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.


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
Total Time: 4 hrs 5 mins
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 4 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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  1. Cheerful says

    Absolutely love this recipe! I actually use the left-over juices as a mix in for Mexican Rice…so good!

    • Jen says

      I’m so pleased it’s a repeat favorite, thanks so much!

  2. Anick says

    Since I discovered this recipe a year ago, I made it my mission to share it with all my people. So damn good and so simple with ingredients usually on hands.

    Made it with chicken and tried it as well with beef : success all around, every time. Thank you very much for this recipe! (Milles merci du Québec)

    • Jen says

      Thank you Anick for sharing my recipe with so many, you rock! I hope to visit beautiful Québec some day!

  3. Raven says

    Your recipes are amazing! Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Jen says

      You are so kind, thanks for making my recipes Raven!

  4. Elenore says

    This recipe was amazing! My whole family loved it and I enjoyed having the house slowly fill with the delicious smell of it cooking. I found it looking for ways to use some ingredients we had already and we will definitely be making this regularly. Thanks for the great recipe. My husband said “This is the best thing you’ve ever made in the crockpot”

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much Elenore for the ultimate compliment of being the best thing you’ve made in the crockpot! I’m so pleased it will be on repeat!

  5. Wanda says

    This was a winner, winner chicken dinner served with homemade Spanish rice and Quesadillas. I will definitely make it again , Thank you for the recipe !

    • Jen says

      Thank you for taking the time to comment Wanda, I’m so pleased it was a winner!

  6. lucien Auger says

    I guess you use boneless, skinless chicken? Thanks

    • Jen says

      Yes, when not specified in a recipe, that is always what you should use. Enjoy!

  7. Vanessa DeMoss says

    Hello making this recipe for the first time n crockpot smells gud already I knw we will enjoy it will let u knw how it came out n a few hours!

  8. Karen says

    Mind if I scoot the other 416 comments aside while I praise the master chef? I have made this recipe a few times recently but never gave you, Jen, the admiration you deserve for sharing such a terrific recipe with all of us. This recipe MAKES all my mexican food outstanding: tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, mexican casseroles, etc. It’s flavorful and comes out wonderfully seasoned that always brings a smile to my family’s face. Thank you! xo

    • Jen says

      LOL! Thanks Karen, I love hearing it’s regular family favorite!

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