Crockpot Chicken Tacos Recipe Just 3 Ingredients

This three ingredient crockpot chicken tacos recipe is the easiest way to make chicken taco meat for your family. Serve the shredded chicken in tortillas with your favorite toppings, or pile up with lettuce, guacamole, and fresh veggies for a healthy chicken taco bowl.

Bowl of shredded crockpot chicken taco meat as part of a taco bar

If you love tacos like our family does, this super easy chicken taco meat recipe needs to be a part of your meal planning. Our kids expect tacos of some sort EVERY Tuesday, and it’s fun to switch Taco Tuesday up with different meat ideas and creative taco toppings.

From carne asada tacos, to fish tacos, to Korean tacos, we’ve tried it all. But these shredded chicken tacos are definitely a family favorite. I’ve found I can even make them in just 30 minutes when I use the Instant Pot instead of the crockpot! Instant Pot instructions are just before the recipe.

Are chicken tacos healthy?

Just like fish tacos, chicken tacos are a really healthy option for dinner. By using boneless skinless chicken breasts, you get a high protein dinner that is low in saturated fats. 

A great way to keep chicken tacos healthy is to use soft corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas or fried crunchy corn shells. If you really want crunchy shells, you can put the soft corn tortillas in the oven, hang them down over the racks, and bake them.

You can also make a chicken taco bowl, with fresh ingredients, and skip the tortillas all together! I love that I can get a filling and flavorful meal that’s 0 WW points this way.

Chicken taco calories

This crockpot chicken tacos recipe has about 128 calories per serving for the chicken itself, with 17g of protein, 4.4g of fat, and 1.2g of saturated fat.

If you serve the crockpot chicken taco meat in a soft corn tortilla with a slice of avocado, some shredded cabbage, cilantro, and a bit of hot sauce, your chicken taco will have about 200 calories each.

A spoonful of shredded crockpot chicken taco meat lifted out of the bowl

How to make crockpot chicken tacos with chicken broth

I’m going to start off with everything you need to know about how to cook chicken taco meat in the slow cooker, then answer some common questions I have had from cooking class students about cooking chicken in the crockpot. 

Ingredients

2 raw chicken breasts coated in taco seasoning
If making in the Instant Pot, you want coat the chicken breasts in half the taco seasoning and saute them first! Complete Instant Pot instructions right before the recipe card.

Instructions

  1. Stir taco seasoning into the chicken broth to dissolve a bit. 
  2. Lay chicken breasts in a single layer in your crockpot.
  3. Pour taco seasoning broth over the chicken.
  4. Place lid on the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Remove the chicken and shred well, then place back in the broth.
  6. Use a fork or slotted spoon to serve chicken.

How much chicken do I need for tacos?

One pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts makes enough crockpot chicken taco meat for 8 tacos. So plan according to how many tacos you need. If you’re serving four people at two tacos each, you will be good to go. If you want to make 12 chicken tacos, use a pound and a half of chicken breasts. 

I like to make a double batch of chicken taco meat and freeze half of it for another week. If doubling your recipe, use two pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts, and 1 cup of chicken broth, but don’t double the taco seasoning. I go with an extra 2 tablespoons of the seasoning when making a double batch of chicken.

Can I put raw chicken in my slow cooker?

Definitely! If you’re concerned about your slow cooker, just check to make sure that your chicken is up to 165 degrees F in the center of the breast before shredding. 

Overhead view of a chicken taco bowl next to a bowl of shredded crockpot chicken taco meat

Can frozen chicken be cooked in the slow cooker?

Cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker is an often debated topic. You definitely can make crockpot chicken tacos from frozen chicken breasts, but the USDA does not recommend it. This caution is specially for people more at risk for foodborne illness like pregnant women, children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

Is it better to cook chicken on high or low in the crockpot?

While we stick with the USDA recommendations, many food scientists say that cooking frozen chicken in the crockpot is pretty safe, and if you are going to do so, to use the low heat setting with liquid to help even out the temperature change. Don’t try to speed up the cook time on high heat which will give your chicken a rubbery texture.

The only time we cook chicken on high in the crockpot is if it is raw (not frozen), and part of a soup

How long should I put chicken in the crockpot?

Again, I recommend 6-8 hours on low in the crockpot for raw chicken.

How do I keep chicken from drying out in the crockpot?

Dry chicken is one of the biggest fears with boneless skinless chicken breasts! The best way to keep chicken from drying out in the crockpot is using some liquid in the crockpot and not cooking for too long. 

You will be good to go with the chicken broth in this crockpot chicken tacos recipe. Feel free to check the chicken’s internal temperature at 6 hours. If it has reached 165 degrees F, go ahead and pull it out to shred!

Chicken taco bowl with shredded chicken, lettuce, cheese, black beans, tomatoes, sour cream, and cilantro

Tips for Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Here are some of the tips and tricks I like to use when making and serving crockpot chicken tacos. This includes ingredient variations, and tips for shredding, freezing, and reheating your chicken taco meat.

Variations

  • 1 jar of salsa: We usually make our crockpot chicken tacos without salsa because the kids aren’t a fan. But you can swap the chicken broth for a 16 ounce jar (or 2 cups) of your favorite salsa.
  • 1 can of green chilies: If you want to increase the spiciness of your chicken taco meat, try adding a can of chopped green chilies.
  • 1 can of chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: Another way to increase the spice and adjust the flavors is to add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to your chicken before cooking.
  • Diced vegetables: You can add diced onion, bell peppers, or a can of diced tomatoes to your chicken before cooking if you’d like to get some veggies in your chicken taco filling.
  • Chicken thighs: You can definitely swap boneless skinless chicken thighs for the breast meat. 

How to shred chicken

To shred your chicken, I recommend removing it from the liquid in the crockpot first. You can place it in a large bowl, or on a cutting board with a rim to catch the juices, and use two forks or meat shredders.

But I think the best way to shred chicken is to put it in a large bowl and use a hand mixer. As the pieces of cooked chicken are pulled through the beaters, they shred apart and I can shred a pound of chicken in about a minute.

How to reduce the amount of liquid in the crockpot chicken taco meat

This recipe leaves you with a good amount of liquid in your chicken. I like this because I find it great for storing leftovers to keep the flavor and prevent dried out chicken.

Close up view of chicken taco bowl with shredded chicken, lettuce, cheese, black beans, tomatoes, sour cream, and cilantro

But if you don’t want the extra liquid, after you cover and cook your chicken taco meat for 5 hours, offset the lid so that steam can escape during the last hour of cooking.

How to freeze shredded chicken

If you are making a double batch of meat, you may have enough to eat crockpot chicken tacos for dinner that night and to freeze or a different week.

Place your shredded chicken and liquid into a gallon sized freezer bag, then carefully let the air escape the bag as you seal it. Place in the freezer to freeze flat.

How to reheat shredded chicken

You have a few options for thawing and heating your frozen shredded chicken taco meat. The easiest way is to let it thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before serving. Then warm the meat up in a pot on the stove on low heat. You can also use the defrost setting on the microwave to thaw the meat.

If I haven’t thawed the frozen chicken taco meat, I will usually defrost it just enough to get the hunk of meat out of the bag. Then I will place it in a large stockpot that can hold the entire block of frozen meat, and turn the heat to medium low.

Crockpot Chicken tacos with slaw and black beans with shredded chicken in a bowl in the background

As the liquid the chicken is frozen in begins to thaw, I will start breaking bits off of chicken and continue chipping away at the frozen block. Once I can fit a lid on the pot, I’ll cover and cook on low heat, stirring once in a while until the whole thing is thawed and heated through.

You can also defrost in the bag in the microwave and then transfer to a microwave safe container to heat. I just prefer heating on the stove.

What to serve with chicken tacos?

You can serve up your crockpot chicken tacos in soft or crunchy tortillas, chicken taco bowls, or as part of a taco bar to let people build their own chicken tacos or chicken taco bowls. If you are making a taco bar, I suggest leaving the chicken taco meat in the crockpot on the warm setting to keep it hot.

Overhead view of Ingredient bowls for DIY Taco bar including shredded chicken

Here are some of the ingredients we like pairing with crockpot chicken taco meat.

  • Soft corn tortillas
  • Shredded romaine lettuce
  • Sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Black beans
  • Salsa
  • Tortilla chips
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Chopped green onions
  • Slice avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Cotija cheese
  • Tapatio hot sauce
  • Cholula chipotle sauce
  • Salsa Verde
  • Fresh Pico de Gallo

Side Dishes for Chicken Tacos

Rice and Beans is a classic side dish for serving with tacos. We also love having a fresh fruit salsa like this Mango Salsa that can be eaten with tortilla chips, or with a fork. If you want to add some veggies to your meal, try this easy Sauteed Greens and Onions recipe.

Chicken taco bowl with text saying The Best Crockpot Chicken Taco Meat

If you love Tex Mex recipes like this, check out our Chicken Tortilla Soup and Taco Soup recipes too!

Can you make Crockpot Chicken Tacos in the Instant Pot?

Yes! Last night I made these in the Instant Pot and had our entire dinner ready in just 30 minutes. Here’s how to turn crockpot chicken tacos into Instant Pot chicken tacos.

  1. Coat the raw chicken breasts with half of your taco seasoning.
  2. Heat a couple tablespoons of avocado oil in the Instant Pot on the saute setting.
  3. Place the seasoned chicken into the pot and saute on all sides until you get a little bit of browning.
  4. Stir the remaining taco seasoning into the broth and pour into the Instant Pot.
  5. Put your lid on and set to sealing.
  6. Cook on the Poultry setting for 10 minutes, then quick release the steam.
  7. Shred chicken and stir back into the liquid.
Yield: 8 tacos

Crockpot Chicken Tacos Meat

Crockpot Chicken tacos with slaw and black beans with shredded chicken in a bowl in the background

This three ingredient crockpot chicken tacos recipe is the easiest way to make chicken taco meat for your family. Serve the shredded chicken in tortillas with your favorite toppings, or pile up with lettuce, guacamole, and fresh veggies for a healthy chicken taco bowl.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Stir taco seasoning into the chicken broth to dissolve a bit. 
  2. Lay chicken breasts in a single layer in your crockpot.
  3. Pour taco seasoning broth over the chicken.
  4. Place lid on the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Remove the chicken and shred well, then place back in the broth.
  6. Use a fork or slotted spoon to serve chicken.

Notes

Doubling the recipe:

  • One pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts makes enough crockpot chicken taco meat for 8 tacos.
  • If doubling your recipe, use two pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts, and 1 cup of chicken broth, but don’t double the taco seasoning.
  • I go with an extra 2 tablespoons of the seasoning when making a double batch of chicken.

Variations:

  • 1 jar of salsa: We usually make our crockpot chicken tacos without salsa because the kids aren’t a fan. But you can swap the chicken broth for a 16 ounce jar (or 2 cups) of your favorite salsa.
  • 1 can of green chilies: If you want to increase the spiciness of your chicken taco meat, try adding a can of chopped green chilies.
  • 1 can of chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce: Another way to increase the spice and adjust the flavors is to add chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to your chicken before cooking.
  • Diced vegetables: You can add diced onion, bell peppers, or a can of diced tomatoes to your chicken before cooking if you’d like to get some veggies in your chicken taco filling.
  • Chicken thighs: You can definitely swap boneless skinless chicken thighs for the breast meat. 


Topping ideas for chicken tacos or chicken taco bowls:

  • Soft corn tortillas
  • Shredded romaine lettuce
  • Sliced cherry tomatoes
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Sour cream
  • Black beans
  • Salsa
  • Tortilla chips
  • Shredded cabbage
  • Chopped green onions
  • Slice avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Cotija cheese
  • Tapatio hot sauce
  • Cholula chipotle sauce
  • Salsa Verde
  • Fresh Pico de Gallo

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 108Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 408mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 18g

Nutrition information is an estimate only.


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