Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos – seasoned chicken breasts, slow cooked in fresh orange juice, shredded and topped with fresh lime juice and cilantro for maximum flavor.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
These chicken tacos have been in regular rotation in our house for years. It’s the meal I make when we have busy weeknights and I still want a home cooked meal. Super easy prep and clean up, and you can customize the toppings and tortillas and make a different meal each time. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, or thighs, are seasoned with my favorite chicken taco spices and slow cooked in the juice from an orange. Then shredded and topped with a generous amount of fresh lime juice and cilantro.
Shredded Chicken Taco Ingredients
- Chicken Breasts – 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts for a total of about two pounds. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs can be used as well.
- Orange – juice from one orange
- Olive Oil – adding a small amount of healthy fat to the recipe helps
- Seasoning – kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin
- Limes – juice from two limes
- Fresh Cilantro – skip or substitute if you don’t like cilantro. Chives, green onion or parsley would work
- Tortillas – I really like the smaller sized flour tortillas for these tacos
- Toppings – lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado, sour cream, salsa, guacamole
How to Make Shredded Chicken Tacos in the Slow Cooker
- Start with 4 large chicken breast and arrange in a 6 quart slow cooker.
- Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and cumin. Squeeze the juice from one orange into slow cooker and turn each breast to cover with seasoning.
- Cook on high for about 4 hours, depending on slow cooker, until chicken shreds easily.
- Squeeze fresh lime juice over shredded chicken and top with fresh cilantro.
- Serve in warm tortillas with choice of toppings.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with No Salsa
A popular method for making chicken tacos in the slow cooker is to simply add a jar of salsa along with the chicken and slow cook. I prefer this method of adding just seasoning and fresh orange juice. I don’t feel like you need the added moisture from the salsa, and the tomatoes can make the chicken too soft and mushy. No moisture escapes from a slow cooker during the cooking process, so less liquid actually improves the texture of the meat. Chicken breasts, especially ones that have been previously frozen, will release plenty of moisture while cooking. Cooking them in just a squeeze of fresh orange juice gives them extra flavor and freshness without making the chicken overly wet.
Chicken Taco Toppings
These tacos are so easy to customize and make them slightly different each time. For a super low effort dinner, I grab freshly made tortillas, guacamole and salsa from our local Mexican market.
- Lettuce – thinly sliced romaine or iceberg
- Cheese – sharp cheddar, Colby-jack, queso fresco
- Avocado Slices or Guacamole
- Tomatoes – fresh tomatoes, salsa, or pico de gallo
- Sour Cream
What to Serve with Chicken Tacos
- Instant Pot Mexican Rice
- Authentic Mexican Rice
- Black Bean and Corn Salad
- Grilled Mexican Street Corn
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos - seasoned chicken breasts slow cooked in fresh orange juice, shredded and topped with fresh lime juice and cilantro for maximum flavor.
- 4 chicken breasts or thighs boneless, skinless about two pounds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 orange
- 2 limes
- fresh cilantro
Spray slow cooker insert with non stick cooking spray. Add chicken breasts, olive oil, seasonings, and juice from one orange. Turn chicken to coat in seasonings.
Cook on high for about 4 hours, depending on slow cooker. Chicken should shred easily. Shred in slow cooker so the liquid can mix back in with the chicken and stay moist. Squeeze juice from two limes over shredded chicken and top with fresh cilantro.
Add chicken to warm tortillas and top with lettuce avocado, cheese, and tomato.
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