Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

This beautifully tender Crock Pot Salsa Chicken is full of creamy flavor with an ideal blend of well-balanced spices. Simmered to juicy perfection in the slow cooker and packed with big chipotle flavor, you’ll want to eat it right out of the pot.

Crock pot salsa chicken in taco shells topped with veggies on a black plate.

Creamy Slow Cooker Chipotle Salsa Chicken

This salsa chicken is so versatile, and there are so many different recipes you can try it with! The slow cooker method makes it juicy and succulent, and really allows the flavors to sink in. With a little bit of cream cheese to cool things down, this shredded chicken has just enough of a kick to make things interesting.

The chipotle peppers are what make this shredded chicken shine. They have a gentle heat and smoky flavor that compliments the savory meat so well. Plus, using some of the sauce from the chipotle pepper jar makes the chicken even more tender and allows the chipotle flavor to really pop.

Shredded chicken with chipotle sauce piled in a slow cooker.

What You’ll Need

The ingredients for this recipe require pretty much no prep, so you can pop them right into the Crock Pot. Just scroll down to find exact amounts for everything in the recipe card.

  • Chicken Breast: Or use chicken tenderloins.
  • Salsa: Use your favorite salsa brand, or make your own at home.
  • Cream Cheese
  • Salt and Black Pepper: I like to use fresh ground pepper.
  • Chipotle Peppers: You will need both the peppers themselves and the sauce from the can.

Can I Use Frozen Chicken in a Slow Cooker?

Chicken that’s still frozen will cook unevenly in the Crock Pot, and it can even be a health hazard if it stays too long in an unsafe temperature range. But if you have some frozen chicken that you’re looking to use up, don’t worry. As long as you thaw it fully before using it, it will be fine in the slow cooker. Just pop it in the fridge until it thaws all the way through.

Pulled chicken in a slow cooker smothered in chipotle sauce.

How to Make Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

This slow cooker chicken couldn’t be easier to make. Just follow these 4 simple steps for beautifully cooked pulled chicken.

  1. Add Your Ingredients: Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and flip the chicken a few times to fully coat it with the chipotle pepper sauce.
  2. Cook: Set your Crock Pot to high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Pull the Chicken: Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place it into a large bowl or onto a board. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and then return it to the Crock Pot with the sauce.
  4. Stir and Serve: Stir the chicken into the sauce until each piece is completely coated and serve or store it.
Pulled chipotle chicken being heated in a crock pot.

Tips for Success

The Crock Pot cooking method really boosts the flavors in this salsa chicken. These quick tips will help you make the most of it.

  • Don’t Substitute the Chipotle: The chipotle peppers add a mild, smoky heat that just can’t be beat. Instead of taking them out or exchanging them, follow the tip below to adjust the heat one way or the other.
  • Adjust the Heat: Halve the number of chipotle peppers and/or the amount of sauce from the chipotle can in the recipe to cut down on the spice. The amount I use isn’t super hot, but it will have a little kick! You can also multiply the amount by 1.5 (easy to do, since I use 4 peppers and 2 tablespoons of sauce) to make it spicier. It’s even possible to double the amount if you’re looking for five-alarm fire levels of heat.
  • Don’t Forget to Coat the Chicken: Coating the chicken in the chipotle sauce before you start your slow cooker is important because the sauce helps to trap the juices and keep the chicken tender. If you skip this step, your chicken may come out a little dry.
A row of tacos filled with creamy salsa chicken and topped with fresh vegetables.

Serving Suggestions

This salsa chicken can be eaten by itself with a few toppings (I like grated cheddar cheese, cilantro and scallions) to make for a healthy low-carb dinner. Here’s a quick list of other ways you can enjoy it.

  • Burritos: Grab a soft flour or corn tortilla and load it up with Crock Pot salsa chicken. Add your favorite cheese, along with some rice and black beans and maybe a few veggies, then wrap it up and enjoy.
  • Sandwiches: Toast up a brioche roll and pile some spicy pulled chicken and Super Creamy Coleslaw on top for a delightfully saucy sandwich. Pair it with these Homemade Shoestring French Fries to add some crunch.
  • Baked Potato: If you have any potatoes kicking around, pop some into the oven with olive oil and salt, and then load them up with this Crock Pot shredded chicken. For even more flavor, put a dollop of sour cream on top and sprinkle some chives over it.
  • Nachos: This pulled chicken makes an amazing topping for nachos. Throw some shredded cheese over the top for a wonderfully gooey appetizer.
  • Rice Bowl: Fill up a bowl with rice, beans and avocados, and scoop some of this shredded chicken on top. You can also use cauliflower rice to cut down on carbs. The sauce from the chicken soaks into the rice so you get big chipotle flavor in every bite.
  • Tacos: Tacos are my favorite way to serve this salsa chicken, hands down. They’re just so easy to make. And the best part is, you can use all your favorite taco toppings! Homemade Pico de Gallo is particularly good on pulled chicken tacos because the fresh tomatoes and onions cut through the creaminess of the chicken.
Creamy salsa chicken tacos with tomato and onion lined up on a plate surrounded by cilantro.

Storage and Reheating

This recipe is great for meal prep, because it makes a lot of food that can be enjoyed over several days. Put it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. It’s also super easy to refresh – just heat it in the microwave, on the stove, or in the oven until it’s warmed through. In fact, you can even put it back in the Crock Pot. Just make sure it’s on the “warm” setting.

Does Salsa Chicken Freeze Well?

Crock Pot salsa chicken makes an excellent freezer meal. Just make sure it’s completely cooled, then transfer it to a double-lock freezer bag or a freezer-safe sealable container. Keep it frozen for up to 3 months, then thaw it in the fridge overnight before you reheat it.

More Convenient Crock Pot Dishes

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A row of tacos filled with creamy salsa chicken and topped with fresh vegetables.

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

  • Author: Dan
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x

This beautifully tender Crock Pot Salsa Chicken is full of creamy flavor with an ideal blend of well-balanced spices. Simmered to juicy perfection in the slow cooker and packed with big chipotle flavor, you’ll want to eat it right out of the pot.

Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken breasts or chicken tenderloins
  • 15.5-ounce jar of salsa
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh black pepper to taste
  • 4 chipotle peppers with 2 tablespoons of sauce from the can

Instructions

  1. Add all the ingredients to a slow cooker. Set to high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
  2. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and place into a large bowl or on a board. Shred the chicken with 2 forks and then return to the Crock Pot with the sauce.
  3. Stir the chicken into the sauce and serve.

Recipe Notes

  • To Store: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. 
  • To Freeze: Let cool completely, then transfer to a double-lock freezer bag or freezer-safe sealable container for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
  • To Reheat: Heat in the microwave, on the stove, or in the oven until warmed through, or put in the slow cooker on the “warm” setting.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: slow cooker chicken, pulled chicken, shredded chicken

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