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 Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Bowls 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.
Taco Chicken Bowls are 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 still hope. Just stuff the chicken mixture inside of a tortilla with a little cheese and roll it up 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.
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.
Recipe, prices, and photos updated 8/27/16
Slow Cooker Taco Chicken Bowls
- 1½ lbs. chicken breasts $2.60*
- 16 oz. jar salsa $2.15
- 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
- 15 oz. can black beans $0.69
- ½ lb. frozen corn $0.73
- 1 Tbsp chili powder $0.30
- ½ Tbsp cumin $0.15
- ½ tsp dried oregano $0.05
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper $0.03
- Freshly cracked pepper $0.03
- 6 cups cooked rice $0.60
- 8 oz. shredded cheddar $2.59
- 3 green onions, sliced (or fresh cilantro) $0.23
- Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a 5 quart or larger slow cooker. Drain the black beans and add them to the slow cooker along with the salsa and corn. Add ¼ cup water, plus the minced garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, some freshly cracked pepper (about 10-15 cranks of a pepper mill).
- Give the ingredients a brief stir to distribute the spices. Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
- After 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high, carefully remove the lid of the slow cooker. Stir with a fork to shred the chicken (it should be very tender and will shred easily). Taste the chicken mixture and add salt if needed.
- To build the bowls, place one cup of rice in the bottom of a bowl and top with 1 cup of the shredded chicken mixture. Top with a little cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of sliced green onions.
See This Recipe in Action:
Step By Step Photos
Place two large chicken breasts (about 1.5 lbs.) in the bottom of a slow cooker. I always buy my chicken breasts in large packs on sale, then individually wrap and freeze them for later.
Drain one 15oz. can of black beans and add them to the slow cooker along with a 16oz. jar of salsa and 1/2 pound of frozen corn (no need to thaw the corn first–the small kernels thaw quickly once the slow cooker is turned on. Do not, however, use frozen chicken breasts because they may take too long to come up to a safe temperature in the slow cooker.)
I usually just use a generic salsa for this dish, but I like generic salsa just fine. The type of salsa you use will greatly impact the flavor the of the overall dish, so make sure you use one that you like. This time around I found a “fire roasted” generic salsa, so I got that for a little extra smokey flavor. :)
Add 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 Tbsp chili powder (mild), 1/2 Tbsp cumin, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, and some freshly cracked pepper (about 10-15 cranks of a pepper mill).
Add about 1/4 cup water to help the ingredients combine when you stir. Briefly stir to distribute the spices.
Secure the lid on your slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours. This is after 4 hours on high–doesn’t look much different!
BUT by this time the chicken is SO tender that just stirring the mixture will make it fall apart. Stir the pot or use two forks to shred the chicken.
When all the chicken is shredded it’s time to eat! You can taste the mixture and add salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your beans and salsa. I didn’t add any this time.)
To build the bowls, place one cup cooked rice in the bottom of a bowl and top it with one cup of the chicken mixture. Sprinkle a little shredded cheddar cheese on top followed by a few sliced green onions. Done! How easy is that?
Or you can eat the Taco Chicken Bowls not as a bowl, but as an actual taco. Just stuff the chicken mixture into a tortilla, top with cheese or sour cream, and you’re good to go!