Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Chicken for Tacos

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Tired of plain old tacos? Take things up a notch with this flavorful slow cooker Mexican shredded chicken that is perfect for tacos!

Not only does it make for great tacos, it’s also perfect for lettuce wraps, burrito bowls, or simply on a heaping mound of delicious, flavorful cilantro-lime rice. And it’s definitely healthier than anything you’ll find at a your local Mexican joint.

Note: Adding a squeeze of fresh lime juice just before serving really brightens all the flavors and does a good job of pulling those flavors together.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 3–8 hours
Serves: 4-6


2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 10-oz. cans Rotel fire-roasted diced tomatoes & green chilies, undrained
2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno pepper, finely diced
1½ T. hickory-flavored liquid smoke
2 t. ground cumin
1 T. chili powder
1 t. smoked paprika
2 t. dried oregano
1 t. cayenne pepper
Salt and black pepper, to taste
2 limes, quartered
¼ c. fresh cilantro, chopped


  • Place the chicken thighs in the bottom of a 5 or 6-quart slow cooker. Top the chicken with the tomatoes and black beans.
  • Add the garlic, jalapeno pepper, liquid smoke, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Stir to combine, making sure that the chicken thighs are thoroughly coated and completely submerged in the liquid.
  • Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. About 30 minutes prior to serving, use 2 forks to shred the chicken while it’s still in the slow cooker. Stir to combine the shredded chicken with the other ingredients. Cover and cook for remaining 30 minutes so that the chicken has a chance to absorb the flavors.
  • When ready to serve take the lid off and squeeze some fresh lime juice into the pot. Add some fresh cilantro and stir everything up to combine. Season with additional salt and black pepper.
  • To serve, spoon the shredded chicken mixture into a taco shell or a lettuce leaf, or simply serve it over some rice – cilantro-lime rice is the perfect choice. Drizzle some cilantro-lime sauce over the top. Serve with remaining lime wedges and enjoy!