Easy Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken with green salsa couldn't be easier to make and can be used for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, salads, and more.
Salsa verde chicken is probably the first dish I ever made in a slow cooker. It really couldn’t be easier: add a jar of salsa to some boneless, skinless chicken, set the slow cooker to cook, and 4 hours later, you'll have a delicious, healthy meal that tastes better than you could ever imagine a recipe with just two ingredients could taste.
However, as these things go, over time I have started to want more from my salsa chicken. So today I wanted to share some quick ways to doctor up this traditional salsa chicken recipe.
First, let’s start with the chicken. Although using only boneless, skinless chicken breasts works and has fewer calories, I like a combination of breasts and thighs to keep everything nice and moist. A lean beef roast or pork tenderloin is also delicious. Next is the salsa. This recipe gives you three options for salsa: a simple jar, a doctored up store-bought salsa, or the most labor-intensive — but best-tasting — the homemade version.
As if those three versions weren't enough, we can even consider making it creamy and/or even cheesy. Salsa chicken can be totally transformed by adding some reduced fat cream cheese or sour cream. De-lic-ious! Any of these would work with either red or green salsa. Read on for more Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken goodness!
How can I customize Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken?
- First, the basic recipe so you know how to build the foundation and go from there. All you'll need to do is combine the chicken, green salsa, and salt and pepper in your slow cooker and turn it to low to cook for 4 hours.
- If you're using the jarred/canned stuff, don't be ashamed, I use this option often when I don’t have time to do anything more then dump everything in the slow cooker and walk away. My favorite salsa verdes are from the Herdez and Frontera brands.
- Make your own salsa verde for the chicken. You can experiment here with the ingredients you like, or make it straight from my favorite recipe.
- Make some store-bought salsa your own by doctoring it up. Purchase your favorite brand and toss in your favorite salsa ingredients. I like to saute onions, garlic, and chili peppers together (either a couple jalapenos or a couple poblanos, depending on how hot you like your salsa) until they are soft and fragrant. Then, I'll add that to the salsa along with ½ tsp. each of cumin, coriander, and oregano. It really amps up the flavor and makes a store-bought salsa something special.
- Make it creamy! If you'd like a creamier chicken, add 4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese or ¾ cup reduced fat sour cream after shredding the chicken for a creamy version that is out-of-this-world delicious. You'll add less than 50 calories to each serving, but I think it's so worth it on those days when you just want a little something extra from this recipe.
The best thing about slow cooker chicken is that it's so very versatile! I like to put it on just about anything and everything. Here are some of my favorite ways to serve up Salsa Verde Chicken.
- In a taco or burrito. This is a no-brainer. When I make shredded meat with salsa, my first instinct is definitely to put it in a hard or soft shell (or even on a tostada) and pile on all the taco toppings.
- On top of a salad. This shredded chicken goes great right on top of a bed of lettuce with all the fixings you'd usually put on a taco (a little shredded cheese, jalapenos, black olives, diced onions, bell peppers, etc.) and sometimes I'll just use more salsa as dressing. Or, you can mix a couple tablespoons of salsa with one tablespoon of plain Greek yogurt or reduced-fat sour cream to make your own creamy dressing.
- In a lettuce wrap. Same concept here: like a taco, but without all the carbs. Wash and pat dry a couple of romaine, green, or red leaf lettuce leaves and add on the chicken, plus all the aforementioned toppings. Yum.
- On a sandwich. As this chicken tends to be a little juicy, I'd use a harder roll or bun to create a sandwich with this salsa verde chicken. Top with a thin slice of pepper jack cheese and put it under the broiler to melt it before topping with all the goodies.
- Over rice. This shredded chicken goes well over rice with some black beans, shredded cheese, and extra salsa and maybe some hot sauce and shredded lettuce for a fun make-you-own burrito bowl.
What's the easiest way to shred chicken?
When I shred chicken, I usually just use two forks to pull it apart. You can either do this right in the slow cooker or take the chicken out and shred it piece by piece in a bowl and then add it back to the slow cooker and all that glorious salsa verde.
You can also use a hand mixer to shred your chicken. Add all of the chicken to a deep bowl and turn on the hand mixer...sounds strange but it will shred it all up in a jiffy. This method will shred the chicken quite fine though so if you prefer a chunkier chicken, it's best to do it by hand with the fork method.
Looking for more Mexican Chicken recipes?
Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken
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Option 2: Doctor up some store-bought salsa verde. Buy your favorite brand and make it better. In this recipe I like to saute an onion, 4 cloves of garlic, and some chile peppers (1-2 jalapenos or 1-2 poblanos depending on how spicy the salsa is) and add that to the salsa along with 1/2 tsp. cumin, 1/2 tsp. coriander, 1/2 tsp. oregano. It really amps up the flavor and makes a store bought salsa something special.
Make it creamy! Want a creamier chicken, add 4 oz. reduced fat cream cheese or 3/4 cup reduced fat sour cream after shredding the chicken for a creamy version that is out of this world delicious. The cream cheese option adds 40 calories and 1 PointsPlus® per serving. The sour cream adds 31 calories and 1 PointsPlus® per serving
* 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.
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