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Chicken/ Hearty Dinners/ Spice/ Summer Lovin'/ Tex Mex

Slow Cooker Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos

September 14, 2022 by Chris Collins

These slow cooker chicken tacos are drenched in a delicious honey chipotle sauce and couldn’t be easier to make!

Slow cooker chicken tacos are kind of an oxymoron to me. I usually think of tacos as a quick, summery kind of food; whereas the slow cooker brings thoughts of winter food. However, when you combine the two, you get the most awesome tacos that are truly great to devour all year round. Follow me…

close up shot of 3 tacos side by side on marble backdrop

Honey Chipotle Chicken

There are numerous different varieties of slow cooker chicken tacos, but today we’re going for the glorious combo of honey and chipotle. Let’s take a quick look at what you’ll need:

  • Chicken Thighs – Make sure they’re boneless and skinless. Trim excess fat.
  • Honey – Regular runny honey.
  • Chipotle Paste – This adds a nice kick of chipotle flavour.
  • Tomato Puree – Deepens the flavour and colour of the sauce.
  • Chicken Stock – Creates the base of the sauce and prevents the chicken from drying out in the slow cooker.
  • Lime Juice – Pairs beautifully with both honey and chipotle.
  • Spices – Here I use smoked paprika, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, salt & pepper.

Where can I find Chipotle Paste?

If you’re in the UK, you’ll find it in a small pot near the spice section in most supermarkets.

Can I sub Chipotle Chilis in Abodo Sauce?

If you can’t find chipotle paste, you could definitely sub chipotle chilis in adobo sauce (more on this in the recipe card below).

overhead shot of honey chipotle chicken ingredients with text labels

Slow Cooker Honey Chipotle Chicken

When it comes to cooking the chicken, I like to combine everything before adding the chicken, just so everything (namely the spice mix) gets evenly distributed. From there, you can toss in the chicken until evenly coated.

How long should I cook for?

I typically do HIGH for 3.5 hours. But you could do low for 6-7 hours. Thighs are fairly forgiving so it’s more difficult to overcook them, but it can happen so just be vigilant. The chicken is cooked when it’s piping hot all through the centre and falls apart very easily.

Process shots: add ingredients to slow cooker (photo 1), stir to combine (photo 2), add chicken (photo 3), toss to combine (photo 4), add lid and slow cook (photos 5&6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make slow cooker honey chipotle chicken

Extra Saucy Slow Cooker Chicken

Now, once the chicken has cooked, you’ll notice a lot of liquid in the base of the slow cooker. A lot of other recipes would suggest shredding the chicken and placing it back in the slow cooker to soak up the liquid. However, I find it still comes out slightly watery because the sauce is never that thick. As such, what I like to do is thicken the sauce separately.

Cornstarch Slurry

Aka cornflour slurry, depending on where you are in the world. This is essentially just equal parts cornstarch and water, which acts as a thickening agent. Once you’ve removed the chicken just pour the sauce into a pot and simmer with the cornstarch slurry until it’s gorgeously thick and syrupy. This will coat the chicken MUCH better and result in saucy, rather than watery chicken.

Process shots: remove chicken (photo 1), simmer liquid in a pot with cornstarch slurry (photo 2), gently shred chicken (photos 3&4), pour over thickened sauce (photo 5), toss to combine (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make saucy chicken tacos

Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Okay, chicken done and dusted, let’s talk tacos.

What kind of tortillas to use?

I love using Old El Paso White Corn Street Tortillas, which you’ll find in most supermarkets that sell Old El Paso collections. In reality though any small tortillas will do the trick.

Lime Pickled Onions

One thing I love adding to these tacos is pickled onions. Just dice up an onion and mix with some lime juice and leave to pickle as the chicken cooks.

Alongside the lime pickled onions, I add Cotija cheese (or feta), avocado and some coriander/cilantro.

Process shots: top tortilla with chicken (photos 1&2), add avocado (photo 3), add pickled onions (photo 4), add cheese (photo 5), add coriander/cilantro (photo 6).

6 step by step photos showing how to make honey chipotle chicken tacos

Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos FAQ

How spicy are these tacos?

They’ve got a good kick of spice, but nothing crazy. The spice will also mellow out once the sauce is mixed with the chicken.

How sweet are these tacos?

The honey is very mellow, as it should be. You don’t want them too sweet, because chicken is fairly off-putting if it’s too sweet. The honey is mainly there to balance out the other powerful/spicy flavours.

Can I use chicken breast instead of thigh?

I highly recommend using thigh, because it’s fattier and more flavoursome than breast. Also, as I mentioned, it’s more difficult to overcook. If you’ve only got breast it’ll still work, just be vigilant it doesn’t dry out and overcook.

Can I make these ahead of time?

The chicken is at its sauciest, juiciest and most tender when served right away, so I recommend making it fresh if you can. Having said that, you can tightly store any leftovers in the fridge and reheat until piping hot when needed.

overhead shot of 4 honey chipotle chicken tacos on marble backdrop

Serving Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos

The amount of tacos you’ll get from this recipe is entirely dependent on how much chicken you pack in and how big the tortillas are. I usually get around 12 tacos though.

After more delicious taco recipes? Check out my Ground Beef Tacos and Fish Finger Tacos!

Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for these slow cooker chicken tacos shall we?!

close up overhead shot of hand holding slow cooker chicken taco

How to make Slow Cooker Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos (Full Recipe & Video)

close up overhead shot of hand holding slow cooker chicken taco

Slow Cooker Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos

These slow cooker chicken tacos are drenched in a delicious honey chipotle sauce and couldn't be easier to make!
5 from 8 votes
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Servings (click & slide): 12 tacos
Course: Finger Food / Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 40 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 50 minutes
Calories per serving: 261kcal
Cost per serving: £1.50 / $2

Equipment:

  • Slow Cooker
  • Medium Sized Pot or Pan & Whisk (for thickening sauce)
  • Small Pot (for combining cornstarch & water)
  • Baking Tray or Dish & 2 Forks (for shredding chicken)
  • Small Bowl (for pickling onions)
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Tongs

Ingredients (check list):

Honey Chipotle Chicken

  • 2lb / 1kg boneless skinless Chicken Thighs, large bits of fat trimmed
  • 3/4 cup / 180ml Chicken Stock
  • 1/4 cup / 80g Honey
  • 2 tbsp Chipotle Paste (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 1 Lime, juice only
  • 2 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 tsp EACH: Cumin, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Oregano, Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch/Cornflour

Lime Pickled Onions

  • 1 medium Red Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Lime, juice only
  • pinch of Salt
  • pinch of Sugar

Tacos

  • 12 small/street market Tortillas, warmed (see notes)
  • 2 Avocados, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup / 80g crumbled Cotija Cheese, or to preference (can sub feta)
  • finely diced Coriander/Cilantro, to garnish (only add this if you know you love it)

Instructions:

  • In the base of a slow cooker combine chicken stock, honey, chipotle paste, tomato puree and lime juice with smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, salt & black pepper. Add chicken thighs and use your tongs to coat them.
  • Add the lid on and cook for 3-4 hours in HIGH or 6-7 hours on LOW. The chicken is cooked when it's piping hot through the centre and very easily falls apart.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine finely diced onion with lime juice and good pinch of salt & sugar. Leave to pickle for as long as the chicken takes to cook, tossing every now and then if you can.
  • Once the chicken has cooked, remove it from the slow cooker and place in a dish or curved baking tray. Pour the liquid into a pot or pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Combine 1 tbsp cornstarch/cornflour with 1 tbsp water then whisk into the sauce. Simmer until thickened (10mins or so).
  • Gently shred the chicken (don't over-shred in the first instance) then pour over your preferred amount of sauce. Toss to combine, shredding a little more if needed.
  • Serve in tortillas with cotija/feta, avocado, pickled onions and coriander/cilantro.(optional).

Quick 1 min demo!

Notes:

a) Chipotle Paste - You'll find this near the spice section in most supermarkets. It's got a powerful, condensed chipotle flavour and works perfectly in recipes like these!
b) Can I sub Chipotle Chilis in Abodo Sauce? - If you can't find chipotle paste, you could sub chipotle chilis in adobo sauce. I don't often use these, because they're hard to find in the UK. I'd predict using a couple of de-seeded and diced chilis along with 1-2 tbsp of the sauce. You can then add more sauce in when you simmer the slow cooker juices if you want it spicier. Start off conservatively because you can always adjust.
c) How Spicy are these tacos? - I've tried various different chipotle paste brands and they do very in spice. However, I've never found 2 tbsp overwhelming. It gives a good kick of spice, but nothing too powerful. The spice will also mellow out as the chicken rests. On the contrary, if you want it spicier, again just add a dash to the slow cooker juices when you simmer them.
d) How Sweet are these tacos? - The honey is very mellow, as it should be. You don't want them too sweet because chicken is fairly off-putting if it's too sweet. The honey is mainly there to balance out the other powder/spicy flavours.
e) Tortillas/Serving - I love using Old El Paso White Corn Street Tortillas, but any sort of small tortillas will do the trick. I usually get around 12 fairly hefty tacos from the meat. If you're slightly more conservative you might get 14-16.
f) Calories - Per taco.

Your Private Notes:

Nutrition:

Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Honey Chipotle Chicken Tacos
Amount Per Serving
Calories 261 Calories from Fat 97
% Daily Value*
Fat 10.77g17%
Saturated Fat 2.571g13%
Trans Fat 0.059g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.719g
Monounsaturated Fat 5.413g
Cholesterol 82mg27%
Sodium 497mg21%
Potassium 497mg14%
Carbohydrates 22.17g7%
Fiber 3.4g14%
Sugar 8.08g9%
Protein 19.98g40%
Vitamin A 388IU8%
Vitamin C 7.5mg9%
Calcium 73mg7%
Iron 1.95mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition is based on the absence of salt unless stated as a measurement in the ingredients. Cost is worked out based on ingredients bought from UK supermarkets, then divided by the number of servings. In both instances these values are just for guidance. Please check out my FAQ Page for more info.
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Recipe Rating




26 Comments

  • Reply
    Beth
    November 26, 2023 at 8:04 pm

    5 stars
    Tried this a couple of times now, looks like it will join the regular rotation!
    We have plenty of the sauce left though. Any tips on what to use it for so it doesn’t go to waste?

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 27, 2023 at 2:13 pm

      Thanks so much for the review, Beth! I imagine the sauce would freeze okay if you have leftovers. I haven’t used it for other things, but you could try it as a glaze for some wings or ribs or add to some pulled pork! C.

  • Reply
    Jaime
    July 7, 2023 at 10:00 am

    5 stars
    This has become a firm favourite in our house. I use slightly less honey than the recipe asks for, I reduced the sauce rather than using corn flour, I substituted feta for halloumi and I use half lime juice half, apple cider vinegar for the pickled red onions. I’d recommend this recipe to anyone (and do).

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      July 7, 2023 at 3:47 pm

      Thanks so much for the review, Jaime! Great to hear you love the tacos 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Jenn
    June 7, 2023 at 7:27 pm

    How could I cook these if I don’t have a slow cooker or pressure cooker? Can’t wait to try these!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      June 8, 2023 at 10:25 am

      I think your best best would to be to simmer it all low and slow in a large pot on the stove to try and replicate the slow cooker. Although I haven’t tried this myself, so couldn’t offer any timings or precise method! C.

  • Reply
    jeanne
    May 1, 2023 at 9:40 am

    5 stars
    We tried this last night, and it was fantastic! I used chipotle chilis in adobo sauce, and reduced the sauce on the stove, plus a bit of cayenne pepper. I will be adding this to my favorites!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      May 1, 2023 at 10:35 am

      Great to hear, Jeanne! Thanks so much for the review 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    GreenT
    April 15, 2023 at 6:04 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious! Even my 6 yo loves them and that says a lot!! A staple in our house now. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      April 15, 2023 at 6:14 pm

      Ah this is so lovely to hear! Thanks so much for popping back for a review! C.

  • Reply
    Cory N
    March 10, 2023 at 6:21 pm

    5 stars
    These are a total hit in a house full of picky eating kids and teens. Don’t skip the pickled onion, my daughters are obsessed with them. Thanks for the top notch recipe!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      March 11, 2023 at 3:14 pm

      Thanks so much, Cory! Great to hear the tacos went down well 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Marissa
    February 15, 2023 at 8:50 pm

    I see the servings is 12 tacos and the nutritional info per serving. But what constitutes 1 serving, just a single taco?

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      February 17, 2023 at 11:13 am

      Hi Marissa, this is per taco 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Kelsie
    February 6, 2023 at 12:13 am

    5 stars
    Super easy and super yummy! Great dinner for lots of people

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      February 6, 2023 at 10:22 am

      Thanks, Kelsie! 🙂

  • Reply
    Holly
    January 25, 2023 at 2:00 am

    5 stars
    Perfection! So many recipes look good and then fall flat. This tasted just as good as it looked! Thank you Chris for such a knockout recipe!
    I did sub a small can of diced green chilies for the chipotle so my kid wouldn’t deem it too spicy but made otherwise as written.
    Oh and I did use an electric pressure cooker because I got distracted and didn’t get the slow cooker started early enough. Worked great. 10 min under pressure, three minute natural release and then depressurized. Thickened the sauce in there too which worked brilliantly on the brown function.
    My husband deemed it company worthy. Can’t wait to make again!! Also can’t wait to explore your site for more gems!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      January 25, 2023 at 11:08 am

      Hi Holly! Thanks so much for the review and thank you for the pressure cooker info too!! 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Tori
    January 18, 2023 at 7:31 pm

    These sound fantastic! I can’t wait to try them.
    I was just wondering if this can be made into a freezer-friendly meal? So instead of freezing it after being cooked, you place the uncooked ingredients into a freezer bag and freeze until you want to make it, then thaw and slow cook?
    Thanks! 🙂

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      January 19, 2023 at 5:50 pm

      Hey Tori! I can’t say I’ve tried that before, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work, so long as the chicken stock is cold/room temp. Or leave it out and mix it in just before slow cooking. Do let me know how it turns out 🙂 C.

  • Reply
    Brittany
    December 7, 2022 at 1:56 pm

    Has anyone made this in an instant pot? If so, how long do you reccomend cooking it?

    • Reply
      Robin
      March 21, 2023 at 6:59 pm

      Did you try this in the instant pot? I was thinking of trying it…

  • Reply
    Ann-Marie
    November 16, 2022 at 5:46 pm

    These were delicious! Can it be frozen since it makes so much? 🙂

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      November 17, 2022 at 10:15 am

      Glad they went down well! Yes I imagine the chicken will freeze just fine 🙂

  • Reply
    Bill
    October 13, 2022 at 11:48 am

    5 stars
    Family LOVED these! Thanks Chris!

    • Reply
      Chris Collins
      October 13, 2022 at 5:15 pm

      Thanks, Bill! 🙂

    5 KNOCKOUT

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