3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos

~ In just five minutes, these delicious chicken tacos are in the crock-pot and cooking away! Ridiculously easy and sure to become your go-to lifesaver! ~

THK 3-Ingredient Chicken3

We all have that one recipe.

The one that doesn’t even require a peek at the recipe card. The one that’s your standby and always saves the day when you have no idea what’s for dinner. You know what I mean …

True story: When my little ones dash into the house after school, if their first whiff of home is the incredible aromas of this chicken … well, they do that silly fist-pump move where they make a fist and say “YEAH!!!” while pumping an arm up and down. Uh-huh … that really happens … because it’s sooo goooood.

I was sure everyone on the earth had the recipe for my go-to. It was super popular on Pinterest a few years back, and I tell pretty much everybody I talk to about it. So, I just assumed everyone must make this constantly.

I guess not!

I mentioned this recipe to Shelley, and she looked at me like I was loony. She’d never heard of it! (When this happens, I joke that she lives under a rock. She knows so much about so many things, and has tried pretty much every food known to man, so if I come up with something new to her, I do my own little dance. Well, it’s more of me just clicking my heels. Alright fine. I usually just high-five. Myself.)

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Ok anyhow …

If Shelley didn’t know anything about this, we realized there must surely be others out there whose lives have a similar gaping hole. But no more … today we’re gonna fix that!

So this recipe. This is the one that I make all. the. time.

Best part? It goes in the crock-pot. Yes, friends. We’re talking a 5-minute prep, and then you just let your slow cooker work its magic. You’ll just need another 5 minutes to finish the dish before you sit down to eat. Serious.

I went back and scoured my Pinterest boards, my pins, my notes – and I can’t figure out who to credit for this awesome recipe. In my research, I saw a reference that Weight Watchers had a recipe like this years ago, so we decided that must have been the genesis of the whole idea. But a google search and a search of the Weight Watchers site didn’t yield a similar recipe we could link to for this. Ah, well … we’re gonna give them the credit, anyway!

THK 3-Ingredient Chicken2

In typical THK fashion, we both needed to test this recipe before we shared it with you all.

At first, Shelley was a little skeptical that something so incredibly simple could taste so good. But, she called me before her family was even done eating. They were loving it. Loving it.

I’m so excited her family gave the thumbs-up (possibly with fist pumps, too) – because now I get to share this recipe with you!

Ok. Get your pens and paper, because you’ll want to take very good notes here.

Ready?

1. Put the chicken in your slow cooker. 2.Cover with taco seasoning. 3. Cover with a jar of salsa. 4. Walk away.

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Did you get all that? Should I repeat myself?

Yep. It’s that simple!

I totally think this’ll become your “go-to” recipe. Shelley’s made it multiple times since that first (fist-pumpin’) night. And I just know it’ll soon be your fave, too!

THK by Gretchen

We’d Love to Hear From You!

What’s your go-to, always-saves-the-day dinner recipe? Tell us … tell us! We want to make it, too!!!

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3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos
Shared By: 
Yield: About 5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1½ pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 1.25-ounce packet low-sodium taco seasoning (see note)
  • 1 16-ounce jar of your favorite salsa
  • For serving: tortillas or taco shells and your choice of optional toppings, such as shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, shredded cheese, black beans, corn, chopped avocados or guacamole, reduced-fat sour cream, and hot sauce
Preparation
  1. Place chicken in the bottom of the crock-pot.
  2. Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken.
  3. Pour salsa on top.
  4. Cook on low (for 6-8 hours) or high (for 4 hours).
  5. Just before serving, use two forks to shred the chicken.
  6. Stir to evenly distribute salsa throughout chicken.
  7. Serve immediately with desired toppings.
Notes
We recommend avoiding taco seasoning mixes that contain MSG. Also, there are differences in the amounts of sodium (and other ingredients) in various brands, so it’s a good idea to read the nutrition information for the brands offered at your store.

 

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Comments

3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos — 79 Comments

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    • Thanks for the great question! Our best guess is that this would work – although we’ve never actually tried it ourselves and can’t vouch for how it would turn out. We did some research for you, though, and did find a few recipes around the Internet that use just seasoning and chicken broth, or seasoning with a combination of chicken broth and water. We wouldn’t suggest subbing out the 16-ounce jar of salsa for a full 16 ounces of water (and/or broth), though – maybe try starting with around a cup of liquid. Be careful that the chicken doesn’t dry out, though, since there will be somewhat less liquid for it to cook in. As we found when testing our Crock-Pot North Carolina BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches, crock-pot recipes with such a small amount of liquid may not do quite as well on the high setting if you’re using a larger (say, 5 or 6 quart) slow cooker. It may work best for you on the low setting – but give it a try and see what works for you and your crock-pot!

      Also of course, you won’t have the same flavor boost from the salsa, nor the bits of onions, peppers, etc. that you would get if you included the salsa – so maybe you could stir salsa into the portion for the rest of the family if you’d like, or let the rest of the family use the salsa as a topping. Good luck! And if you have a moment – we’d love for you to pop back and let us know how it went!

      Oh – and one more thing – this is probably obvious, but do check your packet of taco seasoning to be sure that whatever bothers your child in salsa isn’t also in the seasoning packet. Different brands of taco seasoning vary more than you might guess in their ingredient lists. ~G&S

  3. I just wanted to share what a great recipe this is for summer! We recently went on vacation with a very large group of our family and did a dinner duty rotation. On our night, we chose a Mexican theme and we popped this into the crock pot (doubled the recipe), prepared some toppings, and headed out to the beach and pool for the rest of the day. We certainly didn’t have to slave away in the kitchen and miss a ray of vacation sunshine. This was a great recipe for all of our various aged diners. It also tasted really healthy. We had a fun night! Thanks for a great recipe for our fiesta! :)

    • Hi, Stephanie! Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and leave us such a wonderful comment! That truly means the world to us! We love knowing that families are making our recipes (and on vacation, too!) and really enjoying them! Our whole goal at THK is to help people make really healthy foods that still leave plenty of time for the beach … the pool … whatever! Mission accomplished! We’re just thrilled! Thanks again so much! :D ~Shelley

    • Oh, Julie! Definitely make this! It’s a game-changer … so ridiculously easy and infinitely customizable with different toppings! There’s for sure a reason that this is the most popular recipe we’ve posted to date! People looooove it! Can’t wait for you to try it! :D ~G&S

      • Do you place uncooked chicken in the crockpot? Frozen or fresh? Also, I’m hosting a taco bar, so I was hoping to double the recipe, would that still cook alright in the crock pot?

        TIA!!

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  11. You’re kids are funny. My kids are similar when they come in the door and something yummy is cooking in the slow cooker. This is similar to something I make, only I use green chilies instead of taco seasoning. So easy and good too! I will try it your way next time.

    You’re blog is beautiful. I’m so happy you found me and now I can look through your blog at all of the possibilities!

    • Hi Kathleen! Thanks so much for stopping by … and for your sweet words!!

      Well, now I want to try your version! :)
      I love preparing really healthy foods for my family, and it’s even better when they are so super excited about it! And the fact that it comes together in five minutes … well that’s just icing on top! ~Gretchen

  12. Ok. That’s it. I broke down and bought a crock pot in England. Not impossible to come by, but not as used as they are in the U.S. I plan to take your recipe and start a trend! Thanks for another great recipe!

    • Hi, Melinda! I seriously had no idea that slow cookers were such a hard item to find in England! So many of the busy moms I know pretty much live and die by timesaving crock-pot recipes – we’ve gotta spread the word to all those busy British mums! And, hey – if you’re looking for more crock-pot recipes to break in your new purchase – check out our Crock-Pot Crazy Pineapple Chili! More THK crock-pot recipes to come … :D ~Shelley

    • Hi, Whitley! Thanks for the question! You definitely don’t want to use frozen chicken – in this recipe or any other slow cooker recipe. If you’re like us, then you’ve probably seen plenty of recipes online that say it’s ok to start a crock-pot recipe with frozen meat, or even had friends tell you what a great shortcut it is. And it does work – you may have some slight variation in texture, but your meat will cook. That’s not the issue. The problem is that it isn’t safe, particularly for people with certain health risks or increased susceptibility to food-bourne illness. Sure – you may have heard of people doing this with no problem at all … but there’s no guarantee that you’ll be that lucky. It’s a gamble we’re not willing to take with our families, and we wouldn’t advise you to take that risk, either. Slow cookers don’t bring frozen meat up to a safe temperature (above 140°F) evenly or quickly enough. Your meat will spend too much time in the unsafe temperature range (between 40°-140°F), opening up the possibility that you and your family could get sick from eating it. So, please – properly thaw your chicken for this recipe, and begin with raw, thawed chicken breasts. Thanks again for the great question and for taking the time to ask! We’re so glad you stopped by! ~G&S

  13. I seriously put this together in the crock pot in less time than it took for my windshield to defrost this morning…(Start car, start crockpot, get in car, go!!!) It was really delicious! Our kids loved it! I wasn’t sure that they were going to leave any for their Daddy who was going to be eating later! Thanks for a great, easy, healthy recipe! I love crockpot recipes, so I will make this one very frequently!

    • LOL!! That’s a fantastic (and pretty hilarious!) testimony to how fabulously fast this meal is to throw together! Hopefully there was some left when your husband got home! But it really is just soooo good – we really can’t blame the kiddos for wanting more! :) Thanks so much for a really sweet comment! ~G&S

    • Oh yes! A favorite for sure!! I would love to know about what you make with beans – I’m really interested! My kids (and Shelley’s!) can’t get enough of this – I’m pretty sure we could make this several times a week and everyone would be totally happy! Enjoy! ~Gretchen

    • Hi Tina! I’m so happy you found this recipe! If your hubby loves tacos, this will be a hit at your house! (And you don’t even have to tell anyone how insanely easy it is … that can be a secret!) Then your hubby will be the one doing the fist pump!! Lol! :) ~Gretchen

    • I use mine constantly – I don’t know what I would do without a crock-pot!! I love it!! (And then it snowballed and I ended up with 6!) :)
      Hope you try it – it’s a guaranteed hit at our house! I love when I make a meal that makes EVERYONE happy! ~Gretchen

    • Yes, exactly! Incredibly simple and amazingly delicious! I had to try it to believe it – and I’m SO happy I did! This meal makes has saved the day – on multiple occasions! I love just throwing in the crock-pot when I know I have a busy day (who am I kidding – every day is busy!) and coming home to a yummy dinner! Lifesaver!! :) ~Gretchen

  14. Your little ones are so cute with the fist pumps :) I make a similar recipes with chicken baked in the oven and then top it with cheese too. I’ve never tried it in the crock pot but it sounds like the perfect meal. I’m always looking for a good quick chicken taco recipe so I’ll have to try this next time.

    • Haha! Yeah – they get pretty excited about this! Who am I kidding? We all get really excited about this! :)
      Ohhhh … I want your recipe for baked chicken! It’s always good to try new ones – and I love cheese! Mmmmmm!! ~Gretchen

    • Yay Liz!! I’m sooo happy you liked it!! Honestly, we had this for dinner tonight, too! My little one has been begging for ‘Taco Tuesday’ so we had tacos tonight! Hopefully this quick recipe will make things a little easier once the new bundle of joy arrives! :) ~Gretchen

    • It seriously doesn’t get much easier than this! Literally 5 minutes and then walk away for the entire day! Can’t wait to hear all about Baby #2 and see gorgeous photos!! And yes … going from one kiddo to two is an adjustment, but in the best possible way! You’ll totally rock – and with super simple dinners like this – it will be a breeze! :) ~Gretchen

    • Nope – not kidding!! I would never, ever joke about something so amazing and delicious! Lol!! Seriously – it is so incredibly easy, and is a favorite meal at our house (and Shelley’s too!). Hope you try this out!! ~Gretchen

  15. Wow this looks so delicious love the shredded chicken texture – a bit like slow roast pork (but much healthier!). You have 6 crockpots! is that because they are all different sizes or because you like to crock-pot 6 things at once?!

    • I’m guilty, Amy! Some are different sizes, yes, but I also have a few that are the same size! I can’t help myself! I really only use multiple ones when we entertain – then I get several going at once! :) I walked into the store today and saw a big new display … I almost bought another one! I wonder if there is some type of support group for people who own too many crock-pots?!?

      I hope you try this recipe – I find that it shreds much easier than pork. And yes, the chicken breasts are super healthy! Thanks for stopping by! ~Gretchen

    • Hi Erin! Yes, yes, I totally agree. This recipe needs to be tucked up the sleeve of pretty much every single person in the world! Just imagine a day where everyone knows exactly what they will be serving their family for dinner, and everyone is over-the-moon happy! Ahhhh … :) ~Gretchen

  16. I rarely comment on recipes unless I find them to be outstanding and this is just that – outstanding!!!!! For as easy and simple as it is, it’s amazing. Thanks so much for posting!

    • Wow, Tara!! Thank you SO much!! I really appreciate your sweet comment – I’m glad you tried it and loved it! It’s obviously a fave at my house, and I hope it will be one at yours, too! Thanks, again! ~Gretchen

    • Cate, put down whatever you are doing and get to the store! Right now! You will never regret this purchase! I use mine at lease once (but usually twice!) every week! When I look at my calendar and see that I have a hectic day coming up, I always plan to have dinner in the crock-pot before I head out. By the time I get home, dinner is ready and we can eat as a family before we go back out for evening activities! It really is SO easy! And the best part – you can just put the stoneware bowl and lid in the dishwasher! So cleanup is a breeze, as well! Simple, simple, simple! :)
      And these tacos??? Your life will never be the same! Let us know how much you love them! ~Gretchen

  17. Okay, I am all in on this one! Crock-pot and three ingredients-does it get any easier? I too love the welcoming smell of a dinner ready at the end of a busy day.
    Thanks for this one.

    • Yes! It really is that simple! And … wonderfully delicious! Can’t think of anything that would be more simple – except going out to eat! But let’s face it, with activities for the kids after school and in the evening, that really isn’t a possibility! So we’ll just stick with super easy and really yummy meals like this! :) ~G&S

    • I’m not sure there is a more simple recipe out there … that actually tastes good. Three ingredients? Yep – and it’s amazing. (I’m getting hungry for this now!!)
      We love (LOVE!) Mexican food, and this makes it simple enough to be able to enjoy it often. Like, all the time. It’s already on the menu for next week – my little one has been begging for ‘Taco Tuesday’ – and I’m more than happy to make these! A family fave for sure! :) ~Gretchen

    • Sounds like we could have dinner together – Mexican! :) That is another really delicious dinner that we love, as well! The leftovers from 3-Ingredient Crock-Pot Chicken Tacos would be amazing in a quesadilla! Mmmmm! ~Gretchen

  18. Lol, I can just imagine everyone running around fist-pumping! Isn’t it funny how some things just make everyone so happy it requires a fist-pump?! I love it! I know my guys will be loving this recipe, as will I. Anytime I can use a crockpot is a great day :D Pinning!!

    • Hey, Cindy! Honestly, if you could see Gretchen’s girls (especially her totally precocious and hilarious littlest) doing the fist-pumps – well, you’d be doing whatever is more than LOL’ing! And really – once you try this recipe, you guys will be as hooked as I was when Gretchen first had me try it! It’s now a total go-to lifesaver for me! Oh, and regarding our mutual love of crock-pots? We’ve got more slow cooker recipes coming up in the next couple months, so stay tuned! And thanks for the Pin!!!! :D ~Shelley

  19. I don’t have a crockpot either but I do bake chicken or beef (when I ate it) overnight in the oven. Turns out perfect and you can vary up the seasonings. I love having it around because you can use it in almost anything! Great recipe, girls!

    • Hi, Abbe! I’ve never tried the overnight chicken idea – really intriguing! I’ll bet you could adapt this recipe, simply employing your overnight oven technique instead of the crock-pot. Although I’ve gotta say – I truly, truly love my crock-pots! I have only three (not six like Gretchen – that crazy girl!!! :D ), but they’re such a great option for days when I’m going to be gone all day long or running kiddos a million directions all evening right up until the time that dinner is supposed to magically appear on the table! I’d be nervous leaving my oven on so long when I wasn’t home! Regardless – try this recipe one way or another! I really was surprised and delighted that three simple ingredients could taste so good! :D ~Shelley

  20. These look incredible. Lucky kiddos! Maybe 2014 is the year I actually purchase a crockpot ;) As far as my go-to dinner, I’d have to say a simple plate of scrambled eggs saves the day.

    • Oh Sharon! You must get a crock-pot!! I use mine all the time! (I actually own about 6 – but I don’t use them all at once!)
      We love having breakfast for dinner, too! Yes – in a pinch I often whip up some eggs, as well! Such a lifesaver!
      Now … head on out and go get that crock-pot! :) ~Gretchen

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