Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

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This Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken can be made in the crockpot or as a freezer meal, giving you two options for an easy weeknight meal! Your family is going to devour this flavor-packed dinner, you’re going to love how simple it is to prepare!

For more easy chicken dinner ideas, try my Instant Pot Chicken Adobo and Slow Cooker Sweet Chili Chicken.

Chicken, corn, beans, rice in a slow cooker stew with cilantro and lime.

Why This Recipe Is the Best

It’s safe to assume that if you’ve popped over to read about today’s Cilantro Lime Chicken recipe, it means you love cilantro. In that case, I think you’re going to love this slow cooker meal!

(For those of you who think cilantro tastes like soap, you’re better off making this Chicken Tetrazzini recipe or this Classic Chicken Pot Pie.)

Here’s what makes this cilantro lime chicken a standout:

  • It’s a low effort dinner. Because it’s made in a slow cooker, all you have to do is throw everything in and let it cook—and almost all the work is done in the beginning. This will be a go-to for those busy weeknights when you have to make dinner between football practice and homework time!
  • Your family will love the bold Tex-Mex flavors. If dishes like Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Chili and Chicken Avocado Enchiladas are always a hit in your home, then this slow cooker cilantro lime chicken recipe is a guaranteed winner.
  • You’ll have a complete dinner in one dish. Although you can serve this recipe over cilantro lime rice, with the beans, corn, tomatoes, and chicken, it can be a light dinner all by itself.
  • It’s perfect for meal prep. Whether you make it on the weekend and enjoy it during the work week or prep it as a freezer meal, this is one of those recipes ideal for making ahead.
Cilantro Lime Chicken made in the crockpot or as a freezer meal is packed with flavor! You're family is going to love this dinner, you're going to love how easy it is to prepare!

Ingredient Notes

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts – Chicken thighs will work too, but keep in mind they can take a bit longer to cook than chicken breasts.
  • Black beans – Swap in pinto beans if you’d like, but whatever beans you choose, be sure to drain and rinse them.
  • Diced tomatoes – Use fire-roasted tomatoes for a touch of smoky flavor.
  • Diced green chilies – Buy mild chilies for pickier palates, or hot green chilies for a bolder flavor.
  • Sweet corn – I use canned, but frozen is just fine if you happen to have a bag on hand.
  • Salsa – I recommend a tomato-based salsa that’s neither too thick nor too thin. 
  • Red onion – The flavor of red onion works well in this slow cooker cilantro lime chicken, but you can use yellow if you’d like.
  • Jalapeño – Feel free to adjust the amount according to your family’s preferences.
  • Spices and seasonings – Ground cumin, chili powder, garlic, kosher salt, and black pepper.
  • Lime juice – A squeeze of lime juice brightens everything up.
  • Fresh cilantro – Cilantro is usually used as a garnish, but in this recipe it’s a key player!

How to Make Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

  • Assemble: Set the chicken in the bottom of slow cooker, then add the remaining ingredients on top.
  • Cook: Cover the crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  • Finish: Shred the chicken, then add it back to the slow cooker and serve.
Cilantro Lime Chicken made in the crockpot or as a freezer meal is packed with flavor! You're family is going to love this dinner, you're going to love how easy it is to prepare!

Tips and Tricks

  • Make sure to drain and rinse the black beans before adding them to the slow cooker. This reduces the sodium in the recipe and also helps get rid of that canned bean flavor.
  • If you don’t like spicy food, you can omit the jalapeño. You don’t need to replace it, but you could add a bell pepper if you’d like.
  • I usually use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for slow cooker dinners, as they don’t dry out like breasts do. As noted above, you can use thighs in this recipe if you’d prefer, but this dish is so flavorful and juicy, the chicken breasts work perfectly!
  • Don’t discard the cilantro stems! Lots of flavor is actually stored in the stems of the plant.

What to Serve with Cilantro Lime Chicken

Your chicken is finished and you’ve got an entire crockpot full of juicy, tender cilantro lime chicken. What do you serve with it?

This cilantro lime chicken makes great tacos too! Fill up your tortilla with the contents of the crockpot. Add some homemade mango salsa and you’ve got a delicious cilantro lime taco recipe. This makes a great use of the leftovers!

How to Freeze Cilantro Lime Chicken

  • For our freezer meal prep, take a large gallon-sized freezer-safe ziploc bag and add all the ingredients to it instead of putting them in the slow cooker.
  • Label the bag. I usually double bag my freezer meals, just in case anything drips out.
  • If you’re wondering how long you can freeze chicken, I usually opt for 3 months for best flavor! If it’s a deep freezer (like a chest freezer), I go as long as 6 months.
  • When ready to use, either thaw in refrigerator overnight, or cut away the ziploc bag and place contents in slow cooker. Cook according to recipe directions. ENJOY.
Cilantro Lime Chicken made in the crockpot or as a freezer meal is packed with flavor! You're family is going to love this dinner, you're going to love how easy it is to prepare!

Recipe FAQs

What does lime do to chicken?

Lime adds a bright, tart note to chicken, making it incredibly flavorful. The acid from the lime also helps tenderize the meat, resulting in juicy, tender chicken.

Is it OK to put raw chicken in a slow cooker?

Yes, it is safe to put raw chicken in a slow cooker as long as it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F before you eat it. Use an instant-read thermometer to be sure.

Should I flip chicken in a slow cooker?

It’s not necessary to flip chicken while it’s cooking in a crockpot. The moisture and heat will evenly cook the chicken, so there’s no need to turn it—and you don’t want to let the heat escape!

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Cilantro Lime Chicken

4.75 from 16 votes
By: Aimee
Cilantro Lime Chicken made in the crockpot (slow cooker) or as a freezer meal is packed with flavor! You’re family is going to love this dinner, you’re going to love how easy it is to prepare!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 -8 servings


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless, chicken breasts
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed 15 oz
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, undrained 15 oz
  • 1 can diced green chilies 4 oz
  • 1 can sweet corn, drained 15 oz
  • ½ cup salsa
  • ½ cup red onion diced
  • 2 jalapeno diced and seeded
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 limes juiced
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro chopped (with stems)- about one full bunch
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  • Place chicken in bottom of slow cooker. Top with remaining ingredients. Cover.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours (or high for 4 hours).
  • Shred chicken and serve over cilantro lime rice.


  • To prepare as freezer meal, place all ingredients in a freezer safe ziploc bag. Label and store for up to three months.
  • To heat, cut off ziploc bag and place contents in slow cooker. Cook for 6-8 hours on low. ENJOY.


Calories: 258kcal, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 39g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 96mg, Sodium: 550mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 3g
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Did you make this recipe?Mention @shugarysweets or tag #shugarysweets!

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken is your answer for an easy, flavorful, freezer meal recipe!

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About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

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Posted on May 21, 2019

Comments & Reviews

  1. This was DELICIOUS! We made this for a small party, served with the Cilantro Lime Rice and also Cumin Brown Rice. We had chips and queso as well. Everyone gave the recipe a 10/10! And it only required about 15 minutes of assembly in the crockpot to begin with! Will be making again.

  2. I made this for dinner tonight. Family said 10/10 over white rice. I made it in the pressure cooker with frozen chicken breast. PC on hi 35 min QR add cornstarch slurry to thicken and served over rice.

  3. This might be a dumb question, but do you put the cilantro in and let it cook with all the ingredients, or do you just sprinkle the cilantro on the top when its completed?

4.75 from 16 votes (16 ratings without comment)

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