Easy Mexican Shredded Chicken


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Once a week I do a major kitchen day. I go to the market, load up on everything I think we might need for the week and then get to work. More times than not, it consist of different grains like farro, quinoa and/or rice, roasted veggies and a few kinds of protein that he can then mix and match throughout the week like this easy Mexican Shredded Chicken. Watch the video and prepare to be amazed!

Mexican Shredded Chicken can be made in a slow cooker or a heavy bottom dutch oven! Both recipes are listed below – but the Dutch Oven takes only 20-30 minutes total so when I’m in a rush, that’s my preferred method. Once it’s done you can use this on just about everything (which, as you know, is one of my favorite perks of certain recipes)

Easy Mexican Shredded Chicken from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

I’ll mix this into some cooked quinoa and top it with some guacamole. Or I’ll fold it into some cheese and make chicken enchiladas. It would be equally as delicious tossed with some pasta and veggies. Or even thrown onto a pizza. Basically any way you mix it, it’s going to work. That’s what’s so wonderful about something like this. In less than 30 minutes you’re going to have a perfectly cooked protein that you can use for just about anything!

And feel free to use any variety of my salsas! You can mix and match them up and your chicken will just take on the flavor of whatever type of salsa you choose!

Easy Mexican Shredded Chicken from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Easy Shredded Chicken

5 from 1 vote


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup What's Gaby Cooking Salsa


For a slow cooker (5-6 hours)

  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Add the chicken into a slow cooker along with the olive oil and salsa. Turn to high heat and cook for 5-6 hours until the chicken is falling apart. Using 2 forks, shred the chicken while still in the slow cooker and let it rest in the salsa before serving.

For a Dutch Oven (30 minutes)

  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Place a large skillet with olive oil over high heat and let the oil heat for a moment. Using a pair of tongs, add the chicken to the skillet and sear the chicken on both sides for 3 minutes each so that each side is golden brown.
  • Add the two kinds of salsas to the skillet and cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid. Reduce the heat to medium and let the chicken cook for 25-30 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, using a pair of tongs, flip the chicken over to the over side and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and using 2 forks, shred the chicken and then use as needed.

For an Instant Pot

  • Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Turn an instant pot onto the saute setting. Add the olive oil and let the oil heat for a moment. Using a pair of tongs, add the chicken to the instant pot and sear the chicken on both sides for 3 minutes each so that each side is golden brown. Add the salsa on top, close the lid and make sure it's sealed, and set the instant pot to poultry. Let the chicken cook and remove once the instant pot is done. Shred with 2 forks and serve as needed.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Monika

    I could use a big pot of this to play with all week. What a great idea. So helpful for the late work days.

  2. Julie @ Table for Two

    so smart to make a big batch of this before a big trip!! less cooking when you get home and it’s already ready for ya! i love the idea of this!

  3. laurasmess

    I’ve never made shredded chicken. Pork – yes, and lamb – yes, but not chicken. I think I need to change that asap… your recipe sounds delicious! Like you said, fantastic for weeknight dinners. Thanks lovely! xx

  4. dixya| food, pleasure, and health

    this chicken I could being used for many other recipes. Thanks for sharing and I hope you had a great time in Ethiopia 🙂

  5. Meg Jones | The Spatularette

    Hi Gabby! Just wanted to let you know I made this and it was awesome! I folded in some shredded Mexican blend cheese then served it on Hawaiian sweet rolls with lettuce, tomato, and avocado. I fed a hungry boy after a long day at work and his report was “better than a restaurant!”

    So yeah, great recipe!!! Thanks so much for sharing : )

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  8. Helen Kennedy

    I made this last night, using basic tomato salsa as I haven’t been able to find tomatillos so far. It was SO good in the burrito bowls, looking forward to eating the rest of it later in the week. If I made it in the slow cooker, how long would I cook it for?

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  10. Marilin

    I only had chicken fillets at home and I was a bit vary if it would work but since mine were big chunky ones i gave it a go. I’ve never ever made pulled anything but this was amazing!! And really easy and affordable too, definitely going to make this when i go back to uni! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  13. Janelle P.

    I made this last night (doubled the recipe) and it was a big hit with John and the boys. We made burritos and tacos with it. Thanks for a new dinner for the rotation.

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  15. Candace K

    This was an awesome recipe because it was very detailed in how to cook the chicken. I have never cooked chicken thighs successfully until I cooked this recipe today. The chicken was perfect! I only added a can of Rotel because it was all I had, and some Adobo seasoning. Thank you, thank you!!!!

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  17. Leah

    Super easy & delicious! My fiancé said: please add this to the list of ‘loves’ 🙂 I used 4 large chicken breast instead of thighs so I added a 1/4 cup of each salsa . When they were finished I moved the chicken and about 1/4 cup of the salsa poaching liquid into mixer bowl. I used my kitchen aid with beater attachment on low to shred (also seen on Pinterest). Heated tortillas with Greek yogurt, avocado, cheese and drizzled poaching liquid was DELISH! Thanks so much!

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  21. Anita W.

    Made this chicken last night and used 8 chicken thighs with green and red salsa. Used some for my dinner and made my lunch for today. It is very good and super easy!!! It’s almost gone. LOL. I should probably double or triple the recipe next time. 🙂

  22. Renee

    You have no idea what a lifesaver you are. I was tasked with coordinating dinner for 30 people for our camping trip this weekend. Nomnompaleo’s kalua pork was on the menu. To make enough, I had two crockpots and a dutch oven going. About 6 1/2 hours of cooking time in, I discovered the one of the slow cookers wasn’t working. I made the heartwrenching decision to throw away the very expensive pastured pork from that batch which left me short on meat, and no time to start another pork shoulder. Michelle at nomnompaleo pointed me to this recipe. I made it in the dutch oven, and made it even quicker by using a combo of Trader Joe’s Chipotle Salsa and Hatch Valley Fire Roasted green chile pepper salsa. So incredibly easy and delicious. Thank you!!

  23. RossC

    Wonderful idea to use salsa to finish the thighs..
    I’ve been making chicken enchiladas by poaching chicken breasts in an easy enchilada sauce, shredding and putting together enchiladas using the poaching sauce..
    Your recipe presents many ways to utilize the flavored chicken other than just enchiladas..
    AND… a ‘well, duh’ moment… I’ve never used thighs for an application such as this… I much prefer the thighs..
    Great, simple post… Thank you… :O)

  24. Helen Kennedy

    This is a favourite recipe of mine, so straightforward and quick to make.. I love the way it can be altered by using different salsas, I’ve used a basic tomato salsa I’ve made, shop bought tomatillo salsa, etc.. I usually buy skin on bone in thighs as they’re cheaper, the skin comes off very easily and the bones come out at the shredding stage and may well add a little more flavour. So far I’ve mainly used it to make a burrito bowl with your fabulous quick refried beans recipe. I usually make it once or twice a month. Which reminds me, I must make this next week.

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  27. Marie Clements

    I saw your snap video and the Dutch Oven looked super convenient especially for this recipe! Do you recommend a certain kind/brand?

    • Gaby

      I used an All Clad TK Dutch Oven in my snap – but I also use a le creuset!!

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  29. Emily

    Hi Gaby!

    I’ve made this recipe so many times and it has become a staple!! I was going to make it tonight but realized I only have chicken breasts and not thighs. I know that thighs are more flavorful and bestter for this dish but have you tried with chicken breasts? Wondering about how much longer they will need to cook as opposed to the thighs! Thanks so much!!!


    • Gaby

      not entirely sure since I haven’t done it with breasts – but I’d keep an eye on it. Breasts actually can cook faster!

  30. Heather

    I have made this recipe many times because it’s so fool-proof and yummy, thank you!

  31. Emily

    Hi Gaby! I love making this recipe! I was thinking about making a big batch of this and freezing….have you tried freezing this after cooking?

    • Gaby

      I haven’t tried freezing it but I’d guess that it shouldn’t be an issue!

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  34. Monika

    I have been adding your salsas to so many things and we love them!! This is going to be no exception!

  35. Amy

    Silly question – ingredient list calls for 1 cup of salsa, but recipe says use 2 kinds of salsa – is that a half cup per kind? Sorry if that’s explained in video (haven’t watched it yet)

    • Gaby

      typo!! you can mix and match my salsas and use 2 for max flavor

  36. Gerry Speirs

    Such an awesome time saver, although my kids could probably inhale all of it at one sitting 🙂