Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

0
502

Family-FriendlyVideoDinnerSlow CookerMexican and Tex Mex

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos are such an easy meal, either on a busy weeknight or for a party. Just throw chicken, spices, and pineapple juice (the secret ingredient!) in the slow cooker, and let it cook for hours. Leftovers freeze well for later.

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

So, what’s your favorite taco filling? While I’m sometimes tempted towards chile verde or pulled pork, I usually pick the spicy shredded chicken.

No need to go out for this though, it’s easy to make at home, especially with a slow cooker! Ten minutes prep, slow cook for hours, then shred with a couple of forks.

VIDEO! Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

3 Elements for the Best Shredded Chicken

There are three elements to perfect shredded chicken—the chicken, the rub, and the sweetness.

  • For the chicken, we use boneless skinless chicken thighs because they have more internal fat, more flavor, and they hold up better to long slow cooking than breasts.
  • For the rub, we are using chili powder, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, cayenne, onion and garlic powder, and salt. Spices vary by brand and age so you may need to experiment to get the right mix for you.
  • The “secret sauce” of this shredded chicken recipe is the addition of pineapple juice. Not only does pineapple juice add sweetness (needed for balance of flavors), it helps tenderize the chicken, making it even easier to shred. Pineapple is the essential ingredient in “tacos al pastor,” it works great with this shredded chicken.

Finally, it always helps to have an endorsement from an unsuspecting guest. My father dropped by for a taste and declared that it was excellent pulled pork. When I pointed out that it was indeed chicken, he couldn’t have been more surprised!

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken

What to Serve with Chicken Tacos

Make your tacos with corn tortillas, warmed briefly in a dry skillet or in the microwave, and then top with any of the following:

  • Finely shredded cabbage
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Chopped avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges

If you’d like, serve Cilantro Lime Rice or Spanish Rice on the side.

Also, this shredded chicken is perfect not only for tacos, but also for burritos, tostadas, tamales, or even a taco salad.

Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Taco Meat

Storing and Freezing Shredded Chicken Taco Meat

The shredded chicken keeps well in the fridge for up to five days and can either be reheated slowly in the slow cooker, over low heat on the stovetop, or in the microwave.

This chicken also freezes well. Package in freezer bags or other storage containers with as much air pressed out as possible to prevent freezer burn, and freeze for up to three months.

More Taco Recipes to Try

  • Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos
  • Veggie Tacos
  • Crispy Fish Tacos with Red Cabbage Slaw
  • Bang Bang Shrimp Tacos
  • Chorizo and Egg Breakfast Tacos

Updated April 13, 2020 : We spiffed up this post to make it sparkle! No changes to the original recipe. Follow me on Pinterest Save It Saved Print

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

We're using boneless chicken thighs because they're easier to shred, and you don't end up with stray bits of hard cartilage in your shredded chicken. If you use bone-in chicken thighs, increase the amount by 1/4 pound and once the meat is done, cut away the bones before shredding the meat.

I recommend not removing the excess fat that comes with skinless chicken thighs. You'll need it to help keep the chicken from drying out and to help make it more flavorful. Please do use skinless thighs, otherwise you'll have way too much fat.

If the shredded chicken is a bit liquidy, don't worry. The chicken will absorb back more of the liquid as it sits, especially if you make ahead and chill.

Ingredients

For the spice rub:

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled fine between your hands
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (can sub a scant pinch of ground cloves)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional, add more or less depending on how much heat you want)

The chicken:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (do not remove excess fat)
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) pineapple juice
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

To assemble the tacos:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Finely shredded cabbage
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Chopped avocado
  • Cilantro
  • Lime wedges

Method

1 Coat chicken with rub, place in slow cooker: Whisk the rub ingredients together in a bowl. Dredge the boneless skinless chicken thighs in the rub. Place the chicken thighs in a slow cooker.

2 Add pineapple juice, tomato paste: Pour the pineapple juice over the chicken. Add the tomato paste to the juice.

3 Cover and slow cook: Cover and cook in the slow cooker for 3 hours on high setting or 6 hours on low.

4 Shred chicken meat with forks: When the chicken is done, it should be fork tender. Use two forks to shred the meat completely in the slow cooker bowl.

5 Serve: Use the taco meat with heated and softened corn tortillas, sprinkle with lime juice, adding garnishes of finely shredded cabbage, thinly sliced radishes, avocado, and cilantro.

Hello! All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Products We Love

6-quart Stainless Steel Crock Pot

6-quart Stainless Steel Crock Pot

$29.99 on Amazon Buy

This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners; your purchases via these links can benefit Simply Recipes. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

Leave a Reply