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Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos are an easy and delicious way to enjoy everyone’s favorite Mexican dinner any night of the week. Let your crockpot do all the hard work and come home to flavorful shredded chicken and black beans ready to pile into tortillas with all the toppings you love.
They are also one of the best gluten free Cinco de Mayo recipes! Add them to your fiesta menu along with Chicken Enchilada Skillet and Flourless Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies.
Originally published on January 5, 2014. Updated with new photos and additional helpful information on January 26, 2021.
Easy Chicken Tacos
Everyone talks about Taco Tuesday, but why limit yourself to this family favorite only once a week. Especially when they can be this easy to make.
This salsa chicken black bean tacos recipe (if you can even call it a recipe) was first “created” as I was trying to use up some meat I had in the basement freezer, and some random things in my pantry. You know you have a jar of salsa and a can of black beans in the pantry, too!
Over the years I gave it a bit more flavor by adding some seasonings out of my spice cabinet. But the flexibility is the best part – you can skip the extra spices (or add more), use salsa that is as hot or mild as you like, even toss in some extra veggies like sliced onions or peppers.
And honestly, while I like adding the beans to increase the fiber and stretch the dollar a little more on this budget-friendly dish, you can omit those if you don’t have them or don’t like them.
This is seriously a winning recipe – cook more at home, eat healthier, save money, save time!
Are chicken tacos healthy?
When you have control over the ingredients, it’s easy to make healthy chicken tacos. This recipe is made with lean boneless, skinless chicken breast that are simple seasoned and cooked in salsa.
Corn tortillas are generally lower in fat and calories than flour tortillas or taco shells. And whole wheat flour tortillas are a available for a whole grain option. You can choose your favorite base don your preferences or nutritional needs.
Then it all comes down to the toppings. Regular cheese is more flavorful than low fat or fat free, so you made need less. And nonfat Greek yogurt is a lighter substitute for sour cream. Guacamole or avocado is high in calories and fat, but it is heart-healthy unsaturated fats. And from salsa to lettuce to other toppings, you can add tons of veggies to your tacos.
Chicken Tacos can definitely be a healthy Mexican food to enjoy!
Are chicken tacos gluten free?
Since this recipe doesn’t use any pre-made seasoning packets, it’s easy to make gluten free chicken tacos. Just be sure to use corn tortillas or taco shells.
Check the package for the brand you buy just to make sure it is gluten free, but as of the time of this writing, you can find:
- Gluten free taco shells – Old El Paso, Siete Foods, and Ortega
- Gluten free corn tortillas – Mission, La Tortilla Factory, and Chi-Chi’s
What about low carb chicken tacos?
You can omit the black beans and be sure to check that your brand of salsa does not contain added sugar. Then you can either make lettuce wrap tacos or try a low carb tortilla like those from Siete Foods or Mission, or make your own keto almond flour tortillas or cauliflower tortillas.
Crockpot Chicken Tacos Recipe
Here is a brief overview so you can see just how easy it is to make. Scroll down to the printable recipe card for the full quantities and details.
But don’t skip my PRO TIPS below!
What you’ll need
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Chili powder
- Salsa – you can use your favorite kind, and as mild or hot as you prefer.
- Black beans – drained and rinsed.
- Tortillas or taco shells – you can use hard shells or soft tortilla, and flour, corn, or low carb tortillas. If serving for a crowd, try offering a variety.
- Taco toppings – see ideas below.
- Slow Cooker – you can make this in your basic 4-quart slow cooker. It’s also fine to use a 6-quart slow cooker, and I especially recommend that if you are going to double it to feed a crowd or freeze leftovers.
How to make chicken tacos
Make the slow cooker chicken and black beans
- Add the chicken breasts to the slow cooker, and season with chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Pour the salsa over the top.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Shred the chicken, then stir in the rinsed and drained black beans.
Prepare your tortillas or taco shells and toppings
Warm the tortillas or taco shells according to the package directions. Then choose the toppings you wish to add to your tacos
Assemble the tacos
You can either prepare the tacos by filling the shells or tortillas with a scoop of the chicken and black beans, then adding toppings and serving on a platter.
Or set out bowls of all the taco fixings and let everyone make their own. This is a great idea if you are having a party of feeding a large family. Just make a big Taco Bar, keep the chicken warm in the slow cooker, and let everyone create their own favorite combinations.
Taco Toppings Ideas
- Shredded cheese – cheddar, Monterey Jack, pepper Jack, Cotija, or your favorite cheese for tacos.
- Shredded lettuce or cabbage
- Chopped tomatoes
- Sliced onions or peppers – even jalapenos if you like a little more spice.
- Salsa – from a jar, homemade, or even something a little different like Mango Avocado Salsa or Corn Salsa.
- Guacamole – make or buy your favorite, or try this Kid-Friendly Guacamole without Onions.
- Sour cream – if you don’t have it, plain Greek yogurt is a great substitute. Or try Mexican crema.
- Cilantro – and if you love the fresh flavor plus something a little spicy, you might enjoy Green Aji Sauce.
- Lime juice
Make it a Meal – What to Serve with Chicken Tacos
- Chili Lime Corn
- Pepper Jack Cauliflower Tots
- Pineapple Coleslaw
- White Rice or Brown Rice
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Chili and Lime
- Refried Beans
- Don’t forget the Grapefruit Margaritas or Pina Colada Mules (this can be a cocktail or a mocktail)!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you double/triple this recipe?
Yes, you can easily double or triple the recipe to serve a crowd or to use as a freezer meal. Just be sure you use a slow cooker that is at least 6 quarts.
Can you make chicken tacos in advance?
While I wouldn’t recommend actually filling the tacos ahead of time, you can definitely make the chicken in advance. If you let it cook overnight or make it early in the day, you can simple keep it warm until dinnertime or your guests arrive.
You can also store it in the refrigerator for 3 or 4 days. Either reheat it in a pot on the stove or put it back in the crockpot on Low until it heats through. If it has dried out, just add a little chicken broth, water, or more salsa.
Can you freeze leftover chicken?
Yes, this chicken freezes well for up to 2 months. Cool it down completely then seal in an airtight container. I like to place my container inside a plastic freezer storage bag or wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent freezer burn from any air that gets in.
That it in the refrigerator overnight then reheat as directed above.
What to make with leftover slow cooker Mexican chicken and black beans
- Use half a batch of the chicken to make Sheet Pan Chicken Nachos.
- Make some Mexican Chicken Sliders for game day.
- Air Fryer Chicken Taquitos are an easy dinner or snack.
- Let everyone create their own Chicken Burrito Bowls.
- You can even pile it on tostada shells with cheese and pop in the oven like these BBQ Chicken Tostadas.
- Enjoy a cheesy casserole with Easy Chicken Enchiladas.
More slow cooker recipe with few ingredients
- Slow Cooker Steak Pizzaiola
- BBQ-Rubbed Slow Cooker Turkey Breast
- Slow Cooker Coffee Glazed Brisket from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
More recipes with tortillas
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with Black Beans
- 1 1/2-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1-2 teaspoons chili powder, to taste or preferred level of spice
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 16 oz. jar of your favorite salsa, mild, medium or hot, as desired
- 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
- Taco shells or tortillas, corn or flour
- Taco toppings such as shredded cheese, salsa, tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, etc.
- Season your chicken with salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder, and place in your slow cooker.
- Pour salsa over the chicken.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- About 20-30 minutes before you plan to eat, shred the chicken with forks and stir in the rinsed and drained black beans. Cover and heat through on Low for another 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with tortillas or taco shells and your favorite toppings.
I’m always on the hunt for easy and healthy recipes that don’t have an ingredient list a mile long. I made this and it’s OUTSTANDING! The best recipes are often the simplest ones. Thank you, thank you!
I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the tacos, Lauren. Thank you for your comment and for rating the recipe!
Can I use frozen chicken ?
Some people don’t recommend froze chicken in a slow cooker for food safety reasons. I’ve done it and been fine, but that’s really your call. You would just want to cook it on high.
Is it possible to throw in frozen chicken with this recipe or need it be defrosted first? Sounds delicious!
Absolutely, Aileen! Toss them in… it sounds like a delicious idea!
Hi! I made this last night and added more veggies to it. It was a hit at my house! Would you mind if I shared your recipe with my additions on my food blog if I give you credit for the original with a link to your recipe included? Great idea! Thanks for helping us moms out!
So glad you liked it. Yes, that would be fine, and I love that you added extra veggies! I’ll have to do that next time!
I adore Slow Cooker Meals! They make life so easy. This Chicken looks like it makes a great meal! I would love to have you link this up at my Linky Party Show Me Your Plaid Monday’s! http://www.pandpkitchen.com/2014/01/13/show-me-your-plaid-mondays-50/
Thanks for stopping by, and I soo agree – the slow cooker is a lifesaver!
This looks sooo yummy and easy! Can’t wait to try it out. Pinning 🙂
*Visiting from Living Better Together Eat Create Party*
Thanks! Yes, can’t get much easier!
My freezer is a very scary place. I think I should simply go to the store and buy some fresh chicken to make this fabulous dish. At least, I know we will not be ill from expired chicken and that we will all enjoy a delicious meal!
I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s freezer seems to get crowded with things and things stay in there way longer than they should. Brilliant way to use up the salsa and black beans hanging around in the pantry (which is another issue like the freezer).
You have no idea with the beans and other canned goods. My hubby insisted on stocking up for an emergency, and I don’t even like canned veggies really, so we have cases just sitting there.
I have been afraid of my crock pot for a year so it’s sat useless in its box on a high cabinet. I made this recipe as my first foray into crockpotting last night and just had it for lunch. AMAZING! So delicious and so simple!
Please share your other favorite crock pot recipes!
Oh wow, that is so awesome! So glad I could get you to use this super-helpful appliance and try something new. Here is my Slow Cooker Obsession Pinterest board. All of my crockpot recipes are on there, plus others that I pinned that I think look awesome.
Love a recipe that’s scrumptious and made from a foundation of 3 ingredients…BTW Brianne thanks to you I’m now thinking about rice bowls =)
Thank you, too, for sharing the adventures of rummaging through freezers…You are a good storyteller =)
Aww, thanks Kim. I don’t feel I am as good at writing about the food as other people, so I like to tell stories. My blog has sort of become my journal.
This looks like a great recipe, so easy too!!
Some days you just need to throw together a couple of simple ingredients so that you can come home to dinner!
Smart to put everything in one pot and set it and forget it….until dinner, that is!
Hard to forget when it smells so good 🙂
I bet this would be great on potatoes too! Mmm looks so good!
Ooooh, or sweet potatoes! Everyone’s comment are giving me great ideas!
Ugh, I hear you on the freezer abyss. I don’t even have a chest freezer – just a normal one that is crammed to the gills. The worst is freezing something that you KNOW won’t make it out edible. You KNOW you’ll be throwing it away in 6 months. Yet I keep doing it. hahaha.
This is such a great, versatile recipe to have around. I could make it a big batch of this and eat it three different ways, three days in a row!
Haha, that sounds like my mom’s freezer! We actually had tacos one night and enchiladas a couple of nights later. I have some left in the freezer, too!
My kids love making tacos! This is a great recipe for our busy weeks and yours looks delicious!
Thanks Isabel! Definitely a keeper for years to come when I have to feed two bigger boys (and all of their friends)!
Nice recipe. Thank you.
Mmmm….I could see some of this mixed into some scrambled eggs too. Breakfast burritos!
That’s an awesome idea, too!
Our deep freezer is a disaster. I really need to clean it out, but just haven’t made the time. That’s really the last thing I want to do when it’s already below freezing outside! These tacos are just our style–simple, a little spicy, and a healthy meal for a weeknight!
I am hoping it is a bit warmer when we need to defrost next weekend!
This is PERFECT for a playoff/Super Bowl menu…make a big slow cooker of this meat and bring chips, tortillas, and fixings and let everyone make their own creations!
EXACTLY! That’s what we did for New Year’s Day and the bowl games!
Yum! It always amazes me how tender chicken comes out when you cook it in the crockpot. It’s perfect for tacos!
Yes, definitely one of the best ways to cook chicken!
This is right up my alley! Looks terrific! Thanks for posting.
So easy, too! Thanks!
What a great way to have taco filling ready to go at the end of a busy day! Your salsa chicken looks fantastic!
Exactly, and always good to have leftovers in the freezer!
That shredded chicken with all those wonderful flavors looks fabulous. Thanks for a great recipe and nice to find your blog through Sunday Supper’
Thanks for stopping by!
HaHaHa! I can so relate about my basement freezer being a food abyss. Thankfully I just cleaned mine out before the holidays so I’m starting with a clean slate for the new year. I give me about two months before it’s back to being a freezing, black hole!
Anyway, I digress. Your tacos sound super flavorful and easy. My kind of slow cooker recipe!
Defrosting ours is on the calendar for next weekend. One more week to finish up the last bits of baby food before I defrost and make a new batch.
I love making recipes like this in the crock so you can have some yummy shredded chicken for any recipe later that week! Now I just need to do it every week! I too have a freezer in the garage that I have tons of frozen soups and sauces in and I always forget about them!!
Yes! I threw a little more of the leftovers in the freezer because now we are getting a bit bored of it.
I love chicken tacos, but my Husband doesn’t, what a weirdo! I love that you added black beans to it! I think I need to make this just for me!! I don’t mind eating this all week and for lunches!!
The black beans really help stretch it further. Hmm, maybe he would like it with rice, or maybe even as a sandwich!
Such a flexible and delicious recipe – my girls would have it as tacos and I would have a soup. Chuckling because I dread going out to my freezer these days. I definitely need to make up some recipes with the back log!
Thanks Marjory. Hmm, you’ve given me an idea for the little bit that is leftover. I could stretch it into a taco/tortilla soup.
Brianne these look so good I’ll have two please!
Absolutely, I still have a little bit of chicken leftover!