With a super short ingredient list, no precooking before turning on the slow cooker, and a veggie-loaded sauce, these Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos with Beans and Veggies is such a delicious family meal. Plus: You can even make it in the Instant Pot for dinner in just 25 minutes!
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
This slow cooker recipe is easy to put together and it’s packed with nutrition from all of the vegetables in the sauce. But, since I know many kids don’t like chunks of veggies, the sauce is blended. This way, you get all the flavor and nutrients, with hopefully a little less fuss. There are also beans in this recipe, adding fiber and satisfaction—and keeping budget in check by not needing too much more expensive chicken.
Mexican Shredded Chicken Tacos
The beauty of this recipe is that in addition to not needing to saute the chicken ahead of time, everything cooks together in the slow cooker (or Instant Pot) and then you simply blend the sauce and shred the chicken. It’s a perfect recipe to make on a weeknight or when you might be a little crunched for time.
Ingredients in Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
To make this slow cooker recipe for kids and the parents in the house, you’ll need:
- Chicken thighs
- Butternut squash, carrots, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and/or onions
- Mild salsa
- Chickpeas, pinto beans, or black beans (fully cookes)
TIP: If you want, you can chop the veggies on the weekend when you have more time and let them hang out in the fridge in an airtight container until the day you’re ready to make the tacos.
How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos Step-by-Step
Here’s a look at the process involved in making this easy dinner recipe.
- Add the veggies, salsa, cumin, and salt to the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Stir. (photo 1)
- Place the chicken on top in an even layer. (photo 2)
- Seal and cook. (photo 3)
- Remove chicken, blend sauce, and stir in beans. (photo 4)
- Shred the chicken with two forks. (photo 5)
- Stir the chicken back into the sauce and beans. (photo 6)
TIP: The sauce sort of resembles a thick enchilada sauce, though it’s pretty mild.
Can I make this recipe in the Instant Pot?
Yes, it works really well and is fast! See the recipe section below for details.
How should I serve this to my kids?
Shredded chicken tends to be easier for toddlers (and older babies) to eat, and it’s also a great option here since it’s so easy to bite into! For older kids, they can assemble their own tacos with tortillas, the filling, and any toppings they like. For younger kids, serve the tortilla, filling, and toppings side by side on a plate.
Tips for the Best Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
- Use a mild salsa you like the flavor of. (You can use a medium spice one if your kids like spiciness more!)
- Place the chicken in an even layer.
- Use chicken tenders instead of chicken thighs if you’d like.
- Try pinto beans, chickpeas, or black beans depending on what your family likes.
- Serve the chicken mixture over rice for an easy take on burrito bowls.
- Serve with tortillas, shredded cheese, and any other taco toppings you like.
- Serve deconstructed with the taco ingredients side by side for younger toddlers who may not be able to hold and eat a taco just yet.
I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe, so please comment below to share!Print
The combination of vegetables listed below delivers really nice flavor and consistency to the sauce, but if you want to simplify, you can just use 2 of the options. This recipe was updated in September 2019 to add an Instant Pot option.
- 2 cups diced veggies such as onion, carrot, red/yellow/orange bell pepper, and/or sweet potato
- 3/4 cup mild salsa
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 pound chicken thighs
- 2 cups (or one 14.5 ounce can) garbanzo, black, or pinto beans
- 8 small corn or flour tortillas
- Cheese, salsa, guacamole, avocado for serving
- Add the vegetables, salsa, cumin, and salt to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Spread the chicken thighs over the top in a single layer.
- In the slow cooker: Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or on HIGH for 4-5 hours in the slow cooker.
In the Instant Pot: Add 1/4 water to the vegetable mixture. Seal and cook on HIGH for 8 minutes, naturally release the pressure for 5 minutes, then quick release.
- Remove chicken, set aside on a plate, and shred with 2 forks.
- Puree the vegetable mixture with an immersion blender or by transferring to a regular blender.
- Return to the slow cooker with the chicken. Add the beans and stir to combine. Cover and let sit on warm until ready to serve.
- Serve with tortillas and any taco toppings your family likes.
Use a mild salsa you like the flavor of. (You can use a medium spice one if your kids like spiciness more!)
Place the chicken in an even layer.
Use chicken tenders instead of chicken thighs if you’d like.
Try pinto beans, chickpeas, or black beans depending on what your family likes.
Serve the chicken mixture over rice for an easy take on burrito bowls.
Serve with tortillas, shredded cheese, and any other taco toppings you like.
Serve deconstructed with the taco ingredients side by side for younger toddlers who may not be able to hold and eat a taco just yet.