Crockpot Mexican Chicken Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Crockpot Mexican Chicken

30 reviews / 4.3 average

This? Ohhhhh, this.


This is possibly the easiest homemade Mexican food. Ever. Also known as soul-warming, snuggle-up-and-get-cozy sweatshirt and blankie comfort food. Also known as my life, minus the sweatshirt and blankie. And never again will I use the word blankie in writing. Bleh.

Ironically it's something like 110 degrees here, which is not a joke AT ALL and yet still I felt the need to use the sweatshirt analogy? Maybe I've been thinkin' too much about those yummy sweatshirts from Albion Fit. <- pst, that's a giveaway and you should enter.

This ridiculously easy 5-ingredient crockpot Mexican chicken recipe starts with my love of beans.

Pinto beans in a white bowl.

When I think of beans, I think of... well, first I think of lentils. I can't even start on that one because we all know this post will be overtaken with lentil stuffs. And I mean Oooooovertaken.

But coming in at a close second is today's beloved bean: the pinto.

Pinto beans and I have really gotten close in the last few years. I think it has something to do with these perfect veggie burgers that my friends Alex and Sonja introduced to me (seriously - they are perfect), and then the crockpot chalupas that have become a weekly part of my life, and just my love for Mexican-style beans and all Mexican food in general.

Dear Chipotle, I miss you.

Chicken in a crockpot with a wooden spoon.

So how exactly is it possible that this recipe has just FIVE ingredients? I don't even know.

What I do know is that somehow I still managed to get mildly stressed out trying to do a three minute grocery trip to find five ingredients. Bah! This is an unnecessary thought right now (that's me cryptically reassuring my mom that I'm not pregnant) but sometimes I worry about what my life will be like when we have kids. Someone tell me it's not just straight up chaos all the time. Someone?

When you need to slow your life down a little bit and not run all over the grocery store in a tizzy, because I'm sure you're more capable at the hunt for five ingredients than I am, this is your winner.

Five ingredients stand between you and crockpot Mexican chicken. Unless you still need to buy a crockpot. Go! Go now.

Mexican chicken and pinto beans on a tortilla.

Speaking of slow, this guy needs to cook for a long time. Blame it on the beans - they take forever and a half to cook. I started to worry that my chicken was getting dry, so I took it out when it was done and just let it chill (yep) in the refrigerator while the beans cooked their slow selves away. Then a year later when the beans were done, I added the chicken back in the crockpot and shredded it up.

And before this post ends, I'm going to mention just a few of the endless possibilities for customizing this Mexican crockpot goodness into your favorite thing ever.

  1. Leave out the cream cheese.
  2. Add all the cream cheese.
  3. Add corn.
  4. Use canned beans: omit most of the water and reduce the cooking time.
  5. Add corn before cooking.
  6. Add sauteed peppers after cooking.
  7. Use homemade salsa.
  8. Use less beans.
  9. Use more chicken.
Mexican chicken and pinto beans in a tortilla.

TRUTH: the best thing you could give yourself with this warm, saucy crockpot Mexican chicken is a big ol' burrito with a smashed avocado in there for good measure. I repeat: smashed avocado. Do you disagree? Too bad. Not allowed.

On second thought, I will also accept dipping with chips.

It's unnatural how much I love Hint of Lime.

Mexican chicken and pinto beans in a white bowl with avocado.

By the way, how many of these ingredients do you already have?

Burrito, coming your way.

Ingredients on a wooden surface.
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crockpot mexican chicken

Crockpot Mexican Chicken

  • Author: Skillful Cook
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 16 1x


A 5-ingredient recipe for crockpot Mexican chicken and pinto beans. Perfect for easy burritos, tacos, and enchiladas. Quick and easy dinner!


  • 1 jar of your favorite salsa (I like to use 1 1/2 jars... just because)
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts
  • 1 lb. dry pinto beans, rinsed
  • 2-3 tablespoons taco seasoning (1 packet if using store bought)
  • 2 ounces or more light cream cheese (totally optional - just adds creaminess)
  • salt to taste


  1. Place the pinto beans, salsa, and water in a slow cooker or Crockpot. Stir to get the liquid in and around the beans. Place the chicken breasts on top. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours.
  2. After about 3 hours, remove the lid and check on the mixture. Stir to keep the beans from sticking to the bottom and add a little more water if necessary. Don't open the lid more than once or twice - it adds to the cooking time.
  3. When the beans and chicken are cooked, gently shred the chicken with two forks. It should shred very easily. Add the taco seasoning and cream cheese and let the mixture sit for another 15-30 minutes. Serve with rice, tortillas, or chips. Top with avocado, cheese, and cilantro.


If you use canned beans, omit the water and reduce the amount of cooking time. Also, if you are worried about the chicken getting dry, remove the chicken breasts after 3 hours or so when they are fully cooked, store in the fridge, and add them back in at the end. I have tried it both ways and they've both worked fine.
This makes about 8 cups, so I'm roughly calculating 16 servings (about 1/2 cup each).

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Category: Dinner
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: crockpot mexican chicken, mexican chicken, shredded chicken

A 5-ingredient crockpot recipe for Mexican-style chicken and pinto beans. Perfect for easy burritos, tacos, and enchiladas. 185 calories per serving.

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m a bit odd in that I don’t like beans or salsa, leaving me just with the chicken, cream cheese and seasoning. Still sounds lovely. 🙂

    I love these pictures! I don’t know how you made a… not-so-beautiful food pretty. Go you!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I thought the exact same thing SOLD!!!! So many things you can do with this mixture. Yum!!!!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    it is constant chaos with kids, which is exactly why I love meals like this! And today happens to be a rainy, blustery day- perfect for sweatshirts, snuggling with a blanket on the couch, eating comfort food 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Linds, I am totally going to try this out this week. It sounds like a step up from my 2-ingredient salsa chicken. YUM.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am ALL over this Lindsay! All the ways to adapt it sound wonderful. You could essentially have a new recipe for this every day of the week and then some. I have to make it! Pinning it for my new crockpot. 🙂

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I am all over beans as well. My husband keeps making fun of me. I love that dried beans are even cheaper than canned ones, but the long cooking time drives me nuts. Apparently a pressure cooker gets them done in minutes. Until I own one the canned kinds will have to do.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I would love something that cooks dried beans in minutes! Pressure cooker. I’m gonna check it out. The good news about lentils (if I may digress.. totally unrelated to this recipe) is that they cook really fast. 🙂 Love those little things.

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        I followed the recipe to a tee in my new crockpot. Five hours later beans are still hard! Took the chicken out and put crockpot on for another couple of hours. How did everyone else’s recipes turn out so good?!

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          Hm, sorry to hear that Lisa. Apparently at the time I wrote this recipe I did not soak the beans but if I were doing it again today I would soak them overnight the night before to help them cook faster.

          1. Skillful Cook Logo

            Hi Lindsay – thank you for replying to my pleas for help regarding hard beans! I ended up leaving them in the crockpot for a couple of hours, on warm as I ran errands. Came home, turned it back on (high) and within an hour they were just about perfect. I then followed the directions (shredded and added the chicken, taco seasoning and cream cheese). My husband said it was delicious (I’m a vegetarian so I didn’t have any!) I think soaking the beans overnight will work best next time (and thanks again for the reply)

          2. Skillful Cook Logo

            Even after soaking the beans the night before, AND cooking them for 7.5 hours on low, my beans still aren’t done!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’ve been eating vegetarian lately but I might just have to make an exception for this, it looks so good! I hate to break it to you but it is chaos with kids. All. The. Time. I have three of them and there is no way I’m taking all three through the grocery store with me or I would never get the things I mean to. I still find time to blog though, so you might be ok in that area? Can’t wait to see the cute little babies you and Bjork have (someday!).

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    How could I not make this after reading that wonderful blog? First of all, I will tell you life doesn’t have to be total chaos when you have kids, at least ours wasn’t. Second, do you have a good salsa to recommend?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I used Tostitos because that was the best option I had here in the Philippines, but I at home I’ve used the fresh salsa in the refrigerated section that is more like pico de gallo. Sometimes they have restaurant brands of that. I also really like Target’s brand, Archer Farms, for jarred salsa.

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    If u use canned beans by how much should u reduce the cooking time by?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      The chicken should still cook on high at least 3-4 hours or low 5-6. Check it at that point and see if it needs more time. 🙂