Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

This delicious Crock Pot Salsa Chicken is an easy and versatile option for busy weeknight dinners, plus it’s perfect for meal prep!

The post Crock Pot Salsa Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Meal prepping is probably the only way I make it through the holidays (or any month of the year, TBH) without losing it. 😅 So here’s a really easy bulk meal prep protein that you can use for multiple meals throughout the week. This Crock Pot Salsa Chicken recipe is such a classic, it’s incredibly easy (no chopping!), and only takes a handful of ingredients to prepare. Plus, there are several ways you can customize salsa chicken if you want to change it up a bit! Bookmark this one, folks, because you’re going to want to make it again and again!

Close up overhead view of salsa chicken in the crock pot with tongs.

Crock pot salsa chicken has been around for ages. In fact, a fancier version of it has been a reader favorite on Budget Bytes since 2011, but you need to know that in its most basic form, it’s still amazing. It’s just too good and too easy to not share. Just wait until you see all the ways you can use this saucy, spicy, super-flavorful shredded chicken!

Ingredients for Salsa Chicken

When I say this salsa chicken recipe is simple, I mean it! Here are the only ingredients you’ll need to make Crock Pot Salsa Chicken:

  • Chicken Breast: I love the way white meat chicken breast shreds, but if you’re more of a thigh person you can definitely do this with thighs, too. Thighs are a bit more forgiving with the cooking time and the sauce will be extra rich!
  • Salsa: This is the main flavor component for this recipe, so make sure you use a really good salsa. I love to use a smoky salsa to add even more depth of flavor. I used Kroger’s Private Selection brand Taqueria Style Salsa, but you can use different salsa flavors to switch it up!
  • Chili Powder: A one-stop shop for flavor, basic chili powder brings a lot of bang for your buck and really deepens the flavor in the sauce.
  • Onion Powder & Garlic Powder: To add even more depth to the flavor, I added a little dose of onion and garlic powder for good measure. Using these two ingredients helps round out the flavor without having to chop a single vegetable!
A plate full of three salsa chicken tacos.

How to Use Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

One of the reasons I love this salsa chicken so much is that you can make one batch and then use it for multiple meals throughout the week. I love to use this shredded salsa chicken for tacos, bowl meals (with rice, cheese, beans, etc.), nachos, burritos, salads, in casseroles, to top a baked potato, or even as a base for a soup!

Salsa Chicken Add-Ins

The simplicity of Salsa Chicken makes it perfect for customizing with add-ins. Here are some other ingredients you can add to make it different every time:

  • Beans: Try adding a drained can of beans, like black beans, pinto beans, or even kidney beans.
  • Vegetables: Add more color and texture to the mix with diced onion, jalapeño, bell peppers, or corn.
  • Cream Cheese or Sour Cream: Give your salsa chicken a creamy finish by stirring in some cream cheese or sour cream after cooking.
  • Lime & Cilantro: Stir fresh lime juice and cilantro into the salsa chicken after cooking for a fresh finish.
  • Spices: Switch up the spices and add something smoky like chipotle chile powder, or your favorite taco seasoning mix.

And don’t forget, you can change the flavor of salsa chicken by using different kinds of salsa! Try a spicy mango salsa, salsa verde, or even a smoky peach salsa for fun!

How to Store Leftovers

This salsa chicken recipe is perfect for meal prep. It stays good in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, but it can also be frozen! To freeze, chill it completely in the refrigerator first, then transfer to the freezer and store for up to three months. I like to divide it into single portions before freezing so I can thaw only the amount I need each time. Thaw the salsa chicken overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat either in a sauce pan over medium, stirring frequently, or in the microwave.

Close up side view of salsa chicken in the crock pot with tongs.
Close up side view of salsa chicken in the crock pot with tongs.
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Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

This delicious Crock Pot Salsa Chicken is an easy and versatile option for busy weeknight dinners, plus it's perfect for meal prep!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Total Cost $9.60 recipe / $1.60 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 6 (¾ cup each)
Calories 90kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker. Sprinkle the chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder over the chicken, then pour the salsa on top.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2.5 hrs or low for 5 hours.
  • Test the chicken to make sure it's tender enough to pull apart with a fork. If not, replace the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes on high or one hour on low.
  • Shred the chicken with two forks and stir to combine with the salsa and liquid in the pot. Serve hot or refrigerate until ready to use. Add the salsa chicken to your favorite tacos, burritos, nachos, salads, and more!

See how we calculate recipe costs here.

Notes

*If using frozen chicken breast, be sure to thaw it completely before adding to the slow cooker.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 90kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 2g | Sodium: 573mg | Fiber: 2g
A plate full of nachos made with salsa chicken.

How to Make Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

Chicken breasts in a crock pot with spices sprinkled over top.

Place three boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a crock pot and sprinkle 2 tsp chili powder, ½ tsp garlic powder, and ½ tsp onion powder over top.

A jar of salsa being poured over top of chicken in the slow cooker.

Pour 16oz. of your favorite salsa over the chicken in the crock pot. (I used Kroger’s Private Selection brand Taqueria Style Salsa).

Cooked salsa chicken in the slow cooker before shredding.

Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on high for 2.5 hours, or low for 5 hours. Test the chicken to make sure it’s tender enough to pull apart with a fork. If not, replace the lid and cook for an additional 30 minutes on high or one hour on low. After cooking it will look a little watery, but don’t worry! Once the chicken is shredded it turns into a nice sauce that coats everything.

Chicken being shredded in the slow cooker with two forks.

Use two forks to shred the chicken and stir it into the sauce in the slow cooker.

Finished shredded salsa chicken in the crock pot.

Once the chicken is shredded, give it a taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. And that’s it! The crock pot salsa chicken recipe is complete and you’re ready to eat!

A burrito bowl made with salsa chicken.

A bowl meal with rice, cheese, and any other fun toppings you have on hand is such a great budget-friendly meal!

The post Crock Pot Salsa Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Seasoned chicken breast and tangy BBQ sauce are slow cooked until tender and delicious. Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, pizza, and more.

The post Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This is the time of year when I start to avoid turning on the oven at all costs. So what’s for dinner when it’s too hot to cook? Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken! You can have this tasty chicken in the slow cooker doing its own thing while you’re enjoying a lazy summer day. Plus, unlike a hot oven, the slow cooker won’t make your AC work overtime. ;)

Overhead view of shredded BBQ chicken in a slow cooker with tongs.

This slow cooker BBQ chicken is almost too easy to be true. Just add some seasonings to boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cover them with your favorite BBQ sauce, and press go. A few hours later, the chicken is tender, tangy, so saucy, and delicious!

What Size Slow Cooker to Use

My slow cooker is about 5 quarts and it was only about ¼ full, so you could definitely use a smaller cooker if you want, but I wouldn’t go any larger. Some slow cookers need to be filled a minimum amount to avoid cracking, so make sure to check your owner’s manual first.

What Kind of BBQ Sauce to Use

You can literally use any type of BBQ sauce for this chicken. I tested the recipe using a very basic and inexpensive BBQ sauce just to make sure it was still delicious on a budget, but you could certainly ramp it up by using a fancier BBQ Sauce. You can also play around with different flavors of BBQ sauce, like smoky, honey, pineapple, spicy, etc.

Close up of tongs holding pulled BBQ Chicken.

How Do You Serve Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken?

The classic way to serve this chicken is on a bun, like a classic BBQ chicken sandwich. Make sure to add some coleslaw and pickles to make it extra delish! But you can also use this BBQ chicken for tacos, pizza, bowl meals, on a baked potato or sweet potato, on nachos, or even on a salad.

What to Serve with Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Whenever I make BBQ anything I always opt for the classic comfort food sides like potato salad, mac and cheese, three bean salad, or Cowboy Caviar.

Side view of a BBQ Chicken Sandwich.
Side view of Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in the slow cooker with tongs.

Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

Seasoned chicken breast and tangy BBQ sauce are slow cooked until tender and delicious. Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, pizza, and more.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Total Cost $8.34 recipe / $2.09 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 393kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp smoked paprika $0.20
  • 1 tsp garlic powder $0.10
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper $0.03
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total) $6.49
  • 18 oz. BBQ sauce $1.50

Instructions

  • Combine the smoked paprika, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle the seasoning over both sides of the chicken breasts.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the slow cooker, then pour the BBQ sauce over top making sure the chicken is fully covered.
  • Place a lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2.5 hours or low for 4-5 hours.
  • After cooking, use two forks to shred the chicken. If the chicken does not easily pull apart with the forks, let it cook a little longer.
  • Serve the pulled BBQ chicken on a bun, on nachos, over a baked potato, on pizza, or with your favorite meal.

Nutrition

Calories: 393kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 1777mg | Fiber: 2g
Side view of Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in the slow cooker with tongs.

How to Make Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Seasoned chicken breasts on an orange cutting board.

Combine 2 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp pepper in a small bowl. Sprinkle the seasoning mix over both sides of two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1.3 lbs. total).

BBQ sauce being poured over chicken in the slow cooker.

Place the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker and pour one 18oz. bottle of BBQ sauce over the chicken, making sure it’s fully covered.

Cooked chicken in the slow cooker.

Place the lid on the slow cooker on cook on high for 2.5 hours or low for 4-5 hours.

Chicken being shredded with forks in the slow cooker.

Use two forks to shred the chicken. If the chicken doesn’t pull apart easily, you can let it cook a little longer.

Finished Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken in the slow cooker.

Give the chicken a good stir to make sure it’s all well coated in BBQ sauce, then it’s ready to serve!

Side view of shredded bbq chicken in a slow cooker.

Now I need a plate full of BBQ Chicken Nachos. 🤤

The post Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken is tender, juicy, tangy, and rich all at the same time! Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, salads, pizza, and more.

The post Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.

This Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken recipe was one of the top things I was looking forward to making once I figured out the formula for my Homemade Ranch Seasoning. The slow-cooked chicken is tender, spicy, tangy, and rich all at the same time and there are a hundred different ways you can use it! Sandwiches, dips, salads, pizza, and more. I’ve got a full list of how to use this insanely easy and delish shredded buffalo chicken below, so don’t miss it! I’m sure this is something you’ll want to make over and over again throughout football season and the holidays.

Shredded buffalo chicken in a slow cooker with tongs

What is Buffalo Sauce?

If you’re unfamiliar with this American classic, Buffalo Sauce is basically a combination of hot sauce (traditionally Frank’s Red Hot Sauce) and butter, which creates a super tangy, spicy, and slightly rich sauce that is used to coat fried chicken, among other things. For this slow cooker buffalo chicken, we’ve gone one step further and added ranch seasoning mix, which is a super tasty combination of buttermilk powder, herbs, and spices. The ranch seasoning adds a huge burst of flavor to the sauce and makes it even a little bit more creamy. It’s just to die for!

What Kind of Hot Sauce to Use

As mentioned above, buffalo sauce is usually made with Frank’s Red Hot Sauce, but you can use any similar vinegar-based cayenne flavored hot sauce for this recipe. I used the ALDI version of Frank’s and it was great!

Can I Substitute the Ranch Mix?

The ranch seasoning mix really brings a lot of flavor to this sauce, so I would avoid skipping it if possible. If you don’t have the ingredients to make your own ranch seasoning mix you can definitely use one packet of store-bought ranch seasoning in place of the ingredients listed below. Or, if you want to use your own herbs and spices but just don’t have the buttermilk powder, that will still taste really good, just slightly less rich.

How to Use Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Okay, here’s the fun part. How do you use this delicious shredded buffalo chicken? SO MANY WAYS. Here are some ideas:

  • As a buffalo chicken sandwich or wrap: bun or tortilla, coleslaw, pickles, ranch dressing
  • On nachos: on tortilla chips with lettuce, shredded carrot, and a drizzle of ranch dressing
  • Make a buffalo chicken dip: stir cream cheese into the shredded chicken until melted for a super creamy dip
  • In a quesadilla: fill a tortilla with the chicken and shredded Monterey jack cheese, then toast in a skillet
  • On a salad: pile the chicken onto crisp iceberg, top with chopped celery, shredded carrots, and blue cheese dressing
  • Pizza: add it to a pizza with a white sauce and top with a little mozzarella and maybe a drizzle of ranch after baking

My mouth is totally watering just typing all of that out! This stuff is seriously so good.

Close up side view of shredded buffalo chicken in the slow cooker with tongs
Close up side view of shredded buffalo chicken in the slow cooker with tongs

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken is tender, juicy, tangy, and rich all at the same time! Perfect for sandwiches, nachos, salads, pizza, and more.
Total Cost $12.65 recipe / $1.58 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 8 ½ cup each
Calories 191kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

Ranch Seasoning*

  • 2 Tbsp buttermilk powder $0.15
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill $0.03
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp lemon pepper $0.02
  • 1/8 tsp sugar $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01

Buffalo Chicken

  • 12 oz. hot sauce $2.19
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts $9.53
  • 4 Tbsp butter $0.40

Instructions

  • Combine the ranch seasoning (buttermilk powder, parsley, dill, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon pepper, sugar, salt, and pepper) and hot sauce in a bowl.
  • Place the chicken breasts in the bottom of a 3 quart or larger slow cooker. Cut the butter into chunks and place the butter on top of the chicken. Pour the hot sauce mixture over the chicken and butter.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low heat for four hours. After four hours, use two forks to shred the chicken (if it's not tender enough to shred yet, let it cook a little longer).
  • Serve the shredded chicken and sauce on sandwiches, in quesadillas, on top of nachos or salads, or as a dip for crackers and chips.

Notes

*You can use a store-bought packet of ranch seasoning instead of the homemade mix, if needed.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 1350mg | Fiber: 1g
tongs holding a scoop of buffalo chicken over the slow cooker

How to Make Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken – Step by Step Photos

ranch seasoning being poured into a bowl of hot sauce

Combine the ingredients for the ranch seasoning (2 Tbsp buttermilk powder, ½ tsp dried parsley, ¼ tsp dried dill, ¼ tsp onion powder, ⅛ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp lemon pepper, ⅛ tsp sugar, ⅛ tsp salt, ⅛ tsp pepper) with one 12 oz. bottle of vinegar-based hot sauce.

Chicken and butter in the slow cooker

Place about 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast in the bottom of a slow cooker. Cut 4 Tbsp butter into chunks and place them on top of the chicken.

Hot sauce mixture being poured over the chicken in the slow cooker

Pour the hot sauce mixture over the chicken and butter in the slow cooker.

Cooked buffalo chicken in the slow cooker

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook the chicken on low heat for four hours.

two forks shredding the chicken in the slow cooker

After four hours the chicken should be tender and easily shreddable using two forks (if it’s not, let it cook another 30 minutes).

shredded chicken in buffalo sauce in the slow cooker

Fully shred the chicken, then enjoy!

A buffalo chicken sandwich with coleslaw
Shown on a bun with Creamy Coleslaw.

The post Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken appeared first on Budget Bytes.