Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Bowls

$10.66 recipe / $1.33 serving

This recipe is definitely “slow-cooker 101”. It’s probably one of the first recipes that most people learn to make in their slow-cooker. In fact, some version of it is probably included in that little mini recipe book that comes with the slow-cooker when you buy it. BUT, I had to post it because I know there are probably a lot of you who haven’t made it yet and I can’t bear the thought of you missing out.

This recipe is great for bachelors, students, or the chronically busy because it’s a “dump and heat” recipe. All you do is dump all of the ingredients together in a pot, and let it cook. Of course you’ll need to make the rice separate but even if you’re one of those people who can never get rice right, there is hope. Just stuff the chicken mixture inside of a tortilla with cheese for a quick burrito or fold it over in a tortilla and crisp it up in a skillet like a quesadilla. Presto. Easy, delicious, cheap food.

I’m a black bean lover so next time I’m going to use two cans (or two can’s worth of homemade) beans and extend the recipe even further.

Oh, also, this freezes well. Cheese and all. Then just nuke and stir for a couple minutes until hot. Instant freezer meal!

Okay, one more thing. If you for some strange reason need this recipe to be even easier or you don’t have a well stocked spice cabinet, just substitute a packet of taco seasoning for all of the spices and herbs that I used below.

Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Bowls

Chicken Taco Bowls

4.8 from 104 reviews
taco chicken bowls
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $10.66
Cost Per Serving: $1.33
Serves: 9
  • 1½ lbs. chicken breasts $2.90
  • 1 (16 oz.) jar salsa $1.99
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained $1.19
  • ½ lb. (8 oz.) frozen corn $0.57
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder $0.15
  • ½ Tbsp cumin $0.07
  • ½ Tbsp minced garlic $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.03
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper $0.02
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
  • to taste cracked pepper $0.02
  • 2 cups dry rice $0.66
  • 8 oz. shredded cheddar $2.49
  • ½ bunch cilantro (optional) $0.45
  1. Add everything except the rice, cheese, and cilantro to the slow cooker along with ¼ cup of water (for good measure). Give everything a good stir and make sure the chicken is covered in the mixture.
  2. Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hrs.
  3. Near the end of the cooking time, cook the two cups of rice according to the package directions (Bring the rice and 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot with a lid in place, as soon as it reaches a boil, reduced the heat to low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving).
  4. After 8 hours of cooking, carefully remove the lid of the slow cooker. Stir with a fork to shred the chicken (it should be super tender and will shred easily). Build the taco bowls by placing rice on the bottom, then the taco chicken mix, shredded cheese and fresh cilantro.

taco chicken bowls

Step By Step Photos

raw chickenThis is the chicken that I bought. I usually buy a 5 lb. package to get a good price but even this 3 lb. package was priced super low! I used half and froze the other half for another recipe later. You can also use chicken thighs for a richer flavor (more fat) or bone in chicken and then just remove the bones after cooking.

add chickenPlace the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker. Easy.

add the restAdd the rest of the ingredients (salsa, drained beans, corn, herbs & spices) plus 1/4 cup water. Easy.

stirStir everything together and then make sure the chicken is pushed down below the sauce. Easy.

cookSecure the lid and cook on low for 8 hours. Easy.

shred chickenStir it up and give it a few good pokes with a fork to shred the chicken. It will be so tender that it will practically shred on its own. Easy.

cook riceCook some rice. Semi-easy.

build taco chicken bowlPut the rice, taco chicken mixture, cheese, and cilantro in a bowl. Eat. BAM. Easy.

I can’t wait to make this again and again and again… and experiment with different salsa flavors. I keep thinking about chipotle peach or PINEAPPLE! YUM!


  1. Anne says:

    I love this recipe! I just made it for the first time yesterday and I already know it will become one of my standard go-to recipes.
    The only thing I changed was that i pan fried the chicken and then pulled it apart by hand because I don’t have a slow cooker and I’m pretty impatient (having it simmer for at least an hour would have totally killed me).
    And I really can’t believe how much food you can make with so little money.

  2. Kobie says:

    This is my 2nd Budget Bytes Crockpot experiment and was super happy! My only complaint was that the chicken seemed a lil dry – which to me doesn’t make sense cause it cooking for so long in a lot of liquid. Any suggestions on how to kept that from happening next time?

    • I think the dryness is more a factor of how much fat is in the meat than the liquid that it’s cooked in. Chicken breasts can sometimes be very lean and will seem a bit more “dry” because they don’t have that thin coating of oily fat. Does that make sense? Dryness is not always about water/moisture, but sometimes fat and oils. :)

    • Joey says:

      I cube my chicken first and only cook for six and a half hours.
      You should check the chicken yourself and adjust your time accordingly.
      Also I put very little butter in first.

  3. Julie E says:

    This is amazing. I’ve already made it serval times. Once I ate it with rice and another time I tried it with taco shells. It was just as amazing either way :)

  4. Hi beth i love your recipes i was wondering what brand of salsa or kind of salsa do you use

    • I don’t have a particular brand that I go to. I usually get whatever is the best price that day, which is often the generic store brand. :)

  5. Clarke says:

    Hi Beth! I love this recipe (as well as a ton of your other recipes). It’s so easy and I get requests for it a lot. I was wondering: if I wanted to make steak tacos instead of chicken, how would I adjust the recipe? What cut of beef would you suggest?

    • Well, it would turn out a little different than steak tacos that you get from a restaurant. Any meat that you cook in a slow cooker like this will break down and shred, so you won’t get chunks of steak. Rumps and shoulder roasts do very well in slow cookers. Make sure to cut it into chunks, though, to increase the exposure to all that flavor! :)

  6. Kelly J. says:

    :) Yummy, I love burrito bowls. If you add cilantro, salt, and lime juice to the rice, it tastes amazing. :)

  7. Courtney says:

    Hi! Looks delicious! If I’m at a time crunch for dinner, can I cook it on high. For how many hours do you think? Thank you.

    • I think it would work on high for four hours.

      • Lynetta says:

        Do you know about how many calories?

        • No, I’m sorry I don’t. :(

        • Jamie Miller says:

          Nutrition Facts
          9 Servings
          Amount Per Serving
          Calories 370.3
          Total Fat 7.8 g
          Saturated Fat 3.9 g
          Polyunsaturated Fat 0.9 g
          Monounsaturated Fat 2.8 g
          Cholesterol 56.6 mg
          Sodium 430.8 mg
          Potassium 389.2 mg
          Total Carbohydrate 47.7 g
          Dietary Fiber 5.6 g
          Sugars 0.9 g
          Protein 27.6 g
          Vitamin A 16.5 %
          Vitamin B-12 1.7 %
          Vitamin B-6 13.8 %
          Vitamin C 16.9 %
          Vitamin D 0.4 %
          Vitamin E 2.3 %
          Calcium 13.8 %
          Copper 18.0 %
          Folate 34.5 %
          Iron 18.1 %
          Magnesium 14.9 %
          Manganese 40.0 %
          Niacin 13.2 %
          Pantothenic Acid 7.0 %
          Phosphorus 19.9 %
          Riboflavin 7.5 %
          Selenium 15.2 %
          Thiamin 21.1 %
          Zinc 11.1 %
          *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

          • Jessica says:

            Does the 370 include the rice?

          • No, because there are several ways to eat the resulting dish, with or without rice, in a burrito, as taco filling, etc. There are so many things you can do with it. :)

  8. Max Viuff says:

    Hello Beth, I was wondering if it is possible to just use a normal cooking pot for this, as I do not have a slow cooker myself, nor the money for one at this point in time.

    – Max

    • Yes, you can let it simmer on low in a regular pot on the stove and it will also cook much faster. You’ll only need to cook it long enough for the chicken to become tender and shredable. Check it after an hour.

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