Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken Stacks

If the stress of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday has you, well…stressed and you need a quick no-fuss meal, look no further.

Four ingredients tossed in the crockpot and cooked to tender perfection, then smothered in delicious toppings such as lettuce, avocado, tomatoes, sour cream and cheese and all on a bed of tortilla chips. Seriously, you can’t get much easier, more delicious and more kid-friendly than this.

I make this meal all the time on those days when dinner just isn’t in the cards and I’ve had the forethought to pull out the crockpot and let it do the work for me. We love this meal in our family and the chicken-bean filling would be delicious in quesadillas or burritos as well.

Have a really fantastic Thanksgiving holiday and be sure to check back here on Monday – you won’t believe what will be starting.

I’ll give you a hint: Sugar Rush.

What To ServeServe on a bed of tortilla chips and top with additional garnishes: lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, etc.

Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken Stacks

Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken Stacks

UPDATE 2016: Over the years, I've continued to make this recipe but have altered it just a bit. Most of the time we eat it over brown rice (made in the InstantPot - yum!) and I usually add an 8-ounce can of tomato sauce plus 1 teaspoon chili powder and 1/2 teaspoon cumin to the recipe.


  • 2 cups frozen corn
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 large frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • 1 1/2 cups salsa


  1. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the slow cooker. Pour frozen corn into the bottom of the slow cooker and place the frozen chicken breasts on top. Cover with beans and salsa. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Remove chicken from slow cooker and shred with forks. Return to the slow cooker and stir until the chicken, corn, beans and salsa are combined.
  2. Serve on a bed of tortilla chips and top with additional garnishes: lettuce, tomato, avocado, sour cream, cheese, cilantro, lime wedges, etc.

Recipe Source: from my sister-in-law Erin

94 Responses to Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken Stacks

  1. Stephanie says:

    How would you convert this to Instant Pot?

    • Mel says:

      Probably toss it all in and cook at on high pressure for 8 minutes. Natural release for 10 minutes and then quick release the rest of the pressure?

  2. […] Cooker Southwest Chicken Stacks from Mel’s Kitchen […]

  3. Marcie says:

    Fall sports season is crazy around our house and we were so tired of our normal crock pot meals. I tried this out last month and have made it two more times since then! It’s so yummy and even my pickiest kid likes it! Not only that, but I love how easy it is to throw together. Thank you so much for making my life a little easier 🙂

  4. Shari says:

    Does chicken and corn need to be frozen

  5. Amy says:

    I’m so glad I tried this. It was easy to make and my family thought it was delicious! I will definitely be making it again. Thanks!

  6. heather says:

    How could you adapt this to the oven? I don’t have a slow cooker.

  7. Anne says:

    This is just like my southwest creamy chicken nachos except I add in 8 oz of cubed cream cheese at the end and let it melt in. So yummy!! Thanks for the throwback reminders. Chicken enchilada pasta is going on next week’s menu!

  8. Natalie says:

    I’ve never fed my family of 6 nachos for dinner. I’m basically a rock star in this moment in their eyes. Thanks for this!!!

  9. Layne says:

    I made this last night (recommended by my sister) and it was a hit! As is everything I make by you. I once made brookies for a church event and I was totally shy bc I was brand new but everyone loved them and it was a great conversation starter. Anyways, thank you from a first time mom in San Diego.

  10. Hege Nguyen says:

    Delicious!!! This has become a staple in our house – and such an easy ‘go to’ when time is of the essence… Mel, we love your recipes so much that I have started a separate cook book with your recipes exclusively! :)) – and it stays on my kitchen counter, as I always seem to be grabbing it for dinner ideas or when I would like to treat my family to a sweet treat… You’re the best!! Thank you for sharing of your gifts so freely with your
    fans 🙂 …I wish I had known about you a long time ago!!! Blessings – Hege

  11. Lisa says:

    What are your thoughts on substituting enchilada sauce for the salsa? Either way sounds D-Lish!! Thank you so much!! 🙂

  12. Angie says:

    I tried this today and it was perfect. I used frozen white corn and homemade salsa. Thanks for the recipe.

  13. L says:

    “I’m Mel; I make family-friendly food from scratch” ; Since when does “from scratch” start with “open a can of” and add “prepared xxxx frozen” … give us a break!!! Puleeeze, truth in blogging.

    • Mel says:

      Hey L – no need to be rude. If this isn’t your style of cooking, feel free to look elsewhere. This recipe was posted over five years ago; since then my food philosophy has changed and I use less processed/prepared ingredients but either way, this recipe is still pretty yummy, especially if you need an easy meal (and you can use any variety, even organic, for the beans and salsa). Everyone’s allowed to evolve in their food philosophy, don’t you think?

      • Debbie Crandell says:

        I am grateful for this recipe. I am a school teacher and I need healthy quick recipes like this. I freeze corn from our garden, so frozen corn is good. I am sorry I do not always have homemade salsa sitting around so I will use store bought. Keep doing what you are doing, coming up with help for busy families that rely on you site.

  14. Paula Garretson says:

    I was wondering how many people the Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken Stacks serves.

    My husband and I own a Bed and Breakfast and this would be great for a dinner meal for guests.

  15. Andrea says:

    Just want you to know that I love this recipe! My picky 3yr old even likes it (except for the black beans). I shared it with my co-workers and everyone is raving about it! I’m thinking it will also make a great “picky” dish for a party, just serve with the fixings on he side!

    Thanks for making my life a little easier. 🙂

  16. Stacey says:

    I’m making this for dinner tonight! I can’t wait. This will be the perfect dinner to have after being at tumbling with my daughter.

    I did want to let you know that when I try to click on the links for the “printable version” and the “printable version with pictures” it says I don’t have access to those google docs. It’s not biggie because I’ll just use my computer but I wanted you to know.

  17. Jennifer says:

    I made this yesterday for dinner and we made chicken taco’s out of it with flour tortillas and all the fixings. It sure didn’t look like much cooking but boy the taste was YUMMY!!! Would be great over tortilla chips too!!! Definitely a keeper recipe and SO easy!! Thanks!!!

  18. Kim says:

    What a fantastic meal! So easy and my family loved it! I have told so many of my friends about your blog full of recipes. Not one has failed us yet.

  19. Mandi says:

    I love this recipe, although my version is sightly different, I add 3 TB of lime juice and 1 TB of chili powder to 1 cup salsa and pour on top. Yummy!!!

  20. Mel says:

    Danielle – as long as your crockpot can hold the ingredients, this recipe should double (or triple) just fine. I’d maybe add another 30 minutes to the cooking time if you have a really full crockpot but otherwise it should be ok.

  21. Danielle says:

    Hi, Mel,
    I’m planning a menu for a large gathering. Would this recipe work double or tripled? I have a large (5.5 – 6 qt) crock pot. Would I need to adjust the time? Thanks!

  22. Andrea says:

    Made this yesterday for dinner! It was a hit in our house! So super easy and very yummy. Today we put the filling in tortillas and had burritos for lunch. Fabulous!!!

  23. […] Slow Cooker Southwest Chicken Stacks Recipe via Mel’s Kitchen Cafe […]

  24. Megan says:

    Easy and delicious. My kids loved this. I added the lime and brown sugar….very tasty. Thanks for one of those go to recipes!

  25. Marie says:

    Very tasty. Thanks for an easy and delicious meal.

  26. Caitlin says:

    This sounds great. Just wondering if I can use fresh chicken breasts and canned corn, rather than the frozen, since that is what I have on hand.

    • Mel says:

      Caitlin – yes you can definitely make those modifications but you may be able to cut down the cooking time by a half hour or so using fresh chicken. I’ve never used canned corn but I think it should hold up well enough in the slow cooker.

  27. Becky R says:

    You saved me with this recipe for dinner tonight. I need something quick and easy, that everyone will love. It’s a busy day, so this is too perfect. Thank YOU!!!!

  28. jillbeesley says:

    I have made this recipe and it is delicious!

  29. blythe says:

    i have loved so many of your recipes and i keep coming back for more. im planning on making this one tonight but was wondering if i could use canned corn in place of the frozen corn?

  30. Marie says:

    Any disadvantage to using Fresh chicken breasts instead of frozen ones as the recipe calls for?
    I prefer fresh because I am a little finicky about fating the chicken so there is not a trace left, and I can’t do this with a frozen breasts.

    • Mel says:

      Marie – no, I think you could definitely use fresh chicken breasts, but I wouldn’t cook it as long. Maybe cut 45 minutes to an hour out of the cooking time. For some reason, this recipe does better without being cooked for hours and hours on end.

  31. Joey says:

    Could you make this with Pinto beans instead of black beans?

  32. Kensi says:

    It doesn’t get easier than this and yummy too! My kids ate it up! Thanks for another great recipe!

  33. Analese says:

    I tried this recipe on Sunday and it was the easiest, which made it even more yummy! Thanks for the quick delicious recipe! We will definitely be making this again.

  34. Megan H. says:

    holy smokes…super good. my husband AND kiddo loved it. mmmm definitely a repeat. very soon. Id totally make that for company with a ton of toppings out so my guests could eat it however they wanted…thanks so much for this great recipe. Im excited to see if any of the crock pot recipes make it here..hopefully soon 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Megan H. – glad this was a hit! I also love that it could be tailored individually depending on what toppings people like. Thanks for checking in!

  35. Megan H. says:

    I love your recipes. They are always easy, and delicious. and I always love reading comments from other people of what they have done… I may have to add a little lime and brown sugar at the end..mmm yummy. This is another one of those great recipes that hides the veggies from my veggie hater toddler. Thanks so much for all the yumminess 🙂 do you think you will do more crock pot recipes this summer? I love my crock pot so much more during the summer cause i dont have to turn on my hot oven…

    (oh, and does it really matter which salsa you use. mild? med? hot? ridiculously hot? I will be feeding it to my son so i used mild this time…)

    • Mel says:

      Megan – I use whatever salsa I have on hand, but it is usually mild due to my kids’ sensitive taste buds. I hope you like it! And I am planning for a few more crockpot recipes…we’ll see if they turn out well enough to post!

  36. Tami G. says:

    This was another yummy meal. My husband loved it and I loved how easy it was and the smell that made me seem like I’d been slaving all day in the kitchen. Great recipe and will for sure add it to my collection. Thanks Mel for making my neighbors think I’m an amazing cook because the smell travels through out our apartment complex…

    • Mel says:

      Tami G. – your comment made me smile! I am always jealous when I smell other people’s dinner cooking and wonder what on earth smells so good. Looks like you are the one to be jealous of!

  37. Jeanette says:

    I made this tonight and it was so delicious… and easy too! It is a keeper as my whole family (including my pickiest son) liked it. I think it would be excellent as a filling for sour cream chicken enchiladas or chimichangas. Thanks~

  38. Janeil says:

    Made this the other night and it was delicious!! Each year I am in charge of one dinner at our family reunion. This will be perfect. Cheap, easy and can feed a huge crowd, (if I add a few more crock pots:) Thanks for another wonderful recipe. I love your blog. I am making the chicken cordon blue casserole tonight.

    • Mel says:

      Janeil – I agree, this meal would be GREAT for a family reunion assignment. Glad you like it! (Hope the cordon bleu casserole turns out great for you…)

  39. Mel says:

    Amanda – so glad you liked these! Thanks for letting me know.

  40. Amanda says:

    I made these tonight and they were great! Just what I needed for a quick easy dinner. I also used the lime tortilla chips and I thought it added a fabulous flavor!

  41. K's Mama says:

    Made this today. LOVED it. Just added a taco seasoning packet mix to give it more flavor. Please post more great crockpot recipes. I have a barnacle baby :o) that doesn't let me get much done so I rely on my crockpot alot and need some great recipes like this- we made your Kalua (sp?) pork last week and loved that too! Thank you for helping me meal plan.-mrs v

  42. Melanie says:

    mrs v – love your reference to a barnacle baby since I can completely relate! That made me smile since I've had a few of those come along myself. It's hard to get anything done! I actually have a few more crockpot recipes up my sleeve that hopefully I'll post soon. Glad you liked this (and the pork!).

  43. Amy says:

    I tried this last week and the whole family loved it! Thanks! It will be something we have regularly.

  44. Melanie says:

    Amy – I’m so glad! Hats off to easy meals, right?

  45. Anonymous says:

    This seriously was a dream dinner. A few days before Christmas I decided to clean out and reorganize my kitchen cupboards. I don’t know what got into me that day. At noon it was clear that what I had planned for dinner was not going to happen because my kitchen looked like a tornado had been through it. I came to your site and searched crockpot and found this gem. I threw everything in the crockpot and forgot about it. By dinner my kitchen was put back together and dinner was done. I love dinners like this…2 minute prep, tons of flavor and a happy family at dinner. -Liz K.

  46. Melanie says:

    Liz – oh, days like that are terrible. I’m so glad this easy dinner helped out. Thanks for letting me know.

  47. Mrs. P says:

    that’s it? why didn’t i find this recipe sooner! soo easy. gotta love crock pots!

  48. Melanie says:

    Maria – so glad this easy dish was a hit. Thanks for letting me know!

  49. Melanie says:

    alexandra – I’ve never tried this with rice. I’m guessing the best way to do it would be to add hot cooked rice at the end. I’m not sure how the conversion would be to add uncooked rice to the crockpot – if I mess around with it, I’ll let you know!

  50. Maria says:

    I made this last night and it was a hit. It was so EASY and that means I’ll definitely make it again!

  51. alexandra says:

    I was wondering if this meal could also sustain rice in the crock pot, as well. Would it just be gross (or would you have to add stock or something)? I have been systematically going through all of your recipes for a month or so now, and we love them all!

  52. Melanie says:

    The Coopers – I love the addition of brown sugar and lime juice…sounds like a perfect combination for flavor. Thanks for letting me know you liked this!

  53. The Coopers says:

    Made this last night for dinner, and it was sooo yummy. Had it with guacamole as well.. and left overs today were just as good. I added a little brown sugar and a couple squirts of lime juice to the meat mixture to add a touch more sweetness just before serving.
    Thanks i will defiently make again!

  54. Melanie says:

    Court – hip hip hooray for dinner saving meals! Thanks for letting me know you liked it.

  55. Court says:

    This meal saved dinner on Friday. I had everything in my fridge already! We loved it over tortilla chips and ate it like nachos. Thank you!

  56. Melanie says:

    Kristi – bless you for trying it and letting me know you loved it!

  57. Kristi says:

    tried it. Loved it. Bless you.

  58. Melanie says:

    Abby Hanson – well, I’m definitely not one to give a lot of advice about organizing recipes. I’ve just barely gotten mine to a manageable point but I don’t do anything fancy – basically I organize my recipe on my computer by main topics (main dessert, dessert, etc.) and then when I want to use a recipe, I print it out. If I like it, I put it in a corresponding binder that has sheet protectors in it. My binders (also organized by subject) are my tried-and-true files. And now, of course, my blog serves as a great resource when I need a go-to recipe. Hope that helps! I welcome any tips from others.

  59. Jessica says:

    I’m so excited! I’m going to go throw this in the crock-pot NOW because I’ll be baking pies all afternoon. Thanks for making my life much easier!

    Crock-pot rules!!!

  60. Kristi says:

    You just saved my life. I forgot I was hosting friends for dinner tonight and was sad because I wanted to go do holiday shopping while my oldest is out with her Grandma today. You saved the day! Thanks!

  61. grace says:

    stressed or not, this is exactly the kind of food i crave. now i’m itching for a mexican-themed thanksgiving spread… 🙂

  62. Veronica M says:

    Oh, yeah, this looks like a winner. Definitely a must-try during these hectic holidays when there’s less time to cook!

  63. camille says:

    This is a definite favorite at our house!

  64. Tisa City says:

    I love making this recipe. It is so easy and SO good.

  65. Amy and David Ziehl says:

    YUM! I love easy no fuss dinner ideas!

  66. Abby says:

    These look great! Just what I need for the days company is here this week but we don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen after all the Thanksgiving cooking. Thanks!

    Also, I’ve been wondering – how do you organize your recipes? I’ve done notecards, then binders, and now sort of a combination of binders and on the computer, but have yet to find a system that is efficient, keeps them all in one place, is easy to update, and easy to have close by while cooking. I’ve toyed with the idea of getting them all together in some kind of program on the computer and using my laptop in the kitchen (a netbook would be even better for that kind of thing), but I have yet to actually do it yet. Lately I’ve been using Microsoft Office OneNote which is like an electronic notebook and you can make however many notebooks and then sections within the notebooks as well. This might turn out to be a good solution, but it hasn’t had the test of time yet…

    Do you have a software program you use? I guess this could be an entire post on its own huh? 😉

    • Jody W says:

      I use Pinterest to store and sort my recipes. I just create a new board for each category, like desserts, or appetizers, and you can move things around. The only bad thing is that you can’t sort them within the board. But it doesn’t take up space on your hard drive, and that’s a good thing.

    • Wilson E. Stevens says:

      In 1986 I lost one of my favorite recipes, and looked every where for it. So I started putting them into my computer. I used a recipe organizer program for a number of years, but new computers and operating systems resulted in wasted time and energy moving to another format. Finally I used a word processor and stored them by category, soup, pasta, chicken, meat, etc. After that it became easy to track, print, send copies to people, and always be able to find the recipe by name or by searching for one or more ingredients.

  67. Dixie Dixon says:

    Looks good. I’ve recently re-discovered the joy of crock-pot cooking so this is perfect. We’ll be adding it in. 🙂 thx.

  68. Jelli Bean says:

    This sounds delicious! I sure would love it, but I know my husband would complain unless I used a salsa that had absolutely no “kick” to it whatsoever. Speaking of yummy, I’m looking forward to making your Thanksgiving dishes this week.

  69. Dutch says:

    This recipe sounds delicious. I love using my slow cooker. Thanks for the recipe.

  70. Splendid Things says:

    This looks delicious and one that I will be trying soon. I have frequently used my crockpots but have been using them even more lately as my oven recently broke up with me~

  71. JoAnn says:

    Oh my! This sounds perfect after a stressful few days of cooking coming up; or a cold, snowy day soon to come.

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