Crockpot Chicken Tacos

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Crockpot chicken tacos are an easy dinner to throw into the slowcooker with a quick tomato-based taco sauce. You can freeze the chicken in tomato sauce for an easy dump-and-go slowcooker dinner another time or cook the chicken first and freeze it for easy reheating on a busy night.

A spiced shredded chicken taco has slaw on the top with flour tortillas. Fresh lime wedges in the back.

These easy Crockpot chicken tacos cook up so tender and juicy in just 3 hours in your slowcooker.

The savory tomato based taco sauce is easy to mix together with a few seasonings.

The secret ingredient is a little minced chipotle in adobo sauce stirred into the canned tomato sauce. It gives the chicken tacos just a hint of heat and spice.

Serve the savory chicken tacos with a pinch of Mexican slaw and/or fresh pineapple salsa on warmed tortillas for a delicious dinner in minutes.

Why This is the Best Recipe

My kids could eat tacos every night of the week, there's a good reason Taco Tuesday is so popular. But I think this is the best Crockpot chicken taco meat recipe because:

  1. Very Seasoned and Tender: This isn't just simple shredded chicken, the chicken meat is slowcooked in a seasoned tomato sauce that tenderizes the chicken and makes it extra delicious.
  2. Freezer-Friendly: You could make a meal kit with the chicken and sauce for cooking later or you can cook the chicken first and freeze it for easy reheating.
  3. Not Too Spicy: My kids still love this recipe because even though it is saucy and seasoned, it isn't too hot.


The fresh chicken, seasonings, and tomato sauce are on the counter.

This easy crockpot chicken taco recipe requires a few specific ingredients but will taste so much better because you've mixed the spices by hand instead of using a seasoned taco packet.

All you need to make it is:

  • Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe but chicken thighs would be delicious, too.
  • Canned Chipotle in Adobo Sauce: You can find this in the Mexican foods section of your grocery store.
  • Canned Tomato Sauce
  • Chili Powder
  • Minced Garlic
  • Ground Coriander: If you won't want to buy this as a spice jar, you could substitute fresh cilantro. Save it for adding to the tacos at the end, cilantro is a delicate herb that doesn't hold up well in the slowcooker.
  • Ground Cumin
  • Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper

Prepare the Taco Sauce

The first step to making Crockpot chicken tacos is to prepare the tomato based taco sauce before you add the chicken.

Add the canola oil, chili powder, minced garlic, coriander, cumin, and minced chipotle chile to a microwave safe bowl.

The seasonings for the tacos are in a mixing bowl.

Stir them together and then heat on HIGH in the microwave for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

This helps start the cooking process for the garlic and ensures you won't have a raw garlic taste in the taco meat.

Scrape the mixture into the bowl of the slowcooker and them stir in the canned tomato sauce and sugar.

I just added the tomato sauce and sugar to the seasonings bowl so you could see the texture:

The tomato sauce has been stirred into the spices in a mixing bowl.

Cooking Instructions

Nestle the chicken breasts into the tomato sauce, turning them over once or twice to ensure that all sides are coated in seasoning.

Cook on LOW heat for 3 - 4 hours or until the chicken is tender enough to be shredded with two forks.

The saucy chicken breasts are ready to be cooked.

You don't want to cook the chicken on HIGH because it will result in tough, chewy meat.

A gentle, slower cook gives nice and juicy, tender chicken taco meat.

The chicken has finished cooking and is about to be shredded.

Adjust the Texture of the Sauce

At the end of the cooking session, you may discover that the tomato sauce is too thick for your liking.

You have two choices:

  1. Add a Splash of Hot Water: Add just a tablespoon or so of hot water and stir it into the sauce to loosen things up.
  2. Add Fresh Lime Juice: You could also squeeze fresh lime juice into the taco sauce. This adds lovely fresh flavor and kick.

Make Ahead Tips

This is an excellent make ahead dinner recipe. You could cook the chicken over the weekend and store it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Reheat the chicken in the microwave or gently in a saucepan on the stovetop.

You could also freeze the chicken for up to 6 months. You'll want to let it cool completely first.

I suggest freezing it in smaller portions so you can reheat just enough for a few tacos at a time.

Make Your Own Meal Kit

If you want to prep the tomato based taco sauce and raw chicken for an easy dump meal later, you could assemble everything and store it in a plastic storage bag in the freezer.

To cook from frozen, run the bag under cold water to release the stick from the sides of the bag and transfer everything into the Crockpot.

Add an additional hour of cooking time if cooking from solid frozen.

Alternatively, you could thaw the mixture in the fridge overnight and then just cook as directed.

Serving Suggestions

The pineapple salsa is served with chicken tacos.

Serve the shredded chicken on warmed tortillas topped with your favorite salsa, sour cream, and chopped green onions for a delicious taco dinner.

I personally LOVE this fresh pineapple salsa with the spicy chicken meat. But this sweet chunky corn salsa would be a great match, too.

What to Serve with Chicken Tacos

For a side dish, this chicken taco meat pairs really with my Mexican rice casserole that is loaded with fresh veggies. Of course there's always chips and homemade salsa, too.

You could make burrito bowls with Mexican corn rice and just put the shredded chicken on top instead of serving with tortillas.

We also love this easy Mexican street corn casserole that uses frozen corn.

If you want a lower carb dinner option, use the chicken to make an easy taco salad bowl with my cilantro lime ranch dressing over the top.

More Chicken Taco Recipes

If you love using chicken for taco night, you won't want to miss these other delicious recipes:

📖 Recipe

A spiced shredded chicken taco has slaw on the top with flour tortillas. Fresh lime wedges in the back.

Crockpot Chicken Taco Meat

5 from 1 vote
Make a batch of this easy Crockpot chicken taco meat for easy chicken tacos on a busy night. A seasoned tomato sauce simmers the chicken breast until tender and easily shredded with a fork. You could freeze the meal kit for cooking later or store pre-cooked chicken meat for easy reheating in minutes.
TOTAL TIME 2 hours 5 minutes
PREP TIME 5 minutes
COOK TIME 3 hours
YIELD 8 servings


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce minced, about 1 chipotle pepper
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 (8 oz) can canned tomato sauce
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts about 4 breasts
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


  • Add the canola oil, chili powder, minced garlic, minced chipotle pepper, coriander, and cumin in a microwave-safe bowl and stir them together. Heat on HIGH for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Scrape the mixture into the bowl of your slowcooker.
  • Add the tomato sauce and sugar to the bowl and stir it together with the seasonings.
  • Season the chicken with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and then nestle them into the tomato sauce.
  • Cover and cook the chicken for 3 to 4 hours on LOW or until you can easily shred it with two forks. If the tomato sauce is too thick, you can add a splash of hot water or squeeze the juice from a lime until the desired consistency is reached.

Recipe Notes

Storage Tips:

The shredded taco meat will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.
You can freeze the taco meat for up to 6 months. Simply thaw in the fridge overnight and warm in the microwave or in a saucepan on the stove top.

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The photo collage shows the finished chicken tacos next to a picture of the chicken cooking in the slowcooker.
Shredded chicken from the crockpot is served on a tortilla with pineapple salsa.


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