Tender moist Mexican shredded chicken made super easy in the crock pot or slow cooker. These Crock Pot Chicken Tacos are perfect for any taco bar party or taco Tuesday dinner.
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Delicious and easy to make
We’ve been calling it Salsa Chicken around here just because it’s easy to say. Or you can call it Crock Pot or Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Filling. Whatever you like to call it, just know that this recipe will become a household favorite for a few reasons: it’s so easy, it’s delicious, and it’s perfect for parties.
This salsa chicken makes for a healthy and easy lunch or dinner, especially when you make a big batch of it and have leftovers.
What kind of salsa should I use?
I love recipes like this one where you can use what you already love and have in the house! You can use mild, medium or hot salsa depending on your taste.
Don’t want to make your own? Simply use store-bought salsa.
And, the big trick to getting lots of flavor in the dish is to use a couple of different salsas here. My recipe calls for 2 (16 ounce) jars of store-bought salsa. I love to use one mild and one medium chipotle flavor salsa. Or, one chunky medium and one smooth hot.
Of course you can use all the same kind of salsa if you want, but for that extra complex flavor, two flavors is defiantly the winner!
How easy is this recipe?
Grab some boneless skinless chicken from the grocery store. Pop it in the crock pot with a couple of jars of salsa.
Then, let the slow cooker do the work.
Cook it on low for 6-8 hours so it cooks while you’re at work or school. Or, while you’re cleaning the house for company.
Or, cook it on high for 4 hours so it cooks while you take the kids to practice after school, and dinner’s all ready when you get home.
With just 5-minutes of prep, and a few minutes to shred the chicken, you’ll be making this dish all the time.
Can you put frozen chicken in the crock-pot?
The short answer is, no, I wouldn’t use frozen chicken in the crock pot. Take some time and make it safely and avoid any food borne illnesses.
Slow cookers don’t get frozen chicken up to a safe temperature quickly enough; the chicken can spend too much time in an unsafe temperature (from 40°F – 140°F), which allows bacteria growth.
If your chicken is frozen, you can thaw it in the fridge for a day or two.
Or, if you forgot to pull the chicken out of the freezer, simply defrost it in the microwave.
What is the safe temperature for chicken?
If you want to be super safe about your chicken, you definitely want to use an instant read thermometer to check the temp.
The safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165° Fahrenheit or 75° Celsius.
How to Make Crockpot Salsa Chicken
Simply pour your favorite salsa over boneless, skinless chicken breasts and turn on your slow cooker.
Once it’s done cooking, simply shred it with two forks!
That’s it. You’re done.
Can I Use Chicken Thighs or Drumsticks Instead?
Yes! I find that thighs and drumsticks are usually cheaper at the store, so they are a good deal. And, I have found boneless dark meat often in the meat section of the store.
Dark meat also tends to have more flavor (to me) so it’s a great flavorful option.
Instant Pot Salsa Chicken
Want to try making this dish in the Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker? It’s easy!
Just add ¼ cup of water to the insert along with the chicken and salsa so you don’t get a “Burn” message. Cover and secure the lid on the pressure cooker, and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes, then natural release for 5 minutes.
And, it’s safe to use frozen chicken in the Instant Pot, because the temperature and pressure rises so quickly the bacteria doesn’t have a chance to grow.
How to serve this chicken taco filling
This crock-pot salsa chicken is incredibly versatile, and works beautifully in a variety of Mexican dishes.
Use it in:
- Serve it over nachos
- Make a simple dinner with Salsa Chicken, Spanish rice, and a salad
- Pop it into quesadillas
- Homemade baked chicken taquitos
- Make a Mexican bowl filled with lettuce, veggies, and chicken
- Serve it with tortilla chips like a dip
Can I freeze this salsa chicken?
This is one of my favorite things about making a large batch of this chicken, yes, you can totally freeze it, and it comes out great.
This recipe is perfectly freezer meal friendly.
Just place the leftovers in a freezer bag or airtight container, and save it for later.
Want to gussy it up?
I have the most simple recipe, just the two ingredients. That’s all you need. And it’s so easy and delicious.
But, if you want to make it fancy, feel free to gussy it up a bit.
Add ins to toss in before cooking:
3 Tablespoons taco seasoning (homemade or store-bought)
2 (4.5 ounce) cans diced green chilies
1 finely diced onion
A spoonful or two of chipotle paste
Or, toss in ½ cup chopped cilantro after cooking
Add some lime juice or lime zest to the cooked chicken
Kitchen items you may need for this recipe
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Crock Pot Chicken Tacos Recipe
Crock Pot Chicken Tacos
- 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 jars salsa 16-ounce each, or about 4 cups
- Place chicken in the slow cooker, and pour the salsa on top.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Take the chicken breasts out of the crock-pot, place them on a plate, and use two forks to shred the chicken meat.
- Place the shredded chicken back in the slow cooker, and stir back into the salsa. Serve with tongs or a slotted spoon.