Looking for some easy dinner ideas? This Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken is so simple, budget-friendly, and can be used in many different ways!
Struggle with feeling like there’s nothing to cook? Try this huge list of 50+ easy family dinner recipes!
The following is a guest post by Danielle Miller from BorrowedBites.com:
You may remember me from my first post where I wrote all about my deep love for the Sunday Dinner Tradition we have with family, but that is not the only thing I have a deep love of. I also love quick dinners. I mean I do enjoy spending hours in the kitchen cooking, but only when I want to. Haha!
How to Make Mexican Shredded Chicken in the Slow Cooker
Enter this quick and easy, inexpensive, no-brainer Mexican Chicken recipe that can be used many different ways. It’s the kind you plop in the slow cooker and use all week. Or you can make a large batch and freeze the leftovers into smaller portions for a quick meal whenever.
The best part? It takes just 4 ingredients and a slow cooker. The perfect answer when you need something simple and quick. Can I get an amen?
First, A Few Tips!
Before we bust out the slow cooker, let’s go over a couple tricks to getting perfectly tender and juicy chicken breasts every time.
- First, coat the chicken breasts in a bit of oil. My favorite is olive oil, but your favorite cooking oil will work just fine. Chicken breasts are very lean and therefore can dry out easily. The oil helps keep them from drying out during the cooking process.
- Second, once the chicken breasts are shredded, let them soak up the juices that are in the slow cooker for an hour. Then the inside is just as flavorful and juicy as the outside!
Simple Ingredients You’ll Need
Like I said, you only need a few ingredients for this very simple Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken! Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 chicken breasts
- A jar of your favorite green salsa. Herdez is my go-to, but I also like the Walmart brand and Trader Joes also makes a delicious one.
- Chipotle chile powder*: This ingredient is the real secret to the flavor in this recipe, so do not skip it! If you are not familiar with this ingredient, it is made of smoked jalapeños that have been ground into a powder. It adds smokiness and a touch of spice. Each brand has a different heat level, so I would start with a little less and increase until the desired heat level is reached. I usually get mine at Smith’s (a Kroger store) when they do BOGO sales. I love it so much and put it in a lot of different recipes — including this White Chicken Chili and these Skillet Chicken Fajitas.
- Brown Sugar: For just a touch of sweet. Feel free to substitute with honey if you want a more natural option.
- Oil, salt, and pepper: These are traditionally considered “free” in a recipe.
*If you really don’t want any heat in your Mexican Chicken then you can substitute with smoked paprika (not regular), but the flavor won’t be quite the same. Delicious but not quite as developed.
Add Everything to the Slow Cooker
Start by coating every inch of the chicken breasts in oil, then place them in the slow cooker. In a bowl or measuring cup, pour in the salsa, chipotle chili powder, and brown sugar. Stir to combine. Pour that mixture over the chicken breasts and turn the slow cooker on low for 3-4 hours.
At the three hour mark, check to see if the breasts are shreddable. If they are not, leave in the slow cooker for another hour. If they are ready to shred, use two forks to pull them apart. Allow them to stay in the slow cooker on low for an extra hour to soak up all the flavorful juice. After this point they can be kept on “keep warm” for up to two hours.
(Scroll to the bottom of this post for more detailed directions and a printable recipe!)
Creative Ways to use Mexican Chicken
After cooking your Mexican Shredded Chicken in the slow cooker, there are endless options for ways to use it. Here are just a few ideas:
- As a part of a build-your-own burrito bowl or taco bar. Everyone gets exactly what they want in their own bowl or taco. Options might include cilantro rice, black beans, lettuce, cheese, salsa, avocado, cilantro, etc. (You could also use this in place of the ground beef in these Build-Your-Own Haystacks!)
- Add to a bagged Southwestern salad mix for a quick and easy protein choice. It’s such an easy way to spruce of a salad and provide some variety!
- Put inside enchilada burritos (aka wet burritos).
- Add it to these 15 minute corn tortilla quesadillas. A great way to use up tortillas and whatever melty cheese you have on hand.
- Use as a filling in enchiladas, burritos, tacos, or taquitos.
Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken Recipe
- 4 whole chicken breasts, trimmed
- 1 16 ounce green salsa, Herdez or similar
- 3 tbsp chipotle chili powder (Use less if you are concerned about the heat.)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- Salt and pepper
Step 1: Coat trimmed chicken breasts with oil and salt and pepper. Place them in the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker.
Step 2: Mix salsa, chipotle chili powder, and brown sugar in a bowl until combined. Pour evenly over the chicken breasts, being sure to cover completely.
Step 3: Cook on low for 3-4 hours. Once the chicken comes apart easily, shred with two forks, and allow to stay on low for another hour. After this point the chicken holds well on “keep warm” for a couple hours.
TIPS & TRICKS
- Coat the chicken breasts in oil and salt and pepper.
- Once the chicken breasts are shredded, allow them to stay in the slow cooker for another hour soaking up all the flavor and moisture in the sauce.
- If making a large batch be sure that your slow cooker is large enough and note that it might take longer to cook.
- If you don’t want to use chipotle chili powder you can substitute with smoked paprika. It will not have the same depth of flavor, but it is still tasty.
Looking for Other Super Simple Recipes? Try these!
Recipes with just a few ingredients can be a lifesaver when things are busy or the pantry and refrigerator are looking a bit empty. Here are a few other favorite dinner ideas that are super simple:
- Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tortellini Soup — This recipe is so simple to make and it’s a fun twist on traditional chicken noodle soup. Plus, it can be made ahead in the crock pot!
- Super Simple Sheet Pan Dinner — This recipe is so versatile, comforting, filling, and easy. Plus, you can switch it up easily depending on what ingredients you have on hand.
- Crockpot Taco Soup — This one is super simple to make and really versatile!
- 4 Ingredient Potato Soup — A consistent favorite on the blog. It’s a recipe passed down from my grandma that’s easy on the wallet and yummy on the tummy!
- 4 Ingredient White Chocolate Churro Popcorn – This is great to up your movie night snacks, but it is also fantastic for taking to a party. Plus it is easily customizable; just toss in a few sprinkles that match the holiday or team you’re celebrating!
- 4 Ingredient Chicken Marinade — Perfect for loading up the freezer ahead of grilling season. This chicken is great on its own or chopped up and tossed in a salad for lunch.
- Over 50 Cheap and Easy Dinner Ideas — When it seems like there’s nothing to cook, look in your pantry and see if you can whip up one of these simple ideas!
- 20 Quick & Easy Make-Ahead Dinners — These freezer-friendly dinner recipes are SO easy to make ahead of time and have ready when you need them! So many delicious options!!
Have you ever tried making Mexican Shredded Chicken in the Slow Cooker? Any other great ideas? Let’s hear!