Crockpot Salsa Chicken
Crockpot Salsa Chicken is my go-to dish when I need an effortless recipe for lunch, dinner or meal prep. This flavorful, easy-to-shred chicken comes together with just 5 minutes of prep and a few simple ingredients. It’s perfect for making tacos, burritos, quesadillas or even topping a salad. Throw taco seasoned chicken breasts (or thighs), salsa, lime juice and fresh cilantro in the slow cooker and walk away. This is on my regular meal rotation and it’s always a hit!
I make this Crockpot Salsa Chicken all of the time! It’s so easy, super tasty, and really versatile. You’re going to love it!
We all could use more slow cooker recipes in our lives… am I right? Dinnertime seems so much easier and stress-free when I have a meal (or most of a meal) ready to go when 5:00 rolls around, and I’m always looking for new recipes to try in my crock pot.
Besides the obvious ease of slow cooker meals, do you want to know my favorite part of using them? I don’t have to turn on the oven! When the dog days of summer hit, and my air conditioning bill is through the roof, the LAST thing I want to do is turn on my oven for anything. So I can either eat a salad, coax my husband into firing up the grill, or use my slow cooker. Nine times out of ten, the slow cooker wins!
Reasons to love this recipe
I not only love this slow cooker salsa chicken recipe because of how tasty it is, but for many other reasons too! Here’s several reasons why this dish is repeated almost weekly at my house:
- It’s easy. This is SO quick and easy! All you have to do is season the chicken and add it, along with 3 other ingredients to the slow cooker.
- It can be made for a crowd, if you’d like. This is super simple to double. If you’re having guests over, this is a crowd-pleasing meal that’s budget friendly too.
- So many serving options. Make a DIY taco bar. Add this chicken in the slow cooker to the bar along with taco toppings and such. Let your family or friends choose their favorites to make their own tacos. It’s such party pleaser!
- Fits many diets. Depending on the taco seasoning and salsa that you use, this chicken recipe can easily be paleo and gluten free. Instead of using tortillas, pile it on your favorite salad or use it in soup. Or you can use something like Siete Food almond flour or cashew flour tortillas.
All simple ingredients you can easily grab at the grocery store without too much hassle! Be sure to use a flavorful salsa that you love because this is where most of the flavor in this recipe will come from! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Chicken. I use boneless skinless chicken breasts to keep things on the lighter side, but you can use chicken thighs instead for a richer and juicier flavor.
- Taco seasoning. Use your favorite for the perfect blend of spices to season the chicken. I like to go with a low sodium option. Here’s my favorite homemade taco seasoning.
- Salsa. You can use any favorite jar of salsa here. You could even try making your own homemade salsa! To change things up salsa verde (green sauce) is another great option.
- Cilantro. Love this for added flavor, but feel free to leave it out, if you’re a cilantro hater.
- Lime juice. Don’t forget to add in some freshly squeezed lime juice. It really amps up the flavor of this salsa chicken recipe!
How to make this recipe
This salsa chicken recipe really could not be easier! You basically dump all the ingredients into the crock pot and let it do it’s thing! Here’s the simple process:
- Season the chicken. Start the recipe by seasoning the chicken breast on both sides with the taco seasoning.
- Load up the slow cooker. Place the chicken breast on the bottom of the crockpot. Next, add the salsa, cilantro and lime juice.
- Slow cook the chicken. Stir everything up to ensure that your chicken is evenly coated and submerged in the liquid. Then, turn the crockpot on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours. Now, go on about your day!
- Shred and serve. Once the chicken is fully cooked, it shreds up so nicely with really minimal effort. After you shred it, make sure to coat it with the residual juices in the crockpot, so that it really absorbs all of that delicious flavor. The options for serving are endless! Enjoy!
How to shred chicken
I know many people like to use their electric mixer to shred chicken and that totally works, but I typically just use two forks. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker using a slotted spoon and place it onto a cutting board. Using two forks, pull apart each chicken breast until your chicken is fully shredded. Add the shredded chicken back to the slow cooker and stir it into the salsa.
Even though this shredded chicken recipe is really quite simple, here are a few tips for best results.
- Chicken options. You can make salsa chicken with boneless, skinless chicken breasts or boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Try to choose chicken pieces that are about the same size and thickness, so that they cook evenly.
- Spray your crockpot with a little non-stick cooking spray before adding in your ingredients. Or you can use a crockpot liner for less mess.
- I recommend using organic free range chicken that are raised without antibiotics. Better quality meat, will make for a better quality meal!
- If you’re sensitive to spice, be sure to choose a taco seasoning and salsa that have mild heat. On the other hand, if you like spicy, use hot taco seasoning and/or add a dash of cayenne pepper, minced jalapeño or red pepper flakes.
Frequently asked questions
Cooking raw chicken in a slow cooker is perfectly acceptable. You just need to make sure the internal temperature gets up to 165 degrees at some point during the cooking process.
The best way to cook chicken (and turkey) in a slow cooker is on the LOW setting and for a relatively short amount of time. This is unlike tough meats which can cook for a long time in the moist heat of a crockpot.
If the chicken is cooked too long, it will become dry and tough. That means the best way to keep chicken from drying out in a crockpot is to stop cooking it as soon as it reaches the proper internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
There are SO many ways to serve this shredded chicken. Sometimes I even use it in other recipes, like Mexican casseroles, soups and enchiladas. Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy this:
- Tacos. Pile all of your favorite taco fixings into warm tortillas or crunchy taco shells for Taco Tuesday!
- Chicken burrito bowls. Add rice, black beans, corn, guacamole and any other favorites with the salsa chicken for incredible burrito bowls.
- Quesadillas. This chicken and a little cheese cooked until melty and warm in fluffy flour tortillas makes for an easy, yet amazing meal.
- Nacos. Use leftovers to cover tortilla chips along with cheese and other toppings.
- Salad. For a lighter meal option, make a chicken taco salad with all your favorite fresh Mexican ingredients.
Meal prep tips
This is my all-time favorite recipe to make in advance and enjoy throughout the week. When I meal prep this recipe, I like to pack it up in my meal prep containers with some cauliflower rice, peppers and onions. My condiments and tortillas get packed up on the side.
To make things even easier, most of the time I actually cook the chicken overnight in my crockpot. When I wake up in the morning, it’s done, and all I need to do is shred it and assemble my containers. Such a fabulous recipe for meal prep, especially on the weeks where I am really in a time crunch.
How to store, freeze & reheat
- Storage. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container or bag and kept in the refrigerator for up to about 6 days.
- Freezing. Allow to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer safe bag or container. It will stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheating. To reheat the leftovers, you can place it in the slow cooker and place it on “warm” to warm it back up. Alternatively, you can simply reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Once you try this easy crock-pot salsa chicken recipe, you’ll be making it on repeat! With a handful of basic ingredients, this chicken dish is quick to put together and can be used in countless ways!
more slow cooker recipes to try
Looking for some other convenient slow cooker recipes? Here’s some family and reader favs:
If you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment and if your family loves it as much as mine does, be sure to give it a five star ⭐️ rating! Also, tag @kimscravings on Instagram with a picture of your creation. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list to receive more healthy delicious recipes straight to your inbox.
Crockpot Salsa Chicken
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast*
- 2 teaspoons taco seasoning
- 2 cups favorite salsa
- 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Season the chicken breasts on all sides with taco seasoning and rub to coat.
- Place the chicken in the slow cooker and pour the salsa over the top.
- Add the cilantro and lime juice; toss chicken to coat.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
- Once cooked, shred chicken and add back to the slow cooker to toss with remaining salsa and juices.
- Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Storage. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight bag or container and kept in the refrigerator for up to about 6 days.
- Freezing. Allow the chicken to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer safe bag or container. It will stay good in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.
- Reheating. To reheat the leftover chicken, you can place it in the slow cooker and place it on “warm” to warm it back up. Alternatively, you can simply reheat it in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Did you make this recipe?
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Can I do this without the taco seasoning? I could use a somewhat warmer homemade salsa. I cannot have chili Powder. ( allergy to cayenne, no added sugar and low sodium diet). Taco Seasoning contains chili powder. But, I can make this with homemade salsa, it sounds good. Thanks for the recipe. Have you ever tried this with hamburger or other ground meats?
You can definitely make this without the taco seasoning and use a warmer salsa. If there are some spices in taco seasoning that you’re able to have, like garlic and paprika, I would rub those on the chicken and just leave off what you can’t have. I haven’t tried ground meats.
If I want to double the chicken would you double the salsa too? It seems like that would be lots of salsa.
I would or even maybe just a half more. Enjoy!
Can you use frozen chicken?
That should work fine. You just might need to increase the cook time.
I put taco seasoning on top of the chicken first then salsa! It’s perfect!
Yay! So happy you enjoyed!