These shredded chicken tacos are a classic Mexican and Tex-Mex favorite! Chicken breasts are cooked in a smoky and savory sauce until juicy, then stuffed into tender corn tortillas. Top them with cilantro, diced onions, avocado, cheese, and sour cream for the ultimate feast!
Shredded Chicken Tacos make a no-fuss, healthy, and boldly flavored dish any day of the week! This recipe features chicken slow-cooked to perfection in a mixture of smoky chipotle peppers, juicy tomatoes, zesty green chilies, and earthy herbs and spices.
Once the flavors meld together, the chicken is shredded and piled into warm corn tortillas, then topped with garnishes like queso fresco, cilantro, onions, and salsa. They make some seriously delicious tacos.
Serve this versatile Mexican recipe for a quick weeknight meal, bring it to potlucks, or meal prep it in advance! You can skip the tortillas and serve the chicken in burrito bowls, on top of salads, in chicken rice bowls, or with rice and refried beans!
Why You’ll Love Shredded Chicken Tacos
- Versatile: There are so many ways to use this shredded chicken from classic tacos to tostadas, nachos, burritos, taco salads, enchiladas, and more. Meal prep a big batch and use it all week long.
- Build your own: Like most tacos, the magic is in the toppings. This also lets everyone customize their meal. Add lettuce, avocado, guacamole, cheese, salsa, sour cream, and more to build your own perfect chicken taco.
- Easy: All you have to do is add the ingredients to a pot, simmer the chicken until tender, then stuff it into tacos. Taco Tuesday just got way easier! This recipe also works on the stovetop, Instant Pot, or slow cooker.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Here is everything you need to make these tasty chicken tacos.
- Chicken: We tend to reach for boneless skinless chicken breasts in this recipe, but you can also use chicken thighs. The cooking time will need to be increased in this case.
- Rotel tomatoes: Canned tomatoes and green chilies add a bold, vibrant flavor. You can usually find them near regular canned tomatoes. Just note that there are different spice levels available, so double-check the can to see if it contains serranos or habaneros.
- Chipotle peppers: We love adding chipotle peppers to adobo to elevate the sauce and create a smoky, spicy element. Smoked paprika also works as a milder option.
- Garlic: Make sure to use fresh garlic, not garlic powder, for an intensely savory and hearty flavor in the sauce. Add more or fewer cloves depending on your taste.
- Taco seasoning: Make your own spice mix with oregano, cumin, onion powder, and salt. You can also play around with different measurements and spices like ancho chili powder, cayenne, or paprika. Or simply use store-bought or homemade taco seasoning.
- Corn tortillas: Both store-bought and homemade corn tortillas will work! Swap in flour tortillas if you prefer or a crispy baked taco shell.
- Toppings: Use your favorite garnishes! Some of our go-to options include cilantro, sour cream, limes, diced red onions, queso fresco, or shredded cheese.
How to Make Shredded Chicken Tacos
Follow these easy steps and get dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
1. Simmer the chicken
You can make shredded chicken on the stovetop in a Dutch oven, in an Instant Pot, or in a crockpot, depending on what tools you have in your kitchen.
Just add the chicken and the sauce ingredients to the pot. Simmer it in a Dutch oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked.
If cooking in the Instant Pot, place the chicken in the pot. Add the tomatoes, chipotle peppers, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, cumin, onion powder, oregano, and salt. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to ensure the chicken doesn’t burn. Cook on the manual setting for 15 minutes. Let naturally release for at least 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and shred it with 2 forks. Return to the sauce and stir.
If cooking in the slow cooker, add the chicken to the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, chipotle peppers, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, cumin, onion powder, oregano, and salt. Cook on low for 4 hours. Remove the chicken and shred it with 2 forks. Return to the sauce and stir.
2. Shred the chicken
Remove the cooked chicken from the simmering sauce, then shred it with a couple of forks. Complete this step while the chicken is warm since it’s much more tender this way.
Add the chicken back to the sauce once it’s shredded. This helps the chicken soak up all that flavor and ensures it isn’t dry.
3. Assemble the tacos
Don’t forget to heat the corn tortillas up before serving your shredded chicken tacos. You can heat them in the microwave wrapped in a towel or in a dry skillet.
Fill the tortillas with chicken and add any garnishes you enjoy!
What to Serve with Shredded Chicken Tacos
These are some of our favorite toppings to serve on shredded chicken tacos:
- Fresh cilantro
- Pickled red onions
- Queso fresco or cotija
- Sour cream or Mexican crema
- Salsa verde or corn salsa
- Pico de gallo
If you're looking for a side dish to make this meal more filling, pair it with options like these:
- Cilantro lime cauliflower rice
- Borracho beans
- Charro beans
- Slow cooker black beans
- Mexican street corn salad
Storage and Reheating
For any leftover shredded chicken, follow these simple storage and reheating tips:
- Fridge: Once cooled, transfer the chicken to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer: The shredded chicken is freezer-friendly and will last for up to 4 months. Just make sure it’s kept in freezer-safe containers or bags. You can also freeze the corn tortillas in a separate container for up to 2 months.
- Reheat: Thaw the chicken in the fridge overnight. Add it to a skillet with a splash of broth, then heat it over low-medium heat until it’s warmed to your liking.
- Leftover love: If you are lucky enough to have leftovers use them to make taco soup, stuffed poblano peppers, chicken quesadillas, or chicken taquitos.
Make it Yours! Recipe Variations
This recipe is easily customized with different spices, seasonings, toppings, and tortillas.
- Salsa verde: Instead of tomatoes, use tomatillos. Replace the chipotles in adobo with diced green chiles for a spicy and extra tangy version.
- Flour tortillas: Swap out the corn tortillas for flour tortillas. Or wrap everything up with lettuce leaves.
- Different meat: Instead of chicken, opt for pork or beef. Just note that the cooking times will need to be adjusted accordingly.
- Spicy: Make it spicy by using additional chipotle peppers, hot sauce, or cayenne pepper.
Tips for Making Mexican Shredded Chicken
Although this recipe is easy to make and straightforward, these tips help ensure delicious and tender chicken tacos every time.
- Chicken selection: Boneless skinless chicken breasts are the easiest cut of chicken to shred. Plus, they turn out incredibly juicy and tender when cooked this way.
- Shred while warm: Shredding the chicken while it’s warm will make the process much easier since the texture is softer when it’s freshly cooked.
- Keep the tortillas warm: Once you warm the tortillas, wrap them in a clean cloth and place them in a tortilla warmer or bag so they stay warm for the meal.
- Use fresh garnishes: It’s best to use fresh ingredients like cilantro, lime juice, and onions to enhance the flavor of the tacos.
- Broil the chicken: We recommend broiling the chicken for about 5 minutes at the end of cooking to create a perfectly chewy and crispy texture.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making these tacos.
Yes, you can make the shredded chicken ahead of time and store it in the fridge or freezer until you’re ready to use it.
You can use boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs for shredding. Both will work well for this recipe. You can even use bone-in chicken, but you will have to adjust the cooking time, and it will be more time-consuming to shred.
Shredded Chicken Tacos
- Print Recipe
- Download PDF
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
- 1 cup diced tomatoes with green chilies
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 canned chipotle peppers in adobo, minced (adjust to taste)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 8 corn tortillas
Like this Recipe? Try our Meal Plans!
- Weekly Meal Plans
- Easy Shopping List
- Healthy, Low Carb, & Vegetarian
- Nutritional Information
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
Slow cooker: Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, chipotle peppers, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, cumin, onion powder, oregano, and salt. Cook on low for 4 hours. Remove the chicken and shred it with 2 forks. Return to the sauce and stir.
Instant Pot: Add the chicken to the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, chipotle peppers, tomatoes, garlic, oregano, cumin, onion powder, oregano, and salt. Add 1/2 cup of chicken broth to ensure the chicken doesn’t burn. Cook on the manual setting for 15 minutes. Let naturally release for at least 10 minutes. Remove the chicken and shred it with 2 forks. Return to the sauce and stir.
Get delicious, healthy recipes delivered each week right to your inbox.
Snap a picture and show us what you made on Instagram or Facebook.
Tag us using @SlenderKitchen or #slenderkitchen.