We all need those weeknight recipes in our arsenal that are basically thoughtless. The easy ones that require minimal ingredients, minimal prep and clean up, and minimal brain activity to make it a success. And we all need tacos. So these weeknight braised chicken tacos are the answer to all those dire needs and something the entire family will love. It's also done in a slow cooker so there is literally no hands-on requirement making this a no-brainer for busy weeknights.
The first time I ever had a version of these was when my husband and I were living with our friends Matt and Dana for two weeks after we had sold our condo but hadn't closed on our new house yet. We were trading off making dinners for the four of us and Dana made these simple and wonderful tacos. They immediately became a staple in our rotating weeknight recipes.
It's basically impossible to mess these up, they are very forgiving, and very flexible for what you have on hand. At their very core, it is simply chicken and jarred salsa, but you can doctor it up as much as you like by adding other ingredients like green chilis, jalapeños, or anything else you like.
Add this to your recipe line-up for next week and you'll certainly be the dinner hero of your family!
Weeknight Braised Chicken Tacos
Makes 4-6 servings (2 tacos per serving)
Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 4-8 hours
Click the file below to download and print the recipe
I recommend reading the recipe all the way through, including the recipe notes at the bottom, before you start cooking.
1.5 lbs. boneless chicken breast
1 16 oz. jar of your favorite salsa
Tortillas and accoutrements for tacos like lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheese
Optional additional ingredients:
1 4oz. can of green chilis
Sliced fresh jalapeños
1/2 jar of pickled sliced jalapeños (drained)
Several dashes of hot sauce
In the bowl of a slow cooker, add half of the salsa and spread it across the bottom. Place the chicken breasts on top of the salsa then top with the remaining salsa. It doesn't need to be swimming in salsa. Don't worry!
Add any of the additional ingredients you want and stir them around to distribute them evenly in the slow cooker dish. If adding fresh jalapeños, I like to add these in the last hour of cooking to keep their intensity.
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. If you can, shred the chicken with 2 forks when you have 1 hour of cooking time remaining and stir it around in the liquid. If not, shred just before serving then stir around in the sauce.
Using a fork or tongs, serve up the chicken on tortillas or a bed of lettuce with your favorite toppings. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
*Recipe notes + Variations*
I commonly throw frozen chicken breast in and the cooking time is the same, making this an even more amazing weeknight meal. No thawing required.
Use whatever salsa you have on hand. I usually have a pretty standard red salsa in my pantry, but this would be great with salsa verde and even a sweeter salsa like one with mango or pineapple!
The chicken can be pretty juicy from the liquid it cooks it which can make for a messy (albeit delicious) taco. You can heat up the meat in a pan on the stove to evaporate some of the liquid or just squeeze is out with tongs as you're serving which is usually what I do.