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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!

chicken tacos in front of slow cooker

Tips for Slow Cooking Chicken

How do you slow cook chicken without drying it out?

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.

How do you lift the chicken breasts up from 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!

How Long Does it Need to Cook?

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!)

Do you need to add water?

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.

shredded cabbage with chicken 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.

seasoning mix over chicken in slow cooker

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.

cooked chicken shredded in slow cooker

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.

shredded chicken taco filling added to shells

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:

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!

slow cooker chicken taco lettuce wraps
slow cooker chicken tacos stacked together

Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

4.93 from 26 votes
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos cook to tender perfection, with a sneaky ingredient inside. These healthy tacos make an easy weeknight dinner and are so flavorful!
prep10 mins cook3 hrs total3 hrs 10 mins


  • 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.
    shredded cabbage with chicken on top
  • 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.
    seasoning mix over chicken in slow cooker
  • 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.
    cooked chicken shredded in 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.
    shredded chicken taco filling added to shells



Nutrition information is for the taco meat only. This information is automatically calculated, and is just an estimate, not a guarantee.
You can use chicken thighs instead of breasts, if you prefer. They tend to stay more tender, without drying out in the slow cooker, so they can cook longer, if needed for your schedule.


Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 727mg | Potassium: 508mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 260IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: paleo
Keyword: slow cooker chicken tacos

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!

Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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  1. Love how simple and delicious these chicken tacos are. Never would have thought to add in cabbage, but it totally works.