Slow Cooker Taco Chicken

 

Super easy slow cooker taco chicken from Our Best BitesSo if you’re familiar with Cafe Rio, a Utah-based fresh Mex chain that’s kind of starting to spread throughout the rest of the United States, you may have seen this chicken recipe floating around the Internet. I’ve done some poking and prodding and I’m not exactly sure WHERE it originated, but if you google Cafe Rio chicken, invariably a WHOLE BUNCH of blogs will pop up with a recipe for Crock Pot chicken and Italian salad dressing and a packet of Ranch.

Which is cool, because it’s super delicious.

But I’ve eaten a lot of Cafe Rio chicken in my days and I’m pretty sure this isn’t actually Cafe Rio chicken (I think it’s the cumin…shhhh.).

Which is cool because even if it’s not really Cafe Rio chicken (who am I to say that? Maybe it is. Maybe I’m wrong. It happens sometimes…), it’s family friendly and SO good and versatile and something everyone should know how to make because it’s something you’ll make for company and something you’ll make on busy nights, something to fill tortillas with and make taco salads with and maybe enchiladas or even our famous taquitos.

You’re going to need 2-2 1/4 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts (which I don’t normally do in a slow cooker because they’re so lean that they tend to dry out, but when you add the other stuff, you’ll be fine), Italian salad dressing (I use Kraft, not fat-free; I wouldn’t use low-fat, either, but I tend not to be a wild rebel when it comes to chicken and salad dressing), a packet of Ranch dressing (yes, yes, we are aware that we’re poisoning the world one packet of Ranch dressing at a time. Sometimes that happens and it’s unfortunate.), water, chili powder, cumin, coriander (this is where I veer off into adaptation territory), a whole bunch of fresh garlic, and dehydrated onion.

Taco Chicken Ingredients

Place the chicken breasts in your slow cooker and add the spices.

slow cooker taco chicken ingredients in crock pot

Fill a liquid measuring cup with 1/2 cup of water and add the Ranch.

slow cooker taco chicken ranch

Whisk the ranch into the water and then pour it over the chicken. Add 1/2 cup of Italian dressing and the garlic.

slow cooker taco chicken ingredients in crock pot

Cook for 5-6 hours on LOW or until the chicken shreds easily with a fork. When done, shred the chicken with two forks and sprinkle with the juice of one lime. Taste and season with salt and Chipotle Tabasco Sauce (it’s smokey and a little milder than the original Tabasco Sauce, so it’s perfect here) to taste. Serves 8-10.

Super Easy Slow Cooker Taco Chicken from Our Best Bites

So…what can you do with it??

My favorite thing is to set up a taco bar with this chicken, shredded cheddar cheese, crumbled cotija cheese, tortillas, chopped romaine lettuce, tomatoes,

grape tomatoes

(I just had to throw this pic in because they were so perfect and pretty. Carry on.)

avocados or guacamole, pico de gallo (or mango or pineapple pico de gallo), Pineapple Cilantro rice, rinsed black beans, Lime-Cilantro Vinaigrette, and Creamy Lime Cilantro Dressing (if you really want to complete the experience, you could throw in this green enchilada sauce and this mint limeade). Then people can make whatever they want–tacos, salads, enchiladas, burritos. I’m not a total overachiever and don’t do ALL of that every time (because, after all, this is supposed to be an easy meal!), but I guess what I’m trying to say is that you have options.

You can ALSO use this to make loaded up quesadillas with chicken, beans, corn, chopped green onions, whatever you want to throw in there. Or you can use it in this Chicken Tortilla Soup. Or you can just eat it straight out of the crockpot. You know I won’t judge you.

Super easy Slow Cooker Tacos from Our Best Bites

Nutritional Information (per 4 ounces):
Calories: 206
Fat: 9
Carbs: 3
Fiber: 0
Sugar: 1
Protein: 25
WW Points Plus: 5
South Beach Phase 1, 2, & 3

 

62 comments

  1. Okay. I admit it. I’ve seen this on Pinterest and thought “Ew…ranch and taco seasoning?”. But since you’re vouching for it I’ll give it a whirl. I’m always up for quick, easy, do-ahead recipes.

  2. Looks delicious! I have chicken sitting in the fridge…it looks like something else just got bumped off of the menu, with this taking its place. 🙂 Thank you!

  3. This looks tasty! I’ve always been “chicken” to try poultry in a crockpot because of the dryness issue, but I’ll give this recipe a shot.
    Thank you!

    1. Just keep an eye on the chicken to make sure it’s not drying out, but honestly, I cooked this particular batch for about 6 hours the first night and then I reheated it on low for a couple more hours the next night and it was great. 🙂

  4. Speaking of the ranch packet… that would send me into migraine land faster than anything courtesy of the MSG. Any reasonable substitutes? Thanks!

      1. You can get dried buttermilk at the grocery store; it is usually by the dried milk (which is usually the baking aisle) and comes in a tin a little bit bigger than a baking powder tin.

    1. Carrie and Kari both made great suggestions–I’ve never tried them, so I can’t say for SURE, but they’re definitely worth a shot. You can also check the salad dressing aisle–there are a few different brands of Ranch and I’m fairly certain at least one of the main brands doesn’t have MSG. 🙂

  5. Delish! Right up my alley. You can totally kill me one ranch packet at a time. And throw in a chemical laden Route 44 Sonic Diet Coke while you’re at it. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Comments

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.