Crockpot Chicken Tacos
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Crockpot Chicken Tacos are an easy dinner idea that the whole family will love! You’ll need just 3 ingredients for this flavorful shredded chicken. It’s the perfect filling for tacos or burrito bowls!
When we need a fast weeknight dinner, I often make this easy chicken taco recipe. It’s family-friendly, and you can serve the shredded chicken in tacos or burrito bowls.
This crockpot shredded chicken is moist and juicy, and it makes the best chicken tacos. Cooking the chicken slowly in salsa makes it incredibly moist and tender. Like my crockpot chicken fajitas recipe, these crockpot chicken tacos are a favorite because you can prep your dinner ahead of time and then go about your day while it cooks in your slow cooker.
Mexican rice, Instant Pot black beans and Instant Pot pinto beans are a few of our favorite side dishes to serve with crockpot chicken tacos. If you have leftover crockpot salsa chicken, it’s delicious in chicken enchiladas or chicken enchilada casserole.
How to Make Crockpot Chicken Tacos
- You’ll start by placing the ingredients in your slow cooker: boneless skinless chicken breasts, salsa and taco seasoning. I use my homemade taco seasoning recipe but you can also use store bought taco seasoning. I usually use jarred salsa from the store and it works great in this recipe.
- Cook the chicken in your crockpot on low for 3 to 4 hours or on high for 2 hours, or until the chicken is cooked through. The chicken is done when it is 165° F at the center of the thickest part, measured with an instant read thermometer. Different slow cookers can cook faster or slower, so start checking your chicken near the shorter end of the cook time to see if it is done. Try not to overcook the chicken because that can dry it out. The less full your slow cooker is, the faster the chicken will cook.
- When the chicken is done, let it cool slightly and then follow my easy steps for how to shred chicken. Add back in some of the salsa and juices from the slow cooker to moisten and flavor the chicken.
- Serve the shredded chicken in warmed tortillas (try my easy tortilla recipe) with toppings. Favorite taco toppings include extra salsa, guacamole, avocado, shredded cheese, lettuce and tomatoes.
Can you cook frozen chicken in a slow cooker?
I do not recommend making this crockpot chicken recipe with frozen chicken. When you put frozen chicken in a slow cooker, it takes longer for the food to heat up. This means that your chicken can stay in the food-safety dangerous temperature range for too long and can put you at risk of food borne illness.
With that being said, I know that many people do cook frozen chicken in their slow cooker. You can do what you are comfortable with.
Read more slow cooker tips and tricks: How to use a Slow Cooker.
Can I use chicken thighs for slow cooker chicken tacos?
Boneless, skinless chicken thighs work great in this crockpot chicken tacos recipe. Boneless chicken thighs will cook in about the same amount of time as boneless chicken breasts. However, since chicken thighs are naturally more moist and juicy than chicken breasts, you can cook them a bit longer without them drying out. This is helpful if you will be out of the house and need to set your crockpot with a longer cook time.
How to reheat shredded chicken
You can make this shredded chicken a day ahead and reheat it in your slow cooker. Be sure to save plenty of the sauce that the chicken cooked in to keep the chicken moist as it reheats. You can also stir in more salsa, if needed. Heat it on low for 1 to 2 hours, or until hot. You can switch the slow cooker to the keep warm setting for serving.
If you prefer, you can reheat the chicken in the microwave or in a pot on the stove, over low heat. Add extra salsa or a little chicken broth, as needed, for moisture.
This is a perfect make ahead recipe for meal prep meals. Store the cooked chicken in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days.
See more of my favorite Crockpot Chicken Recipes. Want to make this in your Instant Pot? Here’s my Instant Pot Chicken Tacos recipe.
Crockpot Chicken Tacos
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, or boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon taco seasoning
- 1 cup mild salsa
- for serving: tortillas, shredded cheese, avocado or guacamole, tomatoes, additional salsa, etc.
- Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Spoon salsa on top of chicken and spread to cover chicken.
- Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, or on high for 2 hours, until chicken is cooked through. Chicken is done when it registers 165° F on an instant read thermometer.
- Remove chicken to a plate to cool slightly, along with any salsa that is on top of the chicken. Shred chicken with two forks or your fingers and place in a bowl. Stir in some of the liquid from the slow cooker, starting with ¼ cup and adding more as desired.
- Serve chicken in tortillas with toppings as desired.
So simple and it looks delicious! I love shredded chicken tacos, but they always take a while to make since I’ve always boiled the chicken before. But not anymore! Tacos are a weekly thing so this is most definitely happening soon 🙂 hope to see baby pics soon!
I hope you love this shredded taco chicken as much as we do! I can’t wait to share baby pics (and see what she looks like myself)! 🙂
Tried this recipe yesterday and I can’t get over how delicious and easy it was. My experience with cooking chicken breasts is to not over cook them or over too high heat as they so easily dry out so I check them after 2 hrs to see if the protein easily breaks with a fork. Three hrs was perfect on low heat. But I also took it one step further. I removed the chicken, pulled it apart with forks into chunks, then added it back to the sauce with one drained can of cuban black beans. Yum Yum. Obviously people could add other ingredients but this worked for us. Made a bowl for my husband with steamed rice and topped with shredded cheese and sour cream. Added mine to a crisp salad with black olives, cheese, and cilantro avocado dressing. Using the leftovers tonight to make a burrito. Thanks for your suggestion.
I’m happy to hear you enjoyed this Gail! This recipe is a hit every time I make it, so I’m glad it worked out for you, too. 🙂
These look really good! I love a simple recipe like this, especially for those seasons when there just is not time to cook!
Thank you, Kelly! I see that we’re both all about short ingredient lists in our recipes today! 🙂
That’s so exciting that it’s almost time for your bundle of joy to arrive, Kristine! This looks like the perfect meal to make with three kids in the house! I love using my slow cooker any chance I get, and this sounds like the perfect dish to make. Pinned!
Thanks, Gayle! I think I’ll be relying on my slow cooker a lot in the coming weeks!
So exciting that it’s almost time for the new baby! I bet you can’t wait to meet her. Quick and easy recipes are going to be a lifesaver. And it’s heathy too! I just love taco Tuesdays : )
I can’t wait, yet at the same time I’m enjoying these last few days before the real craziness sets in! It’s taco Wednesday in my house this week! 🙂
So exciting that your little one will be here soon! Slow cooker meals are the best and we love taco night in our house too. I love how easy these are, I need to give these a try!
We are definitely getting excited!!! If you try this, I hope you like it! I made it again today and it is so easy.
Clearly I think this looks delicious – plus you even made it easier by throwing it in the slow cooker. Kudos! I’ll be sending you some positive vibes for arrival of baby #3 too 🙂
Thanks, Jessica! I appreciate the positive vibes!! 🙂
Looks like a yummy crock pot meal.
I want to give you a huge early congrats!!!! What an exciting time for you. And these tacos are a must try!
Thanks, Jocelyn! We are excited!!
This recipe has been in my rotation for some time now but your pictures truly do it justice!
Thank you for sharing!
Thanks, MaryBeth! It’s definitely a keeper!
Mmm that looks so delicious and such a great idea for dinner! Pinned 🙂
Thank you, Christina!
Three ingredients? Count me in! It looks to-die for, especially since tacos are on my list of favorites! Pinned 🙂
I made this for dinner again yesterday and we had leftovers tonight – it was sooo good! I hope you like it if you try it. Thanks for pinning!
I’m so excited that it’s almost time for you to meet your little bundle! Wishing you the best!!
And this chicken?! Whoaaa I am pretty much drooling all over the place. I love love that it’s only 3 ingredients and it seriously looks like it makes the best-ever tacos!
Thanks for your sweet comment, Sarah! I ate this chicken in tacos three days in a row this week and it was juicy and delicious each time!
I remember having three littles and trying to cook dinner.. I hate to be cliche, but it does go by so fast! However when they are bigger they can do some of the grunt work of cooking 😉 This looks awesome and I love that there are only three ingredients!
Thanks, Sherri! It does go by so fast. I’m not sure how it happened that my other two are as big as they are! 🙂
Three ingredients and so delicious tacos! Really good recipe, Kristine! I have to try this soon!
Thank you, Savita! I hope you like it!
I LOVE how easy this is! Such a great shortcut with the salsa in the slow cooker! I will admit that I bought a new, smaller slow cooker for NYC. I have decided to master it…with your recipes at my side! Wish me luck 🙂
And I am sooooooo excited for you! I can’t believe the day is almost here! Love you! You’ll adjust with ease…I just know it!
I just know you are going to master that slow cooker! 😉
Thank you sooo much, Lindsey! You’re the best!!!
This is definitely super easy!! And looks so delish! I love cooking chicken in the crock pot, it always comes out so perfect. 🙂
Thanks, Jess! My crock pot is my new best friend. 🙂
Love the crock pot action… and how easy this is! I love to keep salsa on hand (as my daily all-day snack but) for reasons like this. The salsa already has all the chopped veggies in it… I say, perfect creation inside a tortilla!
Thank you, Gloria! I love how you think of salsa as full of chopped veggies! 🙂
i’m so craving chicken tacos right now! love these photos and i also love how easy this recipe is to make!
Thank you, Thalia! We make this recipe at least twice a month, it’s so good and easy!
OH MY!!!! Just made this today. Absolutely delicious! I made a cilantro lime rice as a side dish to go along with this. It gives you an option: either use the meat in a tortilla, or serve it over the rice. This will definitely be a go to meal! Thanks 🙂
I’m so glad that you enjoyed this, Jo! Your thoughtful comment made my day. 🙂 I bet this is delicious over cilantro lime rice! We will have to try that next time.
I halved this recipe because it was just for me. . . Loved it! So simple and good. I did my take on it by making my own taco seasoning and using habanero salsa (I like spicy!!). Thanks for sharing this!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed this taco chicken, Craig! I bet it was good with the spicy salsa! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.
I don’t have any chicken breasts on hand but I do have tenders. how long would I do it in the Crock-Pot with tenders?
I haven’t tested this with tenders, but they would likely cook more quickly. The cook time will also depend on how full your crockpot is (less full will cook faster). I’d recommend that you check on them before the cook times listed in the recipe.
So I would like to make this tomorrow! But four chicken breast is a lot! If I use one would that be fine? Or would I also need to cut back on the other measurements?
I’ve never made this with just one chicken breast, but I often make it with two and keep the rest of the measurements the same. When you use less chicken, it often cooks faster than the time listed in the recipe. Cooking time varies by slow cooker, too.
Is the chicken frozen? or thawed?
Finally a truly EASY crock- pot meal that my family will actually like! I’m expecting a little girl in August and was just pulled out of work due to complications. This will be amazing to make while my fiance is at work and it doesn’t require too much effort on my part at all… thank you so much!!!
Thank you, Allie! This is one of our go-to recipes. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly. Congratulations!!
Does the chicken need to be thawed before cooking?
I always use thawed chicken in my slow cooker. There are food safety concerns with adding frozen meat to a slow cooker, as the slow cooker may not get the meat to a safe temperature quickly enough. Frozen chicken will remain at an unsafe temperature for a longer time, making it possible for bacteria to flourish. I’d recommend always thawing first. 🙂
I want to make this for a crowd. Can I make it the day ahead and reheat in slow cooker?
Hi Sue, yes, that will work. Make sure to keep the sauce/salsa along with the chicken so it won’t be dry.
Can you please clarify what you mean by keeping the sauce/salsa along with the chicken? I’m planning to make this the day before as well. Thanks!
Hi Jennifer, After cooking the chicken there will be some liquid (like a thinner salsa) in the slow cooker. Keep that sauce to reheat the chicken in to keep the chicken moist.
Hi Kristine, love your blog and can’t wait to try these tacos they look amazing!! Was just wondering if you’ve ever tried them without the cayenne pepper? Did it alter the taste much? I’m not one for spicy foods but I’m willing to give these a try either way 🙂
Hi Jodie, You can definitely leave out the cayenne. I don’t think you will notice much difference, as it’s such a small amount. It makes me so happy to hear that you’re enjoying my blog!
This is such a great a idea with the salsa as a liquid in a slow cooker. Definitely going to try this. thanks,Anna
Hi there..was wondering if this recipe would work using frozen chicken breasts..caught a bag on sale and now I’m desperately looking for new meal ideas to use them on!
I would thaw the chicken first. There is food safety risk when cooking frozen meat in a slow cooker, since the food can stay in the “danger zone” temperature range for too long. You could make this in an Instant Pot with frozen chicken, though! I would try cooking it for 12-15 minutes on high pressure, depending on how big the chicken breasts are, with a 10 minute natural release.
Thanks for sharing! Do they keep long?
The cooked shredded taco chicken will last for 3 days in the refrigerator.
Do you have this recipe for the Instant Pot?
I don’t have it on my website, but here is what I do: Put one pound boneless, skinless chicken and 1 cup salsa in the Instant Pot, along with the taco seasoning. You don’t need to add water, the salsa is enough liquid. Pressure cook at high pressure for 16 minutes plus 10 minutes natural release. Then quick release any remaining pressure and shred the chicken.
Do you know about what the calorie count is on these .
Hi Kimberly, I just updated this post with nutrition information. The nutrition facts are for the salsa chicken only, as the type of tortillas and toppings will vary.
You saved my bacon so to speak! I have some left over chicken so I’m making the tacos tonight. I’m 79 years old and my husband is 85 & I have trouble thinking of things to fix and I like to try new things. Thank you.
younger ladies start keeping a list (on paper) of things your family love you will to eat. When you are a LOT OLDER you will be glad you did!
I’m so happy to hear this! I agree, keeping a running list of favorite easy meals can be so helpful. 🙂
Can you please tell me how many cups 1/8 of the recipe is, thanks!
I’m sorry, I don’t know.
Made this recipe this week and my kids gobbled it up, thank you!
I don’t know how often you check your boards but I want to say we tried this tonight and only made one adjustment as I didn’t have a full jar of salsa I added a can of enchilada sauce I really only have one question can I sub flank or skirt steak for the chicken?
I haven’t tried this with steak. If you try it, let me know how it turns out!
Can you freeze left over
Yes, you can freeze the leftover chicken.
Gonna make this soon, but. have a quick question. Can I use half breasts and half thighs. I’d be cooking it on low, so how long do you thing this combo of meats would take.
The cook time will depend both on your slow cooker (they can vary slightly in their cooking temperature) and the amount of chicken you are cooking (more chicken will take longer to cook). I would guess it will take about 4 hours on low, give or take an hour. Thighs generally take a bit longer than breasts, but you can definitely cook half of each with good results. I hope you enjoy the recipe!