Crockpot Chicken Tacos (Includes Instant Pot Directions)


Saucy and perfectly seasoned tacos right from your crockpot will make any day a great one! These Crockpot Chicken Tacos – and the toppings that go with them – are always a good idea. Not only does this recipe for slow cooker chicken tacos provide a great weeknight dinner the first time, but the leftovers can be served in many different ways. Enjoy the deliciously spiced and shredded chicken in tacos, burrito bowls, salads, quesadillas, nachos, and more. And if you want tacos even faster, use our directions in the recipe card notes for Instant Pot Chicken Tacos.

Five chicken tacos in corn shells with avocado slices and white cheese.

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Crockpot Chicken Tacos: A Weeknight Winner (And Party Perfect, Too)

We think it’s safe to say that everyone wins when tacos are on the menu, whether it’s Taco Tuesday, a casual gathering, or any other occasion. And regardless of whether they’re the standard ground beef taco with minimal toppings (cheese, lettuce, and tomato) or you kicked your taco night up a notch with fish, roasted veggies, or shredded chicken and a side of guacamole, it’s always easy for everyone to make tacos their own.

These Crockpot Chicken Tacos are made with only 8 ingredients (and even less than that if you use a premade taco seasoning mix), which are all thrown in a slow cooker, making this a super easy dinner option with minimal prep time. We’ve given this tender chicken a classic taco flavor – with our Real Foods Dietitians twist of course – that doesn’t interfere with your creative license when it comes to toppings.


If you want to cut down the total time required, these Crock Pot Chicken Tacos can also be made as Instant Pot Chicken Tacos! Scroll down for the Instant Pot directions.

Homemade taco seasonings in a white bowl

Ingredients To Make Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Here’s what you need to gather to get these slow cooker chicken tacos cooking:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast or chicken thighs – we recommend you use chicken thighs and breasts in one-pound portions. We source our high-quality, free-range chicken breast and chicken thighs (delivered right to our doors) from ButcherBox.
  • Salsa – you can use any salsa or choice, homemade or store-bought
  • Water – may substitute chicken broth
  • Spices* – you’ll need ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, ground coriander (optional but really adds delicious and authentic flavor in this recipe), cayenne pepper (for more heat add a pinch or two extra, for less heat omit the cayenne pepper), salt, and black pepper
  • Salad greens or Butter leaf lettuce – for serving this crockpot shredded chicken in a lettuce wrap or salad; or you can serve them in corn or flour tortillas or taco shells (we like to use an organic corn tortilla or a grain-free tortilla)
  • Toppings of choice – gather some fresh chopped veggies of choice, fresh cilantro, olives, sliced avocado, diced tomatoes, hot sauce, fresh salsa, lime wedges, lime juice, shredded cheese, and sour cream

*Note: Instead of making your own seasoning, as directed in the recipe, you may substitute our Homemade Taco Seasoning or use a pre-made taco seasoning of your choice.

Ingredient Spotlight: Chicken

We do our best to consume an ample amount of protein to help increase and maintain muscle mass, boost metabolism, lower blood pressure, and keep us full! And chicken is our go-to protein source for a variety of main dish recipes. Not only is it more budget-friendly than other proteins, but chicken is also extremely versatile and nutritious, too! For example, chicken:

  • Has virtually no trans fat on its own, and can be low in saturated fat, depending on the cut
  • Is rich in niacin, selenium, and phosphorous
  • Is an excellent source of B vitamins


Confused About Labels On Chicken Packages?

Free range, farm-raised, antibiotic-free, organic, natural, humanely raised … there are so many words on chicken labels that it can be confusing to know what to buy. But worry, not. We’ll teach you how to read poultry labels with ease to help you select the best chicken at the grocery store.

Keep reading and scrolling for tips for success, as well as the complete recipe. The ingredient list with exact measurements can be found in the recipe card below.

Silver Crockpot brand slow cooker with lid

A must-have kitchen appliance

A trusty slow cooker is one of our team’s most used and loved kitchen appliances! Imagine having a dinner simmering slowly and perfectly, like this recipe, and you don’t need to do a thing while it cooks. Pretty nice, huh? We have a ton of tested and perfected slow cooker recipes for you right here.

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What Is the Recipe for Crockpot Chicken Tacos?

We’ll walk you through how to make shredded chicken tacos two ways with minimal prep and simple steps for a recipe the whole family will love.

How To Make Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Here are the three quick steps (seriously, it’s SO easy!) to make these chicken tacos today! Don’t you just love a “dump it all in” slow cooker taco recipe?

  1. Add it all right to the Crockpot: Place chicken and all of the ingredients in a slow cooker, and cook on high for 4-5 hours.
  2. Shred the chicken: Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place it on a baking sheet or large plate (keeping the liquid in the slow cooker). Using two forks, shred the chicken. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and continue to cook chicken on the low setting for an additional 30 minutes.
  3. Serve delicious chicken tacos: Serve the chicken taco meat in tortillas, over a bed of greens, or in lettuce wraps for fewer carbohydrates; top with your favorite toppings.

Shredded chicken taco meat in a slow cooker

How To Make These Chicken Tacos In The Instant Pot

You can use this Crockpot Chicken Tacos recipe for making chicken tacos in the Instant Pot instead. Here are the directions to make Instant Pot Chicken Tacos:

  1. Add it all right to the Instant Pot: Place all of the ingredients in the bottom of an Instant Pot. Lock the lid in place and flip the vent valve to the “Sealing” position.
  2. Cook under pressure: Select the “Poultry” or “High Pressure” setting, then use the +/- buttons to adjust the cooking time to 14-16 minutes (depending on how thick your chicken breasts are).
  3. Release the pressure: When cooking time is up, allow pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes before flipping the valve to “Release” to remove any residual steam.
  4. Shred the chicken: Carefully remove the lid after all steam has been released. Shred the chicken with two forks directly inside the pot. If the meat seems too watery, select the “Sauté” setting and cook the shredded chicken until the liquid has reduced to your liking, 5-8 minutes.
  5. Serve delicious chicken tacos: Serve the shredded chicken taco meat in lettuce wraps, tortillas, or over fresh greens; top with desired taco toppings.
Shredded taco meat seasoned with homemade taco seasoning on corn shells

Tacos are a great choice for dietary restrictions

If you’re serving friends or family members who have dietary restrictions or follow special diets, serving this recipe for shredded crockpot chicken tacos is an excellent choice. By allowing people to build their own meals, this recipe works for just about anyone.

  • Gluten-free: this recipe is naturally gluten-free. If you are serving them to someone with celiac disease, offer gluten-free corn tortillas, over rice or cauliflower rice, or serve it in lettuce wraps
  • Grain-free: serve the crockpot chicken tacos in lettuce wraps or in these favorite grain-free taco shells
  • Dairy-free: to make these completely dairy-free tacos, simply opt out of any dairy-containing toppings, such as cheese and sour cream, Or, serve our Vegan Queso or Vegan Nacho Cheese as dairy-free cheesy toppings to drizzle
  • Paleo: this recipe for taco-seasoned chicken doesn’t contain any added dairy, grains, sugars, or refined oils. So, it is a great option for your friends and guests who may be looking for a Paleo-friendly option
  • Whole30: this crockpot chicken tacos recipe makes a great Whole30 meal. Instead of wrapping the chicken in a tortilla, serve it as a lettuce wrap or “bowl style” over cauliflower rice or lettuce greens. You’ll want to hold the cheese and sour cream and instead top your tacos with guacamole, fresh salsa, and cilantro
Large butter lettuce leaves filled with shredded chicken taco meat and taco toppings.

6 Ideas For How To Serve Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

Taco ’bout the possibilities! This easy recipe for crockpot shredded chicken tacos has so many serving options. We love setting up a taco bar for fun weeknight meals, entertaining, and game days. And, since it only takes 5 minutes to prep this recipe, you can then focus on the fun toppings. Here are some delicious ways to serve this chicken taco meat:

  • Wrapped in soft or hard tortillas
  • As lettuce wraps
  • Over rice for “bowl style”
  • As a taco salad over lettuce
  • Nacho style
  • Over baked sweet potatoes (like we do with our Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken)
  • As filling for enchiladas

Try These Favorite Taco Toppings

Here are some of our favorite toppers to set out when we serve these crock pot chicken tacos:

  • chopped fresh tomatoes
  • chopped red or white onion
  • diced jalapeno peppers
  • fresh cilantro
  • sliced black olives
  • sliced or mashed avocado
  • our Homemade Guacamole
  • salsa or pico de gallo
  • our Quick Pickled Onions
  • hot sauce
  • lime wedges
  • Cotija or shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • our Vegan Nacho Cheese or our Vegan Queso
  • sour cream
  • black beans
  • sautéed bell peppers for a boost of vitamin A and vitamin C

Set out a variety of these fresh toppings in pretty bowls so everyone can DIY their tacos.

We love this small bowl set for taco toppings

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos are always a good idea!

This recipe is budget-friendly, freezer-friendly, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. We highly recommend doubling this recipe for Crock Pot Chicken Tacos so you can be prepared for just about anything. Consider it your E.T.M. (Emergency Taco Meal). Hey, everyone needs one of those!

Whether your afternoon meetings run late, surprise visitors show up, or you just don’t feel like cooking, you’ll never regret having a batch of these saucy shredded slow cooker chicken tacos ready to go.

Glass storage container with lids stacked on each other.

A Must-Have For Leftovers

Leftovers of Crockpot Chicken Tacos are great for easy lunches or serving over top of salad greens. Store leftovers in a covered storage container for up to 3 days in the fridge.

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How to Freeze Crockpot Shredded Chicken

Prepare these Crockpot Chicken Tacos as described in the recipe card below. Allow the shredded chicken to completely cool, and then transfer it to a glass airtight container or freezer-safe bags. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or freeze for longer storage of up to 3 months.

You can also freeze individual portions of shredded chicken in smaller freezer-safe bags or containers. Then, easily pull out exactly the amount you need for a quick and packable lunch or easy dinner for one or two.

Chicken tacos wrapped in corn shells placed together in bundle of five tacos


3 Ways to Reheat Frozen Shredded Chicken

Another great feature of this crockpot chicken tacos recipe is that it reheats really nicely (from refrigerated or frozen) for future meals. Here are a few ways to make frozen shredded chicken all warm and saucy again.

To thaw or not to thaw? If you remember ahead of time, you can pull the chicken out of the freezer to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using it. But honestly, this is real life, and we aren’t always going to remember! Here are some ways you can reheat the chicken from thawed or frozen:

  1. Reheat on the stove: Transfer the thawed or frozen chicken to a large Dutch oven or saute pan. Heat it over medium heat, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon, until it is saucy and hot.
  2. Reheat in a slow cooker (from frozen): Place the frozen shredded chicken in a Crockpot. Reheat on “high” until hot, 1-3 hours.
  3. Reheat in an Instant Pot (from frozen): Place the shredded chicken block in an Instant Pot. Using the Sauté setting, break the chicken apart as it thaws, which will take about 5 minutes. Then, secure the lid on the Instant Pot and switch the valve to the “Sealing” position. Select the “Pressure Cook” function and set the time for 5 minutes. Once the time is up, release the pressure and check to see if it’s heated through. If not you can either add more time or use the Sauté function again to finish heating the chicken all the way through.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some ingredients that are good for chicken tacos?

For the best shredded chicken tacos, we love to use chicken, plenty of warm spices, and all our favorite toppings listed above.

How do you make the chicken?

For this recipe, we prefer to cook chicken in either the slow cooker or Instant Pot along with all the spices and a bit of water to keep it flavorful and tender.

Is it okay to put raw chicken in a slow cooker?

Yes, slow cookers are designed to cook raw meats. The long, slow cooking time ensures they cook completely and are safe to eat. If you’re concerned, use a meat thermometer to double-check that the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165° F.

Several chicken tacos in corn shells with taco toppings.


Crockpot Chicken Tacos

These Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos can be served in many different ways and only take 5 minutes of prep time! Serve the saucy spiced chicken in taco shells or tortillas, as lettuce wrap, over baked potatoes, or on top of salad greens with a variety of toppings. Includes instructions for the Instant Pot, too.

Prep: 10 minsCook: 4 hoursTotal: 4 hours, 10 mins

Servings: 8 servings 1x


For the Chicken:

*Instead of these spices, you could use our Homemade Taco Seasoning or a purchased pre-made one of your choice.

For Serving:

  • Taco shells for tacos, rice or cauliflower rice for taco bowls, lettuce for taco salads, or Bibb lettuce leaves for lettuce wraps
  • Any favorite taco toppings, such as chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, fresh cilantro, olives, avocado, hot sauce, fresh salsa, lime wedge, cheese, and sour cream


Slow Cooker Directions

  1. Place the chicken, salsa, water, and spices in a slow cooker. Cook on the high setting for 4-5 hours.
    Raw chicken, salsa, and taco seasonings in a slow cooker ready to start cooking
  2. Remove chicken and shred with 2 forks. Return to slow cooker and cook on low for an additional 30 minutes.
    Shredded chicken taco meat in sauce in black crockpot.
  3. Serve the shredded chicken taco meat in your desired way (as tacos, taco bowls, taco salads, or lettuce wraps. Top with your desired taco toppings.
    Instant pot shredded chicken tacos in corn shells

Instant Pot Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into an Instant Pot. Lock the lid in place and flip the vent valve to the “Sealing” position.
  2. Select the “Poultry” or “High Pressure” setting, then use the +/- buttons to adjust the cooking time to 14-16 minutes (depending on how thick your chicken breasts are).
  3. When cooking time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10-15 minutes before releasing any residual steam.
  4. Carefully remove the lid after all steam has been released. Shred the chicken with two forks directly in the pot. If the chicken seems too watery, select the “Saute” setting and cook until liquid is reduced to your desired level, 5-8 minutes.
    Shredded chicken taco meat in a slow cooker
  5. Serve the shredded chicken taco meat in your desired way (as tacos, taco bowls, taco salads, or lettuce wraps. Top with your desired taco toppings.

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Store leftovers in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Freeze in freezer-safe bags or containers for up to 3 months.

This is our team’s favorite slow cooker for making all kinds of slow cooker meals, from these chicken tacos to soups, stews, roasts, and more.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 4 ounces shredded chicken
  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 3 g
  • (Sat Fat: 1 g)
  • Sodium: 300 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 4 g
  • (Fiber: 0 g
  • Sugar: 1 g)
  • Protein: 26 g
  • Cholesterol: 76 mg


© The Real Food Dietitians

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Slow cooker shredded chicken taco meat in corn shells with avocado slices and cojito cheese.

Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.

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