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5-Ingredient Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken

5-Ingredient Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more! This simple recipe requires only 5 basic ingredients and turns out perfectly tender and flavorful.

Slow cooker with shredded Mexican chicken inside

When my family gets together for dinner, we almost always make burrito bowls with two meat choices: typically ground beef taco meat and this Mexican Shredded Chicken.

Sometimes we go the quicker route and use the Instant Pot (as seen in my Instant Pot Chicken Tacos). 

What I love most about this tender shredded chicken recipe is it’s so loaded flavor and only requires 5 basic ingredients.

It’s fresh, easy to make in bulk, and can be put to use in so many ways.

Just think: tacos, burritos, enchiladas, burrito bowls, taco salad, and more!

Let’s discuss the simple fresh ingredients for this easy recipe.

Instant Pot Chicken Tacos are perfectly tender and so easy to make! Only 5 ingredients required!

Ingredients for Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken:

Chicken Thighs: Because chicken thighs contain more intermuscular fat than chicken breasts, they are my preference for any time I want a tender, shredded result (which is basically always). To keep it easy, use boneless skinless chicken thighs so that you don’t have to sift through the meat for bones and skin once the chicken has finished cooking in the slow cooker.

You can use boneless chicken breasts if you prefer but note that the meat will not turn out quite as tender. Bone-in chicken thighs or dums work too. Just be sure to use 5 to 6 pounds if you’re going with bone-in to ensure you end up with plenty of meat.

Onion: Adds freshness and flavor to the dish. Amazing how much deliciousness is derived from just one small onion!

Enchilada Sauce: A star ingredient to making these hugely flavorful delicious chicken tacos. Store bought or homemade enchilada sauce is a fabulous way of infusing moisture for pressure cooking and also all sorts of authentic taco flavors. 

If you aren’t a fan of using store-bought enchilada sauce, you can make your own Homemade Enchilada Sauce which is much easier than you’d think!

Salsa: Similar to the enchilada sauce, the salsa is here to bring liquid and flavor to the recipe. Because salsa is made with fresh ingredients, it therefore adds fresh flavor to your Mexican shredded chicken, making it taste refreshing rather than overly rich or indulgent.

Use your favorite kind of salsa. Any store-bought jar of salsa or homemade salsa works. I go with red tomato salsa, but you can easily use salsa verde https://www.theroastedroot.net/salsa-verde/ , tomatillo red chili salsa or anything you love. Just note the spice level of whatever salsa you use so that you end up with your preferred spiciness. To keep it mild, use a mild salsa.

Canned Green Chiles: Just one small can of diced green chiles goes a long way in adding flavor to the tender shredded chicken. Be sure to read the label to see the spice level – if you love spicy food, go with hot green chiles, but choose mild for mild taco meat.

Sea Salt: A key component to flavor success here! Salt enhances the flavors of each individual ingredient and also helps tenderize the chicken. So be sure to add enough such that the chicken turns out nice and flavorful. 

Optional Additions: Taco seasoning, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for spicy meat, garlic powder, and black pepper are all great options for additions to this Mexican chicken recipe. You can also add fresh squeezed lime juice to the shredded chicken if you like it!

For Serving:

You can use this amazing flavorful Mexican style shredded chicken in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taco salads, burrito bowls, and more!

Tacos: Flour tortillas, corn tortillas (or tortillas or taco shell of choice), cilantro, lime wedges and salsa.

Burritos: Large flour tortillas, Spanish rice or cilantro lime rice, black beans or refried beans sour cream, cheddar cheese, guacamole or avocado, chopped lettuce, and more.

Taco Salad or Tostadas: Fresh lettuce or spring greens, tomatoes, crispy corn chips or tostada shell, beans, cheese, avocado, or guacamole.

burrito bowl with Spanish rice, shredded chicken and guacamole

How to Make CrockPot Mexican Chicken:

Add all of the ingredients to your crock pot or slow cooker.

Stir everything well until the chicken is coated in the ingredients.

Ingredients for Mexican Shredded Chicken in a slow cooker

Secure the lid on the crock pot and slow cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high heat for 4 to 6 hours.

Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred chicken to your desired texture. I leave mine somewhat chunky rather than finely shredded.

Transfer the shredded chicken back to the crock pot to soak up the juices until you’re ready to serve.

Note: The chicken becomes even more flavorful the longer it sits and it saves very well. If you’d like, you can prepare it up to 5 days in advance for amazing, richly flavorful chicken.

Finished shredded chicken in a crock pot

Serve as shredded chicken tacos, chicken enchiladas, burritos, or more!

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

How Many People Does This Recipe Serve?

Three pounds of boneless chicken will easily serve 6 to 10 people, depending on what else you’re serving with the chicken.

For instance, if you’re including tortillas, rice, beans, guacamole, chips, etc. in the meal, you will be able to serve more people. With fewer side dishes, you will be able to serve fewer people. 

When I make dinner for others, I typically budget for about 1/2 pound of meat per person. So for me, I would make this recipe expecting to serve 6 and in reality end up with some leftovers.

You can easily scale the recipe up or down depending on how many people you’re serving and whether or not you want leftovers. For meal prep, consider making a double batch.

Can I Make This in The Instant Pot?:

Yes, absolutely! Mexican shredded chicken comes out just as well in the Instant Pot. To make Mexican chicken in your pressure cooker, follow my Instant Pot Chicken Tacos recipe.

Crock pot full of shredded Mexican chicken for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more.

More Mexican Favorites:

That’s it! A juicy, delicious easy Mexican shredded chicken recipe to incorporate into your Mexican cuisine. Just set it and forget it!

Crock pot full of shredded Mexican chicken for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more.

5-Ingredient Crock Pot Mexican Shredded Chicken

Yield: 6 to 10 Servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes

Easy Mexican shredded chicken for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and more! This simple recipe turns out so perfectly tender and flavorful.

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs*
  • 1 (7-oz) can diced green chilis
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 (14-oz.) can enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup red salsa**
  • Sea salt

Instructions

    1. Add all of the ingredients for the Mexican shredded chicken to your crock pot or slow cooker.

    Ingredients for Mexican Shredded Chicken in a slow cooker

    2. Stir everything well until the chicken is coated in the ingredients.

    Raw ingredients for shredded chicken stirred together in a crock pot

    3. Secure the lid on the crock pot and slow cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or on high heat for 4 to 6 hours.

    Finished chicken in the crock pot, ready to be shredded

    4. Use tongs to transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Use two forks to shred chicken to your desired texture.

    Shredded chicken on a cutting board

    5. Transfer the shredded chicken back to the crock pot to soak up the juices until you're ready to serve.

    Finished shredded chicken in a crock pot

    6. Serve as shredded chicken tacos, chicken enchiladas, burritos, or more!

    burrito bowl with Spanish rice, shredded chicken and guacamole

Notes

*Use boneless thighs, breasts, chicken tenders, or a combination of thighs and breasts. I do a combination of chicken thighs and chicken tenders.

**Any store-bought or homemade green or red salsa will work!

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Nutrition Information
Yield 8 Serving Size 1 Serving (of 8)
Amount Per Serving Calories 315Total Fat 16gCarbohydrates 4gFiber 1gSugar 3gProtein 37g
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Collage for Mexican chicken

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Anthony

Sunday 8th of May 2022

Are able to freeze left overs?

Julia

Monday 9th of May 2022

Hi Anthony!

I haven't tried freezing this recipe myself, but I do think it would freeze well :) I'd keep it for up to 2 months. xoxo

Cindy

Thursday 5th of May 2022

What size can of enchilada sauce? 14 or 28 oz?

Julia

Friday 6th of May 2022

My apologies, Cindy! I use 14 ounces, but actually it wouldn't be the end of the world to use 28. Just made that adjustment in the recipe :D Thank you for catching that! xoxo

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