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2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

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2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken |

Oh good grief.

I have been making slow cooker shredded chicken for years. And I have been making homemade salsa for years and years and years. But it was not until this year that the lightbulb finally decided to click on, I realized that chicken and salsa were a ridiculously obvious match made in crockpot heaven.

Brilliant or obvious? You decide.

Either way, if you love Mexican shredded chicken, this one falls in the must-try category. Why?

It only requires 2 ingredients. It takes less than 2 minutes to prep. And then once your slow cooker has worked its magic, it takes less than 2 minutes to shred. And then this wonderfully seasoned, simple, juicy, flavorful chicken is yours “2” enjoy on countless dishes. (Couldn’t resist.)

Here’s the how “2”. (Ok, somebody help me.)

2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken |

Sorry, I still can’t get over the fact that it took me until I was 30 to think of this. Moving on…

2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken |

To make this salsa chicken, just pop some raw chicken in a slow cooker. (I didn’t want to mess with bones, so went with chicken breasts for easy shredding.)  Then cover it with lots of your favorite salsa. (I used the restaurant-style salsa that I posted yesterday.)  Season it with some extra salt and pepper, give it a stir, and then let your slow cooker do its thing.

2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken |

After about 4 hours (or all day long while you’re at work), pop off that lid, and the chicken should fall apart into shredded, juicy, salsa-y perfection.

2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken |

I popped half of mine into some tortillas along with avocado to make these simple chicken soft tacos. But the salsa chicken would work perfectly on just about any other Mexican chicken dish you can imagine — quesadillas, taquitos, salads, chimichangas, you name it.

2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken |

The key is just to use really good salsa, since the seasonings in the salsa are obviously what will flavor the chicken. Remember, too, that the chicken will release plenty of its own juices during cooking. So don’t be afraid to use some salsa with an extra “kick”, since the intensity of its flavor will get watered down slightly while cooking. I also recommend seasoning the meat with extra salt and pepper before cooking. (And if you like heat, feel free to throw in an extra jalapeno too.)

I mean seriously. Shredded Mexi chicken could not get any easier. You’ve gotta try it.

2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken |

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2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 30 reviews
  • Prep Time: 1 minutes
  • Cook Time: 240 minutes
  • Total Time: 241 minutes
  • Yield: About 6 cups shredded chicken 1x


All you need are 2 simple ingredients to make this slow cooker shredded chicken — good salsa and chicken!


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs total)*
  • 2 cups favorite salsa
  • salt and pepper
  • (optional: fresh lime wedges for serving)


  1. Place chicken breasts in a slow cooker and cover with salsa. Toss until the chicken is covered.
  2. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (or low for 6-8 hours), or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork. Shred the chicken in the slow cooker and toss with the remaining salsa and juices until well-mixed. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days. (This chicken also freezes well.)
  3. *You can really use just about any cut of chicken for this recipe. For easy shredding though (so that you don’t have to mess with bones), I recommend boneless chicken breasts or thighs. This should be about 2 lbs of chicken total.

2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken |


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145 comments on “2-Ingredient Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken”

  1. I love making this so much! Do you think you can do frozen chicken breasts? 

    • We’re glad to hear that Kelly! We wouldn’t advise using frozen chicken breasts for this though. We’ve learned that putting frozen ingredients in a slow cooker (especially frozen meats) isn’t the safest thing to do. Slow cookers often can’t get frozen meats up to a safe temperature in time, which means your meat will spend too long in the “danger zone” – 40-140 degrees). This While we’ve tried using frozen meats before and been fine (it does work), it’s just too risky, as it raises the likelihood of unsafe bacteria forming, and the possibility of food borne-illnesses.

    • Can I use grilled chicken from Safeway already grilled in the slow cooker & salsa??? Then shred per your recipe???

  2. I used 1 can diced tomatoes and I can diced tomatoes with green chilies instead of fire roasted. I picked the wrong kind of canned tomatoes
    Salsa seems very spicy 
    Should I have used fire roasted tomatoes instead?
    It is still cooking in crock pot 
    I hope it will turn out not too hot. 
    Any idea what to add to make it less spicy?

    • Hi Susi! Hmmm, we use salsa in this, not a can of diced tomatoes and green chiles. But we wonder if the diced tomatoes with green chiles you got were the really hot kind? We usually get mild when we use those. We don’t feel like fire-roasted tomatoes are spicy (they just have awesome flavor)! We recommend making this with salsa, and if you don’t like much heat, we would just go with mild or medium.

  3. I haven´t a slow cooker. How can I cook this ?

    • Hi Magda! Unfortunately this recipe was written for a slow cooker!

    • Hello MN-
      You can most definitely make anything that requires a slow cooker in your oven. Just follow the instructions on the recipe and rather than putting it in a slow cooker, put it in like a duth oven pot with a cover… A pot that is oven safe with a oven safe lid. Then follow the instructions on the recipe to cook it on LOW by cooking it in your oven at 250 degrees.

      Hope that helps!

  4. Hi . . can you tell me how many pounds for the 4 chicken breasts…. Just completely new to cooking to would like some advice ..many thanks 

    • Hi Mike! We call each portion a boneless skinless chicken breast, but we use chicken breast halves in this recipe. So just use 4 chicken breast halves (should be around 2 lbs). We hope you enjoy the recipe!

  5. I love this recipe and use it all the time! One thing I add to make it 3 ingredients is a packet of taco seasoning. It gives it great flavor. 

  6. I love this recipe and make it all the time! One thing I add is a packet of taco seasoning. It gives it great flavor! 

    • Thanks for sharing Maureen — we’re glad to hear you enjoy this! :)

  7. So simple, it’s even delicious to keep the chicken breast un-shredded and served over Mexican rice. :) 

    • We’re glad you enjoyed this Brittany, and that’s a great sounding idea! :)

  8. This was awesome! You were correct about adding salt and pepper, I’m trying to go easy on sodium so only added plenty of fresh ground pepper and had to add salt at the end. I used fresh chunky medium salsa and added some red pepper flakes, it was not too spicy for us. This recipe will be used all year, made tacos last night and will be great for sandwiches or adding to salads. Thanks for the simplest most delish thing ever!

  9. This sounds delicious – I wonder if it could be used with other meats? Like pork?

    • Thanks Alyssa, we hope you enjoy! And we think you could definitely try this with pork butt/shoulder!

  10. Hi there! I would love to make this and be able to log it in the calorie counting app that I use. Would you happen to have an estimate of how many calories would be in, say, a 1 cup size serving?

    • Hi Mary! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  11. Who doesn’t just love recipes like this. This is unforgettable, impossible to mess up too! I used a mango peach salsa and threw in an adobe chili pepper… Soo looking forward to eating this tonight!

    • Thanks, Alicia — we hope you love it, and that mango peach salsa you added sounds amazing! :)

  12. Hi there,

    I loooove this recipe ! I was wondering if I could half it (since it’s only me!) or if I could freeze the rest of the chicken?

    Thank you! love your site :)

    • Hi Sasha! You could do half the recipe if you have a smaller slow cooker (4-qt), or you could just freeze the rest of the chicken if you do the full amount. We hope you enjoy! :)

    • If you half the recipe and use the 4 quart do you keep the cook time the same?

  13. I used boneless skinless thighs, sliced onion, sweet peppers and mango & lime salsa, salt & pepper

    • Awesome, we hope you enjoyed it! :)

    • In the oven:
      Preheat to 350°F. Place the chicken breasts in a single layer on the bottom of an 8×8 casserole dish. If you are going to use a packet of taco seasoning, sprinkle it on the breasts, otherwise season with salt and pepper. Then, layer on the salsa (cover the breasts as best you can). Bake for 1 hour or until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
      If you do not plan to shred the breast, you could sprinkle shredded cheese on top 5 minutes before they’re done cooking.

  14. Excited about making this tonight! This is a dumb question but when you say slow cooker are you referring to a “crock pot”? Lol thanks!

  15. If cooking for four hours, do you use the low or high setting on your crock-pot, and do you use the same setting for the whole cook time?

    • Hi Moll — if cooking for four hours, you want to use the high setting for the whole cook time. We hope you enjoy!

  16. Hello! I’m making this for a party tomorrow and would like to double it (4 lbs chicken) in a large crock pot. Would it still cook for 4-hours or should I increase cook time?

    • Hello Samantha! How large is your crockpot? We used a 6-qt one for this. Just make sure yours is large enough! If you cook it on high, it will probably take a bit longer than 4 hours, since it’s much more meat. We’d recommend setting the timer for 4 hours, and then checking the internal temp of the chicken afterwards. You want it to be 165 degrees. We hope this helps!

  17. I love making this. It is so easy and the results are wonderful. For variety, I add a small can of mushrooms and sometimes small black olives. My 99 year old father loves this over mashed potatoes. The second day, I take the left overs and add chicken broth and make soup. I never throw any of this away!

  18. If I wanted to make this in the oven instead of slow cooker, what temperature and how long would you reccomend? Thanks!

  19. I am 84 and I love to cook. most recipes come from internet or cooking shows on tv.
    I saw your recipe for 2 ingredients meal. only two? That would not taste very good
    ‘BOY WAS I WRONG’ That ended up as my number breast recipe, by far.
    I like to change most recipes but not this one, but only had one breast on hand so added
    some pork ribs. Ribs were outstanding.
    my rate 10 stars out of 5 stars.
    thanks for the idea.
    Jerome Darol

  20. Hi Ali,

    Thank you for this recipe! My husband and I caught the bug that was going around during the Holidays, and neither of us had the energy to cook or even to get food to go. I could manage putting chicken and salsa in the slow cooker, though, and it was good–almost like having someone take care of us, it was that easy!

    I’m looking forward to trying more of your recipes!

  21. So easy, so good! BAM! Thank you!

  22. This is seriously delicious. I highly recommend this recipe. Made this yesterday exactly as described and it turned out so amazing. The chicken can be shredded in the pot simply by stirring with a fork. This is now my favorite taco recipe and is so easy to make.

  23. Delicious recipe! Thanks!
    I shredded two of the cooked breasts, but with the other two I just cut them into three large pieces each. I wanted to try it not shredded, too, and it’s very good. I served the salsa chicken on white rice topped with a little bit of shredded cheese. It was a HUGE hit with my family and we will definitely be making it again. (For salsa I used half thick and chunky hot salsa and half mild picante sauce- It was excellent)

  24. Wonderful!! Easy and delicious!

  25. Making this tonight. :)

  26. I made this in a selfish / spiteful mood. “Fine” I said, “cooking is complicated. I understand that.” I showed them 2 pounds of chicken (I used boneless, skinless thighs) and a jar of salsa. “Watch this.”

    A few hours later hubby was having a carb-friendly chicken lettuce wrap. I was having a chicken burrito with shredded cabbage (cole slaw), sour cream and tomatoes. Mother in law was having a chicken salad, with all kinds of vegetables – – and she doesn’t eat veggies!

    5 stars. Lightly spiced shredded chicken can satisfy any non-vegetarian. Thank you for this family and multi-diet friendly recipe.

  27. SInce 2 is the minimum number of ingredients, I don’t think it can get any easier than this.

    It also tastes great.

    We served it with BLACK rice on the side.

    If you’re really ambitious, you can throw a can of black beans, drained, into the crock pot

  28. How many people will it feed

  29. I have been doing this for years and I love it too. (I am not trying to one up anyone) I just use Pace Picante over chicken, beef, short ribs,and pork. I haven’t tried it with seafood like shrimp or fish but it might be worth a try! Just thought I would share.

  30. Loved this recipe but took it one step further and added a packet of taco seasoning. Yummy!

  31. Has anyone tried this just throwing frozen breasts in rather than thawed?

    Wondering if it comes out the same or if you need to add more time/mix mid cook?

    I’m gonna go ahead and run it on high with frozen breasts and let ya’ll know.


  32. Absolutely love this recipe!!! I usually either make it for tacos or it’s really good if you put it on a bed of white rice!!! This is always my go to meal!!

  33. Ridiculously easy and super delicious!

  34. I put in an 8oz stick of Philadelphia cream cheese at the end. Oh so good.

  35. Im trying for the first time!wish me luck

  36. I made this tonight and it was delicious. I put it in the crockpot for four hours. I put frozen boneless chicken breasts and with 2 cups of picante sauce because that’s what I had in the house. Came out perfect! My husband came in from a day of golf and said, “WOW! The house smells amazing! Simply delicious! I chopped up some tomatoes, sliced avocado, shredded cheese, fresh spinach and some fresh lime. Great easy recipe will be a family favorite!!

  37. Wow!!! That is amazing. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I added 2 tbsp taco seasoning to mine. So good I can’t get enough. Thank you for sharing your recipe!!!

    • And I forget to mention I used my hand mixer to shred the chicken. Absolutely worked like a charm. Probably best to put the chicken in a different bowl before you try this. It was messy and I ended up with burning specks of lava liquids on any and all bits of my exposed skin.

  38. I just realized that I poured a 16 oz. bottle of Ortega taco sauce, not salsa on top of 4 breasts. It has been cooking on high for an hour now. Is there something I should add? On hand I only have taco seasoning mix. Will that help? I did salt & pepper the chicken before I added the taco sauce. I do have a 14.5 oz. can of Contadina roma tomatoes diced with roasted garlic & herb. I was afraid to add thinking it would be too much liquid.

  39. I’ve made this two times. 5 stars because it doesn’t get any easier than this. I did season the chicken with my homemade taco seasoning and it certainly is delicious. We use gluten free tortillas, avocado, and a bit of sour cream,a squeeze of fresh lime and a bit of fresh cilantro. Perfect for watching sports! NHL hockey tomorrow night ???

  40. Making this now and it smells delicious!

  41. This has been my go to lately.

    I cook as recommended, then remove the whole chicken instead of shredding it. I uses the remaining salsa in the pot and use it instead on water with white rice. Add some frozen corn to the rice. Cook the rice.

    Serve chicken sliced the short way north the length. Fan to very the rice and enjoy.

  42. Absolutely delicious and foolproof. Made it several times over the last couple of years. You can do a zillion things with it: add to a stir fry, chicken salad with a little Mays (yum), etc. I even used some I froze for chicken croquettes. Thank you for the recipe which is a staple for me.

  43. I put taco seasoning on top of the chicken first then salsa! It’s perfect!

  44. I make this all the time now….it’s so easy and it tastes amazing!! Everyone in my family likes it. We use it so many different ways and it makes different dinner choices. We make chicken tacos with it, we make a nacho bar, we put it on top of rice with cheese and sour cream, sometimes we put it on top of corn chips and or rice with sour cream and cheddar cheese…I know not always the healthiest but SO GOOOD!

    • Oh and I forgot to mention I use store bought mild salsa. Really any kind works. I’ve used some from Aldi which tasted just as good but when I make it for my entire family, I use the kind I know and trust will taste great, Tostitos Mild Chunky Salsa. I’m making it tonight actually. Since I have shared the recipe with others, it became a staple dinner in their house as well, they now make it weekly. It really is one of the best dinners and the easiest.

  45. Ali, I never would have thought of this and I’m so glad you did! So good. I threw some leftover jalapeño and green chili’s into the pot too, and we had burritos that included the chicken broth rice (also brilliant).
    Adding this to regular rotation!

  46. One of our favorite meals for the entire family and so easy! Making it now actually on this rainy busy day, I can put it in the c pot and then leave, get the kids from school, take for hair cuts and then when we get home literally just throw it on the table. We do it on top of rice or corn chips, scoops. Etc. We also make nachos the next night. Don’t forget some sour cream and shredded cheese on top of eating over rice or chips…DELISH!

  47. It did turn out great however I almost gave it four stars because, if I would not have tweaked this recipe it would have been a burnt mess? I added some water and it was done in 3 hours cooked on low not high!!? Chicken broth might have been better but I didn’t have any on hand. I’m not sure why it worked without burning for so many other people at the recommended temperature and length of time with no added liquid? At any rate for a little crap and super easy I seasoned also with chili powder.

    • Did you use enough salsa? If you use a jar of salsa or at least a cup per pound, it shouldn’t burn. I do add some extra sometimes, but not always. I normally just use a large jar, about 24oz.

  48. I tried this recipe & it came out absolutely delicious!! Didn’t follow exactly, just one very large boneless chicken breast about 1-1/2 lbs. and one 16 oz.of “Organics” Salsa Verde/ Medium. Through in crock pot for about 5 hrs and wow it’s the easiest recipe ever!!! Had with Spanish rice, some avocado slices & sour cream. Will have leftovers in tacos. It’s the best ever…

  49. Quick to throw together. Yummy meal. Served with flour tortillas and condiments.

  50. I am making this right now. Per my preferences, I added 2 other ingredients. I dumped in a can of mixed vegetables as well as some pasta. Still so easy… Just dump it all in and enjoy the aromas in the kitchen while it is cooking.