This healthy crockpot Mexican chicken stew is inspired by tortilla soup. Packed full of delicious Mexican flavors and super simple to prepare, you’ll love how easy it is to make this stew recipe in your slow cooker or Instant Pot!
As soon as cold weather arrives, the stew cravings kick in. There is just nothing more comforting than curling up with a hot bowl of hearty goodness, like Slow Cooker Tuscan Chicken Stew or Slow Cooker Spanish Chicken Stew, or this crockpot Mexican chicken stew on a chilly evening.
Basically, anything worthy of bread dunking is considered satisfying comfort food in my book.
This stew recipe is perfect as a weeknight dinner or meal prep this winter. Packed with fresh veggies and zesty spices, the rich broth of this stew easily comes together in the slow cooker or Instant Pot. Absolutely crave-worthy in every way!
It’s gluten-free, and is great for enjoying with tortilla chips – or cornbread! Whatever your preference, you’ll love dunking in delicious chicken stew!
Reasons you’ll ♡ crockpot Mexican chicken stew
- it’s gluten-free and dairy-free
- you can assemble ahead as a freezer-friendly meal
- there is no sauteeing required: simply “dump and go” in the crockpot or Instant Pot
Watch the video below for a great visual on how easy this recipe is to prepare! Find more of my videos on my YouTube channel.
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Which ingredients do we need?
- Chicken – I like using boneless skinless chicken thighs as they stay nice and juicy in the slow cooker; but you can also use boneless skinless chicken breast: reduce the cook time to 4-5 hours.
- Fresh Veggies – carrots, onion and red bell pepper
- Canned – corn, black beans and green chiles
- Jarred Salsa – I recommend a chunky salsa
- Stock- use store-bought chicken stock or make a batch of homemade bone broth
- Spices – ground cumin, chili powder and salt
- Toppings – lime, shredded cheddar cheese, avocado [See tips for properly cutting an avocado, and not your hand!], Greek yogurt or sour cream, and tortilla chips
Meal prep tips
This crockpot stew is perfect for your meal prep routine! You can meal prep it in two different ways:
- cook ahead and reheat- cook a big batch of this stew on the weekend and reheat for easy lunches or dinners.
- store in the fridge for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 3 months
- I like storing the cooked stew in a 2 cup glass meal prep containers or a meal mug
- assemble ahead but don’t cook- as a crockpot freezer meal (find 34 more crockpot freezer meals here!)
- combine all ingredients in a large freezer bag, a large meal prep container or a reusable silicone bag
- freeze for up to 3 months
- when you are ready to cook, thaw completely and cook as directed
Find my favorite meal prep containers & freezer equipment in my shop!
Can you make this vegan / vegetarian?
Absolutely! This stew recipe is already dairy-free, and can easily be made vegan and vegetarian-friendly by omitting the chicken and doubling the amount of black beans used, and swapping chicken broth for vegetable broth.
How can I make this recipe in an Instant Pot?
This can easily become an Instant Pot recipe! See the recipe card below for detailed instructions.
Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?
Definitely! I just recommend reducing the slow cooker cooking time to 3-4 hours on low.
How long can I keep leftovers of this stew?
Sealed in an airtight container, leftovers will store well in the fridge for up to four days and in the freezer for up to three months. Allow the stew to completely defrost before reheating to enjoy.
More slow cooker chicken recipes
- Crockpot Whole Chicken and Veggies
- Thai Slow Cooker Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
- Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
- 7 No Sautee Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes
- Slow Cooker Lemon Garlic Chicken Thighs
- 7 Slow Cooker Chicken Breast Recipes!
Check my shop for my favorite slow cooker, meal prep containers, and freezer equipment!
Note: This recipe was originally posted in 2014. It has been republished with fresh photos, tips and a new video in 2020.
Crockpot Mexican Chicken Stew (+ Instant Pot)
- 2 lbs chicken thighs (boneless & skinless; roughly 8 small thighs)
- 2 carrots (peeled and sliced)
- 1 medium onion (diced)
- 1 bell pepper (diced)
- 11.5 oz can of corn (341 mL; drained; roughly 1 cup)
- 15 oz can black beans (or 540mL; drained & rinsed)
- 4.3 oz can of green chiles (127 mL)
- 3/4 cup salsa (chunky recommended)
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
just before serving:
- 1/2 lime (juiced)
- shredded cheddar cheese
- Greek yogurt or sour cream
- tortilla chips
- lime wedges
- Combine all stew ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- Transfer chicken thighs to a bowl and shred with two forks or using an electric hand mixer.
- Stir in the lime juice and salt. Serve with cheese, avocado, Greek yogurt and tortilla chips.
- Cook the carrots, bell pepper and onion for 5 minutes in 1 tablespoon of olive oil using the sautee function on your Instant Pot. Add the chicken thighs and nestle to the bottom of the pot. Cook for 5 more minutes or until lightly browned.
- Turn off the sautee function. Add all ingredients except for the lime juice and salt, and stir to combine.
- Cook on manual high pressure for 6 minutes, then do a natural pressure release: turn off the Instant Pot and let it sit for 10 minutes before releasing remaining pressure.
- Stir in the lime juice and salt. Shred chicken if desired. Serve with cheese, avocado, Greek yogurt and tortilla chips. Enjoy!
- After cooking, store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days, or the freezer for up to 3 months.
- You may also assemble this recipe as a 'freezer crockpot meal' by combining all ingredients in a bag or meal prep container and freezing. To cook, thaw completely and cook as directed above.