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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.
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.