4-ingredient slow cooker pulled chicken

slow cooker pulled chicken

If spices don’t count (and they don’t in my mind because who doesn’t have an unorganized, overflowing spice cabinet in their house with bottles that fall out and hit you in the head every time you open it?) that whole 4 ingredient thing is true. If they do count in your mind then consider that my disclaimer before you question whether or not I passed 1st grade math.

I have a weird relationship with the slow cooker. First of all, I never use it in the winter. I have no good reasoning for why, it totally doesn’t make sense so don’t even bother trying to figure it out. Secondly, my track record with it sucks. I can wing a stove-top dish with no problem, but there’s something about having to throw all the ingredients in at once with the slow cooker that just doesn’t work for me. I usually try to go complex with the flavors, throw a million things in there and somehow I get one nasty end result. And my last issue with it is that any recipe that looks worth making out there always seems to have a “before” step. The only reason I drag this thing out from it’s hiding place in the bottom corner cabinet is because I don’t want to clean 10 different pots and pans that day. Multiple step slow cooker recipes should just be banned for being completely counter-intuitive to the slow cooker cause.

slow cooker pulled chicken

They say you forget about the pain of childbirth after a few months (and apparently that’s true since plenty of people purposely get knocked up again a year or so later), well I can’t relate to that one…but apparently, I forget about the sucktasticness of my slow cooker attempts after awhile and give it another shot.

slow cooker pulled chicken

And amen for short term memory because we’ve finally got a winner. I’m also pretty sure this chicken gives me way more joy than a kid ever would. So maybe I’ll stick with the slow cooker a little longer.

5.0 from 1 reviews

4-ingredient slow cooker pulled chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A simple slow cooker chicken, beans & cheese recipe. Perfect for stuffing into a tortilla.
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb. chicken breasts/boneless thighs (I used a combination of the two)
  • 1 16oz. jar of salsa
  • 1 15oz. can of black beans, rinsed & drained
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta (or grated cheddar)
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste
  1. Pour salsa into slow cooker then layer beans and chicken in that order.
  2. Cook on high for 3 hours.
  3. After 3 hours, remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with two forks. It should come apart easily.
  4. Return chicken to the slow cooker.
  5. Add the spices and cheese and mix to combine.
  6. Serve with garnish of cilantro and avocado.


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  1. 1

    Totally agree on the multiple slow-cooker step recipes needing to be banned. We got a crockpot for our wedding and I STILL haven’t used it! Super lame. This sounds delish – might be time to give the ole slow cooker a shot.

  2. 2

    Mmmm these look awesome! I totally agree with you on the before-step slow cooker recipe thing. When I’m using my slow cooker it’s because all I want/have time to do is throw everything in a push start!

  3. 3

    I don’t use my slow cooker very often, though I should. Pulled chicken or pork is usually my go to meal!

  4. 4

    You have a think for Mexican dishes and I love it! I had the best chicken enchiladas with tomatillo sauce the other night and I desperately want to remake them. The spices in this dish like they would be perfect for the pulled chicken part.


  5. 5

    I had to fight the slow cooker thing for a while, but the moment we had a kid it became my very best friend ever! I’m totally going out and getting the stuff for this one so we can eat it tonight!

  6. 6

    That looks delicious. I finally got a slow cooker for Christmas. I’ve used it a couple of times but don’t use it very often. I think it’s because I haven’t had time to look up too many recipes but this looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it!

  7. 7

    I want a taco please. :) I agree, I have a thing about throwing a bunch of ingredients together and letting them cook for 4-8 hours. I think that’s why I dont use mine much either

  8. 8

    Truthfully, I’ve always hated my crockpot. It’s big and bulky and stored up high and ugh. I’m the type of person who would never make a “fix it and forget” it meal, I really love standing in my kitchen and cooking, but now that I have a toddler I use my crockpot 3 times a week. Dinner is impossible to make while a one and a half year old tries to rip your pants down so youll pick her up. This will be excellent to add to my rotation! Especially because I love anything even kind of Mexican. Thanks for the post :)

    • 9

      Can relate to everything you wrote here (except my little havoc-reaker is 2.5)! One day, hopefully sooner rather than later, cooking will be fun again. :-)

  9. 10

    Oh man you may be the first person I’ve “met” that didn’t love their slow cooker. I don’t use mine a ton but I love it for stews or slow cooked dried black beans, etc. Literally drop it all in and let it do it’s thing. Probably the closest I will get to having a personal chef ;)
    I just used mine this week to make slow cooked black beans for Vegan Taco Night at our house. Sharing the recipe soon. I’ll have to try out this recipe, it looks amazing!

  10. 11

    The whole child birth/labor bit is a bold face lie. You don’t forget. It’s horrible and painful, even more so with each child. Youch. ;) I’m done. And yaaay for succes with the slow cooker. I love mine and totally want some of this pulled chicken mmm mmm

  11. 12
    Jennifer G says:

    I have used a slow cooker for many years now, and have three I use regularly. Although I started relying on it more due to health reasons it has become my most use cookware. My friends have dubbed me the crockpot queen over the years since I have learned to convert recipes to be done in it. Of course not everything works but if it wasn’t for it my family wouldn’t have had the meals it provided, when I’m not able to stand for long periods. I do agree with the precooking issue and will tell you I skip it except with ground beef and I can’t see a difference either way. I have even started cooking whole chickens on top of foil balls to keep it out of the drippings and with my buttery herb mixture under and on the skin I get a nice browned chicken. Then I throw in everything I have been saving and make wonderful stocks overnight. Please don’t be discouraged because it can be such a help to so many. If I could give you one tip out of everything I have learned, even if a recipe States to add dairy at the beginning and it is cooking over a few hours, don’t add it towards the end…

  12. 13

    This looks so fabulous, Gina! I’m hosting a big build-your-own taco party soon and needed ideas for the chicken I’ll be serving. Thanks, this is a great recipe!

  13. 14

    Love it! Thanks for recipe :)

  14. 15

    I make a similar recipe but I add a cup or 2 of frozen corn. yum!

  15. 16

    This looks easy and delicious!

    I used my slow cooker whenever I can – I have to get dinner on the table fairly quickly these days – and slower cooker recipes are really working for me!

  16. 17

    Love your site, the chicken looks wonderful! I also found some other things that sounded great, that I will try. I loved your pictures on foodguawker, that is how I found you. Thank you for all your ideas.


  17. 18

    I love my slow cooker and this chicken looks so good and easy to throw together!

  18. 19

    I’m ALL about tacos!! And this looks like the perfect filling!!! I’m getting married this December and my husband-to-be and I want to have Taco Tuesday every week so I’ve started a list of all the delicious taco recipes I can find…totally adding this recipe!

  19. 20

    Fortunately for me I am obSESSED with my slow cooker (during all seasons, try explaining that one) and love finding new recipes to try out- this looks lovely! I bet the feta adds a nice little kick!

  20. 21

    You are my slow cooker doppleganger! I felt sooooo alone in the world until I happened upon this via Pinterest. I know I like using the slow cooker in the summer so I don’t have to stand sweating over a pan on a 90 degree day. This chicken looks delish – thanks for sharing.

  21. 22

    I usually use my crockpot when I am not going to have time to make a meal so I hear ya on that one! But seriously, if you’re ever in the mood for a fantastic slow cooked roast beef, you’ve gotta season and brown it before throwing it in the slow cooker! The little browned bits push up the flavor. Of course, that’s a meal for when you actually have time to do the before the crockpot step. I usually do that on a Saturday or Sunday. It’s so worth it!

    I love this chicken recipes. I’m a sucker for the Mexican recipes. I have made a few in my crockpot as well. Thanks for sharing this recipe with me in the Food Bloggers Roundup FB page. I’ll be using it in my crockpot chicken roundup soon!


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