Easy Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Thighs – This is the EASIEST slow cooker recipe EVER! Just TWO ingredients: salsa and chicken, plus some spices makes a delicious juicy chicken that can be used in tacos, over rice, over salad and more!
Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Thighs
After coming back from a long weekend away in Park City, Utah and no real plans for dinner, I was desperate for something quick and easy. Scouring my fridge and pantry I had some boneless skinless chicken thighs and some chunky salsa, so I threw them in my crock pot along with some spices and crossed my fingers.
What emerged was a delicious, juicy chicken which shredded wonderfully after a few hours of slow simmering – and bonus my husband and daughter enjoyed it!
Last night we had them as tacos with all the fixins, and for my youngest, I served hers over rice. Today I was in the mood for a salad bowl like I often get at Chipotle. I simply added some tomatoes, corn, shredded cheese and avocado and it was wonderful. This filling can be used so many ways, and it’s too easy not to try. If you make it with chicken breast, you can reduce the cook time to about 2 to 3 hours on low. Use it however you like, tacos, salad, enchilada filling, anything I haven’t thought of please share!
And since so many are asking, I have the 6 Quart Hamilton Beach Set ‘n Forget Programmable Slow Cooker. I love it because you can adjust the cooking time, and it automatically turns to warm when it’s done. It also has a probe for meat that automatically shuts off when done. I hated my old crock pot, it burnt everything and my food had a weird taste. This crock pot is so great, I actually own two!
Embarrassingly Easy Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Thighs
- 1-1/2 lbs lean skinless chicken thigh filets, Perdue Fit and Easy
- 1 cup chunks salsa
- adobo seasoning, or salt to taste
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 tsp ground cumin
- salt, to taste
- Season the chicken with adobo (or salt), then place in the crock pot and top with salsa, garlic powder and 1/2 tsp cumin.
- Cover and cook LOW for 4 hours. When cooked, remove the chicken and set on a large plate; shred with two forks. Pour the liquid into a bowl and reserve, then place the shredded chicken back into the crock pot, adjust salt to taste and add remaining 1/4 tsp cumin.
- Pour 3/4 cup of the reserved liquid back into the crock pot and cover until ready to serve.
- Makes about 2 3/4 cups chicken.
164 comments on “Embarrassingly Easy Crock Pot Salsa Chicken Thighs”
Easy! And a great basis for tacos, quesadillas, tostadas. And so low cal. A real keeper. I used Trader Joe’s smoky peach salsa and even my grandchild liked it.
This is one of our go to recipes. So easy to make. Great for taco night!
I love the name of this recipe and it certainly does live up to its name! Plus it’s delicious. We’ve had it with rice, and I tried it as a salad – over lettuce – with some cheese. There’s a little left over and it’s going to get put in a wrap as its finale! This is one I’ll make once a month.
I saw you make these in an Instagram story with red cabbage topping. I’d love to know what you mix with the cabbage to put on top. Thank you.
https://www.skinnytaste.com/quick-cabbage-slaw/ made with red cabbage. Hope you enjoy it!
I just made this and it is delicious but plese check the cooking time. I have never seen a recipe that says 4 hours on low will cook chicken, it is usually 4 hours on HIGH and 6-8 hours on low. I tried the chicken at 4 hours and you couldn’t shred it, so I think the time could be incorrect.
Wouldn’t want anyone eating raw chicken.
I made this recipe tonight and I used it to stuff avocados. Worked great and my loved it! Just need drain some of the liquid and add more chicken, chopped onions and avocado. I also put a can in.
Recipe was fantastic! Any thoughts on using the extra broth to make a soup or something else fun???
Made this in the Instant Pot the other night with 2 chicken breasts, a container of Jack’s Special Mild Salsa & the seasonings from the recipe. Cooked on high pressure for 15 minutes & quick release. It shredded perfectly & made a great addition to our burrito bowls. Still enjoying leftovers for lunch!
I am just getting ready to put mine in the instapot too! I am so excited to just throw it all together and have it all ready in less than a half hour!!! I was coming here to the comments to see just this, to see if anyone else used the insta!!!
I was rushing out the door and realized I didn’t have anything planned for dinner but remembered the basic of this recipe and decided to throw it all together before I left. Just threw in the thighs and 2 cups of salsa.,,.didn’t even have time to do any of the seasoning. Was expecting it to be good enough to eat but I didn’t expect it to be so delicious that I was eating it straight out of the crock pot. So tender and juicy. Whole family gobbled it up! This will be made regularly from now on. Maybe next time I will get the spices in!
I love this recipe! I try to always have portions in my freezer because it is so versatile. It’s a great taco filling, good on nachos, delicious over Spanish rice or a salad. It’s also very forgiving. If I forget to hold back 1/4 t of cumin until the end, it still tastes good. One cup of salsa often is a little more or a little less when I make this. I usually use chipotle flavored salsa and through in a can of well rinsed black beans during the last hour for extra fiber. This recipe is a staple of my diet. Thanks, Gina!
What would be the instructions for cooking in an instant pot?
I did it in the instantpot for 20 min. It was great.
Will points or cooking time change if you use bone in chicken thighs? Thanks for additional info!
I’m going to start the Whole30 the first of the year. I want to make this and put it on a salad. What dressing would you suggest that I can have on this specific diet?
For me it didn’t need any dressing, I just added a little green salsa and it was perfect!
Do you think if I double this recipe it would easily feed 12 people? How long should I cook it for and at what temp (high or low)?
This is my go-to recipe for years so I know it will please my guests.
If you double it should be the same time and temp.
I have made this a number of times using chicken breasts because I don’t like thighs. Today , I added a can of rinsed drained black beans, and 1 qt of low sodium chicken broth after cooking for 2 hrs. It makes a fantastic soup and very low points. DELICIOUS!!!
Where can I find the meal prep dishes you’re using?
I get them on Amazon.
Could you make this in an instant pot?
Someone did just that above!! I am getting ready too also!!! 15/20 mina and done!!
Are these boneless or bone in thighs? What is the difference in cooking time?
This recipe is ridiculously easy, versatile, and absolutely delicious! I’ve made it many times and used it in countless ways – on nachos, tacos, baked potatoes, salads, and over rice. My husband loves spooning some of the chicken on naan bread, sprinkling cheese on top, and baking it in the oven. I made this again a few days ago and thought I would have tons of leftovers, but my family had already eaten it all by the second day! I’ve used both thighs and breasts, and both are delicious. The thighs are more flavorful and shred a bit easier, but you can’t beat the 0 point value of breasts if you do WW, and they’re still very good! Be sure to pour all of the liquid left in the pot over the chicken when storing, especially if you’re using breasts!
Another question. I just looked at the package, and I’ve got 4 pounds of bone in chicken thighs. I’ve got a Crockpot Express, which has a slow-cooker function like an Instant Pot, so the capacity would be OK. But how long would I need to slow-cook 4 ponds of bone-in chicken thighs.
I bought whole chicken thighs (with bone and skin) instead of boneless, skinless thighs. They were on sale. How longer should I slow cook them. Should I rip the skin off first?
yes remove the skin and add 1 hour
How would you cook this in a InstantPot? Thank you, can’t wait to make this.
How long would it be in the instant pot?
Also, I’ve made this in the crockpot before and it was very good.
Can u instant pot this?
Made this in my instant pot from FROZEN. High Pressure 25 min, NR 10. The chicken was AMAZING. When my husband tried it he said, “the Instant Pot is a good thing!”.
He even ate it cold for lunch yesterday. LOL! Thanks Gina! I am loving your recipes!
Delicious? Double check!
Lunches prepped kn advance? Check and triple check!
What a fantastically simple and tasty idea. You’re a genius! Your blog and your cokkbooks are so fabulous!
I love this, but where are the WW 2 free points coming from? I added recipe in ww and got 0 points
Can’t wait to try this recipe! My Crock Pot only has low settings for 8 or 10 hours. If I stop it 4 hours in, will it be cooked enough?
yes and my husband and I both really like it
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I made this today. SO easy. SO delicious. SO awesome! Really good. I will add it to my regular rotation!! 🙂
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I’m making this for a party today…yikes! I have quadrupled the recipe and put everything in the crock pot. Will 4 hours on low be enough time to cook all those chicken thighs?! Or should I cook on high for 4 hours.? Just don’t want to dry out the meat…already had to de thaw in the microwave since it was still frozen this morning ????. Thanks for the easy recipe that will feed all my guests and their dietary restrictions (Keto, gf, and whole 30).
I made this recipe for dinner using adobo sauce instead of seasoning. My husband says it’s a keeper! He had it in a tortillas and I had mine in a bowl with Lettuce cheese and extra sauce over the top. It was delicious. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
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This will be the second time I am making this recipe! OMG, it is actually embarrassingly easy and it is SO delicious! I have always only used chicken breasts because the other parts scare me, but after making this I have been converted. The chicken is so flavorful and doesn’t get dry AT ALL! The first time I made this we made chicken tacos, but tonight we are going to make a chicken taco salad with avocado, black beans, and corn with a little cheese and cilantro lime dressing. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I have a 2 year old and although my hobby is cooking, I hate cooking because it takes away the time I get to spend with her, but this recipe takes a total of 5 minutes to throw it all in and let it go. Thank you!
Hi! This looks like a great recipe and I’m looking forward to trying it when family comes over this weekend!
Silly question for you, but if you were to double the recipe and use 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, would you have to double the cooking time? Just trying to prepare ahead 😉
I wouldn’t think so.
Hello! I’ve seen this asked a few times but can’t find the answer… Anyone have directions for doing this in an instant pot or pressure cooker? I could probably just follow any instant pot shredded chicken directions, but I thought I’d ask! Thanks!
I followed the above recipe but added chicken broth to just cover the chicken. Then put it on poultry on the instapot for 20min. Turned out great!
Bought bone in chicken thighs by accident, would cooking time need to be adjusted? Thanks in advance! Martha
Add 1 hour.
I’d like to do this in my instant pot. Has anyone out there done this recipe in theirs and know the conversion? I just got mine for Christmas so just learning.This is going to be dinner! Looks fantastic! Thanks Gina for all your wonderful recipes! I have so many favorites saved that I make all the time!
I’d like to know as well. Would I need to add more liquid? Or would it be best to just use the slow cooker function on my IP?
Instant pot directions? Still use slow cook or pressure?
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I had some chicken thighs thawing and came here looking for an easy recipe. I also had a partially used can of diced tomatoes to be used, so instead of the salsa, I used 3/4 of a can of diced tomatoes, a can of Rotel tomatoes with chilies, a diced onion, and 2 cloves of fresh garlic…
This is definitely one of my “go to recipes” from your site. It is so easy and versatile and can be added to so many different dishes. Tacos, salad, enchilada filling, the dishes go on and on, so many uses, so when I make it, I make enough to freeze in serving size Ziploc bags. Makes for an easy midweek healthy option when all else fails.
Love your site and all the recipes. Your recipes rock.
Thanks Gail! I love this recipe too!
Could this be done in the instant pot instead?
It is crazy how good this was tonight! And so awesome to come home from work with supper cooked and everyone in my family loving it…THANKS!!
My chicken thighs are in the freezer. Do I need to defrost them first. Or change the cooking time?
I have never cooked them from frozen.
I can’t believe how easy this was to make! The chicken was incredibly tender and was great for a taco salad. My wife isn’t a big meat eater, but even she loved it!
I was wondering if you could make it in a Pressure cooker?
Any idea of the cooking time you’d recommend?
When I enter the nutritional info into Weight Watchers, I am getting 3 Smart Points? Is it 2 or 3?
Delicious and easy! We have used the chicken for lettuce wraps, tacos, quesadillas, salad… Thanks for sharing all of your tasty and healthy recipes. They make dinner time as a new mom so much easier!
I made these for dinner tonight and my husband loved them. He said they had so much flavor. We had them as tacos with Mexican rice on the side. Tomorrow I'm either going to use the leftovers on a salad or over a baked potato.
the link for Pumpkin breakfast cookies brought me here :S
The nutritional information from above comes to 5 points when I put it into my calculator instead of 4. Can you verify what the point value is?
Yum!!! Going to make this tonight for tomorrow. Thank you so much!
This has become one of my "go to" dinners when the cupboards are bare. I don't even add the extra seasonings most times, just throw the chicken and salsa in the crockpot; it's still very flavorful. I even used a bowl of pico de gallo (uncooked tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and jalapenos) instead of cooked salsa. It always turns out great and there are so many ways to serve it–over rice, on corn tortillas, on tostadas, with beans, etc.
I make this, but use chicken tenderloins and add frozen corn and a can of green chiles! It is so easy and so good!!
question — I can't find adobo seasoning. where do you get it?
Made this yesterday and put it on top of your Cilantro Lime Rice (which is a staple at my house!). I also simmered canned black beans with garlic, onion, jalapeno and spices and put that on top. Delicious and simple, love it!
lovvvve cilantro lime rice, i use parboiled rice cooked with chicken broth instead of water (low sodium broth of course)
I love that you use thighs! Do you do any trimming to the thighs prior to adding them to the crockpot? They can be quite fatty at times which makes me worry that my points are off.
If you use boneless skinless I never have to
I love your all recipes. specially Salsa Chicken is very testy. I will read Your blog regular.
Hi Gina, I LOVE your recipes and use them a lot. I can NOT wait for your cookbook 🙂 On this one I am just confused about what the serving size is. You wrote one thigh. But the directions say shred and put them all back and add 3/4 C of reserved liquid. Makes 2 3/4C. I have a feeling that I may feel stupid when you answer but I'm not getting a number for 6 servings. If you can enlighten me I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!
Thank you! I see your point, it's under 1/2 cup.
Thank you so much, I can't wait to try this!
I have bone in thighs… would that work? any changes to make if so?
It's fine, just remove the skin.
I have bone in thighs…would that work? any changes?
This was great. Sharing it with my FB community tonight. First salsa chicken that I felt had some taste. Well done.
Make this for dinner. Yes, embarrassingly easy, but absolutely delicious. Shredded and made tacos for my kids and they loved it! I have shared this recipe with family and friends. Thank you!
Embarrassingly easy BUT amazingly delicious! Great flavor from a small amount of ingredients. Made it this week for tacos. Definitely going into rotation!
Awesome…..Family loved it…..Definitely will make again and again….I give it 5 Stars 🙂
Do I need boneless thighs or can I do bone in skinless?
Do you brown the chicken at all, or just dump it in the crockpot? For some reason I thought meat had to be browned before crockpotting!
This was sooooooooooo easy and sooooooo delish!! I added corn and black beans, served over rice with lettuce and a little sour cream! Hubby loved it!
Would I be able to use bone-in chicken thighs for this?
Can you cook on high for two hours?
This was fantastic! It's so easy and so good! Thank you!
I made this Monday and my family could not stop talking about it or eating it! You are right, it is embarrassingly simple! What a treasure!!!!! It's going in my recipe file to keep.
BTW-about how much shredded chicken equals a thigh? Thanks.
I counted 4 oz (1/2 a cup). Also, when I added it up, my total came up to 5 points. Is that right, Gina?
Just finished cooking this-really good. It's a keeper! Gina any recipe of yours I've made always come out great.
Any way to make this take longer? I work, so a 2-4 hr crockpot recipe is pretty useless except for weekends (too long to do after work, too short to do during work). Would it be ok to let it go longer?
am wondering same. I wonder if you started with frozen chicken whether it might take longer? Anyone try this?
I had a fresh package of thighs, but I also added two frozen chicken breasts. They both cooked through fine after the 4 hours.
I cooked it overnight on low with boneless chicken thighs and they were delicious!
I do the same thing all the time. I always add an onion, finely chopped, to the raw mixture. I have done as many of 8 chicken breasts at a time, then bag up and freeze for later. So easy to cook once and have countless meals.
Just what I like an easy recipe that is delicious. It was really, really delicious! Loved it. Thank you!
Gina, I am a new (and HUGE) fan. I just made this with chicken breasts, cooked for 2.5hrs. Boyfriend is incredulous at how tasty it is. I guess I'll continue along and make some enchiladas…
This looks so good and I love that you used the thighs! So much flavor!
I'd like to know what salsa you like best, I'm still searching for a tasty one.
Green Mountain Gringo is a good one-I used the mild one to make this-came out great
I've been on a crock pot kick lately, and am definitely adding this one to my repertoire.
Fixed this for lunch today…incredibly delicious!
I've been making some variation on this for years – I use thighs or breasts (whichever I have), salsa or canned tomatoes w/ chiles, a generous tablespoon of taco seasoning and usually a can of black beans. We like to eat it as a stew with tortilla chips crumbled on top.
that sounds really good, next time i should use taco seasoning because it needed a lil something else and the chips crumbles mmm
What dressings do you recommend for it being over a salad
Wondering the same thing! Did you get any suggestions for salad dressing?
What is the point value with breast meat instead? How much thigh meat in oz. is in the portion amount above being that it is shredded? As WW is big in to portion control.
I measured by cups since it also had sauce.
But the portion size above states one thigh equals 4 point, what does that equal in cups for this recipe, thanks
When the hatch chili's are available in Texas we can buy jars of this wonderful hatch chili stew (basically salsa). I made this with four large chicken breasts and a probably 24 oz jar of the stew/salsa. I threw in a package of low-salt taco seasoning and put it on low in the crock pot for 8 hours. The house smelled wonderful and it was a hit with my family. It allows my family to eat in taco shells or soft tortillas, on salad or just with chips. Lots of options and great left over.
8 hours is twice the time recommended. And it did not overcook or dry out the chicken?
looks easy peasy good…
I cook this all the time take it to work and they devour it don't know it is low fat and cal I am doing salsa pork loin today
Sounds great! Would be good in empanadas too! Yum!
Can I use chicken breast?
Yes, in her post Gina says you can use chicken breast-
"If you make it with chicken breast, you can reduce the cook time to about 2 to 3 hours on low."
I got this recipe at my WW meeting a month ago…..They did suggest that you can add one jar of green salsa ( Salsa Verde) and one jar of the red…I have made it at least 3x the family loves it….I serve it with rice….The one with the thighs and a little crushed garlic in bottom of crockpot and then you add BALSAMIC VINEGAR is great too….Thank you for all the great recipes…By the way….HUNGRY GIRL posted your PIZZA LOGS today with a few more spices…..I Love them! Your recipes are true family pleasers 🙂
Tomatillos look really good in the market but I've never cooked with them. I'm wondering if this might be the right recipe to chop up a couple and throw in. What are your thoughts on this? Would a fresh pico de gallo sub for a bottled salsa? I never buy bottled.
Gorgeous photos!! And this looks absolutely delicious! Love those pretty tomatoes!
Nothing wrong with an easy meal, especially around this crazy house during the week!
Going to try tomorrow. Yumm
How would you do this in a large pot instead of a slow cooker (if possible?)? Maybe I should just suck it up and get a crockpot…
I would add a little water and cover in a pot and simmer on the lowest setting about 35 to 45 minutes.
I actually did this (with no additional seasoning) this weekend – I feel like I've been "cheating" on cooking all week! It's awesome. 🙂
I have done this many times and it's wonderful. Just be careful of what heat you use for your salsa. It will get hotter as it simmers with some salsas. I also do this with red salsa and pot roast, green salsa and pork roast. Very simple and wonderful!
I just shred it while its in the crock pot and I keep all the liquid. All seasonings go in at once in the beginning, I also use some other Mexican seasoning I have, and I might cover it and keep on warm only if I'm not serving it right away. Otherwise it's just covered.
I would def keep all the liquid if I served it over quinoa or rice!
I might have to finally use my crockpot for this one! Question – when you return the shredded chicken and sauce back to the crockpot, do you simply cover it OR do you put it in a low setting and cover it? Thank you!
I like to do this using trader joe's salsa verde – it's delicious and so easy!
Good idea, I was only considering using red chunk salsa. Trader Joe's salsa verde is insanely good.
Yes, I have another recipe on my site where I use salsa verde and chicken tenders in the crock and make tostadas with it, so good!
What type of salsa did you use?
This is a recipe I've been making for a few years! You can also add rinsed black beans or corn to it. Everyone in my family loves it. 🙂
I think that would be good on a taco style pizza that has lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and this delicious looking salsa chicken. I've had my slow cooker for approximately 5 years and have never used it. I think my first recipe might be this for Thanksgiving this weekend 🙂
This looks so good and easy to make!! Two ingredients sounds great to me!! 🙂 Can't wait to make this on Sunday!
Looks absolutely delicious
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You were in Park City! My dad grew up there. Next time you come to Utah you must let me know so we can get together.
And this looks great!
It was my first time, loved it! So pretty out by you Kalyn!
This looks awesome! Are your nutrition values based on the chicken alone? Or do they include the toppings? Thanks for another great recipe!
I was wondering the same thing. I'm guessing with the shell.
Just the chicken since this could be used so many different ways. For the salad I did 1/4 cup tomato, 1/4 cup avocado, 1/4 cup corn, 1 tbsp cheese and 1 1/2 cups lettuce.
Thanks Gina! This is going in the crock pot today. 🙂
Any suggestions as to which Salsa to use?