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Spice up your next taco night with Slow Cooker Shredded Chicken Street Tacos served with pickled red onions, fresh salsa, and crumbly cheese on adorable mini flour tortillas.

chicken street tacos on a plate garnished with salsa, pickled red onions, feta cheese and lime slices.

The tender chicken is flavored with smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and is perfectly complimented by the sweetness of the pickled red onions and the fresh flavors of the simple homemade salsa.

This easy recipe made with basic ingredients is a healthy meal the whole family enjoys, and I love that it doesn’t take any hard work!

These little hand-held Smoky Chicken Street Tacos make a deliciously fun treat to serve at a backyard cookout, a day on the beach, or a relaxing summer day by the pool — and don’t forget about Taco Tuesday!

The flavorful chicken taco meat makes a very tasty taco salad as well as burrito bowls, too!

Why you’ll love this simple recipe for chicken taco filling

  • Family Favorite. Who doesn’t love tacos? These easy crock pot chicken tacos make plenty for serving a crowd or to freeze for later.
  • Easy to Make. Just toss the ingredients in a slow cooker, cook for four hours, and make the quick pickled onions and salsa — EASY.
  • Make Ahead. This is also an excellent dish to prepare ahead of time to make your dinner much easier.
ingredients for chicken street tacos on a table.

Key ingredients & substitutions for Shredded Chicken Street Tacos

  • Chicken | Use chicken breasts with rib meat or boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe. Chicken thighs also work well.
  • Onion | Dice a medium onion to add flavor to the slow-cooked chicken. Choose whichever onion you prefer, whether white, red, or yellow.
  • Chicken broth | I like to use low-sodium chicken broth to keep the recipe on the healthier side. Vegetable broth or regular chicken broth also do the trick!
  • Seasoning | Season the chicken with black pepper, lite salt, and smoky ground cumin. Add red pepper flakes if you want a kick of heat.
  • Chilies | Add a jar or can of chopped chipotle chilies in adobo sauce to the slow cooker. Reserve some extra adobo sauce to add to the chicken, too.
  • Tortillas | To make this recipe easy to handle, use mini flour tortillas. Regular flour or corn tortillas, and even hard taco shells, will also work.
  • Cheese | I used crumbled feta cheese for my tacos because that’s what I had on hand. But cojita cheese is even better!

Fresh Salsa

  • Tomatoes | The base of this easy salsa recipe is diced grape or cherry tomatoes — or use both!
  • Jalapeno | I like to add spicy jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced. If you want mild salsa, omit this ingredient or substitute it with another less hot pepper.
  • Garlic | Mix in minced fresh garlic cloves for subtle spice and a burst of flavor.
  • Green onions | Add a crisp texture with diced green onions. If preferred, use white onions instead.
  • Lime | Add just a dash of fresh lime juice to brighten the flavors.
  • Salt and pepper | Finally, season the salsa to taste with the lite salt and black pepper.

How to make Chicken Tacos with Fresh Salsa

Make easy and delicious street tacos by tossing the chicken in the slow cooker with onions, a little chicken broth, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. Then, make the salsa and pickled red onions as it cooks, fill and garnish the tacos, and you’re done!

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tacos

STEP 1 | Add ingredients and cook

chicken breasts in a slow cooker with spices diced onions, chicken broth and adobo peppers.

Begin this easy taco recipe with some prep. Lightly coat the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray and add the chicken. Be sure to remove the skin if you use breasts on the bone.

Then, sprinkle the raw chicken with the cumin, salt, and pepper. Drop in the chopped onion, chipotle chilies, and pour the adobo sauce on top.

Lastly, add one cup of chicken broth over all ingredients and cook for 4 hours on high.

STEP 2 | Shred, strain, and keep warm

a plate of shredded chicken for street tacos on a plate with two forks.

Next, remove the chicken and carefully discard any bones. Then, shred chicken using two forks and strain the broth.

Pour half to one cup of the broth over the shredded chicken and mix to combine. Then, return the taco meat to the slow cooker to keep warm until you’re ready to assemble tacos.

STEP 3 | Fresh Salsa

ingredients for fresh salsa in a glass bowl — chopped tomatoes, green onions, and jalapeno.

To make delicious, simple salsa, combine all of the salsa ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until they are evenly incorporated.

Next, season the salsa mixture with kosher salt and pepper to taste. Then, cover the homemade salsa and chill until ready to serve.

STEP 4 | Pickled Red Onions

mixing ingredients for brine for pickled red onions in a cup.

First, add the sliced red onions to a shallow bowl. Combine the vinegar, sweetener, and salt, and pour the mixture over the onions, stirring to coat thoroughly.

Allow the onions and pickling ingredients to sit at room temperature for up to an hour, stirring occasionally to ensure all the onions are moistened.

Add some pickled red onions to the tacos, then store the leftovers tightly covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

STEP 5 | Assemble the Tacos

a chicken street taco on a plate on a table.

Last but certainly not least, assemble the tasty tacos!

Place 3-4 tablespoons of shredded chicken on each mini tortilla, and top with the desired amount of pickled red onions, fresh salsa, and crumbled cheese. Then, serve and enjoy!


  • Warm the mini tortillas by wrapping them in damp paper towels and placing them in the microwave for about 45 seconds.
  • You know the chicken is done cooking when it easily pulls apart.
  • A mason jar works great for storing homemade pickled red onions.
  • Add more adobo sauce and chilies for extra flavor and more heat!
  • You can always take a shortcut and use a jar of your favorite salsa.
  • This chicken recipe is perfect for meal prep or setting up a taco bar with more of your favorite taco toppings.

chicken street tacos on a plate garnished with salsa, pickled red onions, feta cheese and lime slices.

Frequently asked questions

Are chicken street tacos healthy?

These tacos are low in sodium and sugar, making them a healthier choice than other traditional Mexican dishes. Small choices, like using lite salt or low-sodium broth, make all the difference.

What’s the difference between a taco and a street taco?

Street tacos are made easy to handle and portable, as they were initially sold from food carts or stands on the sides of the streets.

Street tacos are more traditional than what you may call a ‘normal’ taco, which is essentially the Americanized version of a Mexican street taco, being larger and often served in a crunchy taco shell.

Can you make street tacos ahead of time?

Yes! This is an excellent recipe to make ahead and make dinner time run smoother. Because the chicken is made in the slow cooker, you can start it any time and keep it warm until it’s time to serve.

Plus, the salsa and pickled onions can be made days in advance if necessary. Wait until dinner time to assemble the tacos, and you’re good to go!

Craving more hand-held bites?

For more recipes perfect for a summer cookout or gathering, check out my Air Fryer Jalapeño Poppers wrapped in bacon, BBQ Chicken Tostadas, or classic chips and dip with this delicious Blue Cheese Bacon Dip.

Serving suggestions

Serve these delicious smoky chicken tacos with fresh lime wedges and a side of creamy and flavorful Mexican Street Corn Salad, Cilantro Lime Rice, black beans, or this refreshing Watermelon Feta Salad, perfect for the summer heat!

And you can’t go wrong with tortilla chips, extra homemade salsa, and Creamy White Queso —YUM!

chicken street tacos on a plate with a tray of condiments in the backgrounds.

Behind the recipe: Mexican Street Tacos

The tacos often served in the United States significantly differ from authentic Mexican tacos from Mexico or an authentic local restaurant. Cheddar cheese, a crunchy taco shell, lettuce, and tomatoes are the Americanized version of tacos. 

Traditionally, street tacos are served on a soft corn tortilla, filled with some kind of chicken or pork, and topped with crumbled cheese, salsa, and sometimes other toppings, like pickled onions or slaw. 

Many years ago, Mexican mine workers would have a quick meal by wrapping meat in a portable tortilla.

In fact, the name ‘taco’ was invented during this time. It was a type of small dynamite the workers used in the mines and somehow became the common name they used for their convenient tortilla-wrapped lunches.

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chicken street tacos on a plate garnished with salsa, pickled red onions, feta cheese and lime slices.

Smoky Chicken Street Tacos with Pickled Red Onions

Spice up your next tailgate with Smoky Chicken Street Tacos served with pickled red onions, fresh salsa, and cheese on mini flour-tortillas.
4 from 12 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Course Chicken
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 servings
Calories 644 kcal


  • 1 lb. chicken breasts with rib meat (or skinless, boneless)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon lite salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-3 chipotle chilies in adobo chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can
  • 12 mini flour tortillas
  • 4 ounces Feta cheese or Cojita cheese, crumbled
  • Pickled Red Onions for garnish and assembling

Fresh Salsa

  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
  • 1-2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2-3 green onions diced
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lite salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Slow Cooked Smoky Chicken

  • Lightly coat inside of slow cooker with cooking spray. Add chicken (remove the skin if using breasts on the bone) and sprinkle with the cumin, salt, and pepper. Add the chopped onion, chipotle chilies, and the adobo sauce on top. Pour 1 cup chicken broth over all and cook for 4 hours on high.
  • Remove chicken from the slow cooker and discard bones. Shred meat using two forks. Strain the broth and pour 1/2 to 1 cup over shredded chicken and mix. Return to the slow cooker to keep warm until ready to assemble tacos.

Fresh Salsa

  • In a medium bowl, combine all salsa ingredients and stir. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

To Assemble Tacos

  • Place 3-4 tablespoons shredded chicken on each tortilla. Top with desired amount of pickled red onions, fresh salsa, and cheese.


  • Warm the mini tortillas by wrapping them in damp paper towels and placing them in the microwave for about 45 seconds.
  • You know the chicken is done cooking when it easily pulls apart.
  • A mason jar works great for storing homemade pickled red onions.
  • Add more adobo sauce and chilies for extra flavor and more heat!


Serving: 1gCalories: 644kcalCarbohydrates: 74gProtein: 44gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 1211mgFiber: 5gSugar: 13g

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword pickled onions, smoky chicken, street tacos, tacos
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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