Crock Pot Mexican Chicken

Crock-Pot, Main Dish, Mexican, Poultry | 84 comments

Shredded Mexican or Tex-Mex Chicken is so easy to cook in a crock-pot (slow cooker) or pressure cooker. It’s a great basic recipe to have on hand in your freezer for use in burrito, Quesadillas, Soft Tacos, Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Tortilla Soup, or Chimichangas. Really, you can put this chicken in anything you want to give a Mexican or Tex-Mex flair to.

crock pot mexican chicken

I much prefer cooking this type of chicken in the crock-pot than the oven because I don’t have to coordinate my schedule with the oven’s time-line. I usually get it started early in the day so it’s ready before I actually need it. That way there’s no last minute anything. Another great thing about slow cookers or pressure cookers is that the chicken becomes so tender it practically shreds itself.

crockpot mexican chicken

Recipes like this really save the day when I’m feeling like I need an extra 8 hours in my day to get everything done. It just takes a little organization up front to get things cooking in time. This recipe is easily doubled, or even tripled if you have a larger crock pot. The chicken can be frozen in portions for later use (stored frozen for up to 2 months).

On days that are a little busier, I will make Mexican Shredded Chicken in the pressure cooker instead of the crock pot. Add all the ingredients just as described, I’ve even added frozen chicken when I don’t have time to thaw it, and bring it to a boil.

After the mixture comes to a boil, put the lid on and cook at high pressure for about 30 minutes, more along the lines of 45 if the chicken is frozen. After the cooking time is up, turn the heat off and let sit until the pressure has released before opening the cooker.

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Shredded Tex-Mex Crock-Pot Chicken

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4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup (packed) cilantro leaves, chopped
2 limes
1 large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil


Heat the oil in a medium sized sauté pan. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the cumin, chili powder, coriander, paprika and garlic and sauté two more minutes. Deglaze the pan with the chicken broth making sure to scrape up any browned bits. Turn off and set aside.

Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Add to crock pot. Squeeze the lime on top, add the cilantro, jalapeno, and pour the onion and garlic mixture over top.

Cook on low for 3-5 hours, or until cooked through (different crock-pots cook at varying heats) and tender. Remove chicken breasts from the crock pot, shred and place in a bowl. Scoop out the onions and add to the chicken. Depending on the amount of juices produced, you may want to add some or all of the juice back to the shredded chicken.

For fast and easy soft tacos, add this chicken to taco sized flour tortillas with shredded lettuce, avocado, tomato, cilantro, red onion, and cheese (I like cheddar, pepper jack, or feta best). Add a dollop of sour cream and salsa, too, if you like.

Kitchen Tip: To easily juice the lime, roll it on the counter top a few times like you are kneading it. Then slice in half and squeeze. Or use a hand juicer. My favorite is the Pampered Chef Citrus Press.

Recipe Note: You could also prepare this recipe in a pressure cooker. Cook for about 20-30 minutes on high pressure if chicken is thawed, 40-45 minutes if chicken is frozen.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Kerstin - September 21, 2010 @ 10:20 pm

    I love how easy this is and all the spices you added – I really need to get a crockpot!

    p.s. I’m typing on the new laptop now – yay!! Thanks again :)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — September 22nd, 2010 @ 10:56 AM

      Yeah! So glad you got it. And wasn’t the upgrade a nice surprise? Hope you love it!

  • 2
    Liberty - September 22, 2010 @ 10:54 am

    YUMMY! and easy. Perfect for church pot lucks…


  • 3
    make my day - September 22, 2010 @ 6:28 pm

    These types of recipes are absolute magic for busy mums like me! it means it can be ready by the time we get back from work AND it’s versatile! thanks Katie :)


  • 4
    Nisha - September 22, 2010 @ 11:30 pm

    This looks like my kind of recipe!! YUM. Do you ever make in bulk and freeze the chicken?


  • 5
    megan @ whatmegansmaking - September 23, 2010 @ 5:42 am

    Sounds delicious! I love crockpot recipes, and it’s starting to be that time of year again :)


  • 6
    Shanna ~ My Favorite Everything - September 23, 2010 @ 2:23 pm

    looks yummy, easy and versatile! looking forward to trying it!


  • 7
    Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef - September 23, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

    Love it! I make something similar so I’ll have to try yours now :)


  • 8
    Niki - September 23, 2010 @ 7:27 pm

    I have been searching for a recipe like this. It would be great to have on hand to toss into other recipes. I’m thinking enchiladas!

    Thanks for sharing! Stop by and visit sometime soon over at Free 2 Be Frugal.


  • 9
    srithasan - September 24, 2010 @ 7:01 am

    Crock Pot Mexican Chicken is a Spicy & Tasty Chicken Recipe.


  • 10
    Amy Kelly - September 28, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

    So, I made this chicken tonight for some enchiladas and it was quite possibly the most delicious chicken I’ve ever had! I shredded the chicken pretty fine and then mixed it back in with the juices and let it cook together and absorb the sauce. I don’t think I’ll ever prepare chicken in any other way for tacos and the like. Thank you so much for sharing this absolutely amazing recipe!


  • 11
    TobyD - September 29, 2010 @ 9:38 pm

    This sounds divine! I am copying it to my folder – can’t wait to try it.


  • 12
    BusyMom - October 02, 2010 @ 8:38 am

    Oh no, I’m making this and don’t see when exactly I’m supposed to add the jalapeno. I may be totally overlooking this, but I don’t see it in the directions. Should I just add it to the crockpot b/c I’ve already sauteed the onion/garlic mixture…


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — October 2nd, 2010 @ 9:00 AM

      Sorry, yes just add it in. I will edit the recipe. Thanks for letting me know! :)

  • 13
    MeatHub Inc. - October 04, 2010 @ 1:19 pm

    This shredded chicken looks outstanding! Time to run to the grocery store! :)


  • 14
    Alli - October 20, 2010 @ 3:36 pm

    Katie, this was FABULOUS. I was apprehensive at first at how tender the boneless, skinless chicken would come out, but it literally fell apart and the flavor was as good as any shredded chicken this side of the Texas border! ;)


  • 15
    Lisa - October 26, 2010 @ 7:49 pm

    Wow, this recipe looks amazing! I am going to try it this week and I’m sure it will be a hit! Thanks for all the great recipes on your site!


  • 16
    SusieBee at eatlittleeatbig - November 30, 2010 @ 12:30 pm

    Great recipe; would work fantastic in these quesadillas:


  • 17
    ValerieMN - February 17, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

    This is one of my ALL time favorite recipes!!! So So Easy and So So Good! THANK YOU!


  • 18
    Sara GL - April 10, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

    Sounds delicious! Question though – is it 3-5 hours on HIGH or LOW?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — April 11th, 2011 @ 11:27 AM

      It depends on the cooker. Mine runs hot so I do 3-5 on low.

  • 19
    Hope G. - May 11, 2011 @ 8:22 am

    This is the YUMMIEST dish I have made in a long time!!! It is so flavorful and easy! Thanks for sharing! :)


  • 20
    Lynda - July 28, 2011 @ 6:03 am

    I lived in Houston for 16 years, San Antonio after that. We’re not in Texas any longer and we have to have our Mexican food. I made something very similar to this the other night, but I used pot roast. It was very good and the second night I made taco salad from the leftovers. This recipe looks great so now I have another way to make a Mexican meal.


  • 21
    Sarah from 20somethingcupcakes - September 08, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

    I want to make this and freeze to always have on hand! Love it!


  • 22
    BadMammaJamma - September 17, 2011 @ 10:36 am

    I made this in my pressure cooker and it was fantastic! I think I would like to add more liquid to make more sauce. Thanks for the recipe!


  • 23
    Katrina - September 17, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

    Thank you for this, it is the most flavorful and fresh chicken recipe I’ve ever made in a crock pot. Pouring the lime juice on the chicken breasts almost marinates it while it cooks. Absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait for dinner tomorrow!

    I doubled the recipe and used seven chicken breasts in one layer in my 6qt oval crock pot on high for three hours.

    You rock! My family will thank you as will my in-laws who are getting some of it since they’re having some health issues and I wanted to bring them some meals.


  • 24
    Katrina - September 17, 2011 @ 7:58 pm

    Thank you so much for this incredibly delicious recipe! It is hands-down the most flavorful, freshest tasting chicken dish I’ve ever made in a crock pot!

    I doubled the recipe and cooked seven chicken breasts in my 6qt oval crock pot for three hours and it was perfect – not overcooked, but cooked enough to shred with two forks.

    you rock!


    • Katrina replied: — September 17th, 2011 @ 8:00 PM

      And it was 3 hours on high.

  • 25
    Laurie - September 19, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

    I made this yesterday in one slow cooker and the family loved it. I served in with all the juices and it made great tacos. I also made a Cuban Black Bean recipe in my 2nd cooker. Great dinner! Thank you. I’ll be making this again.


  • 26
    Melissa - September 23, 2011 @ 7:12 pm

    I made this tonight for the Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe. IT WAS DELICIOUS!!! My three year old son gobbled it up, too, so you know it was good. We did leave out the jalapeno, since we didn’t have any, but it was mighty good just the same. And the cayenne in the soup recipe gave everything a nice kick. This one will definitely be a keeper.


  • 27
    Matthew - September 24, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

    Thanks for the recipe, I did alter it a bit reviewing other similar recipe’s: I doubled the recipe as I wanted leftovers and cooked 8 chicken breasts I also added a packet chicken taco seasoning mix. I only had Cumin and chili powder so I figured the taco seasoning mix would cover the other seasonings. I also added two jars of medium salsa and a diced can of Jalapenos. Added the minced garlic and cilantro and added a can of chicken broth oh, and added a large onion – needless to say my crockpot was stuffed! I cooked it on high for 4 hours, but can also be done on low for 7-8 hours.


  • 28
    meg - January 16, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

    can i use with frozen boneless/skinless chicken breasts and if so what is the liquid and/or time adjustment?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — January 16th, 2012 @ 1:44 PM

      I use frozen all the time with the same recipe. All crock pots cook at different temperatures, so I basically just cook until the chicken is so tender that it falls apart.

  • 29
    Rachel - January 17, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

    I have to say this is the best shredded chicken ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Every time I make it everyone wants the recipe!!!

    Great job!!


  • 30
    Rachel - February 02, 2012 @ 8:11 pm

    Just made it tonight (or technically this morning? the beauty of slow cookers!), and it was so good! I was afraid of it being too dry, as I’ve tried chicken breasts in the slow cooker before with little success. This was great! The chicken was a bit on the dry side but that is easily rectified by mixing the shredded chicken back into the juices. Husband declared it a definite keeper. Thanks!


  • 31
    CatChaz - February 07, 2012 @ 3:28 pm

    I’m cooking this NOW as my VERY FIRST crockpot attempt EVER (xmas gift from mom), and am really looking forward to it after all your lovely comments! (I am using dark meat chicken, it was cheaper). MMM!


  • 32
    DevraJoy - February 10, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

    Just added this to my crockpot! So easy and looking forward to enjoying it! Thank-you!


  • 33
    Jenny - March 08, 2012 @ 11:25 am

    Hi! Looks delicious and I am eager to try for tonight, but alas I have no limes on hand…can I use some lemon juice instead?? Thanks!!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 8th, 2012 @ 3:37 PM

      It will have a slightly different taste, but I’m sure it will still be good with lemon.

  • 34
    Pam Weathers - March 19, 2012 @ 10:21 pm

    AWESOME!! I want to make extra and freeze, how do you prepare from the freezer? So happy I came accross this on Pinterest:)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — March 19th, 2012 @ 11:01 PM

      Prepare the recipe as directed, then cool and freeze chicken in whatever portions you’d like in airtight containers or freezer ziploc bags for later use. 2-3 cup amounts is usually a good portion.

  • 35
    Rachael - March 25, 2012 @ 8:06 am

    Loved this! Thanks for sharing. I made the chicken, then used it in enchiladas. It was perfect! My boyfriend loves shredded chicken and this came out perfectly. Thank you!!


  • 36
    DeDe - March 27, 2012 @ 11:03 am

    Super excited to try this and considering adding tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce) to it for an added juicy flavor to mimic my favorite quesadillas. Hope that works out!


  • 37
    Lisa - March 29, 2012 @ 7:33 am

    Hi, sounds delicious! I am definitely a cooking novice, so just wanted to know how many servings this recipe makes. Thanks!!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — April 1st, 2012 @ 7:22 PM

      4 – 6 servings, those I usually use the chicken in a recipe (such as enchiladas) and just freeze any leftovers.

  • 38
    Leslie - May 03, 2012 @ 12:04 pm


    Just wanted to let you know this was a hit at our house. Tonight we are having this for dinner and it’s the second time I’ve made it since finding your recipe. Thank you!


  • 39
    Sonja - May 04, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

    I want to try this recipe, but I’m wondering about the jalopenas! Does it make the recipe spicy? Will it alter the flavor terribly if I levee them out?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — May 6th, 2012 @ 11:21 AM

      You can leave them out orif you leave them in remove the seeds.

  • 40
    Tziva - June 30, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

    I tried this recipe but the chicken came out kinda dry and bland (3.5 hours on low). I was so sad because I love shredded chicken and the reviews were so positive. I going to give it another go with slight modifications: I read another recipe that suggested using thigh meat to add moisture. I was also going to adjust the time cooked since the dryness is probably due to my particular crock pot, but I’m totally confused: some said to cook for much longer (7 hours on low) to help the meat break down better, but this seems counter-intuitive to the combating dry chicken when usually it means you overcooked. Anyone with more crockpot experience want to weigh in? Should I aim for longer or shorter?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — August 30th, 2012 @ 9:47 AM

      It does seem counter-intuitive but cooking the chicken longer in the crock-pot does make it more tender because the meat is broken down. That is why for tougher cuts of meat and things like roasts a long, slow cook results in more tender meat. All crock-pots run at different temperatures so perhaps mine runs more hot than yours. I can’t say I’ve ever had a problem with dryness, but if you felt it was not moist enough perhaps try adding additional broth and/or using part thigh meat.

  • 41
    Anna - July 08, 2012 @ 12:23 pm

    How many servings would you say this makes up?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — July 18th, 2012 @ 11:22 AM

      4 – 6 servings, those I usually use the chicken in a recipe (such as enchiladas) and just freeze any leftovers.

  • 42
    Erica - July 31, 2012 @ 3:04 pm

    Made this today… beyond tasty! I used a little bit of smoked paprika in mine and left out the coriander (I was out)… Still delicious!


  • 43
    Laura - August 01, 2012 @ 9:13 pm

    Katie -
    Do you actually cook the cilantro with the chicken for 3-5 hours? Or is it used as a garnish afterwards? I’ve never heard of cooking cilantro in this manner and wanted to doublecheck.


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — August 2nd, 2012 @ 6:39 AM

      Yes, I put it in the crockpot. If you don’t like that feel free to adjust the recipe and add it later.

  • 44
    Denise - August 08, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    I made this recipe a couple of nights ago – I’m getting ready for a bridal shower, we are cooking shredded chicken, beef and pork – thought I would try this one out. It was very good, my husband thought it was great. I will leave the salt out next time though, or/and use low sodium broth – I thought it was too salty, but I am very sensitive to salt. All in all, it was very good with flour tortilla and all the fixin’s.


  • 45
    Tom C - August 12, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

    This recipe is fantastic. i use it for chicken, pork shoulder,chuck roast and ground beef. Make the ground beef alot cool it in the frig overnight and scrape off the fat. I make refried bean, beef and cheese (shredded pepper jack) burittos wrap them in wax paper and scotch tape them close to freeze. 2 minutes in the microwave and your children will think your a genious!


  • 46
    Margie - August 22, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

    Super moist!! Thank you for posting such an easy and tasty recipe for chicken!!!


  • 47
    Lanee - August 29, 2012 @ 9:45 pm

    Corriander is Cilantro. Are you referring to Coriander SEEDS? Thanks :)


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — August 30th, 2012 @ 9:40 AM

      Ground coriander.

    • Joe replied: — March 4th, 2014 @ 3:58 PM

      In the US, Coriander means Coriander Seed. It is never used to refer to Cilantro. (Alternately, in the UK/Europe, “Coriander” means the green leafy thing we refer to as “Cilantro”, hence the confusion.)

  • 48
    Jessica - September 12, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

    I wanted to make this for my boyfriend’s birthday party this next weekend, how many people does one serving feed? I am sorry if you have already included this information somewhere but I want to double check anyway.


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — September 12th, 2012 @ 3:18 PM

      It really depends what you do with it. Some people have just served the chicken but I usually use it to make enchiladas or tacos. What are your plans for the chicken? I can better answer the question if I know what you have in mind for serving it. But in general I assume at least 1/2 chicken breast per person for party planning.

  • 49
    Erica - September 23, 2012 @ 8:45 pm

    I made this tonight for my family and a neighbor. It was delicious!! I added almost all the liquid from the crock pot to the shredded chicken and it was so moist and flavorful. It was a perfect Sunday dinner!


  • 50
    Michelle - October 03, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

    The best tacos ever!


  • 51
    Kristen Hathaway - December 07, 2012 @ 9:39 am

    I made this last week and LOVED it! and now I have plenty to freeze for later. I really like all the spices in this recipe. Thanks!


  • 52
    Emily - February 25, 2013 @ 3:07 pm

    Hi, I’ve made this with chicken before and I LOVE IT! But I was wondering if I could use pork instead? At our Wal-Mart they sell a package of “Pork for Carnitas” if that would work. Would I need to trim off any fat, or change the cooking time? Thanks!


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — February 26th, 2013 @ 9:10 AM

      Absolutely! I think pork would be delicious! I’m not sure on the cooking time, but I usually do trim any excessive fat off.

  • 53
    Emily - March 04, 2013 @ 8:15 pm



  • 54
    Loretti - March 13, 2013 @ 9:15 am

    Yet another fabulous recipe!! Made it & it’s currently sitting in the fridge for Thursday night tacos :) SO tender & flavorful (I put in more broth – enough to barely cover the chicken), my mom & I kept snatching shreds of it (it shreds so easily!) To just munch on. Can’t wait for those tacos!

    Only thing was they’re a little too spicy for my weak Minnesotan tongue so next time I’m only gonna do 1/2 Tbsp or so. I had lots of juice left behind from the extra broth & I plan to make a taco soup with it – I can’t wait!

    Thanks for another delicious dish! I’ll definitely make this for the next potluck I go to :)


  • 55
    Chris - March 21, 2013 @ 10:48 am

    This recipe is so easy and delicious! I’ve followed it for the last 6 months numerous times. My 11 yr. old daughter / food critic begs for me to make it, my wife (usually not a meat eater) loves it, and the kitchen smells fantastic all afternoon! It also freezes really well, so we take it away for ski weekends…. Thanks so much for your post!


  • 56
    Annieka - February 15, 2014 @ 10:51 am

    Love this recipe & your website! Thank you!!


  • 57
    Bahareh - April 15, 2014 @ 12:47 pm

    Hey, would love to make this for dinner but only have skinless boneless chicken thighs on hand. Do you think that would work as well or should I run to the store :/


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie replied: — April 15th, 2014 @ 5:47 PM

      that should work just fine

  • 58
    Kristina VanHorn - September 25, 2014 @ 7:53 pm



  • 59
    anita - January 30, 2015 @ 9:34 am

    Dan I put in te lime after a fee hours?
    I whant tot make thuis tomorrow nut don’t have sny line. Zo I was thinking tot het it when the chivken is sllready in the crock pot andere putting it in at about an hout before derving. Possible öre a no go?


    • Katie Goodman

      Katie Goodman replied: — January 30th, 2015 @ 9:49 AM

      that should be fine

  • 60
    Rachel - February 19, 2015 @ 12:46 pm

    This is one of the BEST chicken recipes I have ever made. Thank you!


  • 61
    Alisa Stoner - May 12, 2015 @ 6:38 am

    This is THE BEST shredded chicken we’ve ever had and I’ve been asked for recipe numerous times. We like it best over Cilantro/Lime rice topped with avocados and other fixin’s to taste. I made a couple modifications that didn’t change the taste–poured 1 can of lime and cilantro Rotel overtop instead of the fresh lime, jalepeno & cilantro. And I blended the onion-spice-broth mixture after cooking it (because my husband doesn’t like to ‘see’ any onions whatsoever in his food.) ;)


  • 62
    Kristie G - July 14, 2015 @ 4:24 pm

    This was really delicious!!!! This will now be my go to for Mexican chicken!!!


  • 63
    Kristie G - July 14, 2015 @ 4:26 pm

    This was really delicious!!! This will now be my go to for Mexican chicken!!!! So good!!!


  • 64
    Melanie - October 26, 2015 @ 4:12 pm

    Love this recipe but can’t seem to pin it – am I missing something? Where’s the pin button? I hate searching for the recipe each time


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