You probably know by now that I love easy cooking hacks. So I’m excited to share this super simple crockpot Mexican chicken recipe! You end up with juicy, fall-apart chicken that’s deliciously spiced.
Aside from quickly searing the chicken, all that’s involved is setting it and forgetting it. It doesn’t get much better than that!
And, there are endless recipe variations you can make using this chicken, such as tacos, nachos, salads, grain bowls, etc.
I’ll include some recipe inspiration and ways to use this Mexican shredded chicken later in the post!
Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken
I really love this shredded chicken – it’s super juicy, a little spicy, and so easy. Use it in tacos, quesadillas, and burrito bowls; it really is perfect!
The chicken turns out nice and tender and falls apart easily with two forks. I forgot how easy and delicious slow cooker chicken is!
It’s also perfect for meal prep because it makes a large amount of chicken and works so well with tons of dishes. You can even use it for sandwiches and wraps.
See my 11 Things to do with Rotisserie Chicken post for some ideas re: what to do with leftover shredded chicken, and there are some Mexican-themed specific ideas in this post, too!
Crockpot Mexican Chicken Ingredients
To make this crockpot Mexican chicken, you’ll need:
- boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
- chili powder
- smoked paprika (regular paprika works too – it just won’t have as much of a smoky flavor)
- ground cumin
- canned diced tomatoes with green chilies
- canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (if you can’t find this, you can leave it out)
- optional: cayenne pepper (use this only if you want to turn up the spice factor!)
If you’re in a pinch, you can replace the diced tomatoes/chilies and peppers with a jar of salsa for a super easy variation.
How to Make Shredded Chicken in the Crockpot
Let’s talk about how to make this tasty chicken!
Start by searing the chicken before slow cooking it.
You might be tempted to skip this step, but it is such a game changer! It adds flavor and color to the chicken, toasts the spices so they’re fragrant, and locks in moisture so the chicken gets tender without getting stringy.
Mix together the spices and salt (leave this out if your spices contain salt already – you can add salt and pepper to taste once the chicken is cooked), then use it to season the chicken. Make sure to coat it evenly. Then, sear each piece in a skillet with olive oil for about 2 minutes on each side, until nice and browned.
Next, place the chicken into the crockpot. Add the diced tomatoes and chilies, chipotle peppers, and garlic, and mix together. Cook on high for 2-2.5 hours or low for 4-5 hours.
Then, use two forks to shred the chicken! It should easily fall apart at this point. Yum!
Use right away, or set aside to cool. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Shredded Chicken Recipe Ideas
Now, let’s talk recipe inspiration! This chicken is super versatile and can be used for tons of meals, like:
- Chicken Tacos
- Grain Salad Bowl
- Chicken Nachos
- Mexican Lasagna
- Healthy Chicken Enchiladas
- Chicken White Bean Chili
- Chicken & Black Bean Burritos (replace the egg/sausage in my Make Ahead Breakfast Burritos with chicken for a make-ahead and freezer-friendly lunch or dinner option!)
- Quinoa Taco Salad (throw the chicken on top!)
- Stuffed Peppers with Chicken
- Mexican-Inspired Pasta Salad
- Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Black Beans (+ add chicken)
The possibilities are endless!
Can I make this Mexican chicken recipe in the Instant Pot?
Yes, you can! Here’s the full Instant Pot Mexican Chicken recipe.
Essentially, you follow the same instructions, except when you are searing your chicken you can do that directly in the Instant Pot (use the “saute” function). Then, add your other ingredients, put on the Instant Pot lid, set to seal, and cook on high pressure for 9 minutes. Easy!
And now, you’ll find the full crockpot Mexican chicken recipe at the end of this post. Enjoy!
Looking for more tasty crockpot/slow cooker recipes? Check these out:
- Crockpot Turkey Chili
- Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
- Overnight Crockpot French Toast Casserole
- Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew
- Rigatoni with Slow Cooker Stewed Lamb and Vegetables
- 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt (omit if your other spices like the chili powder include salt, and instead add salt to taste once chicken is cooked)
- pinch of cayenne pepper (optional, add if you want it spicy)
- cooking spray or vegetable oil
- 1 14-oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies*
- 1 tablespoon chopped canned chipotle chilis in adobo sauce*
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped, grated, or minced
- Mix the chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle over the chicken and massage to evenly coat the chicken with the spices.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Add a spritz of cooking spray or quick drizzle of oil and add the chicken. Sear for 2 minutes on each side, until browned and fragrant.
- Transfer the chicken to a crockpot insert. Add the diced tomatoes with green chilies, chipotle, and garlic, and toss to combine.
- Cook on high for 2 to 2.5 hours or low for 4 to 5 hours, until the chicken falls apart when pulled with two forks.
*If you can only find a 10 oz can of diced tomatoes and green chilies, use that plus a 4 oz can of diced green chilies to make up the difference!
**In a pinch, you can also simply use a jar of salsa instead of the diced tomatoes and chilies and chipotle chilis.