Crockpot Salsa Chicken

Prep 10 mins
Cook 3 hrs
Total 3 hrs 10 mins
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This Crockpot Salsa Chicken is as simple as can be, and absolutely mouthwatering! With just four basic pantry staples and your handy Crockpot, you can whip up seriously good, Tex-Mex chicken, with no hassle whatsoever.

Easy Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

This is a beloved shredded chicken recipe with just 4 simple ingredients, perfect for your weekly menu rotation. Full of spicy Tex-Mex flavor, it’s ideal for an easy and flavorful weeknight dinner, and you can serve it in all kinds of ways – tacos, burrito bowls, salad, you name it. You’re going to love the simplicity (and taste) of this shredded chicken! It’s really almost too easy! Just dump your chicken in the Crockpot with tomatoes and seasonings, and let it go until it’s nice and tender.

While you can use your favorite salsa for this recipe, I prefer to use Rotel canned tomatoes. A Southern favorite, Rotel tomatoes include green chilies and some spices, making them an ultra-flavorful ingredient. These famous canned tomatoes are widely available, and come in a few different levels of spiciness: mild, original (which is a little spicier than the mild version), and hot. Use whatever level of heat you’re comfortable with. If you don’t want this dish to be spicy, you might want to use regular canned tomatoes instead of Rotel – and that’s fine too!

From top left: Raw chicken breasts, taco seasoning, lime juice, canned rotel tomatoes.

What You’ll Need

I can’t stress this enough: this salsa chicken recipe is the simplest recipe ever. And each of the four ingredients is a basic, wholesome pantry item, making this a recipe you can feel good about. Here’s the list:

  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are my favorite, but this recipe is equally good with dark meat, so use what you love.
  • Taco Seasoning: Any taco seasoning works. Homemade taco seasoning allows you to control the ingredients and make it to suit your own family’s taste and dietary needs, but packaged seasonings work great, too.
  • Rotel Tomatoes: Strain the tomatoes to remove excess liquid. You can reserve that liquid for another use, like flavoring soup, or just discard it if you prefer.
  • Lime Juice: Lemon juice also works, but lime is preferable for its milder, sweeter flavor. I like to use fresh juice, but bottled juice is also fine.

Let’s Make Salsa Chicken!

With just a few simple steps, you’ll be on your way to versatile, flavor-packed chicken that you can use in a wide variety of dishes. Don’t you just love slow cooker recipes? I know I do!

  1. Arrange the Ingredients in Your Slow Cooker. Before adding the ingredients, spray your crockpot with non-stick spray (or lightly grease it with butter or oil). Lay the chicken breasts flat in the bottom, and then sprinkle them with the taco seasoning. Top with the Rotel tomatoes, and a squeeze of lime juice. 
  2. Slow-Cook the Chicken. Cover the slow cooker, and cook on low 7 – 8 hours, or on high for 3 – 4 hours. You can use a meat thermometer to make sure your chicken is cooked through (the internal temperature should be 165°F).
  3. Shred and Serve. Drain away all of the cooking liquid, except for about half of a cup. Shred the chicken with two forks in the half-cup of cooking liquid, and stir well to combine. Enjoy!
A slow cooker insert filled with cooked, seasoned, shredded chicken.

Can You Put Raw Chicken in the Crockpot?

You may be wondering if it is safe to put raw chicken directly into a slow cooker without pre-cooking it somewhat, but the truth is, it’s perfectly safe! Raw chicken will reach a safe internal temperature with no issues. However, some manufacturers warn that you should not put frozen chicken in the crockpot – it takes too long to come to temperature, and can be a breeding ground for bacteria. When in doubt, always consult your manufacturer’s website, or customer support!

Tips for Success

Want to know more about this easy Crockpot shredded chicken? Great! Let me share my top tips – just a few things that I’ve noticed help a lot when making salsa chicken in the slow cooker

  • Thickening: The main thing about this shredded chicken is that you really have to drain out the excess liquid. You only need a few ounces for it to be saucy. If you shred the chicken with too much liquid, try stirring in some tomato paste, or just pouring the chicken mixture into a colander over a mixing bowl, to allow some of the juices to drain out.
  • Check It Early: Because some slow cookers cook faster than others, I recommend checking your chicken for doneness halfway through the cooking time, and then again at the ¾ mark,  just to make sure it’s not overcooking. Overcooked chicken will be dry, even if you make it i the slow cooker!
  • Mix-Ins: If you want to dress up your salsa chicken and add more flavor, you can add different vegetables to the slow cooker as well. Some of my favorites are corn, black beans, diced onion, and fresh minced garlic.
  • Salsa: For a savory, enchilada-like twist, try using a jar of salsa verde (also known as tomatillo salsa) instead of the Rotel tomatoes. I also have a Tomatillo Avocado Salsa recipe that you can use! Skip the avocado and save that to top your chicken with at the end!
Chicken tacos on a plate with lime wedges.

Favorite Serving Suggestions

When it comes to serving this recipe, there are truly endless options. But my favorite options are simple, beloved favorites that complement the flavors in this chicken perfectly. Here are a few I know you’ll love:

  • Tacos With Homemade Flour Tortillas: These wholesome Homemade Flour Tortillas combined with crockpot salsa chicken make wonderful tacos. A great option if you have a little extra time.
  • Latin Fusion Chicken and Rice: Layer this chicken over Puerto Rican Arroz con Gandules for a hearty, protein-packed meal.
  • Guacamole: It doesn’t get better than homemade guacamole, and this recipe for Authentic Gucamole is one of my absolute favorites – healthy and scrumptious.
  • Pico De Gallo: If serving this chicken as tacos, I highly recommend whipping up some fresh Pico De Gallo! It adds so much flavor on top of this salsa chicken.
  • Taquitos: You can also use this salsa chicken in taquitos! It’s delicious! Use the recipe for my Cheesy Beef Taquitos, just replace the beef filling with this chicken!
  • Burrito Bowls: Rice, beans, salsa chicken and toppings add up to make a great Salsa Chicken Burrito Bowl!
  • Plantains: In this half Puerto Rican household, Maduros (fried sweet plantains), go with just about everything. 😉 But the sweet balances this salsa chicken perfectly.
Pulled chicken in a white serving bowl, garnished with herbs.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

  • To store leftover salsa chicken, keep it in an airtight container, and use within 3-4 days.
  • To reheat your chicken, put it in the microwave, or heat on the stovetop on low heat, until fully heated through. If you’re using the microwave, do it in 30-second intervals.

Can I Freeze This?

Yes, you can! To freeze this chicken, put it in an airtight container or freezer bag, and store in the freezer for 3-4 months.

More Easy Crockpot Dinner Recipes:

I *LOVE* crockpot dinners! I am so much more likely to make dinner if I start it in the morning before work! Once the kids are home, things get crazy. Here are some of my favorite crockpot recipes:

Yield: 4 Servings

Easy Salsa Chicken

A bowl of shredded chicken next to a slow cooker and plate of lime wedges.

This Easy Salsa Chicken is as simple as can be, and absolutely mouthwatering! With just four basic pantry staples, you can whip up seriously good, Tex-Mex chicken, with no hassle whatsoever.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 package taco seasoning
  • 1 can Rotel, strained to remove excess juice
  • Juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Spray crockpot with non-stick spray.
  2. Lay chicken breasts flat in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle chicken with taco seasoning and then top with Rotel. Squeeze lime juice on top and then place the lid onto the crockpot.
  3. Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 7-8 hours on low, until chicken is cooked through. Drain liquid - leaving about a half cup liquid remaining - and then shred chicken.
  4. Serve as desired in tacos, over rice/beans, or in a burrito!

Notes

Storage: Leftover salsa chicken, keep it in an airtight container, and use within 3-4 days.

Reheat: Heat on the stovetop on low heat, until fully heated through. Or use microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring often.

Freeze: Place salsa chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag, and store in the freezer for 3-4 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 677mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 54g

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This post may contain affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy.

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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