Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos are an easy weeknight meal, with a sneaky serving of veggies inside. The taco filling is so flavorful, no one will even notice that they are healthier!
Tips for Slow Cooking Chicken
Keep the chicken breast lifted up and away from the bottom of the pot, and cook at “low” heat in the slow cooker, so that it doesn’t get overcooked.
This comes from my experience with cooking Instant Pot Chicken Breasts. If you’ve ever tried it, you know that chicken breasts seem to turn out more tender when they are NOT in direct contact with the bottom of the pot.
With veggies! It’s practical, adds extra nutrition to your meal, and you don’t need to buy any special equipment.
In this case, you’ll add some shredded cabbage to the bottom of the slow cooker. If you use green cabbage, you can hardly tell it’s in there once you shred the chicken. Seriously, my husband had NO CLUE when he tasted these!
Chicken cooks quickly in the slow cooker, so I always recommend using a low setting to keep it as moist and juicy as possible. This will vary by the size of the chicken breasts you use, but it typically takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours for a 10-12 ounce chicken breast to reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.
Since most people plan to let their slow cooker run for at least 3 hours, it seems that cooking at low heat is a safe bet. If you need dinner done faster, I’ve cooked chicken in as little as 1 1/2 hours using the high setting. (This works well with my Slow Cooker Butter Chicken, if you haven’t tried it yet!)
No! You don’t need to add any liquid to the slow cooker when cooking chicken breasts, because they will release plenty of juices as they cook.
How to Make Them
This recipe comes together quickly, especially if you start with a bag of pre-shredded cabbage. Grease the bottom of your slow cooker with a little olive oil, then layer cabbage evenly on top.
Place the chicken breasts on top of the cabbage in a single layer, without overlapping. Drizzle a tablespoon of lime juice over the chicken.
Stir together the homemade taco seasoning, then sprinkle half of it over the chicken. Flip the chicken breasts over and season the other side. Sprinkle any extra seasoning over the cabbage, so it’s all nicely seasoned.
Set the slow cooker to cook on low heat for 3 to 4 hours.
You’ll know the chicken is done when it’s reached an internal temperature of 165ºF, but it’s okay if it goes a little higher than that, because the cabbage will help keep it moist.
Use two forks to shred the chicken. The ultra-tender cabbage will naturally mix in with the shredded chicken, and you can adjust any seasoning, as needed, at this point.
How to Serve Them
Serve these slow cooker chicken tacos warm, in your favorite taco shell with any toppings you like. If you follow food combining, or are on a grain-free diet, you can also use lettuce leaves as the “taco shell” instead!
Here are some of my favorite topping ideas:
- Shredded lettuce
- Homemade guacamole
- Tomatillo salsa (or any store-bought salsa)
- Cheese (or vegan nacho cheese, for a dairy-free topping)
- Sliced jalapenos
- Green onions
This taco filling also makes a great topping for a burrito bowl. Try my Instant Pot Quinoa Burrito Bowls for a protein-packed option. However you serve them, I hope you’ll enjoy this easy recipe soon!
Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8-12 ounces shredded cabbage (I buy pre-shredded to save time)
- 1.5 pounds boneless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- Grease the slow cooker with the olive oil, then arrange the shredded cabbage evenly on the bottom. Arrange the chicken breasts on top of the cabbage, and drizzle them with the lime juice.
- In a small bowl, stir together the paprika, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture on both sides of the chicken, and dump any extra seasoning into the pot over the cabbage. Top with the minced garlic.
- Secure the lid and cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165ºF in 3 hours, but it can stand being in there longer, if needed. Use two forks to shred the chicken, and toss it with the shredded cabbage directly in the slow cooker.
- Serve warm in taco shells or lettuce leaves, with all of your favorite toppings. Leftover chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
If you try these Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos, please leave a comment below letting me know how you like them. And if you make any modifications, I’d love to hear about those, too!
Reader Feedback: Do you have any other slow cooker requests? Let me know in the comments below!
Questions and Reviews
Looks delish, would it work in instant pot you think?
Also here to see if there is an Instant Pot version 😀
I’ll try it with the Instant Pot next time to see how it works!
Hi, Megan. Do you have an idea for a more nutrient dense replacement for the cabbage? I have a child with DS who has calorie restrictions, so I really try to use ingredients that will provide tons of vitamins/nutrients. I appreciate your thoughts, and I love your recipes. Thanks
Hmm… I’d have to think about that! You can add more nutrient-dense calories with the toppings, like adding avocado or cheese, but I’m not sure what else might “blend in” as well as the cabbage does with the shredded chicken. Maybe cooked spaghetti squash?
I was so excited to try this and it did not disappoint! The flavor is amazing and it was so easy. I used the slow cooker function on my instant pot (I’m interested to hear if anyone tries this recipe with pressure cooking). Also my shredded cabbage had carrots in it which made it even more delicious and colorful. I did this for meal prep and I can’t wait to have it this week!
I loved this recipe! Super easy. You can’t taste the cabbage or really even see it once you shred the chicken and the chicken is super moist. I put avocado, onion, green onion, cilantro, lime and salsa on top. Will definitely make again.
Made these with chicken thighs that were only 1/2 defrosted🤦🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️ Cooked on low for 4-5 hrs since the chicken was partially frozen. Used shredded cabbage/carrots mix on the bottom & reserved some for taco assembly. This was such an easy, tasty recipe. Will definitely make this again! Thank you for another great recipe💕 PS. Made plenty, which were great leftovers!
The slow cooker chicken tacos were amazing. I am not a huge fan of cabbage but with the taco seasoning on it and mixed in with the shredded chicken it was great. Another recipe I am sharing with the rest of my family.
I made this on Wednesday and it was excellent. My family loved it. We did it with your burrito bowl idea (brown rice in lieu of quinoa). This is a keeper!
I am amazed that no one on my family even noticed or commented on the cabbage in this! Frankly I’m shocked, as I have some picky eaters! This was delicious.
Yay! That sounds like a win to me!! Thanks for the feedback. 🙂
Made this tonight and it was really yummy! So easy and quick to prepare and tasted delicious! Thanks Megan for another awesome recipe!
Absolutely love this recipe! It will now be in rotation at my house. It was super simple and flavorful. I love the idea of adding in the cabbage, you couldn’t even taste it, but having it there just added the extra veggies that we need. Thank you so much!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Jill. Thanks for your kind review!
These came together so quickly and were very tasty. Husband approved for the make again list!
These were so very good! Husband approved for the make again list!
These are amazing! It took several weeks of prodding from Detoxinista’s newsletter to get me to try them, but I’m so glad I did. I used a full cabbage, at least twice what was called for, but they still came out great- super moist & flavorful.
This is a new family favorite that we’ll eat on repeat during the spring and fall when we receive lots of cabbage from our CSA. YUM!
The chicken looks so tasty 🙂
These are so incredibly good, and the extra bonus is that they are also so incredibly easy! We used the slow cooker function on our Instant Pot, and they came out great. We’re making them again this week. Y😋
What do you use for taco shells?
This was delicious and everyone in my family enjoyed it (which is a major win in and of itself!)Also, no one noticed that cabbage was in the dish and I never said a word. 😉 Simple to prepare and very good. I’ll be making this again.
This is such a quick tasty meal, and it’s so incredibly easy!! The cabbage adds such a nice texture to the delicious chicken meat! Thank you!
This is my go to “Taco Tuesday” meal. My family loves it. I gave out this recipe to two others and they love it!
These are awesome! So impressive yet soooo easy. Thanks for another great recipe!
These chicken tacos are a family favorite and weekly staple in our house!
I made these yesterday – so delicious! I love crock pot meals especially on a Sunday when I am food prepping for the week, or just want a hands off meal. I let it cook on low for about 5 hours and the chicken was juicy and tender.
This was delicious and super quick & easy to make.
This was a great way to get even more veggies into my family’s diet. My kids (ages 6, 5 and 2) had no idea that they were eating cabbage. Thank you for sharing this recipe!
This was amazing! I was a vegan for a long time and a vegetarian even longer. It is difficult for me to enjoy eating and cooking chicken. With that said, I decided to start cooking chicken at home to give my family a wider variety of healthy options to eat. I made tacos the first night and enchiladas the next day. Both were amazing! Thank you for an easy, fantastic, healthy recipe. I can’t believe that the cabbage blends so well with the chicken. I used a coleslaw mix and it worked perfectly even though there was purple cabbage. Definitely 5 stars!
Every time I make this recipe I don’t know what to do with the cooked cabbage on the bottom. Any ideas please?
When you shred the chicken, the cabbage should mix into it. The cabbage should become part of the shredded chicken mixture, so you get extra veggies in each serving.
ahhhhhh SMART…. i feel silly, i threw the cabbage away 🙁 but we enjoyed the chicken! lol
Is there a way to make this with instapot pressure function? I’m a little concerned about histamine with slow cooking. thank you
This is amazing! I generally add double the meat and seasoning to have leftovers. Highly recommend!
Thank you, Rachel! I really appreciate the feedback. 🙂
Yum! My family loves this tasty 🌮
Wow! Simple yet delicious 🤤
Made it in the pressure cooker and it was a hit with the whole fam!
Love how simple and delicious these chicken tacos are. Never would have thought to add in cabbage, but it totally works.