Easy Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken
Easy to make and oh-so satisfying, this crockpot cilantro lime chicken is perfect for stuffing into warm tortillas! It’s elevated by the most flavorful homemade cilantro lime sauce and can be made with either chicken breasts or chicken thighs.
About this Recipe
Wildly easy to make with ultra satisfying results, this crockpot cilantro lime chicken is perfect for stuffing into warm tortillas or with rice and beans.
Since it makes tons of leftovers, this pulled chicken is the perfect thing to meal prep on busy weeks and use throughout the week in a variety of meals!
Yes, we love a quick and easy slow cooker recipe around here, and this one fits the bill as all you have to do it blend up the sauce and dump it in the slow cooker along with the chicken.
Now, the secret to elevating plain chicken breasts into something special is to cook them low & slow in a delicious sauce.
And this cilantro lime sauce is one of my all-time favorites – it’s vibrant, tangy, herby, and packed with flavor.
But don’t let the mention of a homemade sauce stop you from making this recipe, it only takes a few ingredients and a few minutes to make.
This recipe is fantastic made with either chicken breasts or chicken thighs, so you can keep your options open and use whichever you’ve got on hand!
Process & Tips
This slow cooker chicken couldn’t be simpler to throw together and is easy enough for a weeknight!
Simply add your chicken and sauce, set the timer and let your crockpot do all the hard work for you.
Before you know it you’ll have a bunch of fork-tender shredded chicken tossed in the tastiest sauce ready to use all week long.
I love that the cilantro lime sauce is a cinch to make and is ready with just a quick whiz in the blender or food processor.
You can even make it up to 5 days in advance and store it covered in the fridge for even faster day-of prep.
Note: If you make the sauce ahead, it may lose some of its vibrant color, but don’t worry – it will still taste great! The sauce also freezes well, so make a double batch for next time you want to make this recipe.
This shredded cilantro lime chicken is delicious as a simple filling for tacos – simply serve with warm corn or flour tortillas, plus any taco toppings you like (think sour cream, chopped onion, sliced jalapeno, and crumbled cotija cheese!).
If you’re not feeling tacos, the slow cooker cilantro lime chicken is also lovely served over cooked white or brown rice, or quinoa.
You could even serve it with some grilled or roasted veggies, or over a bed of cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.
Fun Variations to Try
Feel free to leave out the honey for a low-carb and Whole30 compatible version.
If you like a little more heat, feel free to add sliced jalapenos on top before serving or some red pepper flakes.
Bulk up this recipe by adding 1 cup fresh or frozen defrosted corn kernels and one can of drained and rinsed black beans.
Create your own loaded cilantro lime chicken burrito bowls by serving it with cooked rice, corn, black beans, shredded romaine, and pile it high with fun toppings like this easy 4-ingredient guacamole and fresh tomato salsa.
Ingredients & Modifications
Chicken breasts: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, but chicken thighs would also work in their place. If you want to use frozen chicken, be sure to thaw it fully before adding to your slow cooker.
Cilantro: Since it’s the signature, star ingredient of the cilantro lime sauce, fresh cilantro works best for this recipe. Aside from the fresh & herby flavor, it adds a gorgeous vibrant green color that makes this simple sauce feel special enough to serve for any occasion. Note that since this sauce is blended it’s fine to use both the cilantro stems and leaves.
Garlic: I love the flavor of fresh garlic in this recipe, especially given that we’re using so few ingredients. But you could also use garlic powder in its place.
Avocado oil: I love the light flavor of the avocado oil in this recipe. But you can also use any other neutral flavored oil in its place like olive, vegetable or canola oil.
Ground cumin: The earthy flavor of the ground cumin complements the other ingredients in this sauce so well. It’s one of my favorite & most versatile spices to keep on hand in my pantry!
Lime juice: The lime juice adds a bright, fresh and tangy flavor to this sauce and pairs so well with the cilantro. You could also use fresh lemon juice in its place.
Honey: This ingredient is entirely optional, but the natural sweetness of the honey can provide a nice balance to the other flavors in this recipe. For a whole30, low carb or low sugar version, simply omit the honey entirely.
Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store (it has a subtler flavor). Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.
Tips for Storing & Freezing Leftovers
Cooked chicken will keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.
This recipe also freezes well, simply store in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months.
Easy Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken
- ⅔ cup Cilantro Lime Sauce, divided (ingredients below)
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
For the Cilantro Lime Sauce
- ¼ cup avocado oil, or other neutral flavored oil
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 cups packed cilantro
Optional serving suggestions
- Easy Guacamole
- Warm tortillas, sour cream, chopped onion, sliced jalapeno
- Add the oil, garlic, salt, cumin, lime juice, honey and cilantro to a blender or food processor. Blend on low until just combined.
- Add the chicken to a 6-quart slow cooker. Pour over half the sauce, stirring to coat the chicken. Set the remaining sauce aside. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours, or low for 5-6, or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork. Do not uncover during this time.
- Uncover and remove the chicken to a cutting board. Shred with a fork or chop into pieces.
- Add the chicken back to the slow cooker along with the cooking juices and remaining sauce, stirring to combine. Taste and add additional lime juice or salt if desired. Serve with warm tortillas and any toppings you like.
This is so easy and delicious! My family all loved it. A new rotation regular and a nice adaptation to taco night!!!
Erin, woohoo, so happy to hear you enjoyed this one. Thanks so much for leaving a review!
The cilantro lime sauce was really delicious and easy to put together (I made it the day before). We have a meal’s worth of leftovers as well. Slow cooker recipes are great for busy days!
Laura, yay, so happy to hear you enjoyed this one and that you have some leftovers as well. Definitely a win! Thanks so much for leaving a review!
This was excellent! I had zero plans for dinner and made this in our instant pot. My two kids loved it and my husband and I did as well. I didn’t have cilantro and used green onions and a can of green chiles. I definitely want to try with cilantro next time! So good!
Yay, so happy to hear you enjoyed this one. Thanks so much for leaving a review!
Delicious recipe. The chicken turned out really moist. Added a pot of cooked rice and sautéed some veggies for an easy side. This was great to make on Sunday and now gave leftovers for the week.
Kelly, yay for yummy leftovers! Love the idea of rice and veggies on the side. So easy and delish. Thanks so much for leaving a review!
Sound so delicious! Just to confirm, it’s 3 pounds of chicken for 6 servings? That seems like a lot of chicken for 6 servings. Thanks!
Jamie, yes, three pounds is correct, and the nutrition info is calculated for 6 servings, but you can definitely make this recipe stretch to serve more, especially if using as a taco filling. It also freezes well if you end up with leftovers. Hope you enjoy!
So easy and so delicious! If you enjoy cilantro, give this recipe a try. I added a can of rinsed black beans, as suggested to add “bulk.” I think next time I’ll have some jalapeño on hand to toss on top when serving. YUM!!!
Jennifer, so happy to hear you enjoyed this one — love that you added the beans and additional jalepeno sounds delish. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!
When you add the remaining sauce back into the crockpot with the chicken, do you warm up for an additional amount of time? Also when you add the corn and black beans I assume it would be in this last step?
Can’t wait to try this!
Amanda, when testing I found that the slow cooker and chicken were hot enough that adding the sauce didn’t drop the temperature significantly, and so there was no need to add additional cook time at the end. However, if you want to warm the sauce up on high for 3-5 minutes covered at the end of the cook time, that’s totally fine. If you’d like to add corn and black beans to bulk things up, then yes, I recommend adding those at the end along to the sauce. In this case you would want to add 15-30 minutes to warm the bean and corn trough. I hope you enjoy!
This recipe is worth it for the sauce alone! I may have been eating it with a spoon. Just take my word for it that you should double that. 🙂 I threw in some scallions that I had into the sauce as well. I did 2 chicken breasts and 2 thighs. I had frozen chicken so I threw it in my instant pot for an hour and it was perfect. I just shredded and then added the rest of the sauce. Super good and versatile to have over rice, veggies, salad, in tacos! This will definitely be added to our rotation.
I also want to just make that sauce and have it over everything. Eggs, tacos, steak, southwest salads, etc.
Hailey, woohoo, so happy you enjoyed the sauce, it’s one of my favs too. I agree with your rec to double it to have on hand for anything and everything. Thanks so much for leaving a review!
Robyn, this was SUPERB! I added fresh spinach and served it over brown rice. The recipe makes enough for a taco dinner tomorrow night ‼️
Many thanks for your fabulous, healthy recipes .
Martha, thank you so much for your kind words, they are appreciated! I love that you bulked up on the veggies by adding spinach — brilliant! Thanks again for leaving a review!