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 on divided blue kids plate

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.

The beauty of this shredded chicken tacos 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

Ingredients You Need

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 (you can use a mix or use just squash)
  • Mild salsa
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Chickpeas, pinto beans, or black beans (fully cooked)

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 chicken and bean tacos step by stepStep-by-Step Instructions

Here’s a look at the process involved in making this easy dinner recipe. Scroll down to the bottom of this post for the full information.

  1. Add the veggies, salsa, cumin, and salt to the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Stir. (photo 1)
  2. Place the chicken on top in an even layer. (photo 2)
  3. Seal and cook. (photo 3)
  4. Remove chicken, blend sauce, and stir in beans. (photo 4)
  5. Shred the chicken with two forks. (photo 5)
  6. 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.

family style slow cooker chicken tacosCan 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.

Best Tips for Success

  • 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.
  • You may also like Favorite Instant Pot recipes, Easy Beef Burritos, Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup, and Make-Ahead Toddler Dinners.

I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this recipe, so please comment below to share!

family style slow cooker chicken tacos

Slow Cooker Chicken and Bean Tacos

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.
5 from 7 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours
Total Time 7 hours 10 minutes
Cuisine Mexican
Course Dinner
Calories 424kcal
Servings 6

Ingredients

  • 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 garbanzo, black, or pinto beans (or one 14.5 ounce can)
  • 8 small tortillas (corn or flour)
  • Cheese, salsa, guacamole, avocado for serving

Instructions

  • 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 ¼ 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.

Equipment

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 424kcal, Carbohydrates: 47g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 784mg, Potassium: 623mg, Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 6524IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 102mg, Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I just made this for my 15mo and she loved it! I roughly blended the slow cooked mix and the beans and served with rice.

  2. I love all your recipes. Would this work (served bite sized) for a 9 month old? She has had everything before except the salsa and wasn’t sure if salsa was okay. Definitely thinking my toddler will enjoy this though. Thanks

  3. 5 stars
    I made this in the Instant Pot last night, and it was delicious and super easy! My 5 year old ate an entire taco (rare for him), and kept talking about how good it was! This one is a keeper for sure.

  4. 5 stars
    Delicious! And easy to make! I wasn’t sure if I should peel the sweet potatoes first (I didn’t) or if chicken thighs with skin/bones would work (they did! Very easy to separate after cooking, when shredding) – my family was happy with the results (even my very picky 25mo son!) I used a mix of veggies- sweet potato, carrot, mixed peppers- and opted to skip the onion since I used a sweet onion salsa. Served over rice and topped with avocado. Will definitely make again!

  5. Two questions:
    How long can this be left cooked on the “warm” setting?

    And

    Can you make this with chicken breasts?

    It sounds delicious!

  6. I made this tonight with sweet potato and loved it! It’s great how it sticks together. So much easier for the little ones to eat this in a taco without it all falling out after one bite. Thanks!

  7. 5 stars
    Outstanding. I had 2 lbs of frozen thighs so added 1/4 cup each of salsa and water and did high pressure for 12 min in the Instant Pot. Well-loved by all. Thank you!

    1. I haven’t tried it but I would guess 8-10 minutes on high and manual pressure release when the cooking time is up.

    1. Sure! Just let it cool completely and put it into a freezer container or bag. Up to 3 months would be safe–let thaw overnight in the fridge and warm to serve.