These Slow Cooker Queso Chicken Tacos are the perfect solution for busy families! The slow cooker comes to the rescue here, meaning you can prep in advance and come home to a warm, yummy, and crowd-pleasing meal. Just 5 simple ingredients!
As a busy mom and business owner, I know how hectic dinnertime can be. Especially on those days when you have a lot going on. 4pm hits before you know it, and you don't know what on earth you'll be serving to your family. I get that.
Even as a food blogger who is constantly cooking and testing recipes, I have those moments. That's in part why I created Dash for Dinner: to help families who are struggling with dinner time find easy and yummy recipes.
Well, nothing says easy and yummy like the Slow Cooker! Slow cookers have earned their place in the kitchen gadget hall of fame. They've been around for over half a century and have helped many families prepare yummy meals during busy seasons of life. Whether you're balancing a demanding job, just had a baby, or your life is packed with driving to and from extracurricular activities, slow cookers have got your back!
Slow Cooker Queso Chicken Tacos: Easy Meal, Easy Prep
When you pair the ease of the slow cooker with an easy prep recipe like these Slow Cooker Queso Chicken Tacos, that's when you hit gold! Not only do you have a handy kitchen helper that does the hard work for you, but you also have an easy prep the morning or afternoon of your meal! All you have to do is throw a few ingredients in the slow cooker, and you can come home to something yummy. That's what I'm all about!
These Slow Cooker Queso Chicken Tacos are perfect for all seasons, but I'm really loving them for summer. I love pairing mine with fresh lime wedges, chopped fresh cilantro, and soft flour tortillas. This keeps the meal cool, and the house is cool since you won't have to turn the oven on!
You will Need:
- Chicken Breasts: Since we will be shredding the chicken for tacos, boneless skinless chicken is best. I used chicken breasts, but you could also use chicken thighs if your family prefers dark meat.
- Taco Seasoning: I like to use homemade chicken taco seasoning, but you can use store-bought as well! Use about 3 level tablespoons or 1 package of store-bought.
- Rotel: All you need is a single can. This adds a bit of heat. You can also use my homemade rotel substitute recipe if you don't have any on hand.
- Lime Juice: Just a touch of lime juice is the perfect addition to these slow cooker queso chicken tacos! The juice of one-half of the lime is perfect. You can also use about 2 tsp. of bottled juice if you don't have fresh on hand.
- Queso: One full 15oz jar is used in this recipe. This adds creaminess, a bit of heat, and that irresistible cheesiness we all love. Make sure you buy Salsa con Queso, and not Queso Blanco.
Since this recipe is for taco filling, you'll can get creative and think about just how you want to serve them! While I went with the basic tortillas and cilantro, there are many ways you can serve this slow cooker meal. You could serve it with tortillas, on top of shredded lettuce, or just as-is with a veggie on the side!
How to Make Slow Cooker Queso Chicken Tacos
To get started, add your boneless skinless chicken breasts to the bottom of a slow cooker (this is the one I have and love).
Sprinkle some taco seasoning over the surface, then squeeze in the juice of one-half of a lime (about 2-3 teaspoons).
Then, add a full can of Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies. I have a copycat Rotel recipe you can try out if you don't have any on hand. Spread this over the surface of the chicken and place the lid on the crock pot.
Cook and Shred
Cook your chicken on "high" for 2 ½- 3 ½ hours or on "low" for 5-6 hours. Use an instant-read thermometer to ensure the chicken breast is cooked through. The thickest part of each breast will need to reach a minimum temperature of 165F.
Once the chicken is cooked through, use two forks to shred the chicken.
Stir the shredded chicken into the liquid remaining in the crockpot. If there seems to be excessive liquid remove some to thicken the taco filling.
Add the full jar of queso and stir well until fully mixed into the shredded chicken.
Sprinkle some fresh chopped cilantro on top, if desired. Serve immediately with your choice of taco fixings or toppings. We serve ours with flour tortillas and a bit of fresh cilantro.
Best Toppings for Slow Cooker Queso Chicken Tacos
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Lime wedges
- Creme fraiche or sour cream
- Shredded cheese
- Cotija cheese
- Queso Blanco
- Chopped fresh tomatoes
- Sliced fresh jalapenos
- Shredded lettuce
- Taco slaw (like this Cilantro Lime Slaw Recipe from Gimme Some Oven)
Variations and Substitutions
Taco Seasoning: If you don't have taco seasoning on hand you can easily whip up a small batch of my homemade taco seasoning. You could also substitute the taco seasoning for fajita seasoning if you have some on hand.
Queso: Since this is stirred in at the end, you can use any type of queso you like without worrying about it curdling. Queso that is made with American-style cheese may be the best option since that is closest to store-bought.
Rotel: This can be found in most grocery stores, but if you're not familiar with the ingredient it can be hard to find! No worries, you can easily make a Rotel substitute with some diced tomatoes, green chilies, lime, and cilantro.
The easiest way to shred chicken breasts is by using two forks, one in each hand. You can also use a food processor or stand mixer.
Yes, you can put raw chicken in a slow cooker! The slow cooker functions as a low temperature oven, and so it is completely safe for cooking raw and thawed foods. Be sure to check the internal temperature near the end of cooking time to ensure it has reached an appropriate level. If it hasn't, continue cooking until you get a safe reading for your protein type.
It is not recommended to put frozen chicken breasts in a slow cooker. The frozen chicken breast will be thawing and cooking at the same time, leaving the opportunity for the chicken to hover at an unsafe temperature for too long. If your chicken breast is frozen, it is best to thaw it completely before proceeding with the recipe.
It depends on the type of chicken you are slow cooking, as well as the type of slow cooker and the temperature. To be safe, always verify your chicken is cooked through by using an instant-read digital thermometer to check the internal temperature. Chicken should have a minimum internal temperature of 165F.
More Easy Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow Cooker Lemonade Chicken
- Slow Cooker Funeral Potatoes (Cheesy Hashbrown Casserole)
- Crock Pot Glazed Sweet Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Swiss Chicken Casserole
- Crock Pot Maple Glazed Carrots
Slow Cooker Queso Chicken Tacos
- 4 chicken breasts boneless and skinless
- 2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning
- 10 ounce can tomatoes and green chilies like Ro*tel
- Juice of ½ of a fresh lime 2-3 tablespoons
- 15 ounce jar Salsa con Queso
- ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro leaves optional
- Place the chicken breasts into the bottom of a slow cooker in a single layer.
- Sprinkle the chicken breasts with taco seasoning.
- Add the full undrained can of diced tomatoes and green chilies (Ro*tel) to the slow cooker.
- Squeeze in the juice of one-half of a fresh lime OR use 2-3 tsp. of bottled lime juice.
- Spread the rotel, lime juice, and taco seasoning evenly over the chicken breasts in an even layer.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 ½ - 3 ½ hours on high, or 5-6 hours on low.
- To ensure your chicken is cooked through, check the internal temperature using an instant-read digital thermometer. Chicken needs to reach a minimum internal temperature of 165F to be safe to eat.
- Once the chicken is cooked through, use two forks to shred all of the chicken breasts. Stir them into the juices, letting the chicken absorb the liquid.
- Add a full 15oz jar of prepared queso (or about 2 cups of homemade) to the slow cooker. Use a rubber spatula to fold the queso into the cooked and shredded chicken.
- Once the queso is evenly mixed in, sprinkle the top with an optional ¼ cup of chopped fresh cilantro.
- Serve immediately with your favorite taco fixings.
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