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Shredded Mexican Chicken in the Crock Pot

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This Shredded Mexican Chicken in the Crock Pot is a high-protein, slow-cooker chicken dish full of Tex-Mex flavor. It’s fantastic served on its own over rice with your favorite toppings, and the leftovers are perfect for nachos, tacos, burritos, and casseroles. It’s easy to make and will become a staple in your dinner rotation!

Shredded Mexican Chicken crock pot

Shredded Mexican Chicken In The Crock Pot

One-pot crock pot meals are absolutely the best. The set-it-and-forget-it option makes life easier on busy weeknights. With just a few minutes of prep on a weekday morning, you can come home to a delicious, hearty meal.

Chock full of melted cheese and Tex-Mex Flavors, you can easily adjust the spices in this Crock Pot Shredded Mexican Chicken to suit your taste preference and the ingredients you have on hand. Change up the beans, stir in more veggies, make it spicier- whatever you like. I guarantee it will still taste great.

This shredded Mexican chicken in the crock pot can be used as the base of many recipes: tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, casseroles, burritos, salads, or even as a topping for nachos. The options are endless.

Why you’ll love This Recipe For Shredded Chicken

  • One pot meal: Everything cooks up in the crock pot, making for an easier clean up.
  • Adaptable: Change the ingredients or spice level to suit your taste preference.
  • Family-friendly: This chicken is cheesy and creamy, the ideal family-friendly recipe.
  • Versatile: Eat the chicken in a tortilla, in an enchilada, in a taco shell, or any way you like.

Ingredients + Tips

(Ingredients at a glance; the full recipe with ingredient amounts is in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.)

  • Chicken breasts | You’ll need 3-4 large chicken breasts between 2 and 3 lbs. I used 3 breasts of 2.65 lbs.
  • Rotel tomatoes | I usually use Rotel, but any other brand of canned tomatoes and green chilis will work.
  • Green chiles | Canned green chiles add some spice.
  • Taco seasoning | Storebought or homemade. You will need one packet of taco seasoning or about three tablespoons. If you like extra Tex-Mex flavor, add a tablespoon of red chili powder and cumin each.
  • Cream cheese | Use softened cream cheese to add creaminess to the chicken. You can use the entire block of cream cheese for an extra creamy and cheesy result. I used 1/2 block of low-fat today to save calories, but I can attest to the chicken being even better with the entire block of regular cream cheese.
  • Mexican blend cheese | Use a shredded Mexican cheese blend from the grocery store or pick up a variety of cheeses and grate them yourself.
  • Corn | Use one can of corn, drained. Frozen corn works, too.
  • Pinto beans | Use one can of pinto beans, drained.
  • Chicken broth | Use low-sodium chicken broth or water if needed to thin out the shredded chicken.
  • Optional toppings | Cilantro, sour cream, sliced jalapenos, avocado, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce

How To Make Shredded Chicken

1 Add items to the crockpot. Add the chicken breasts to the bottom of the crock pot, then add the can of tomatoes and green chilies and sprinkle the spices over them. Add 1/2 cup of water or broth to the crock if the chicken mixture looks like it needs more liquid. (If in doubt, add it. The extra liquid doesn’t hurt anything, keeps the chicken from drying out, and can be removed at the end if needed.)

How to make Mexican shredded chicken in the crock pot

2 Cook the shredded chicken. Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 4 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours.

3 Shred the chicken. At the end of the cooking time, if there looks to be too much liquid in the crock pot, you can spoon some out and set it aside in case you need it. Use two forks to shred the chicken right in the pot. After shredding the chicken, you can add some of the cooking liquid back to the mixture if you want it to be juicier.

How to make Mexican shredded chicken in the crock pot

4 Add the remaining ingredients. Add the softened cream cheese in chunks, stirring until it is mostly incorporated. Add the shredded cheese, can of corn, and can of beans. Stir until incorporated.

How to make Mexican shredded chicken in the crock pot

5 Continue to cook. Place the crock pot lid back on and set the temperature to low for about 15 minutes. Lift the lid, stir, and make sure the cheese is completely melted and mixed in. If desired, sprinkle more cheese over the top and close the lid for a few minutes until the top layer of cheese has melted.

Melted cheesy Mexican shredded chicken in the crock pot

6 Serve. Serve the shredded chicken over rice or chips, and enjoy!

How to serve the shredded chicken

  • Over rice with lots of toppings.
  • On its own with chips.
  • In a quesadilla or for filling in enchiladas or stuffed burritos.
  • As the meat in chicken nachos.
  • Over lettuce for a chicken taco salad.
slow cooker chicken burrito bowls

Recipe Tips

  • I like to reserve some of the cooking liquid before shredding the chicken. That way, the chicken won’t be overly liquidy, and I can add some back at the end of the cooking time for a creamier dish.
  • Soften the cream cheese to room temperature before adding it to the chicken. This will make mixing it in much easier.
  • For perfectly cooked chicken, use a digital thermometer like this one. (The cord can hang out of the crock.) It has an alarm that will beep when the chicken reaches 165 F. I move the probe to other pieces to ensure they have all reached 165. Most slow cooker recipes for chicken breasts will tell you 4 to 6 hours for food safety reasons and different crock pots, but if you use a thermometer, you’ll find the chicken often cooks much faster.
  • I recommend slow-cooking your chicken using the low setting. Cooking the chicken on high can cause it to dry out and have a tougher texture.
  • Both regular and low-fat cream cheese will work for this recipe; if you are trying to watch fat/calories, just use half the block of the low-fat. If that’s not a worry, or maybe you are making this for guests, you should use the full block of regular cream cheese. A full block of full-fat cream cheese makes this chicken dish absolutely delicious!
  • When shredding the chicken, I do it by hand with 2 large forks. Yes, it takes longer, and your hands will get tired, but with this method, you get a better shred with both large and small pieces of chicken, and the texture is much better than if you use a mixer to shred the chicken.

Variations

  • Use dark meat instead of chicken breasts.
  • Switch up the pinto for black beans or any other kind of bean you have on hand.
  • Stir in a small can of chipotle pepper in adobo sauce for more spice.
  • Try enchilada seasoning instead of taco seasoning.
  • Add more veggies like red bell peppers, diced zucchini, or whatever else you have in the fridge – fresh or frozen both work.

Storage

Leftover shredded chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Frozen, it will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat over the stove or microwave.

Big spoonful of shredded mexicanchicken in the crock pot

FAQs

Why is my crockpot shredded chicken tough?

If your chicken is tough, it could be undercooked or overcooked. For best results, I use a thermometer and slow cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 F.

How long can shredded chicken stay on warm in the crockpot?

If you want to bring your crock pot to the kitchen table, the chicken can stay on the warm setting in the crock pot for about 2 hours. After that, it should go in the fridge.

Can this recipe be made in the Instant Pot?

Yes, instead of making this shredded Mexican chicken in the crock pot, you can also make it in a pressure cooker:

  1. Add the chicken, tomatoes, chilies, and taco seasonings to the pot. Add enough broth or water so the chicken is partially submerged. Pressure cook on high for 8 minutes. Do a quick release.
  2. Once the pot is safe to open, remove some of the cooking liquid and set aside. Shred the chicken and add the rest of the ingredients, stirring until everything is incorporated. If desired, add some of the cooking liquid back in.
  3. Place the lid on the pot. Set the pressure cooker to high and cook for 2 to 4 minutes using your kitchen timer.  IMPORTANT!!! Don’t bring the pot back up to pressure and then cook for 2 to 4 minutes – just close the lid, turn it back on, and let it cook for 2 to 4 minutes – according to your kitchen timer! Once cooking time is complete, do a quick pressure release.

Can I use bone-in chicken breasts?

Yes, you can. If using bone-in chicken for this shredded Mexican chicken, I recommend removing the chicken from the pot to shred so you can make sure you get ALL the bones. (Sometimes, there are small, sharp bones that are easy to miss.)

Skinless chicken thighs are great in this recipe, too.

I do not recommend leaving the skins on; they will become soggy and difficult to remove.

Can you overcook chicken in the slow cooker?

Yes, lean cuts of meat (like skinless chicken breasts) will become tough and dry in the slow cooker if left to cook for too long. This is why I recommend using a thermometer or a slow cooker with a timer.

close up image of Shredded Mexican Chicken served over rice.

Looking for more Mexican inspired recipes?

Did You Make This Shredded Mexican Chicken?

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shredded mexican chicken in the crock pot

Shredded Mexican Chicken in the Crock Pot

  • Author: Jamie Sanders
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 to 6 hours
  • Total Time: 0 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: slow cooker

Description

This Shredded Mexican Chicken in the Crock Pot is a high-protein, slow-cooker chicken dish full of Tex-Mex flavor. It’s fantastic served on its own over rice with your favorite toppings, and the leftovers are perfect for nachos, tacos, burritos, and casseroles.


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3 to 4 large chicken breasts (2 to 3 lbs – my 3 breasts were 2.65 lbs)
  • 1 10 oz can of Rotel tomatoes (or any other brand of canned tomatoes and green chilis)
  • 1 7 oz can of diced green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning (+ optional tablespoon of red chili powder and cumin each)
  • 1/2 block of softened cream cheese (4 0z) – you can use the entire block of cream cheese for an extra creamy and cheesy result (I used 1/2 block of low fat today to save calories, but I can definitely attest to it being even better with the entire block of regular cream cheese.
  • 1.5 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
  • 1 15 oz can of corn, drained
  • 1 15 oz can of pinto beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup or so of chicken broth or water if needed
  • optional toppings: Cilantro, sour cream, sliced jalapenos, avocado, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce

Instructions

  1. Add Chicken breasts to the bottom of the crock pot.
  2. Add the undrained can of tomatoes and the undrained can of green chilies.
  3. Sprinkle spices over the contents of the crock pot. Add 1/2 cup of water or broth to the crock if the chicken mixture looks like it needs more liquid. (If in doubt, add it. Extra liquid doesn’t hurt anything and can be removed at the end if needed.)
  4. Cover the crock pot and cook on low for about 4 to 6 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours. (depending on how fast your crock pot cooks – my son has a 3.5-quart Cuisinart slow cooker, and this recipe takes much longer in his.)
  5. At the end of the cooking time, use two forks to shred the chicken right in the pot.
  6. Add the softened cream cheese to the chicken mixture in chunks, stirring until it is mostly incorporated. Add the shredded cheese, drained can of corn, and drained can of beans. Stir until incorporated.
  7. Place the lid of the crock pot back on, and the temperature set to low for about 15 minutes. Lift the lid, stir, and make sure the cheese is completely melted and mixed in.
  8. If desired, sprinkle a bit more cheese over the top and close the lid for a few minutes until the top layer of cheese has melted.
  9. Serve over rice and enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition calculated with low-fat cream cheese and 2.65 lbs of chicken breast.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/8 of recipe
  • Calories: 428
  • Fat: 16
  • Carbohydrates: 20
  • Fiber: 5
  • Protein: 45

Keywords: shredded mexican chicken in the slow cooker, crock pot mexican chicken, shredded mexican chicken

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