All-Purpose Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken Is The Ultimate Dinner Solution

I feel like there’s always at least one night a week when I am just too exhausted to cook.

Vertical image of a plate with two tortilla wraps and shredded poultry in a chili sauce with assorted toppings on the plate and in bowls around the plate.

Even so, I want something homemade for dinner.

It’s quite the conundrum, but I’m pretty sure that’s why the slow cooker was invented.

I mean, when you start the day you probably have a ton of energy. So why not take a few minutes in the morning to throw some basic ingredients in the Crock-Pot before you leave for work?

Then, by the time you get home, dinner will be ready to go.

Vertical image of a bowl of cooked shredded chicken in a red sauce surrounded by condiments in white bowls.

It’s the best way to get that homemade meal on the table, without having to dread the process of cooking the moment you walk in the front door, or facing tons of dishes afterwards.

I love this Tex-Mex chicken recipe because it’s a) super-duper easy, b) super-duper flavorful, and c) extremely versatile.

It’s one of those protein entrees that’s excellent for feeding a large family, but it’s also perfect for delicious leftovers, another key quality that can prove to be a lifesaver on busy weeknights.

Vertical image of a plate with tortilla wraps, shredded poultry in a red sauce, and various garnishes surrounded by assorted toppings in white dishes.

My husband and I adore it because we can savor the leftovers for the next day or two without getting bored, or keep some in the freezer to pull out when we need it.

The go-to way that I like to serve this dish is as the main component in a build-your-own dinner setup. I put the chicken in a big ol’ bowl, and serve it up with all my favorite accompaniments:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Refried beans
  • Diced red or yellow onion
  • Shredded cheese (any kind you like)
  • Sour cream
  • Sliced or diced tomatoes
  • Salsa (pico de gallo is one of my favorites)
  • Hot sauce

But I’ve got even more ideas where these came from!

Vertical image of a huge table display with tortillas, shredded chicken, and assorted toppings on plates and in bowls.

Want something a little different to try on day two (or three)? Give one of these crave-worthy options a try:

  • Serve burrito bowls with cilantro lime or Mexican rice, your favorite beans, cheese, and guacamole.
  • Wrap it up inside a burrito, with your favorite salsa and veggies.
  • Stuff the shredded meat in a quesadilla with shredded cheese.
  • Use it as a topping for homemade nachos, made under the broiler.
  • Top fried tortillas to make tostadas with all your favorite toppings.
  • Go carb-free and stir in a bunch of veggies, then wrap the mixture up in large butter lettuce leaves for a lighter meal.

When you make this recipe, you can use all different kinds of salsa to change up the flavor profile. If I’m short on time, I like to use my favorite locally variety from the store, but you can play with different flavors from hot and spicy to chipotle and so much more, bottled or made from scratch. Use a good quality salsa that you love.

Vertical image of a plate with tortilla wraps, shredded poultry in red sauce, and assorted garnishes.

All in all, this easy recipe can provide the centerpiece of so many different quick and easy meals that pack in the flavor. And slow cooking really makes for the juiciest, most tender shredded chicken ever.

Now that your busy weeknight dinner problems are solved, you can move onto bigger issues. You know, like making it out of the office early without your boss noticing (or is that just my dream?).

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Horizontal image of a plate with two tortilla wraps and shredded meat with assorted toppings.

All-Purpose Slow Cooker Tex-Mex Chicken


  • Author: Meghan Yager
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours, 5 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x

Description

All-purpose slow cooker Tex-Mex chicken is perfect for shaking up your weeknight dinner routine, with countless serving possibilities to enjoy.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 11.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
  • 2 canned chipotles in adobo, chopped, plus 3 tsp adobo sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 12 ounces salsa

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in slow cooker.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together chipotles, adobo sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. 
  3. Pour salsa mixture over top of chicken.
  4. Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Shred chicken using two forks, in the slow cooker with the salsa.

  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Tex-Mex

Keywords: Tex-Mex, chicken, slow cooker, chipotles in adobo

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Chop Chipotle Peppers and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Horizontal image of a small bowl with a red chili sauce.

Open up a can of chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Measure out what you need, and chop the chipotle peppers well.

Measure out all of the remaining ingredients, as listed on the ingredients list.

Horizontal image of a glass bowl with red sauce and seasonings.

Note that you can use chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination of the two. Learn how to easily break down a whole bird, if you’d prefer to work with a larger quantity at a time!

Step 2 – Slow Cook

Horizontal image of a slow cooker with poultry, red sauce, and seasonings.

Add the chopped chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper (freshly cracked is best!), cayenne pepper, and salsa to a medium bowl. Stir to combine.

Add the chicken to your slow cooker insert.

Pour the salsa mixture over the chicken.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Step 3 – Shred and Serve

Horizontal top-down image of a gray bowl with shredded poultry in chili sauce, next to assorted fresh ingredients in small bowls.

Use two forks to shred the chicken, and stir to combine with the sauce.

Serve with tortillas, refried beans, lettuce, red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and salsa, or your choice of fixins’.

Can I Whip This Up in the Instant Pot?

Now, I know not all of us are morning people, so making this recipe first thing in the morning might be a stretch.

Horizontal image of a plate with two tortilla wraps and shredded meat with assorted toppings.

That’s where the magic of the Instant Pot comes in.

You can easily make this recipe in your electric pressure cooker as well. Simply add everything to the insert like you would with a slow cooker. Instead of cooking on low, set to Manual pressure on High for 20 minutes.

Shred the chicken in the Instant Pot, and voila! You can have dinner on the table in a manner of minutes.

Do you need more slow cooker recipe inspiration? Try some of these delicious Foodal favorites:

How will you serve this Tex-Mex chicken? Tell us in the comments below. Once you try the recipe, be sure to come back to rate it!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on September 22, 2015. Last updated: September 13, 2019 at 22:44 pm.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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