Easy Slow Cooker Shredded 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!

Crockpot Mexican Chicken Recipe Video

Shredded Mexican Chicken on a wood cutting board.

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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 Verde or Pico de Gallo for 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.

Showing how to make Shredded Mexican Chicken in the slow cooker.

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

Shredded Mexican Chicken in the slow cooker being scooped out.

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.

A large scoop of Shredded Mexican Chicken.
Shredded Mexican Chicken with cilantro and tomatoes.


This Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken is ready to make all your Mexican dishes more delicious…


Like these Smothered Baked Mexican Chicken Burritos aka “Skinny Chimichangas” with Cheesy Green Chili Sour Cream Sauce

Shredded Mexican Chicken in a burrito with cheese.

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

Looking for more crockpot shredded chicken recipes?

Easy Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Chicken simmered with Mexican spices, salsa and green chilies for the BEST Mexican chicken perfect for tacos, burritos, tostadas, salads, etc. Couldn’t be any easier!

Slow Cooker Shredded 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
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

INSTANT Pot

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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372 Comments

  1. Ariel says

    This recipe is foolproof!! And so good!! We make tacos with it or serve over rice and top with shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado, etc. Only takes me 15 min to get it in the crockpot. So easy!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Ariel, I’m so pleased it’s a favorite!

  2. Becky says

    This is one of my favorite recipes! I make it for myself to eat all week fairly often, but brought it for a potluck at work today and it was a huge success.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Becky, I’m so happy to hear it’s a repeat favorite!

  3. Apolonio Molina Romero says

    I Love ❤️ Your Food Recipes !!!

  4. Savilla Smith says

    We love this recipe and make it all the time. We have a large group coming for a party next weekend and wondering if you have ever doubled it with success?

    • Jen says

      Hi Savilla, I haven’t personally double the recipe but it shouldn’t be a problem at all. Whenever I double a recipe I start with less salt and heat and then add more to taste. Good luck!

  5. Natasha says

    I’ve made this many times and it is a favorite. I don’t use liquid smoke because I’ve never cared for it and I substitute the chipotle chili pepper for chipotles in adobo sauce since that has some of that smoky flavor. I love to use this for my meal prep.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Natasha, I love hearing this recipe is on repeat. Chipotles in adobo sound fabulous!

  6. penny Goldberg says

    I am looking for your receipe for amazing rice. I am cooking the receipe now for the mexican chicken. It smells soooo good.

  7. Susan says

    This was really good but there wasn’t enough liquid in the recipe for the instant pot. I got multiple burn warnings and had to add broth and restart. it came out great in the end but just a word for warning for instant pots that it needs more liquid. Thank you for another tasty recipe!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for the heads up Susan! I’m sure your review will be very helpful to others.

  8. Lauren N says

    Could I use a Dutch oven? If so do you know the time difference?
    Tia

    • Jen says

      Hi Lauren, I would bake at 350 degrees, covered, for about 45 minutes or until the chicken easily shreds. Good luck!

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