6-Ingredient Slow Cooker Enchilada Chicken
This easy recipe for shredded chicken for enchiladas is totally simple, completely delicious and the perfect weeknight crockpot recipe. Plus this chicken recipe is gluten-free and dairy-free, Paleo, and Whole30 compliant too!
About this Recipe
This Slow Cooker Enchilada Chicken recipe makes a regular appearance at our house because it is just so darn simple and versatile.
Plus it uses ingredients that you likely already have on hand in your pantry and fridge or freezer.
Meaning no special trip to the grocery store required!
Since this saucy chicken is also free of artificial ingredients, preservatives, and is gluten-free & dairy-free, it will work for just about everyone.
Hands down one of my favorite slow cooker chicken recipes I’ve ever made!
Tip: After you throw this easy recipe in the slow cooker just put out additional toppings such as avocado, guacamole, cilantro, radishes, sliced green onions, grated cheese, fresh tomato salsa and/or sour cream for a build-your-own bowls, tacos, burritos, or enchiladas night!
Process & Tips
If you’ve read my book, then you know I’m all about simplifying things.
Less decisions = less stress.
So at least one dinner a week, I make an easy slow cooker chicken recipe and this is one of my family’s favorites.
This enchilada chicken comes together with just 5 minutes hands-on prep time and can be used to build lots of different meals.
Since it’s a true dump and go crockpot recipe, all you have to do is add all your ingredients to your slow cooker and let it work its magic.
Before you know it you’ll have chicken tender enough to easily shred between two forks, then you can toss it together in the delicious sauce & squeeze over a bit of lime juice – and dinner is done!
Uses for Shredded Enchilada Chicken
Just like my easy slow cooker carnitas, we love that this makes a lot of leftovers that can be used lots of ways.
We enjoy this enchilada chicken tucked into warm tortillas, in lettuce wraps (Bibb or romaine lettuce work well), on brown rice, topping a heaping bed of greens, or atop baked potatoes to make it a complete meal.
Here’s a few more recipe pairings to get you inspired!
Recipe Adaptations & Suggestions
If you like things a little spicy, go ahead and add a few healthy dashes of hot sauce, too.
A quick note that this recipe makes plenty of yummy enchilada sauce to go with the chicken, but if you prefer something a little less saucy, simply half the amount of tomato sauce used.
I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe but you can also use chicken thighs if you prefer.
Tip: If you want to make this in the instant pot instead of your slow cooker, I have a full post walking you through the pressure cooker version.
Ingredients & Modifications
Chicken breasts: I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts for this recipe but you can also use chicken thighs if you prefer. If you want to use frozen chicken, be sure to fully thaw it before adding to your crockpot.
Tomato sauce: Be sure to use canned tomato sauce in this recipe. Diced or whole tomatoes will not work well. Tomato sauce brands are very inconsistent from thin to thick, so if you want a thicker sauce add less tomato sauce.
Onions: Since we’re using so few ingredients, I love the extra savory and home cooked feel that the onions add to this dish. Plus it’s great that you don’t have to saute or brown them before adding to your slow cooker! But if you can’t have or don’t like onions, feel free to skip them.
Cumin: Together with the lime juice and chili powder, the earthy flavor of the cumin creates the delicious flavor for this shredded enchilada chicken.
Mild chili powder: This recipe is not spicy. If you like it hot, swap the mild chili powder for hot, and top with your favorite hot sauce.
Garlic powder: I love the convenience and ease of using granulated garlic powder in this recipe, especially since it cuts down on the prep time. But you could use fresh garlic in its place if you prefer.
Lime juice: The lime juice adds a nice brightness and tanginess to this enchilada chicken, and really helps to lift up all the flavors after the low & slow cook time. You could also use lemon juice in its place.
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.
6-Ingredient Slow Cooker Enchilada Chicken
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, or thighs
To Add at the End
- Juice of 1 lime
- Add the sliced onions, tomato sauce, salt, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder to a 6-quart slow cooker, stirring to combine.
- Nestle the chicken into the slow cooker, making sure it is well covered by the tomato mixture.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-7, until the sauce has thickened, the onions are soft, and the chicken is falling apart.
- Remove the chicken and shred with two forks. Add the shredded chicken back to the slow cooker, stirring to combine.
- Add the lime juice and additional salt if desired. Serve warm, adding hot sauce to taste.