Dinner is done with this dump and go, 4 ingredient recipe for Crockpot Salsa Chicken! Made with spicy taco seasoning, refreshing salsa, and finished with cool sour cream, this dish is sure to be the talk of Taco Tuesday!
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. READ MY DISCLOSURE POLICY HERE.
What you'll need for Crockpot Salsa Chicken
- Boneless, skinless chicken breast
- Taco seasoning. Use your favorite homemade Mexican seasoning or premade
- Your favorite salsa
- Sour cream
- Tortillas, fresh cilantro, lime, and toppings
How to make Crockpot Salsa Chicken
This shredded chicken is so easy to make! You can't mess it up! Below are the step-by-step directions.
Step 1: Spray the insert of a 6 qt or larger sized crockpot with cooking spray.
Step 2: Place the chicken breasts into the crock of the slow cooker.
Step 3: Sprinkle on your taco seasoning and pour the entire jar of salsa over the top.
Step 4: Put the lid on the crockpot and cook on "high" for 3-4 hours, depending on the size of the chicken breasts and the cooker you're using.
Check for doneness around hour 3. The chicken is done when it registers 165° on a meat thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, the juices run clear, and the chicken can be easily shredded.
Step 5: Once the cooking has finished, use two forks to shred the chicken. Turn off the slow cooker or leave it on the "Keep Warm" setting and allow the shredded chicken to sit in the juices for at least 15 minutes.
Step 6: Add in the sour cream and stir until well blended.
Serve your salsa chicken with tortillas for slow cooker tacos, or as a topping for nachos, or as a filling for burritos. Top with cilantro, avocado, and more sour cream if that's where your heart takes you.
Shredding the chicken
My favorite method for shredding chicken is using two forks to gently pull apart the meat. The chicken is so tender that it shreds easily and I don't have to dirty a lot of dishes or tools in the process.
Another easy method is to use a mixer to shred your chicken! You can transfer your chicken to a stand mixer or use a hand mixer to easily shred the chicken. Once the chicken is nice and pulled apart, stir in your sour cream and serve.
Tips and Variations
This recipe is impossible to mess up! Here are some tips that will make the best batch of salsa chicken for your next meal.
The best salsa to use:
For this recipe, use your favorite salsa!
And make it as spicy or mild as you like! Basically, whatever you love to eat with chips, use it here!
Here are some great salsa options that pair nicely with chicken:
- Classic mild, medium, or spicy tomato based salsa
- A fire-roasted vegetable salsa would be divine, especially with a hint of lime
- Any salsas including pineapple or mango would be delicious
- A Southwest salsa with corn and beans would be so good too!
- Salsa verde would be a fun spin, and perfect for enchiladas!
Can I use Frozen Chicken?
Yes! If you're planning ahead, thaw the chicken ahead of time and cook as the recipe states.
If you didn't have the chance to thaw your chicken first, then you can cook your chicken breast in the crockpot on low for about 8 hours (I do this all the time). It will be a longer cooking time since the chicken is frozen. Just makes sure the internal temperature reaches 165° before serving.
Can I use chicken thighs?
Definitely! Just start checking for doneness around hour 3 so they don't get overcooked.
How To Keep Chicken From Drying Out In The Crockpot
Chicken breast is a fickle thing. It has way less fat than chicken thighs, so it tends to dry out quicker.
One way to prevent your chicken from drying out is to not overcook the meat. I know with a slow cooker we tend to "set and forget", but just set a reminder for yourself to start checking the chicken for doneness around hour 3.
As mentioned previously, the best way to check for doneness is by using a meat thermometer. You'll know exactly when the chicken is at a safe temperature to eat.
Another way to keep the chicken moist is by letting it rest in its own juices. For this recipe, once the chicken is done cooking, we shred it and then let it sit in all those yummy spicy juices for at least 15 minutes.
The shredded meat reabsorbs all the goodness in the pot and becomes moist and flavorful.
Also, by adding sour cream at the end, we're adding a little extra fat to the party, this also helps the chicken from tasting dry.
Serving your salsa chicken
I primarily use this recipe for slow cooker tacos (because it requires no effort whatsoever), but tacos are not all this shredded salsa chicken deliciousness is good for. Here are some additional serving suggestions:
- Use on top of nachos
- Fill burritos or enchiladas
- Make a burrito bowl
- Perfect for taco salad
- Quesadilla filling
- Stir into chili!
Leftovers need to be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
The cooked chicken, fully prepared can be frozen for even longer!
When you're ready to use, let the chicken thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat it on the stovetop, microwave, or even in the oven.
Feel free to add a little extra salsa and sour cream to freshen up the leftovers.
This salsa chicken recipe is perfect for weekly meal prepping. Make a batch in the crockpot over the weekend and portion it out in single serve containers once it's done. Now you'll have an easy grab and go filling for tacos, a topping for cauliflower rice, or burrito bowls!
Set aside a family sized portion to reheat for during the week for an easy taco Tuesday dinner! This chicken is so flavorful, delicious, and versatile.
Can I make my chicken in the slow cooker with no salsa?
The taco seasoning we put on the chicken before cooking will make it super flavorful. So feel free to skip the salsa if you need to!
Just make sure to keep an eye on the chicken and test for doneness around hour 3. Without the extra juice from the salsa, the chicken breasts may dry out quicker.
If you notice the chicken is not giving off a ton of juice as it cooks, add a little water or chicken broth to the slow cooker.
Taste the chicken before serving and add a little more salt or taco seasoning if you feel it needs it.
Other recipes you might like:
Tools You May Need:
A crockpot slow cooker sized 6 quarts or more. This one is the closest I could find to the Hamilton Beach one I use. This one is Crock-Pot brand, but looks identical to mine and has the same functionality with great reviews!
A meat thermometer. So handy for checking for doneness!
- 2 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts--totally fine if you're a little over
- 4 tablespoons of homemade taco seasoning or 2 packets of your favorite store bought brand
- 1 16oz jar of your favorite salsa
- ¾ cup of sour cream
- Spray the insert of a 6 qt or larger sized slow cooker with cooking spray.
- Place the chicken breasts into the crock of the slow cooker.
- Sprinkle on your taco seasoning and pour the entire jar of salsa over the top.
- Put on the lid and cook on high for 3-4 hours, depending on the size of the chicken breasts and the cooker you're using.
- Check for doneness around hour 3. The chicken is done when it registers 165° on a meat thermometer. If you don't have a thermometer, cook until the chicken is no longer pink in the middle, the juices run clear, and the chicken can be easily shredded.
- Once cooking has finished, using two forks, shred the chicken. Turn off the slow cooker or leave it on the "Keep Warm" setting and allow the shredded chicken to sit in the juices for at least 15 minutes.
- Add in the sour cream and stir until well blended.
- Serve with tortillas for slow cooker tacos, or as a topping for nachos, or a filling for burritos.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 173Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 534mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 25g