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Slow-cooker cilantro lime chicken tacos on a marble board with salsa and guacamole

Slow-cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken Tacos

  • Author: Leannda Cavalier
  • Total Time: 9 minute
  • Yield: 14-16 tacos 1x


  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 34 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 small white or yellow onions, quartered
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • ¾ cup cilantro, chopped and divided in half
  • 3 limes, halved
  • Salt and pepper to taste (start with ½ tsp each)
  • Taco tortillas (8-inch)

Topping suggestions: 

  • Avocados or guacamole
  • Salsa
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Crema Mexicana or sour cream
  • Cheese of your choice


  1. Pour oil in the bottom of the slow-cooker, making certain to cover the sides as well as the bottom.
  2. Place the onions in the slow-cooker.
  3. Add the chicken, garlic and bay leaves.
  4. Evenly spread the cumin, red pepper flakes, oregano, salt and pepper over the chicken.
  5. Squeeze two of the lime halves over the chicken, placing the (clean) rinds in the slow-cooker.
  6. Place the lid on and cook 6-8 hours on low or (if you’re desperate) 4 hours on high.
  7. Shred the cooked chicken with two large forks*, removing bay leaves as you go.
  8. Squeeze the remaining lime juice over the chicken and add the remaining cilantro.

Optional: wrap 3-4 tortillas in a clean, slightly damp kitchen towel (squeeze out as much water as you can), and microwave on a plate for 30 seconds to warm.

*If any part of the chicken is still pink and will not shred, put the lid back on for half an hour more and check again.


  • For even more flavor: sprinkle the raw chicken breasts with a little salt and pepper and sear for 4 minutes in a pan over high heat. This is a totally optional step and will make prep take longer, but it takes the flavor to a whole new level thanks to the maillard browning reaction that happens when you cook food with higher, direct heat.
  • Frozen chicken is a Godsend, but it doesn’t belong in a slow cooker. Unthawing with the slow-building heat of the crock-pot puts chicken in the prime temperature range for bacteria growth for too long. If you want to use frozen chicken, be certain to thaw it overnight in the refrigerator first.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6-8 hours
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: slowcooking
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: slow-cooker cilantro lime chicken tacos, chicken tacos, slow-cooker chicken tacos, taco recipe, chicken taco recipe, slow-cooker recipes