These slow cooker smoky chicken tacos are your answer to a busy weeknight! Packed with good-for-you ingredients and bursting with flavor, they will keep the whole family happy. Pair with a creamy guacamole and crunch citrus slaw for a party with every bite.
Where are my taco Tuesday fans? Ok, tacos any night of the week are a win in my book. We pretty much eat tacos weekly. We switch it up a lot — fish tacos, shrimp tacos, veggie tacos, beef or turkey tacos, and of course, these pulled chicken tacos. I actually learned how to make these slow cooker tacos from an old coworker who is a chef. He made something similar for me once, and when I asked him how to do it at home, I was expecting some really complicated process (because he’s that kind of chef :)). But when he told me what he did, I was pleasantly surprised.
I’ve adjusted the recipe over time and simplified it even more, because #momlife. And these are now our go-to tacos when I need something that I can set and forget (gotta love the crockpot).
How to serve smoky chicken tacos
First of all, I always recommend tacos be served as a “make your own” style bar. That way every eater gets to decide how to fill their tacos and it’s one meal for the whole family.
On your bar I recommend:
- Guacamole for something creamy (or you can do sliced avocado). I like to make my own (see recipe for a 3-minute guac), but you can also use store bought.
- The citrusy slaw for a crunch and bright flavor that pairs well with the smokiness.
You could also add:
- Pico de gallo or salsa
- Cojita or shredded Mexican-style cheese
I personally think these are best served in a soft tortilla (either corn or flour works). But, if you prefer a hard shell, then go for it.
The ingredients also make a great taco bowl! You could start with brown rice and/or shredded romaine lettuce. Then top with the chicken, slaw, and guac (and any other toppings you like).
How to char your tortillas
I know, it’s an extra step. But take 1 minute to char your tortillas (yes, you can get enough for a family of 4 done in 1 minute!).
The easiest way to do it is if you have a gas stove and put the tortilla over an open flame. All you do is turn the gas on, place the tortilla on top of the grates over the flame. Let sit for about 10 seconds until it starts to char. Flip with tongs, then do the same for the other side!
Don’t have a gas stove? This tutorial has directions for the broiler and a pan on stove (for electric).
Did you make these smoky chicken tacos?
Leave a comment letting me know what you thought about it and rate it in the recipe card below! Save it to your Pinterest board so you can find it later, and don’t forget to share a picture of your creation on instagram and tag me (@busy.mom.nutrition). I love seeing what you’re up to!
For the chicken
- 1 1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken thighs
- 1 chile in adobo sauce, diced
- 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
For the slaw
- 1 1/2 cups shredded purple cabbage (I by pre-shredded to save time and use the rest in salads)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper thinly sliced
- Juice and zest of 1 lime
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp honey
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the guacamole
- 2 very ripe medium avocados
- 2 Tbsp chopped red or white onion
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1/2 tsp flakey sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the tacos
- 12 4-inch tortillas
- Put chicken and spices in slow cooker and add 1 Tbsp water then mix around. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours. Once chicken is done shred with 2 forks and keep warm in slow cooker until ready to eat.
- Toss cabbage, green onion, and red pepper in a bowl. Whisk together lime, zest, oil, honey, salt, and pepper and then toss with vegetable mixture. Can be made up to a day ahead and stored in airtight container in the refrigerator.
- Mash avocados and mix with onion, lime juice, salt and pepper.
- When ready to serve, char tortillas over an open flam on gas grill by placing on top of grate for about 10 seconds per side, flipping with tongs. Alternatively you can use the brolier or a grill to char the tortillas. Keep a close watch so they don’t burn! Or, just heat in the oven until warm, if you prefer.
- To serve: Add chicken, gauac, and slaw to tortilla and enjoy!
I char the shells on our gas stove. If you don’t have a gas stove you can toss them on a grill or under the broiler for a few seconds. Keep close watch or you’ll end up with something more “blackened.”