These healthy shredded chicken tacos are insanely delicious and take less than 15 minutes of hands-on time to prepare. What’s not to love?!
To make shredded chicken, you can use 1) a slow cooker (aka Crockpot), or 2) an Instant Pot (aka pressure cooker). The recipe to turn your shredded chicken into tacos is in the recipe card on this page.
Crockpot Option: For an easy healthy meal, it doesn’t get much better than throwing a few things in a slow cooker and coming home to an awesome meal. Pile on any veggies you want, and don’t forget the avocado for an extra dose of healthy fats and amazing flavor. The recipe card below uses a slow cooker.
Instant Pot Option: If you’d rather make these shredded chicken tacos in an Instant Pot or want to make them super fast, then toss all of the ingredients in the Instant Pot and follow my instructions for Instant Pot Shredded Chicken here to make this in less than 30 minutes. To use a slow cooker (aka Crockpot), keep reading…
Yes, technically you can poach the chicken on the stovetop or simmer it in a Dutch oven on low heat, but I find poached chicken to be dry (not worth it!) and having the oven on for 6-8 hours to make chicken tacos is also not worth it! If you don’t have or want to use a slow cooker or Instant pot, I recommend grilling the chicken or making baked chicken breasts to turn into tacos instead.
Back to shredded chicken tacos…
Packed with protein and flavor, shredded chicken tacos make an excellent weeknight meal.
And, it’s also a great dish to feed a crowd. If you’re feeding a bunch of people, then plan on one (1) boneless, skinless chicken breast per two people if you’re making tacos.
We love to double this recipe to have tacos on #TacoTuesday, then save the rest in the fridge for healthy taco salads on Thursday. It’s the perfect recipe to double for easy make-ahead meals, too.
Shredded Chicken Tacos Ingredients
With these healthy slow cooker shredded chicken tacos as the star of the show, taco night has never been better. And the best part?
All you need is a few key ingredients that you may already have:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Opt for boneless and skinless chicken breasts, as this will make your life way easier when it comes time to shred. (If you already have some Easy Crockpot Shredded Chicken on hand, it would be a great no-fuss option.)
- Taco seasoning. To bring these shredded tacos to life, you’ll need some taco seasoning. You can buy your favorite at any store, or, make your own taco seasoning with ingredients you might already have in your pantry.
- A splash of chicken stock or water. You need just about a tablespoon of liquid per chicken breast if making this in a slow cooker (use 1 cup of liquid if making this in an Instant Pot.) Chicken stock adds flavor to the chicken while it’s cooking. You can also use water instead if you don’t have any chicken stock.
- Lime juice. Squeezing fresh lime juice over the chicken just before serving it is a delicious way of brightening up the dish and adding some extra flavor.
- Tortillas or lettuce cups: Pick your favorite tortillas or lettuce cups to serve up your tacos.
- Taco toppings. Shred some lettuce or cabbage, grab some salsa and grated cheese if you like, and don’t forget the avocado!
As always, read your ingredient labels and choose spices that don’t have any fillers, preservatives, or unhealthy ingredients. This recipe is gluten-free and grain-free if you serve it in lettuce cups, and modify any of the toppings or tortilla choices to fit your needs.
How To Make Crockpot Chicken Tacos
I find slow cooker meals like this one to be perfect for Sunday night dinners or meal prepping for the week.
I mean, who doesn’t love a healthy dish you can throw into a pot and not think about for 4 or 5 hours while you go about your day?
Yes, these slow cooker shredded chicken tacos are really that easy. Just follow these simple steps:
- Add the chicken to the slow cooker (aka CrockPot). Add 2 tablespoons of water or chicken stock per chicken breast, then top with taco seasoning and salt. The chicken will give off even more liquid as it cooks, so you don’t really need to add a lot to the pot.
- Cook for 2-3 hours on high, or 4-5 hours on low, until the internal temperature of each breast is 165°F.
- Shred chicken with 2 forks or use an electric mixer to make really quick work of it. Two forks work great. If you happen to have an eclectic hand mixer, you can use it on a low-to-medium setting to shred your chicken uber fast (it’s one of my favorite kitchen hacks!). Then, squeeze lime juice over the chicken just before serving for an extra wow-factor flavor.
- Serve in lettuce cups or your favorite tortillas and top with salsa or pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, avocado, and/or fresh cilantro.
Note: If you want to make this recipe in 30 minutes or less, you can use this Instant Pot Shredded Chicken instead.
You can probably guess what I am about to say, but I highly recommend serving these slow cooker chicken tacos right out of the crockpot. But of course, I know that life often gets in the way of even our most well-intentioned plans. So, if you’re storing slow cooker chicken for later, don’t fret!
To store leftover chicken, simply seal it up in an airtight storage container. Then, you can pop it into the fridge for up to 3 days. If you want to store your chicken for longer, you can freeze it for up to 3 months.Print
These Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos are juicy, tender, and packed with flavor. I generally use 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast per 2 people having 2 tacos, meaning that each chicken breast makes about 4 tacos (3 if they’re small). I use 1 pound of chicken (about two large chicken breasts) to feed a family of 4.
- 1/4 cup filtered water or chicken stock
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, preferably organic (that’s about 2 chicken breasts; scale up as needed)
- 1 packed taco seasoning, OR 3 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning
- 1.5 teaspoons sea salt (less if your taco seasoning contains salt)
To make your tacos (choose your favorite toppings):
- your favorite 6-inch tortillas of choice
- shredded lettuce or shredded cabbage
- shredded cheese
- salsa or pico de gallo
- chopped white or green onion
- 1–2 limes, juiced for garnish
- 1 avocado, diced
- chopped cilantro
- Add chicken breasts to slow cooker (aka CrockPot).
- Pour water or stock over the chicken, then sprinkle the taco seasoning and salt on top.
- Cook 2-3 hours on high, or 4-5 hours on low, until internal temperature of each breast is 165°F.
- Shred chicken with 2 forks or use an eclectic hand mixer to make super quick work of shredding the chicken. Squeeze lime juice over meat before serving.
- Serve in lettuce cups or your favorite healthy tortillas with salsa or pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, avocado and/or cilantro.
- Serve immediately or store in an airtight glass container up to three days in the refrigerator.
If you don’t have taco seasoning you can make your own by combining:
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (mild, medium, or hot, whatever you like)*
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic (or garlic powder)
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano (use Mexican oregano if you have it)
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- optional: ¼ teaspoon cayenne or big pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for heat
- optional: 1 teaspoon of white granulated sugar if you want it to taste like the store-bought mix**
Keywords: slow cooker chicken tacos, shredded chicken tacos
Frequently Asked Questions
Curious about the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about slow cooker chicken tacos? I’ve got you covered:
Can you put raw chicken in a slow cooker? Yes! In fact, that is exactly what this recipe calls for. Cooked on the low setting of a slow cooker, raw chicken cooks in about 4-5 hours. If you’re on a bit of a time crunch, you can cook raw chicken in a slow cooker in just 2-3 hours if you switch the CrockPot setting to high.
Can you put frozen chicken breasts in a slow cooker? Technically, yes, as long as the internal temperature reaches 165°F, but I don’t recommend it because it will take almost twice as long to cook and can turn out tough. Also, the USDA website on food safety states, “Always thaw meat or poultry before putting it into a slow cooker.”
Can you overcook chicken in a slow cooker? Contrary to what some might think, it is possible to overcook chicken in a slow cooker. If the chicken cooks for too long it can wind up dry and chewy. Therefore, make sure to stick to the recommended cooking times in my recipe for juicy and perfectly cooked chicken.
Are chicken tacos a healthy dinner option? Whether chicken tacos are a healthy dinner or not is really going to depend on what you add on top. I recommend using taco seasoning that doesn’t contain a bunch of preservatives, and add mostly veggies on top! A little cheese or yogurt on top is ok, just don’t overdo it. Using lettuce wraps instead of tortillas is also a great way to make your chicken tacos even healthier.
What kind of lettuce is used for taco lettuce wraps? Lettuce wraps require big-leafed, crunchy varieties of lettuce. My favorite is iceberg lettuce or romaine lettuce cups, but you could also use bibb lettuce or another variety.
More Healthy Chicken Recipes You’ll Love
Want more ideas for that chicken breast hanging out in your fridge? Here are some of my favorite healthy chicken recipes to try next: