This 4 ingredient slow cooker pulled chicken is made with beans and cheese and perfect for stuffing inside a tortilla or serving with rice for a simple dinner.

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.

4-ingredient slow cooker pulled chicken
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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.

And then recipes like this 4 ingredient slow cooker pulled chicken happen.

Hard to go wrong when all you need is:

  • chicken
  • jar of salsa
  • black beans
  • feta
  • and some spices

It’s eerily similar to our oven-baked salsa chicken recipe but perfect for when you want dinner cooking while you’re out of the house.

And if you’re truly pressed for time or just lacking the motivation to shred the chicken, cut the breasts into cubes before cooking in the slow cooker for a chicken bites situation in the final dish.

pulled chicken in the slow cooker

And amen for short term memory because we’ve finally got a winner with this easy slow cooker pulled chicken recipe.

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.

Looking for more slow cooker ideas? Try one of these recipes:

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
Slow Cooker Shredded Mexican Beef Bowls
Slow Cooker BBQ Peach Pulled Chicken
Slow Cooker Balsamic Pulled Pork with Polenta and Avocado Crema
Slow Cooker Short Rib Ragu

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4-Ingredient Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken

Servings: 4 servings
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook: 3 hours
Total: 3 hours 2 minutes
A simple slow cooker chicken, beans & cheese recipe. Perfect for stuffing into a tortilla.


  • 1 pound chicken breasts/boneless thighs, I used a combination of the two
  • 16 ounces jarred salsa
  • 15 ounces canned black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta, or grated cheddar
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • salt & pepper to taste


  • Pour salsa into slow cooker then layer beans and chicken in that order.
  • Cook on high for 3 hours.
  • After 3 hours, remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with two forks. It should come apart easily.
  • Return chicken to the slow cooker.
  • Add the spices and cheese and mix to combine.
  • Serve with garnish of cilantro and avocado.


Serving: 1SERVINGCalories: 422kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 53gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 149mgSodium: 1543mgFiber: 10gSugar: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: American


Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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  1. 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

  2. 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!

  3. 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 :)

    1. 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. :-)

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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.


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

  9. 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!

  10. 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.