Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken
Though listed as an optional ingredient, black beans provide extra substance and flavor to the meal while ratcheting up the health profile an extra notch or two.

Yield: 8 servings


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see notes)
  • 1 (24-ounce) jar salsa (see notes)
  • 1 recipe homemade taco seasoning (recipe follows) or 1 (1.25-ounce) package purchased taco seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice and the zest of one lime
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Optional add-ins: 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained; 1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (seeded to reduce heat, if desired)
  • Toppings: Shredded Mexican blend or sharp cheddar cheese; additional cilantro
  • For serving: Hot cooked rice, quinoa, or tortillas; lime wedges


  1. In a slow cooker, mix together the salsa, lime juice and zest, taco seasoning, and optional black beans and jalapeño pepper.
  2. Add the chicken and flip to coat with the salsa mixture.
  3. Cook on low heat for approximately 6 hours (or 3 hours on high) or until the chicken is cooked through. At this point, you may remove the chicken to a plate and shred with two forks before returning to the slow cooker. Or you may serve the chicken breasts whole.
  4. Stir in the 1/4 cup cilantro and serve over rice or your grain of choice. Sprinkle with cheese, and garnish with additional cilantro, if desired.


  • The weights of boneless, skinless chicken breasts can vary substantially. You may cook 6-8 chicken breasts halves at one time if you prefer to serve them as whole breasts or make extra for leftovers. I based the recipe on chicken weight, however, in order to have an adequate chicken-to-sauce ratio, which is more important when shredding the chicken and mixing it back into the sauce.
  • Many salsa jars are 16 ounces, so you could use 1 1/2 of this size jar. Choose mild, medium, or hot according to preference.


  • (One recipe is the equivalent of one (1.25-ounce) packet of store-bought taco seasoning mix.)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (not onion salt)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients.
  • Store in a small jar or other airtight container if not using right away.
  • If you prepare a big batch to use over time, use approximately 2 1/2 tablespoons to equal one store-bought packet.

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