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The chicken (Gallus domesticus) is a domesticated junglefowl species, with attributes of wild species such as the grey and the Ceylon junglefowl that are originally from Southeastern Asia. Rooster or cock is a term for an adult male bird, and a younger male may be called a cockerel. A male that has been castrated is a capon. An adult female bird is called a hen and a sexually immature female is called a pullet.
Originally raised for cockfighting or for special ceremonies, chickens were not kept for food until the Hellenistic period (4th–2nd centuries BC). Humans now keep chickens primarily as a source of food (consuming both their meat and eggs) and as pets.
Chickens are one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, with a total population of 23.7 billion as of 2018, up from more than 19 billion in 2011. There are more chickens in the world than any other bird. There are numerous cultural references to chickens – in myth, folklore and religion, and in language and literature.
Genetic studies have pointed to multiple maternal origins in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia, but the clade found in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Africa originated from the Indian subcontinent. From ancient India, the chicken spread to Lydia in western Asia Minor, and to Greece by the 5th century BC. Fowl have been known in Egypt since the mid-15th century BC, with the “bird that gives birth every day” having come from the land between Syria and Shinar, Babylonia, according to the annals of Thutmose III.
Taco nights just got easier! These Crockpot Chicken Tacos are such a snap to put together and always come out amazing! Tender shredded chicken is perfect added to tacos, burritos, salads and more.
Swap out the ground beef to make an amazing taco salad or add this flavorful shredded chicken to wraps, casseroles or soups.
How to Make Shredded Chicken Tacos
I have to tell you that this is one of those recipes that my whole family truly loves! Simply place the ingredients in the crock pot and walk away.
To season the chicken for tacos, I use … you guessed it, taco seasoning! I prefer homemade taco seasoning in this recipe to control the salt but a packet will work just fine as well.
While the ingredients call for boneless chicken breasts, you can certainly use bone in chicken as well (just make sure it’s skinless). Once shredded, this freezes perfectly making for a super fast weeknight dinner!
I’ve used this for making chicken tacos, chicken salads and even spicy chicken pizzas! Pile on your favorite toppings for a fabulous dinner loaded with flavor!
Ingredients & Common Substitutions
Here are a few notes and shopping tips about the ingredients you’ll need to make crockpot shredded chicken tacos, as well as possible substitutions:
- Chicken breasts. Boneless, skinless. Don’t worry if they’re on the thick side; they’ll still cook well in this recipe. You can substitute chicken thighs, but the cooking time will be longer.
- Salsa. This recipe works well with just about any kind of salsa you like, including homemade pico de gallo or blender salsa. The salsa really influences the finished flavor, so use your favorite, whether medium, mild, or hot.
- Onion. A bit of onion adds depth to the flavor of this chicken. You can use red, yellow, or white — whichever you have on hand and like best.
- Taco seasoning. Homemade taco seasoning is a pantry staple here, because it is insanely easy to make, packed with flavor, and allows you to control the level of salt to your liking. A packet of store-bought taco seasoning works, too!
- Lime juice. A small squeeze of lime juice at the end may seem superfluous, but that little bit of citrus really livens up all the other flavors. And you can use the rest of the lime for wedges for serving.
How long to cook chicken in the slow cooker?
Chicken breasts typically cook in 6-7 hours on a slow cooker’s low setting, or in 3-4 hours on high. Of course, these times can vary depending on your slow cooker and how full it is, but these are good rules of thumbs. No matter how long the chicken has been on, your goal to know it is cooked through and safe to eat is for the chicken to hit 165° F. At that temperature, it is safe to eat according to the USDA.
Shred the meat — I usually just remove each piece of chicken to a cutting board, pull it apart with two forks, but there are several other methods, as well. Return the shredded chicken pieces to the crockpot, squeeze with lime, and stir well.
At this point, you can leave the shredded chicken on the slow cooker’s low or keep warm setting for about an hour. It’s ready to serve but the flavors will only deepen as it rests and the chicken absorbs more of the salsa mixture.
This Mexican shredded chicken makes delicious tacos with any of your favorite toppings: our favorite combo is a bit of extra salsa, Cotija, and avocado. A sprinkling of cilantro and extra lime wedges are the perfect finishing touch.
A few of other Mexican favorites:
- Easy Homemade Flour Tortillas – so easy and SO good!
- 5 Minute Blender Salsa
- Perfect Guacamole
- Kicked Up Skillet Black Beans
- Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing – toss this on some greens for a fresh and fast Tex-Mex inspired salad
- Chipotle Street Corn Dip – always a huge hit at parties
- Mexican Chocolate Cake – the perfect dessert!
How To Make Crockpot Chicken Tacos
Slow Cooker Directions
- Step 1: Place all of the chicken ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours.
- Step 2: Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks. Return to slow cooker and cook on low for an additional 30 minutes.
- Step 3: Serve the chicken taco meat in a lettuce wrap, gluten-free tortilla, or on a bed of greens, top with cilantro, and add desired toppings.
Instant Pot Directions
- Step 1: Place all chicken ingredients into the bottom of the Instant Pot insert. Lock the lid in place and flip the vent valve to the “Sealing” position.
- Step 2: Select “Poultry” or “High Pressure” setting then use the +/- buttons to adjust the cooking time up or down to 14-16 minutes (depending on how thick your chicken breasts are).
- Step 3: When cooking time is up, allow pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes before releasing any residual steam.
- Step 4: Carefully remove the lid once all steam has been released and shred the chicken with two forks right in the pot. If the meat seems watery, select the “Sauté” setting and cook for 5-8 minutes or until liquid has reduced.
- Step 5: Serve chicken taco meat in a lettuce wrap, gluten-free tortilla, or on a bed of greens, top with cilantro, and add desired toppings.
How To Make These Crockpot Shredded Chicken Tacos Whole30?
This recipe makes for a great Whole30 meal! Instead of wrapping the chicken in a tortilla, try a lettuce wrap or serving it bowl-style over cauliflower rice or a bed of greens. Both are great options for turning this into a scrumptious Whole30 meal. You’ll want to hold the cheese and sour cream as well. Instead, you can top your taco with guacamole, fresh salsa, and cilantro.
Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Toppings And Serving Ideas
Taco ’bout the possibilities! It’s all about the toppings. Yes, these crockpot shredded chicken tacos are delicious all on their own, but when you think of the fact that you could literally have a different version every night based on toppings alone, it’s positively mind-blowing, right?
We love setting up a taco bar with both family and guests. Not only do we feel as though our “adulting” game is on point, but it also looks impressive to onlookers. It has become a challenge to see just how many toppings we can offer! Don’t worry, with only five minutes of prep work before you set it and forget it in the slow cooker (or Instant Pot), you’ll have time to get them all in order.
Shredded Chicken Tacos slow cooker recipe will be a hit with the entire family.
Even though you are using salsa in this crockpot chicken tacos recipe it is still very kid friendly. Our kids devoured it and said it was the best tacos they have had.
You can’t go wrong shredded chicken tacos. It is such an easy recipe and sure to be a hit. Everyone will love this recipe.
You can freeze Crockpot Shredded Chicken Tacos!
This is a very easy freezer friendly recipe. Just toss the chicken breasts (uncooked) into a freezer bag. Then add the salsa and taco seasoning. Freeze completely.
When you are ready to use, just place the entire ingredients from the bag into the crockpot. Add ¼ cup of water, and cook about the same amount of time for an even easier dinner idea. Now you can also cook this like normal and then freeze it. I like to freeze them in cupcake pans and once frozen pop them out and place in the freezer bag.
Then you have an easy lunch idea and the chicken is frozen in individual servings. This is such an easy dinner idea when you know you will have a really busy week.
Thank you for staying with this post “shredded taco chicken crock pot” until the end.