This week I played around with the concept for my classic Taco Chicken Bowls and made a “green” salsa version, or Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Chicken Bowls. Salsa is kind of a secret weapon when it comes to the using a slow cooker. It adds flavor, color, and texture to the pot all in one swoop. Although I did add a little extra seasoning to my chicken, you could practically just combine meat and salsa in a slow cooker and have it turn out quite delicious.
Make it a Bowl, or Not
I kept this Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Verde fairly simple, then combined it with a few fresh ingredients to make a really amazing bowl meal. I’ve listed the ingredients for the “bowl” in the recipe and price calculation below, but this chicken would still be really awesome if you just served it over hot rice on its own (with a couple spoonfuls of the juices from the pot, of course!). So, you don’t have to get all fancy with the “bowl” concept like I did, if you don’t want to. ;)
What Type of Green Salsa is Best?
There is no right answer here. Just make sure it’s a green salsa that you’ve tried and that you know you like, as the salsa is the main flavor in this dish. I used Goya this time around because it was the most budget friendly. You can see a photo of the bottle in the step by step photos below the recipe.
Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Verde Bowls
SLOW COOKER SALSA VERDE CHICKEN
- 1 yellow onion ( $0.25)
- 1 bell pepper ($0.87)
- 2 lb. chicken pieces*, skins removed ($4.22)
- 1 tsp ground cumin ($0.10)
- 1/4 tsp salt ( $0.02)
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder ($0.02)
- Freshly cracked black pepper ($0.05)
- 1 16oz. jar salsa verde ($2.69)
- 4 cups cooked rice ($0.64)
- 1 15oz. can black beans ($1.00)
- 1 jalapeno ($0.20)
- 2 oz. queso fresco** ($0.60)
- 1 lime ($0.33)
- 1 handful fresh cilantro ($0.25)
- Slice the onion and bell pepper, then lay them into the bottom of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Place the chicken pieces on top of the onion and bell peppers. Sprinkle the cumin, salt, garlic powder, and some freshly cracked pepper onto the chicken pieces. Pour the salsa over top.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for 8 hours.
- After cooking, carefully remove the chicken pieces with tongs. Use the tongs to retrieve the onion an d bell peppers from the liquid in the slow cooker. Serve the chicken with the onion and bell pepper, and a spoonful or two of the juices from the slow cooker.
- To build the bowls, thinly slice the jalapeño and crumble the queso fresco. Drain and rinse the black beans. Place a cup of cooked rice in a bowl, add one or two pieces of chicken, 1/4 of the beans, a few slices of jalapeño, a little crumbled queso fresco (about 1/2 oz.), and some fresh cilantro leaves. Cut a lime into wedges and squeeze the juice over top just before serving.
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Scroll down to see the step by step photos!
Step by Step Photos
Slice one yellow onion and one bell pepper. Place the slices in the bottom of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker.
Place 2 lbs. chicken pieces (skin removed) on top of the onion and bell pepper, then sprinkle 1 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, and some freshly cracked pepper onto the chicken. You can use any type of chicken pieces here, bone-in or boneless. Just make sure to remove the skin. Usually the skin can just be easily peeled off by hand.
Pour one 16oz. jar of salsa verde over the chicken.
Just because I know you’ll ask–I used this Goya salsa, mainly just because it was the best priced salsa at the store. It’s actually a 17oz. jar, but 16oz. will be plenty.
The salsa will not completely submerge or cover the chicken, but as the pot cooks the chicken and vegetables will release moisture and create enough moisture for the chicken to “stew” in the pot. Place the lid on the cooker and cook on high for four hours or low for eight hours.
After which time it will look like this! The chicken will be SUPER tender at this point, so you have to carefully lift it out of the juices with tongs. You’ll want to fish out the onion and bell pepper with the tongs as well. The liquid in the pot is really delicious and flavorful, so you can use that to spoon over the chicken and whatever you serve it with.
I decided to use my chicken for “bowl” meals, so I prepped some toppings: fresh cilantro, queso fresco, and fresh jalapeño. Slice the jalapeño very, VERY thin. Oh, I also used one 15oz. can of black beans. Just drain and rinse the beans (sorry, forgot a photo!).
This is what the queso fresco that I used looks like. It’s salty, crumbly, and tastes kind of like fresh milk. Very yummy! If you can’t find something similar, Monterey jack or cheddar would also be good.
To build the bowls, just put one cup of cooked rice in a bowl, add a piece of chicken (or two) and some of the onions and peppers from the bottom of the pot. I also spooned some of the liquid from the pot over the chicken and rice. Then add some black beans, queso fresco, a few slices of jalapeño, and fresh cilantro. Cut a lime into wedges, then squeeze the juice over the bowl just before serving!
Can you use frozen peppers and onions? I a bag in my freezer I need to use up!
Yes, you could use those in this recipe. :)
So so good! It was such a success. I’ve already made it twice so far. It will be one of our go-to family recipes!
So, I went to make this today, had everything in the crockpot ready to go, up to putting all the spices on the chicken, when I realized I didn’t buy any salsa verde 😂
I made this an it was excellent. I mixed a little honey with the sauce an it was amazing an it toned down the the heat from the spices.
Where did you find queso fresco for $0 .60 an oz? I bought the exact same pack and it cost $6 so about double what yours cost. Excited to make this though!
Per 2oz I meant, sorry.
Unfortunately I don’t remember now where I bought it for this recipe (that was back in 2016), but I will say that I have seen quite a price difference in queso fresco from store to store. It seems like some stores have it priced super high, like it’s a specialty item, and other stores have it dirt cheap. Definitely check out any international markets if you have them.
I’m curious why no chicken skin? I love the extra fat..:)
I don’t like using skin in the slow cooker because it turns kind of soggy, but you can certainly use it if you prefer. :) (I LOVE skin when cooking in the oven, because the dry cooking environment makes it nice and crispy)
I made this for dinner tonight! THIS WAS AMAZING! I used a little more seasoning than called for and it turned out amazing. It tastes authentic! Even my hubby who hates spicy food enjoyed it! Thank you for for posting this! Super good!
What settings and time would you use to cook this in an Instant Pot?
Unfortunately I’m not an expert at converting recipes to an Instant Pot, but I’d probably just try 30 minutes high pressure first.
This is delicious! I make this often!
Hi Beth, if I wanted to use boneless and skinless chicken thighs, would it still be 2lbs or 1.5lb to account for the no bones?
I think it’s flexible enough that the marinade could handle up to 2 lbs. boneless. :) 1/2 lb. difference shouldn’t affect the slow cooker cooking time, either. It may even be faster without the bones.