Meal prepping is probably the only way I make it through the holidays (or any month of the year, TBH) without losing it. 😅 So here’s a really easy bulk meal prep protein that you can use for multiple meals throughout the week. This Crock Pot Salsa Chicken recipe is such a classic, it’s incredibly easy (no chopping!), and only takes a handful of ingredients to prepare. Plus, there are several ways you can customize salsa chicken if you want to change it up a bit! Bookmark this one, folks, because you’re going to want to make it again and again!
Crock pot salsa chicken has been around for ages. In fact, a fancier version of it has been a reader favorite on Budget Bytes since 2011, but you need to know that in its most basic form, it’s still amazing. It’s just too good and too easy to not share. Just wait until you see all the ways you can use this saucy, spicy, super-flavorful shredded chicken!
Ingredients for Salsa Chicken
When I say this salsa chicken recipe is simple, I mean it! Here are the only ingredients you’ll need to make Crock Pot Salsa Chicken:
- Chicken Breast: I love the way white meat chicken breast shreds, but if you’re more of a thigh person you can definitely do this with thighs, too. Thighs are a bit more forgiving with the cooking time and the sauce will be extra rich!
- Salsa: This is the main flavor component for this recipe, so make sure you use a really good salsa. I love to use a smoky salsa to add even more depth of flavor. I used Kroger’s Private Selection brand Taqueria Style Salsa, but you can use different salsa flavors to switch it up!
- Chili Powder: A one-stop shop for flavor, basic chili powder brings a lot of bang for your buck and really deepens the flavor in the sauce.
- Onion Powder & Garlic Powder: To add even more depth to the flavor, I added a little dose of onion and garlic powder for good measure. Using these two ingredients helps round out the flavor without having to chop a single vegetable!
How to Use Crock Pot Salsa Chicken
One of the reasons I love this salsa chicken so much is that you can make one batch and then use it for multiple meals throughout the week. I love to use this shredded salsa chicken for tacos, bowl meals (with rice, cheese, beans, etc.), nachos, burritos, salads, in casseroles, to top a baked potato, or even as a base for a soup!
Salsa Chicken Add-Ins
The simplicity of Salsa Chicken makes it perfect for customizing with add-ins. Here are some other ingredients you can add to make it different every time:
- Beans: Try adding a drained can of beans, like black beans, pinto beans, or even kidney beans.
- Vegetables: Add more color and texture to the mix with diced onion, jalapeño, bell peppers, or corn.
- Cream Cheese or Sour Cream: Give your salsa chicken a creamy finish by stirring in some cream cheese or sour cream after cooking.
- Lime & Cilantro: Stir fresh lime juice and cilantro into the salsa chicken after cooking for a fresh finish.
- Spices: Switch up the spices and add something smoky like chipotle chile powder, or your favorite taco seasoning mix.
And don’t forget, you can change the flavor of salsa chicken by using different kinds of salsa! Try a spicy mango salsa, salsa verde, or even a smoky peach salsa for fun!
How to Store Leftovers
This salsa chicken recipe is perfect for meal prep. It stays good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, but it can also be frozen! To freeze, chill it completely in the refrigerator first, then transfer to the freezer and store for up to three months. I like to divide it into single portions before freezing so I can thaw only the amount I need each time. Thaw the salsa chicken overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat either in a sauce pan over medium, stirring frequently, or in the microwave.
Crock Pot Salsa Chicken
- Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder over the chicken, then pour the salsa on top.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2.5 hrs or low for 5 hours.
- Test the chicken to make sure it's tender enough to pull apart with a fork. If not, replace the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes on high or one hour on low.
- Shred the chicken with two forks and stir to combine with the salsa and liquid in the pot. Serve hot or refrigerate until ready to use. Add the salsa chicken to your favorite tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, and more!
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How to Make Crock Pot Salsa Chicken
Place three boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a crock pot and sprinkle 2 tsp chili powder, ½ tsp garlic powder, and ½ tsp onion powder over top.
Pour 16oz. of your favorite salsa over the chicken in the crock pot. (I used Kroger’s Private Selection brand Taqueria Style Salsa).
Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on high for 2.5 hours, or low for 5 hours. Test the chicken to make sure it’s tender enough to pull apart with a fork. If not, replace the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes on high or one hour on low. After cooking it will look a little watery, but don’t worry! Once the chicken is shredded it turns into a nice sauce that coats everything.
Use two forks to shred the chicken and stir it into the sauce in the slow cooker.
Once the chicken is shredded, give it a taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. And that’s it! The crock pot salsa chicken recipe is complete and you’re ready to eat!
A bowl meal with rice, cheese, and any other fun toppings you have on hand is such a great budget-friendly meal!