Best chicken tacos ever? Definitely the best shredded chicken tacos I’ve ever had. The secret to Crockpot Chicken Tacos is a low and slow simmer with onions and homemade taco seasoning that results in the most tender, moist, flavorful chicken you could ask to stuff a shell with. Set it and forget it so you can chow down tonight, or freeze for future meal prep.
Whenever I get to the point where I think “If I have chicken one more time this week…,” there is one sure-fire cure for my mealtime monotony: the chicken taco.
Right outta the gate, tacos make everything better. Always. Tacos are tasty. Tacos are easy. They make for a perfectly customizable dining experience to satisfy everyone at the table. And if you eat as many as I do, well, you learn how to pack them properly for minimum mess and maximum efficiency. (I’m not saying I’ve eaten a whole taco in the shower, but I’m not not saying I haven’t finished one in there.)
Chicken does a fantastic job of turning the spotlight over to other tastes and textures, so even if you (for some ungodly reason) chose not to top or garnish your shredded chicken tacos with anything at all, you’ve still got a flavorbomb in your hands (literally) as is.
Part of the reason these tacos are so good is our homemade taco seasoning blend. It’s great on grilled chicken tacos, morphs into a mean marinade for chicken street tacos, and perfectly compliments ground beef tacos too. But you let it stew in a slow cooker for a few hours, and it’s a complete game changer.
The Crockpot Makes the Best Shredded Chicken Tacos!
I don’t often make bold, absolutist statements, but one culinary hill I’ll die on is that you will get the best results for shredded chicken in a slow cooker.
Now, I will take credit where credit is due because I have gone through many a boneless, skinless chicken breast to test the ratios of seasoning, liquid, and produce to get the most flavorful, most tender meat possible. (My crockpot salsa chicken and slow cooker cilantro lime chicken are all the proof I need, should you feel inclined to check my work 😉.)
Slow cooker chicken tacos are no exception. The chicken is beautifully seasoned, ridiculously moist, and the perfect base upon which to build the perfect chicken taco.
How to Make Shredded Crockpot Chicken Tacos
Something so delicious shouldn’t be this simple… but Crockpot Chicken Tacos are all that and then some. Season boneless chicken breasts with my homemade taco seasoning, then slow cook them with onions in a rich broth and you’ll have a tender, flavorful, easy-to-shred base for tacos, burritos, bowls, and more!
(View the web story for a simplified post with just the ingredients and instructions!)
- Make the taco seasoning – combine all the ingredients in a lidded jar and shake until well-combined.
- Pat the chicken dry, then season all over with the taco seasonings.
- Arrange the sliced onions in the bottom of your crockpot, then place the chicken on top of the onions.
- Whisk the broth and tomato paste until smooth, then pour over the chicken.
- Cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 6-7 hours.
- Remove the chicken, shred, then return to crockpot. Add the lime juice, then toss the chicken, lime juice, and pan sauce.
- Serve in warm tortillas with toppings of choice. Enjoy!
- Test your chicken for doneness to ensure it’s very tender by pulling some apart in the slow cooker using the tines of a fork. If it doesn’t immediately shred into tender bites, cook another 30 minutes on high or 1 hour on low.
- Shred your chicken while it’s still warm! Chicken doesn’t shred nearly as well when it’s come up to room temperature, much less when it’s cold.
- Adjust the heat in the taco seasoning by adding more or less chili powder and/or red pepper flakes.
Can I Use Frozen Chicken?
We don’t love using frozen chicken for saucy crockpot or Instant Pot recipes. First, it will throw off the timing; second, it will add unwanted moisture.
If you’re just making “plain” shredded chicken, moisture released through defrosting isn’t really a problem because it essentially just turns into broth. However, if you’re already adding liquid to create a sauce in the crockpot (here, you’ll use chicken broth mixed with tomato paste to create a rich sauce), you don’t want the added moisture diluting the flavor and making your sauce runny.
Is It Ok to Use a Packet of Taco Seasoning Instead?
Yes – substitute a heaping quarter cup. Look for store-bought taco seasoning without added sodium so you can adjust to taste, and avoid preservatives and sweeteners (it happens!) if you can.
That being said, I urge you to make your own! Our semi-famous homemade taco seasoning recipe is tried and true – it’s frugal, there’s less sodium, no additives, and you can adjust the heat to your preference. It’s just better all around! You’ll only need:
- Chili Powder
- Garlic Powder
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Kosher Salt
- Ground Pepper
What’s the Best Way to Shred Chicken?
Two are two ways to shred slow cooker chicken breasts – using two forks, or with a stand or hand mixer. Honestly, I’m too lazy to bust out appliances – plus I think it shreds the chicken too finely – so I always just use forks. As long as the chicken is cooked thoroughly and still warm, you should face very little resistance.
How to Store Leftovers
In the Fridge: place Mexican shredded chicken (with sauce) in a sealed container and store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
In the Freezer: place chicken taco meat (again, with sauce) into a gallon ziplock freeze bag and press all remaining air out of the bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then heat for 1 minute more; or simmer over medium low heat in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until the sauce just starts to bubble and the chicken is warmed through.
Other Ways to Use Chicken Taco Meat
Crockpot shredded chicken isn’t just for tacos. Obviously you can use it in dishes like burritos and quesadillas, but there’s so much more you can make!
- Use it instead of pulled pork in tamale pie.
- Swap for plain rotisserie chicken to punch up spicy chicken taco soup.
- Top chicken taco salad with shredded chicken instead of grilled or roasted chicken.
- Build a bowl! Portion Mexican green rice, Mexican cauliflower rice, or cilantro lime cauliflower rice into a bowl with shredded lettuce, then add your favorite toppings like avocado, pico de gallo, shredded or crumbled cheese, and whatever else you’re in the mood for! This is a great way to enjoy leftovers for lunch.
Did you make this recipe for shredded chicken tacos? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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Tender, Tangy Crockpot Chicken TacosPrint Recipe Rate this Recipe Pin Recipe
- Small Lidded Jar
Chicken Taco Meat
- 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
- ¼ c taco seasoning, see below
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 c chicken broth
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1-2 tbsp chili powder, depending on preference for heat
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp coriander
- ¼ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- 8-12 small flour or corn tortillas
- Shredded iceberg lettuce
- Chopped tomatoes
- Chopped cilantro
- Shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- Sour cream
- Make the taco seasoning. Combine the chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic powder, coriander, oregano, and red pepper flakes in a lidded jar. Shake until well combined.
- Pat the chicken dry, then season on all sides with the taco seasoning.
- Scatter the onions evenly across the bottom of the crockpot, then place the chicken on top.
- Combine the chicken broth and tomato paste in a measuring cup and whisk until well combined; pour the chicken broth mixture over the chicken and onions.
- Seal the crockpot and cook on high for 3 hours, or low for 6-7 hours, or until the chicken is very tender and easily pulls using the tines of a fork.
- Shred the chicken, then return to the crockpot with the onions and pan juices. Add the lime juice and give everything a good toss.
- Serve in warm tortillas with toppings of choice. Enjoy!
Loved this. Added black beans to it.
Yum, a great addition!