Chicken Tacos (Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken Copycat Recipe)


Copycat Cafe Rio Tacos you can make at home! I will admit it, I’m a Cafe Rio 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!

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Chicken Tacos (Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken Copycat Recipe)

5 from 2 votes

Deliciously bright and flavorful well seasoned chicken taco mixture made in the slow cooker that's perfectly tender.

Servings: 7
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes


  • 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. 
  2. Cook chicken on low heat 5 - 6 hours. Shred chicken, then cook shredded chicken in broth in slow cooker an additional 20 minutes on low. Drain broth from chicken. 
  3. 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.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Keyword: Cafe Rio Chicken, Cafe Rio Tacos
Author: Jaclyn


  • Lisa: i have a package of boneless skinless thighs, can I use them instead of the chicken breast? April 14, 2019 at 8:30am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes. Hope you enjoy! April 15, 2019 at 3:11pm Reply

  • Evelyn: We’ve been making this recipe for years and we love it! Thank you!! July 11, 2018 at 12:58pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed this taco recipe Evelyn! Thanks for your review! July 12, 2018 at 7:09pm Reply

  • TLW: I’ve loved this recipe for a few years now, thank you so much for sharing it,I got it from a friend who got it from here. Did you convert it to an instant pot by chance? Not a big fan of Instant Pot yet, but trying to get on the band wagon I guess. hahaha! February 5, 2018 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Jerry: Many years ago I made a recipe like this but only used the Italian dressing, boiled the chicken in water and sauteed it with the dressing in a skillet, and it was so good. Your recipe is SO much better. I made it exactly as written and thinking of adding fresh cilantro next time. Thank you. August 26, 2017 at 5:59pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: So glad you liked them Jerry! August 31, 2017 at 10:10am Reply

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