Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken

“Chicken is cooked low and slow in tomatoes and a blend of Mexican spices, then shredded. It’s a perfect topping for tostadas and salads or filling for tacos and burritos.”

There is something magical about the slow cooker. The idea that you can simply place ingredients in a vessel, touch a button and hours later you have an entire meal is mind-blowing. I love it! For anyone that’s time-strapped (OK, that’s everyone, right!?), the slow cooker is your savior. With a little forethought, you can create beautiful, almost effortless meals that your family will love.

In need of a new slow cooker recipe? Try my version of Mexican Shredded Chicken. It’s a flavorful dish that can feed a crowd.

This Mexican shredded chicken is a real winner in terms of ease of preparation. You’ll have to open a few cans and jars and do some cutting and stirring, but that’s it. After covering the cooker with the lid, you can literally walk away for seven or eight hours. The other great thing about this recipe is that it makes plenty—enough for a large family or even a party. It’s a great recipe for smaller households too because chicken freezes well. Just portion it into freezer bags and label and date them before freezing. Then pull them out and thaw safely when you’re ready to enjoy. It’s that simple!

This is also a meal you can feel good about, nutritionally speaking. Because you’re slow cooking the chicken in spices and other aromatic ingredients, it eliminates the need for extra fat or salt. It’s also great because slow cooking keeps food moist, which allows you to use lean cuts of chicken (swap out the chicken thighs and use only skinless chicken breasts if you prefer). This cuts down on calories, fat and cholesterol. And let’s not forget the countless health benefits that come from all those great spices. They are loaded with antioxidants that help keep your body working at its best.

Food Safety Tip: If you have leftovers, go ahead and freeze them. Remember to label and date the container and keep in mind that they will only last for about four months in the freezer. After that, they will need to be tossed. Also, make sure to reheat the chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F before enjoying.

Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken

Recipe by Sara Haas, RDN, LDN


  • 1 – 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 – 8 ounce can of no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1 – 15 ounce can of no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 small onion, peeled, washed and chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, washed, seeded and membrane removed*, finely chopped
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Kosher salt, to taste


  1. In the bottom of 5-6 quart slow cooker, stir together the tomato paste, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, cumin, coriander, chili powder, water, onion and jalapeño. Add the chicken and submerge it in the tomato mixture. Cover, set the slow cooker to low heat and cook until chicken is tender, about 7-8 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken from the cooker and place on a plate or cutting board. Using two forks, shred the chicken and return to the slow cooker and mix well. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro, season to taste with salt and serve.
  3. Use in tacos or burritos or use it as a topping for tostadas or salads.
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Sara Haas
Sara Haas, RDN, LDN, is a Chicago-based dietitian and co-author of the Fertility Foods Cookbook. Read her blog, The Cooking RD, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.