Easy Mexican Chicken Crock Pot Recipe (2024)

Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken simmered with Mexican spices, salsa and green chilies for amazingly flavorful chicken for tacos, burritos, nachos, soups, salads, etc. and all you do is dump and run! You NEED this in your back pocket!

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Recipe Video


This Mexican Shredded Chicken is a need

Need is a strong word. But when it comes to food and recipes, I am convinced you NEED this go-to, easy, crazy delicious Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken at your fingertips. In fact, it is the only all purpose, Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken you will ever need! It joins the cast of my other stellar back-pocket Mexican staples of Tacos Al Pastor,Carne Asada,Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas, Baja Fish Tacos, Beef, Bean and Cheese Burritos, Chicken Fajitas, Steak Fajitas, Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas and Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef. And of course, every one needs a killer Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.

After all, tacos, burritos, nachos, tostadas, chimichangas, enchiladas, etc. are only as good as the meat and this Mexican Chicken is stellar. It will be the star of your Mexican dishes and bonus! – it is super easy and fabulous for make-ahead or even freeze-ahead meals. Use the chicken plain in your recipes or top them all off with Guacamole, Homemade Salsa, Salsa Verdeor Pico de Gallofor an added layer of YUM!

The perfectly flavored chicken cooks in a Mexican spiced bath of salsa, green chilies, diced tomatoes, brown sugar and a splash of liquid smoke.

The chicken cooks until its fork tender, then shredded and added back to the seasoned juices to re-absorb the flavor in every crevice.

At this point, you drain any excess liquid. I like to save the seasoned liquid to cook my rice in like I first did in my Slow Cooker Fajita Chickenso good – some of the best rice you will ever eat! The chicken is perfect as is for tacos/burritos or if you are serving plain over rice, I love to stir in some enchilada sauce. It is also fabulous with Restaurant Style Mexican Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice with Black Beans.

Crockpot Mexican Chicken ingredients

  • Chicken:Both chicken breasts or chicken thighs will work in this recipe – your preference! If using chicken thighs, you’ll likely need to reduce the cooking time.
  • Olive oil:Just 1 tablespoon helps insulate the chicken and prevent it from drying out while cooking.
  • Salsa:Use your favorite salsa, whether chunky or smooth. Use mild if you don’t like spicy foods or use medium if you crave some heat.
  • Diced tomatoes:Usefire roasteddiced tomatoes if your grocery store carries them. They boast a complex smokiness with a touch of sweetness and lower acidity. Fire roasted tomatoes are located next to the traditional diced tomatoes.
  • Chopped green chiles:These come in a 4 ounce can and are delightfully tangy. Use mild as opposed to spicy so it’s easy to control the heat.
  • Brown sugar:A little sugar is needed to balance out the tangy heat in this dish. If you must omit the sugar, it will still be tasty, just tangier.
  • Liquid smoke:This adds a delightfully subtle smoky flavor thatmakesthe recipe. Liquid smoke comes in a bottle and is located next to the barbecue sauces at your grocery store. I use mesquite but hickory will also work.

Seasoning Chicken for Crockpot Mexican Chicken

This Crockpot Mexican Chicken is seasoned with a mixture of chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper season the chicken to perfection. A few notes on these seasonings:

  • Chili powder:This is where most of the flavor comes from so please use a quality brand such as McCormick.INTERNATIONAL WARNING:American Chili powder is a blend of chilies, cumin, garlic powder, and herbs with a ratio of one-part cayenne to seven parts the other spices. Chili powders sold in other parts of the world, however, are 100% chile pepper and 8X hotter than chili powder! So, please use American-style chili powder to make this recipe or your mouth will be on FIRE!
  • Chipotle powder (pepper):I suggest you keep this seasoning stocked because I use it ALL the time in my recipes! It is smoked and dried jalapenos ground into a powder. It adds a sublime smoky heat instead of just pure heat. If you don’t have any, then add a pinch-¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper. You will need much less because cayenne pepper is much spicier. I would start with less and add more to taste.

How to make Mexican Shredded Chicken in the Crock Pot

  1. Rub chicken breasts with oil and place in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except for the hot sauce.
  3. Cook on high for 2-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred.
  4. Shred the chicken and let it cook on low for an additional 20 minutes to absorb some of the liquid/juices.
  5. Drain all excess liquid. Taste and add hot sauce to taste if desired.

Mexican Chicken Crock Pot Variations

  • Use chicken thighs:Boneless, skinless chicken thighs are also excellent. You may need to reduce the cooking time, so watch closely.
  • Add beans:Add your favorite beans such as black or pinto. You may need to add additional salt to taste.
  • Add corn:Fresh, frozen or canned corn will all work.
  • Add more green chiles:Add an additional can to up the tanginess!
  • Swap in salsa:Swap the diced tomatoes for additional salsa if your family doesn’t like tomato pieces. Use mild and start with ¼ cup as this is also adding additional flavor.
  • Add jalapenos:Instead of hot sauce, add heat with jarred jalapenos.
  • AddEnchilada Sauce:Add some enchilada sauce at the very end and heat through for saucy Mexican Chicken.
  • Add cheese:Stir in shredded Mexican cheese blend, cheddar or pepper Jack cheese for CHEESY Mexican Chicken.
  • Add rice or quinoa:Stir in cooked rice or cooked quinoa for added texture. You’ll like want to add additional salt and salsa as well.

Easy Mexican Chicken Crock Pot Recipe (7)

Ways to serve this Shredded Mexican Chicken

This shredded chicken recipe is seasoned simply, but it’s flavorful and will work in any recipe that calls for shredded chicken. Some of my favorite ways to use shredded chicken include:

  • In tacos, burritos, quesadillas: Stuff the chicken inside crispy taco shells to make Shredded Chicken Tacos, in burritos to make Smothered Chicken Burritos, or in between two tortillas along with melty cheese to make quesadillas.
  • Enchiladas: Use the chicken to make Red Chicken Enchiladas, Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken Enchiladas, Enchiladas Verdes, Creamy Green Chili Chicken Enchiladas or Chicken Mole Enchiladas.
  • Nachos: Use this shredded chicken to make my favorite Honey Lime Salsa Verde Chicken Nachos, or pile it on cheesy chips along with your favorite toppings.

This Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken is readyto make all your Mexican dishes more delicious… Likethese Smothered Baked Mexican Chicken Burritos aka “Skinny Chimichangas” with Cheesy Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce

But don’t wait,your taste buds want you to make this chicken now! or tomorrow, or as soon as humanly possible…

Storing and Reheating Shredded Mexican Chicken

  • To store: Let the Mexican chicken cool completely then transfer with the liquid to an airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • To freeze: Let the chicken cool completely, then transfer in the liquid to a freezer safe container or portion it into smaller containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • To reheat:Warm chicken in the microwave for 1 minute then at 20 second intervals until warmed through or simmer gently on the stove until warmed through.
  • Slow cooker:Reheat on low for 1-2 hours until warmed through, stirring occasionally.

Looking for more crockpot shredded chicken recipes?

  • Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken
  • Asian Sweet Chili Sesame Chicken
  • Slow Cooker Fiesta Ranch Cream Cheese Chicken
  • Slow Cooker Honey Buffalo Chicken
  • Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken
  • Slow Cooker Pineapple Salsa Chicken
  • Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Honey Lime Chicken

More Favorites from Carlsbad Cravings

  • Honey Ham Recipe
  • White Chicken Lasagna
  • Tuscan Garlic Shrimp
  • Lemon Garlic Chicken Recipe
  • Homemade Fettuccine Alfredo
  • Tacos De Asada
  • Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole with Sausage
  • Easy Cajun Shrimp Pasta
  • Best Chicken Marinade
  • Sweet Broccoli Salad
  • Chicken with Coconut Milk
  • Blackened Cajun Salmon

Easy Mexican Chicken Crock Pot Recipe (12)

Crock Pot Mexican Chicken

Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken simmered with Mexican spices, salsa and green chilies for amazingly flavorful chicken for tacos, burritos, nachos, soups, salads, etc. and all you do is dump and run! You NEED this in your back pocket!

Servings: 6 servings

Total Time: 4 hours hrs 5 minutes mins

Prep Time: 5 minutes mins

Cook Time: 4 hours hrs

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  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup mild salsa (medium if you like spicy)
  • 3-4 tablespoons brown sugar **
  • 1 4 oz. can mild diced green chilies
  • 1 14.5 oz. can fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained (or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tsp EACH ground cumin, garlic powder, onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp EACH smoked paprika, dry oregano, pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper (optional for more heat)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • Hot sauce to taste


  • Rub chicken breasts with oil and place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the hot sauce. Cook on high for 2-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred.

  • Shred the chicken and let it cook on low for an additional 20 minutes to absorb some of the liquid/juices. Drain all excess liquid (see note***). Taste and add hot sauce to taste if desired.




Cook on high pressure for 13 minutes then let release for 15 minutes. Shred and pressure cook for another 5 minutes.

Tips for Success

  • Liquid Smoke is found next to the BBQ sauces in any grocery store and adds a wonderfully smoky flavor.
  • Use 3 tablespoons brown sugar if using mild salsa and not using ground chipotle chili pepper. Use 4 tablespoons if you are using medium salsa and/or the ground chipotle chili pepper. The brown sugar balances out the heat. I use both medium salsa and the chipotle chili pepper and it has a kick but not overly spicy in my opinion – perfect to be smothered in cheese. I had a comment that the chicken is not spicy at all if you leave out the chipotle pepper – perfect for kids.
  • When I drain my excess liquid, I top a large bowl with a strainer and add slow cooker contents, pressing down on chicken to get rid of all of the excess moisture. I then use drained liquid plus additional needed water to cook my rice for AMAZING flavored rice.
  • If serving over rice, try stirring in some enchilada sauce after you drain your chicken for some saucy Enchilada Mexican Chicken.
  • Chicken freezes beautifully. Transfer to a freezer bag, squeeze out excess air and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

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Easy Mexican Chicken Crock Pot Recipe (2024)


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