Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken

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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 verde and some boneless, skinless chicken to the slow cooker. Four hours later, you'll have a delicious, healthy meal. You'll be shocked just how delicious a recipe with just two ingredients could taste.

While I have a deep love of the simple two ingredient version, 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.

Need some faster? Try these ground turkey salsa verde tacos!

More Ways to Love Salsa Verde Chicken

  1. First, let’s start with the chicken. Although using only boneless, skinless chicken breasts is traditional, I like a combination of breasts and thighs to keep everything nice and moist. A lean beef roast or pork tenderloin is also delicious.
  2. 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, homemade version.
  3. 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 reduced-fat cream cheese or sour cream. De-lic-ious!

Any of these would work with either red salsa, tomatoes (like Chicken Tinga), or green salsa. Read on for more Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken goodness!

Crockpot salsa chicken with green salsa shredded in a bowl with red onions and cilantro.

Customize Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken

  • Basic crockpot salsa chicken recipe: All you'll need to do is combine the chicken, green salsa, and salt and pepper in your slow cooker and cook on the low setting for 4 hours.
  • Best store-bought salsa: 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 verde brands are Herdez and Frontera.
  • Homemade salsa verde: 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.
  • Improved store-bought salsa: 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 add 1/4 white onion, 1 garlic clove, one handful of cilantro, and a jalapeno. You will be shocked at how much this improves the flavor. For an amazing spicy salsa, blend 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo in store-bought green salsa. 
  • Make it creamy: If you'd like 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. 

Serving Ideas

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 make tacos. Pile the tender meat in a crispy taco shell or soft tortilla (or even on a tostada) and pile on all the taco toppings. It's also delicious in these baked crispy chicken tacos or use salsa verde to make a crockpot chicken burrito bowl.
  • 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 salad (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 of tablespoons of salsa with ranch or avocado dressing to make your own creamy, spicy 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, extra salsa, and maybe some hot sauce and shredded lettuce for a fun make-you-own burrito or taco bowl.

Salsa verde chicken shredded and served in a flour tortilla with cilantro and onions.

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. 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.

Can this salsa verde chicken be made in the Instant Pot?

Make Instant Pot Salsa Chicken by adding a thin layer of salsa to the bottom of the instant pot. Then add the chicken in a single layer. Top with salsa, adding any spices you like.

Cook on high for 10 minutes. Let naturally release for 5 minutes and then shred the chicken using two forks. Return the chicken to the Instant pot so it can soak up the flavors of the salsa.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most common questions about making this green salsa chicken.

According to the USDA, it isn't advisable to cook frozen chicken in a slow cooker since bacteria can grow before the chicken comes to a safe temperature. Instead defrost the chicken first and then cook it in the slow cooker.

Chicken breasts cook quickly in the slow cooker since they are lean. It is best to cook them on low to ensure they don't overcook and become rubbery. Generally speaking, chicken breass takes 3-4 hours on low in the average slow cooker.

The Recipe
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Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken

COOK TIME: 4 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 4 Hours, 5 Min
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  • 1.5 lbs boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups green salsa (salsa verde)

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Basics: Combine everything is the slow cooker and cook on low for 4 hours.


Option 1: Make your own salsa verde for the chicken. I recommend this roasted salsa verde. It’s delicious and is perfect for this slow cooker chicken.


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.


Option 3: Just use the jarred/canned stuff! Nothing to be ashamed of, I use this option all the time 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 Herdez and Frontera.


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.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2/3 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 230
Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 4g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 121mg
Sodium 573mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0g
Protein 39g

* 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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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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On Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken
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October 2, 2018 - 05:11
Hi! What kind of cook time do you recommend if using frozen chicken? Thank you!
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November 27, 2018 - 14:14
You will probably need to add about thirty minutes depending on the strength of your slow cooker.
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Linda Harris
May 16, 2018 - 13:07
Add a Rating:
So easy and so good. Lots of flavor.
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May 16, 2018 - 20:02
Glad to hear you enjoyed it!
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Michele Chantra
May 7, 2017 - 17:00
Add a Rating:
Definitely add the cream cheese! This was really good. Even my husband liked it! (I used jarred salsa verde so it was also really easy)
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November 27, 2018 - 14:14
It's so good with the cream cheese!!
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Christine Dattilio
February 3, 2016 - 12:18
Add a Rating:
love this recipe especially making it creamy with cream cheese!
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