Lime wedges – to serve alongside the tacos,
- Pickles – like pickled jalapeño or pickled red onions for tang and a little heat,
- Black beans – for added protein and creamy texture, whole or refried beans.
What to serve with shredded chicken tacos?
Crockpot shredded chicken tacos are hearty enough to enjoy as a satisfying meal on their own or with the addition of:
- Mexican-style street corn (elote) or spiced corn ribs,
- Rice and beans,
- Refried beans,
- A simple Mexican/Tex-Mex salad – like street corn salad, cowboy caviar, etc.,
- A fresh, crunchy slaw,
- Sweet potato fries/wedges or regular potato wedges,
- Tortilla chips and dips (like guacamole, salsa, queso dip, etc.).
More Mexican-inspired dishes
If you try this easy Mexican crockpot chicken tacos recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
Crockpot Shredded Chicken Tacos
For the Chicken
For the Tacos
- taco shells or soft corn tortillas/ flour tortillas
- To garnish guacamole, lettuce, sour cream or your favorite toppings
- Crock-Pot or another slow cooker
- Pat the chicken dry and rub the spices into the meat.
- Transfer the salsa, lime juice, chopped cilantro, and taco seasoning to the crockpot. Add the chicken and stir.
- Cover the crockpot with a lid, and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours until tender and juicy.
- Once ready, remove the meat from the slow cooker and leave it to rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to settle and redistribute before shredding it either in the crockpot with an electric mixer, in a stand mixer, or on a chopping board with two forks.
- Mix the shredded chicken back into the Mexican sauce and mix well.
To Assemble the Tacos
- If you're using soft corn tortillas, you’ll need to heat them up first to make them more pliable AND improve their taste. You can do so in one of these ways:– In a foil-wrapped stack in the oven (at 350ºF/175ºC for 15-20 minutes),– In a dry skillet (20-30 seconds per side),– Over an open flame (with tongs, just 10-20 seconds per side until warm and lightly charred).If you’re using method 2 or 3, place any heated tortillas in a stack under a clean dish towel or in the oven at a low temperature to keep them warm (without cooking them further) until it’s time to assemble.
- While the chicken is resting, prepare any toppings – rinse and chop vegetables, pull together a quick sauce, etc.Finally, use tongs to add some Mexican chicken to each tortilla. Top it with your favorite taco toppings, a little extra cilantro, and lime juice, and enjoy!
- Adjust the spices/seasoning: Choose how much you use and how spicy it is to create the perfect flavor profile for your household.
- The cooking time may vary: Based on the thickness/size of the chicken, your batch size, and even individual crockpot – so check on them 30-60 minutes BEFORE the earliest recommended time when first trying the recipe and every 30 minutes after.
- To check the chicken is cooked: Use a meat thermometer if you have one. To be safely cooked, the interior of the chicken should reach 165ºF/74ºC.
- When serving a crowd: I’m a massive fan of creating a taco bar/station with individual dishes of all the toppings and sauces, so everyone can make their own. You can even keep the chicken in the crockpot on the “keep warm” function.