With just 2 simple ingredients, this Crock Pot Salsa Chicken recipe is ultra easy. Just layer, cook, shred, and serve!
Make flavorful chicken tacos, tasty salads, satisfying rice bowls, or use it for weekly healthy meal prep - it's totally up to you!
When it comes to slow cooking, I'm all about those recipes that are easy to make in a hurry. You know the ones, right? Just throw in a few simple ingredients, then come back to a delicious dinner that's ready to go. What's not to love about that?
This easy slow cooker salsa chicken recipe is just about as easy as it gets. Just combine boneless, skinless chicken breasts with your favorite type of salsa, then you're ready to switch on the Crock Pot and let it do the heavy lifting.
Once the cooking time is up, shred the chicken, return it to the yummy sauce, and serve it with tacos, nachos, rice, salads, or whatever you can dream up! It's versatile, delicious, naturally low carb, and gluten free. In other words? Perfect.
Reasons to Love This Recipe:
- Just 2 Ingredients. No need for a long grocery list! This easy recipe uses just 2 simple ingredients: chicken and salsa.
- Perfect for busy weeknights. All of the cooking happens when you're away (or busy)! I use a programmable slow cooker so it switches over to the warm setting as soon as its done cooking.
- Taco night, anyone? Shredded salsa chicken tastes great when served with corn or flour tortillas and all of your favorite taco fixings.
- Perfect for meal prep. Pair this naturally low carb, high protein recipe with your favorite sides to make a healthy meal lunch or dinner option for the week.
- Chicken: I recommend using boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can use any boneless cut that you like best (or a mix of breasts and thighs).
- Salsa: Use your favorite salsa, whether that be homemade or store-bought. I use and recommend Garden Fresh Gourmet/Organic Jack's Salsa that is sold in the deli case at Costco and grocery stores, but I think any fresh salsa would be superb.
Check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and the quantities needed.
- Slow Cooker: You'll want a model that's large enough to hold 4 chicken breasts. I use a 6 quart model for all of my recipes, as that's the most versatile for soups, stews, etc.
- Add 4 large chicken breasts to the bottom of a slow cooker insert.
- Pour 2 cups of salsa on top of the chicken breasts.
- Cook on "low" for 4-5 hours, or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork.
- Place the chicken on a plate and shred with two forks, or a meat shredder.
- Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker, stir, and serve!
Ways to Serve Salsa Chicken
Salsa chicken tacos: Serve with warm tortillas (or taco shells), along with your favorite taco fixings (lettuce, chopped tomato, fresh cilantro, lime juice, sour cream, cheese, etc).
Chicken taco salad: Serve on top of a bed of lettuce, and include your favorite toppings and dressing (I recommend salsa ranch).
Burrito bowls: Serve on a bed of rice (or cauliflower rice) and serve with veggies, black beans, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, etc.
Meal prep style: Serve on a bed of rice (or cauliflower rice), along with your favorite toppings, or whatever works for your macros. It also works great paired with low carb tortillas.
Nachos: Add shredded salsa chicken on top of nachos for a delicious high protein option. A great way to make an appetizer a complete meal!
Low carb options: Serve with cauliflower rice, roasted veggies, low carb tortillas, or on a bed of lettuce.
Leftover salsa chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
For longer storage, transfer the leftovers to a freezer-safe container or freezer bag. Label and freeze for up to 3 months.
Reheating: For the best results, reheat your leftovers in the microwave in 45-second intervals. Only reheat the amount needed for your meal to avoid the leftovers from drying out or becoming unsafe from repeated heatings.
- With taco seasoning. If you want to add some extra flavor, add 1 packet of taco seasoning (or homemade taco seasoning).
- Use salsa verde. A fun variation is to use salsa verde (green salsa) in place of the regular stuff. This is made with tomatillos, and has a very different flavor that is quite delicious.
- Extra seasoning. Experiment with your favorite seasonings to give a boost of flavor! Chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, and onion powder are all good options.
- Chicken thighs. Substitute the chicken breasts for 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Dark meat requires a higher safe temperature, so you'll want check and make sure that it reaches a minimum of 175ºF (80ºC).
- Salsa: If you don't have salsa on hand, you can make your own homemade salsa, or use 2 cans of Rotel in its place.
- Frozen chicken: The USDA does not recommend using frozen chicken in a slow cooker, as it can spend a longer amount of time at the "unsafe" temperatures than if you were to use thawed chicken instead. For the best results, thaw your chicken before adding it to a slow cooker recipe.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Add the chicken and salsa to the bottom of your Instant Pot.
- Pour in ½ cup of broth or water.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to "sealing".
- Cook on manual pressure for 10 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot beeps to indicate it is finished with the cooking time, allow the pot to do a 5-minute natural pressure release (do not flip the valve).
- After the time is up, flip the valve to do a quick pressure release.
- Once the pin drops, indicating that pressure has been released, carefully remove the lid.
- Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts from the Instant Pot, then shred it with two forks (or a stand mixer).
- Add the shredded chicken back in with the salsa, and stir until everything is well combined.
- Use it in your favorite recipes (tacos, nachos, salads, etc) or store in the refrigerator or freeze for later use.
Dutch Oven Instructions
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F (205ºC).
- Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of an enameled Dutch oven, then top with the salsa.
- Pour ½ cup of water or broth into the bottom and place the lid on the pot.
- Place in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF (75ºC) at the thickest parts.
- Remove the chicken breasts using a pair of tongs and place them on a plate.
- Once they are cool enough to work with, shred the chicken with two forks.
- Return the shredded chicken to the pot, and stir to combine it with the salsa.
- Use in your favorite recipes, or cool and store it for later use.
Yes and yes! To make a freezer meal, simply combine the chicken and salsa in a gallon freezer bag, label, and freeze. Thaw before cooking as instructed in the crock pot. Leftover cooked chicken can be frozen in containers or freezer bags, then thawed and reheated when needed.
Yes, you can make shredded chicken in a Dutch Oven or in a heavy casserole dish with a lid. Cook for 30-40 minutes at 400ºF (205ºC), or until all of the thickest parts reach a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF (75ºC).
I recommend using a good quality salsa (like refrigerated or fresh salsa) for this recipe, since the flavor of the salsa is the only means of added flavor. Use one with a flavor that you love, and you're sure to enjoy the end result.
More Recipes Using Chicken Breasts
If you loved this recipe for Crock Pot Salsa Chicken, let me know by leaving a 5-star review in the recipe card or comment below! You can also tag me on Instagram @dashfordinner.
Crock Pot Salsa Chicken
- 4 large chicken breasts boneless and skinless (about 2 pounds)
- 2 cups salsa good quality*
- Add the chicken. Arrange the chicken breasts in a single layer in the bottom of a slow cooker.
- Add the salsa. Pour the salsa on top of the chicken as evenly as possible.
- Cook. Set the slow cooker to “low” and cook for 4-5 hours, or until it easily shreds with a fork and the thickest portion of each piece reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC).
- Shred. Remove the chicken to a cutting board, baking dish, or plate and shred it using two forks (or a meat shredder).
- Combine. Return the shredded chicken to the slow cooker and mix it with the salsa.
- Serve. Add your shredded salsa chicken to rice, tortillas (for yummy chicken tacos), as added protein to a salad, or however you like it best.
Please note that some of my blog posts here at Dash for Dinner may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Please see my Disclaimer for more information.