Shredded Chicken Tacos (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

Up close image of 3 shredded chicken tacos on a dark grey plate in corn tortillas with lime wedges and toppings
Posted On: June 1, 2015
Last updated: March 6th, 2024

This is probably one of the easiest shredded chicken taco recipes you will ever make and it’s so delicious! It’ll take you all of 5 minutes to throw just 3 ingredients in the slow cooker or Instant Pot and you’ve got dinner cooking.  These super flavorful chicken tacos are great for a crowd with easy prep and serving right out of the warm pot.  You can also make your next Taco Tuesday night dinner a breeze with this really easy recipe.  Your Instant Pot will save the day and you’ll have dinner ready in about 30 minutes.  

Versatile Chicken Tacos

You can turn these into whatever type of chicken taco you like.  Go simple and just add lettuce, tomato and a little dollop of real sour cream and or get fancy and add some avocado, cotija cheese and whole cilantro leaves for a fresh taste or some guacamole.  We also love to drizzle our sriracha sauce on these tacos sometimes as well.  

Shredded Chicken Taco Leftovers

If you’ve got tortillas and shredded chicken left over from making these the night before and need an easy lunch or dinner the next day, use the leftover chicken to make some taquitos (with corn tortillas, flautas (with flour tortillas), tostadas, burrito bowls or quesadillas.

Our kids love this chicken made into taquitos with just a little shredded cheese.  Warm tortillas slightly wrapped in a wet paper towel.  Warm enough chicken for a little filling in each and add some shredded cheese.  Roll the tortillas up and place them on a greased sheet pan, seam down.  Spray the top of the taquitos with a light coating of olive or avocado oil. You can sprinkle a little cheese on top to melt if you like. Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes (or till cheese melted or bubbling, stating to brown or how you like it) and you’ve got a quick dinner.

If you need a low carb option, make yourself a taco salad with the leftovers and add some black beans and/or avocado for extra fiber and protein!  Or enjoy the chicken in lettuce cups for a super healthy snack or meal. 

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

The beauty of the crockpot aka slow cooker is you can add it and forget it…well, till that timer goes off.  Add your ingredients to the slow cooker before you leave for work and then it’s ready to shred for the easiest delicious dinner!  If you get off work early and forgot to set it, you can have the chicken ready with minimal effort in just 3 hours cooking on high. 

Steps collage for making shredded chicken tacos in slow cooker, from placement to fully shredded

Instant Pot Chicken Tacos

If you blanked and didn’t have dinner planned ahead of time, pressure cooking will save the day!  Add the 3 ingredients to the pressure cooker/ Instant Pot and the chicken cooks in about 20 minutes total (including pressurizing time).  You’ll have super easy chicken tacos ready in no time.  

Steps collage for making shredded chicken tacos in Instant Pot

Serving the Tacos

For the best chicken tacos be sure to warm whatever tortillas you plan on serving 1st.  You can warm the tortillas in a skillet or just in the microwave.  If you don’t have a tortilla holder, wrap them in some paper towels with a few drops of water before warming them in the microwave.

Tortillas to Serve

This is a personal preference; corn or flour?  Weather you need gluten free or really want those soft pliable flour tortillas this chicken will accommodate any of those tortilla options.  The shredded chicken is also great in hard taco shells for a change from ground beef tacos. 

Topping Options

  • La Crema–  My family is obsessed with la crema, the Mexican sour cream, especially the squeezable version. A squirt of that is a delicious alternative to standard sour cream.
  • Pico de gallo–  A fresh pico is always nice with most any chicken tacos.
  • Salsa Verde– We always love adding our homemade salsa verde to any tacos when we have some of that on hand.
  • Hot Sauce– Grab your favorite hot sauce if you want to spice up your tacos more. 
3 ingredients for shredded chicken tacos in slow cooker or instant pot shown on grey wooden counter: chicken thighs, chunky salsa & taco seasoning

Shredded Chicken Taco Ingredients

  • Chicken– I use boneless skinless chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts.  I also use organic, free-range and antibiotic free chicken. 
  • Salsa– Grab your favorite salsa, preferably a chunky salsa for some extra delicious salsa chicken taco meat .  I think at least a Medium heat salsa is great.  A mild salsa just doesn’t give you much flavor. 
  • Taco Seasoning– You can use any taco seasoning you like, but I make my own homemade taco seasoning sometimes.  I definitely don’t recommend the high sodium packets, but you can use what you have on hand.  Making your own taco seasoning is super easy if you have these spices on hand.  
    • Chili powder
    • ground cumin
    • ground coriander
    • garlic powder
    • onion powder
    • smoked paprika
    • red pepper flakes
    • dried oregano
    • salt
    • ground black pepper
    • cayenne pepper (Optional)

 Give this Easy Shredded Chicken Tacos recipe a try and let me know how you like it!

Up close image of 3 shredded chicken tacos on a dark grey plate in corn tortillas with lime wedges and toppings

Shredded Chicken Tacos (Slow Cooker or Instant Pot)

Katia
These flavorful shredded chicken tacos are super easy to make! Let the slow cooker or Instant Pot do all the work for you and have a satisfying taco night with minimal effort.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Course Main Dish, Tacos
Cuisine American, Mexican, Tacos
Servings 8
Calories 115 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts (we use organic, free-range and antibiotic free)
  • 2 tbs Taco Seasoning
  • 16 oz. jar of salsa any kind you like
  • Corn or flour tortillas for tacos

Instructions
 

Slow Cooker/ Crockpot Instructions

  • Place chicken in the slow cooker in a single layer and evenly distributed. 
  • Sprinkle and rub the taco seasoning all over the chicken.
    chicken thighs in slow cooker with taco seasoning rubbed all over
  • Pour salsa on top of the chicken.
    Salsa poured on top of chicken in slow cooker before cooking shredded chicken tacos
  • Cover with lid and cook on High for 3 hrs or Low for 6 hrs.
  • Once cooked transfer the chicken to another bowl and once you can handle it, go ahead and start shredding the chicken.  You can add a squeeze of lime juice for a little acid if you like.
    (I sometimes shred right in the Slow cooker pot, but you do what works best for you.)
    Shredding chicken right in the slow cooker pot after cooking
  • Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove shredded chicken before making the tacos. It's a little juicy, but so delicious!!

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Place chicken in the Instant Pot, evenly distributed. 
  • Sprinkle and rub the taco seasoning on the chicken all over.
    Chicken thighs placed in the bottom of the instant pot with taco seasoning rubbed all over
  • Pour salsa on top of the chicken and mix it all up.
    Chicken thighs with seasoning and salsa poured on top and stirred up before cooking
  • Place lid with the seal on the pot.  Set the Instant Pot on High for 15 minutes.
  • After the timer is up, natural release for 10 minutes and then fully depressurize pot before opening.
    chicken thighs after cooking in the Instant Pot
  • Turn off the pot, then transfer the chicken to another bowl and once you can handle it, go ahead and start shredding the chicken.  You can add a squeeze of lime juice for a little acid if you like
    (I sometimes shred right in the Instant Pot, but you do what works best for you.)
    Shredded chicken for chicken tacos in the Instant Pot
  • Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove shredded chicken before making the tacos. It's a little juicy, but so delicious!!

Notes

***Tortillas not included in the Nutrition Facts because I have no idea which ones you will use or how many. ***
Enjoy these shredded chicken tacos with your favorite toppings!  Crumbled Cotija cheese, shredded lettuce, pickled red onion and avocado chunks go great.  Also, if you like a little heat some pickled jalapenos are great as well. 

Nutrition Disclaimer:

The nutritional information provided is only an estimate based on a third party nutritional plugin. Different online calculators may give different results depending on their own sources. The estimates may also change based on the ingredients you use. If you have dietary restrictions and need to accurately calculate the nutrition of this recipe, Whole Made Living recommends consulting a professional nutritionist.

Nutrition

Calories: 115kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 19gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0.5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 521mgPotassium: 461mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 356IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 20mgIron: 1mg
Keyword chicken, gluten free, low carb, tacos
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