Mexican Shredded Chicken - The smokey, rich, mildly spicy sauce is incredible! Super easy, fast to prepare, for the slow cooker, pressure cooker or stovetop!
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4.91 from 32 votes

Mexican Shredded Chicken

5 minutes prep is all that's required for this shredded chicken tossed in a smokey, mildly spicy red sauce that's loaded with flavour. Make this in your slow cooker, pressure cooker or on the stove - directions provided for all!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 5 - 6
Calories: 297kcal
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats


Chicken & Sauce

  • 1.5 lb / 750g chicken breast , skinless boneless (~3 halves)
  • 1/2 cup Chipotles in Adobo Sauce (4 chillies + sauce) (Note 1)
  • 14 oz / 400g can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves , crushed
  • 1 tsp EACH dried oregano, cumin powder and onion powder (or garlic powder)
  • 2 tsp sugar (any)
  • 3/4 tsp salt (Note 2)
  • Pepper

To Finish

  • 3 tbsp olive oil (Note 3)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice


Cook Chicken

  • Slow Cooker: Place Chicken & Sauce ingredients in the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on low. The chicken is ready when it can be shredded easily with 2 forks but it should NOT be mushy (i.e. overcooked).
  • Pressure cooker: 35 minutes on high.
  • Stove: Place Chicken & Sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan and add 1 cup water. Simmer covered on medium low for 40 - 50 minutes, turning chicken occasionally, until chicken can be shredded with 2 forks.


  • Remove chicken and shred. Set aside.
  • Add lime juice (to taste) and 1 tbsp olive oil to the sauce. Use a stick blender (or transfer to blender) to puree the sauce. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. You should have about 2 cups of sauce.

Brown Chicken

  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add 1/3 to 1/2 the chicken and fry until dark golden brown on one side, flip and cook the other side very briefly (don't brown), then remove. Use 1 tbsp oil for each batch you fry.

To Serve


1. Chipotles in Adobo Sauce is to Mexican cooking what soy sauce is to Asian cooking. It is dried chipotle chillies in a flavoured red sauce that is quite spicy. You can find Chipotles in Adobo in the canned goods aisle in most supermarkets in the US (its widely available there). In Australia, it is sold at Harris Farms, Thomas Dux, The Essential Ingredient in Rozelle (Sydney), Fiji Market in Newtown (Sydney), some Asian groceries and online from Firework Foods. I'm sure it's available at other speciality stores too, they are just the ones I know.
Do a taste test to check for spiciness because brands can differ, though the brands I use in Australia are fairly similar. The ones I use are spicy but not "blow your head off" spicy. If yours is "blow your head off" spicy, you may want to use less. But note that the spiciness loses it's edge overnight!
Leftovers freeze perfectly - I pop it in small ziplock bags, flatten it out and it's easy to break a bit off to use as needed.
If you really can't find Chipotles in Adobo Sauce but are still keen to try this dish, use 1 1/2 tbsp chipotle powder + 2 tsp SMOKED paprika powder + 1/4 cup sriracha (YES, really, it's pretty close to Adobo Sauce when combined with chipotle and paprika) in place of the Chipotles in Adobo Sauce.
2. I use table salt. If you use kosher or sea salt flakes, use an extra 1/2 tsp.
3. Use 1 tbsp for each batch of chicken pan fried.
4. The chicken drops a lot of juice while cooking so there will be plenty of liquid in the slow cooker / pressure cooker. For the stove top, extra water is added so it ends up with the same amount of sauce at the end.
5. TO STORE: This makes lots because it keeps well and it's a bit hard to make the Sauce with less chicken. It keeps for 3 days in the refrigerator. To freeze, I shred the chicken and freeze it separate from the sauce before pan frying. Defrost, then pan fry the chicken per the recipe, reheat sauce separately.
6. This makes enough for around 15 to 20 tacos, serving around 5 to 6 people (3 tacos per person).
7. Nutrition per serving, chicken and sauce only (not tortilla wrap and toppings), assuming 6 servings.
Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Nutrition


Serving: 220g | Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 6.4g | Protein: 41.5g | Fat: 12.1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 794mg | Potassium: 321mg | Fiber: 2.5g | Sugar: 4.3g | Vitamin A: 600IU | Vitamin C: 7.4mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 3.1mg