Chicken Tacos (Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken Copycat Recipe)


I will admit it, I’m a Cafe Rio/Costa Vida addict.  It’s rare that I go more than a week without eating at one of the two. All their entrees are so full of exciting flavors that they keep me coming back for more. Since I eat there so frequently I thought maybe it’s time to create another copycat recipe. One of my favorite things to get there is the shredded chicken salad or shredded chicken tacos, so here is my version of that chicken.

This chicken is SO easy to make! If you haven’t noticed, I love my slow cooker. You simply toss in a few ingredients along with some spices, and then allow it to cook low and slow all day while the flavors meld together and wallah! It almost seems to good to be true doesn’t it? It does all the hard work.
This Shredded Chicken recipe is not only to be used as a taco filling but also for burritos, enchiladas, salads, quesadillas, taquitos, etc. So, if you don’t use it all the first night you make it you can use the left over chicken to make a different entree the next night, bonus! I hope you love this amazing shredded chicken that is so incredibly tender and filled with the prefect blend of flavors and spices. May it be your go to chicken filling for many of your favorite Mexican dishes! Enjoy!


Chicken Tacos (Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken Copycat Recipe)

5 from 2 votes


  • 2.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast halves
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Zesty Italian Salad dressing
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper , optional (adjust according to desired heat preference or omit)


  1. Place chicken breast halves in the slow cooker. In a mixing bowl whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour mixture over chicken in slow cooker, cover slow cooker with lid. Cook chicken on low heat 6 - 8 hours. Shred chicken (it's so tender I usually just shred it in the slow cooker without even removing it), then cook shredded chicken in broth in slow cooker an additional 30 minutes on low. Drain broth from chicken. Serve warm in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, taquitos etc. Note: for taco filling ideas and how to cook corn tortilla shells see this post here.
  2. Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


  • Jaclyn: Anonymous 1 – So glad to hear you loved it! Thanks for the comment.
    Anonymous 2 – That is a good question =). I think last time I made this it served about 7 people so I would say you’ll want to do about 5x the recipe. Also you probably already knew but you’ll want to divide it between a few slow cookers. I hope that helps and I hope you enjoy! April 28, 2012 at 1:39pm Reply

  • Anonymous: How much chicken do I need for 35 people? April 28, 2012 at 8:51am Reply

  • Anonymous: Made this tonight for my family….me, hubby and 5 kids ranging from 19 to 6 absolutely loved it. This one is a keeper! April 27, 2012 at 10:21pm Reply

  • Jacquelyn Grandy: Hi Jaclyn! I actually just posted a shrimp taco recipe today. We love tacos and really anything Mexican in our house. These look amazing and I am definitely going to give them a shot. You can’t have to many taco recipes right? April 19, 2012 at 10:01am Reply

  • Normal Food For Normal People: We just got our slow cooker of a box and are looking to put it to good use. Soon we’ll be featuring a bunch of articles on our blog about what we can do with it. We have heard it can create miracles quick and easy – and it certainly looks like what you have done is par for the course. We can’t wait! April 19, 2012 at 7:54am Reply

  • scrapwordsmom: YUM!! April 18, 2012 at 8:28pm Reply

  • jayemmtee: omg i am the worst cook ever and have been looking for super easy recipes to feed my hubby and i! and we loveeee mexican! :) thank you!! April 18, 2012 at 5:56pm Reply

  • the Grows: I should also be in Cafe Rio/Costa Vida Addicts Anonymous. SOOO good. This looks delish! We will definitely be trying this soon. April 18, 2012 at 2:05pm Reply

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