Allow me to introduce you to your new best friend, slow cooker cilantro lime chicken. This right here is perfectly seasoned, perfectly juicy restaurant quality taco chicken, and it’s about to change your life and your meal plan for the better.
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Look, friends, there are two things I need to tell you about this recipe for cilantro lime chicken:
(1) It’s cooked in the slow cooker and takes, like, 10 minutes to prep. Maybe 15 if you have a toddler hanging onto your feet, or you’re rocking some morning coffee while you prep, or you just DGAF and feel like takin’ it easy. NO SHAME.
(2) It’s the best freaking taco chicken you’ll ever cook. Yes, truly. Cameron declared it such, and given that he is a taco connoisseur of the highest echelon, I’m just going to take him at his word. And for what it’s worth, I totally agree with his assessment, but sometimes third party validation is necessary, especially when donning titles like “best” and “restaurant quality”.
(3) I lied, three things. You will gladly eat this chicken for days, and so will your children. If mine did, yours will too! Therefore, your future self will thank you if you just double up on the sauce, pour it over some extra chicken, and tuck that little miracle into the freezer for safe-keeping.
Seriously, you will adore this recipe for all of the aforementioned reasons, and also because you are smart. And you like really real, really delicious food.
How to Make Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken
Chicken breasts are one of the most popular cuts of meat, but I often find them dry and bland unless they’ve been properly brined or marinated. Enter the magic of the slow cooker, which solves our dry chicken problem with easy and elegance. Chicken breasts are slow cooked in a slightly spicy sauce until juicy and infused with flavor. Lime juice and salt tenderize the chicken as it cooks, and the result is restaurant-quality cilantro lime chicken that will transform you into a weeknight dinner super hero!
Make the crock pot sauce. You’ll need olive oil, lime juice, chicken broth, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper. Hold off on the cilantro (for now). It’ll lose all its tang if you toss it in at the start, and that would be so very sad.
Dump all the sauce ingredients into a food processor and blend it up.
Nestle some chicken breasts on the bottom of your crock pot in single layer. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
For best results, cook on low for 8 hours.
Crack open the lid, savor the aroma, and appreciate how super tender and juicy that chicken is.
Shred the chicken using two forks, then add a couple generous handfuls of chopped cilantro. Toss the cilantro into the shredded chicken, then faceplant into that perfectly seasoned/spiced/tangy goodness.
What to Serve with Cilantro Lime Chicken
This cilantro lime chicken is a weeknight workhorse, and there are so many ways to stuff it into your face. Here are my faves:
- Stuff it into a taco and top with queso fresco and avocado – no other fancy slaws or garnishes necessary
- Make a low carb/keto bowl with cauliflower Mexican rice, avocado, and cojita cheese
- Make an epic cilantro lime chicken salad – shredded romaine, chopped tomatoes, grilled bell peppers, cilantro lime chicken, and cilantro lime vinaigrette. WHOAH.
Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken FAQ
Can I use chicken thighs? Yup. Just make sure they’re boneless and skinless and that you trim any visible fat first.
Can I make this into a freezer meal? Yes, definitely and totally encouraged. Place the chicken breasts into a gallon sized freezer bag, pour the marinade over the chicken, press out the air, and seal. Store in the freezer for up to 2 months. Defrost in the fridge overnight, dump into the crock pot, and cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours.
Is the chicken spicy? Honestly, not really! The instructions call for seeding the jalapeno, which removes most of the heat. It has a kick, but it won’t leave your mouth on fire.
How can I make the chicken spicier? Keep some of the seeds from the jalapeno, double the jalapeno, and/or add a teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
Is this chicken healthy? Y’all know I’m not a fan of the term “healthy”, so let’s just say that this recipe is most definitely clean. No processed ingredients, no sugar or additives – just a very short list of tasty whole foods. It’s also low carb, Whole30, and gluten free, so if any one of those dietary persuasions is your thing, you’re totally covered. We eat this for days and days on a Whole30 – it’s that good!
More Mexican Recipes You’ll Love
- Mexican Street Corn Stuffed Peppers
- Carne Asada Skirt Steak Tacos
- American Style Ground Beef Tacos
- Paloma Cocktail
- Steak Fajita Salad with Cilantro Vinaigrette
- Paleo Burrito Bowl
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Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Food Processor
- Place the chicken broth, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, jalapeno, salt, cumin, paprika, and pepper into a food processor. Blend until the garlic and jalapeno are pulverized and the sauce is well incorporated.
- Lay the chicken in a single layer in the crockpot. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours for best results (or high for 4 hours).
- Using two forks, shred the chicken. Add the cilantro to the chicken, and toss again. Serve immediately (see post notes for serving suggestions). Leftovers keep in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
- If you're extremely sensitive to salt, start with one teaspoon. Add up to 2 tsp total to taste.
- For spicier chicken, leave in the jalapeno seeds.
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