This Crock Pot Zesty Shredded Chicken Recipe will become a staple in your recipe box! This delicious shredded chicken is perfect for chicken tacos or sandwiches and is a crowd favorite. Everyone always asks for the recipe for this shredded chicken!

Crock Pot Zesty Shredded Chicken

I have a confession…I don’t use my crock pot often. I know I know…it seems like everyone loves throwing a meal in there in the morning and having dinner ready for them when they get home, but I just don’t love it. First of all, I never ever wake up early enough to prepare the crock pot before work. Second, I rather just make something “fresh” when I get home from work. But there are definitely times when a crock pot recipe is helpful and that is usually when I am going to a pot luck and need to bring something!

This Crock Pot Zesty Shredded Chicken recipe is a take on a recipe I found online, Copycat Cafe Rio Chicken. I have no idea what Cafe Rio is since we don’t have any near us in the North, but this recipe had rave reviews so I had to try it! Chicken in the slow cooker can be so dry and bland but this recipe is SO juicy and has so much flavor!

How to keep chicken juicy in the slow cooker?

The secret is to really overdo the ratio of liquid to chicken. If you don’t have liquid, there is nothing to keep the chicken from drying out. Anytime you cook chicken in the crock pot, make sure to add liquid, even if it is just chicken broth. The other trick for this recipe is to shred the chicken at least one hour before serving. Let the shredded chicken sit in the juices on the keep warm function for at least an hour. It will soak up all the delicious dressing mixture and be so good!


The sauce for this chicken is made up of zesty Italian dressing, ranch dressing mix, chili powder, and garlic powder. It’s truly a powerhouse of flavors! You do not need to add salt to this recipe. The ranch dressing mix has a higher sodium content. The chili powder adds flavor, but does not make it spicy! It seems like a lot of chili powder, but it is super diluted in all the dressing that it doesn’t over power the chicken at all. If you like spicy, you could add a little cayenne powder when cooking.

Looking for more shredded chicken recipes?

Instant Pot Shredded BBQ Chicken

Baked BBQ Chicken Roll Ups

Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Burrito Bowls

Crock Pot Zesty Shredded Chicken

This easy chicken recipe will become your go to shredded chicken recipe!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Shredded Chicken
Cook Time 6 hours
Servings 6 people
Author Amanda @ Old House to New Home


  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 bottle zesty Italian dressing
  • 1 packet dry ranch seasoning
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 cup water or chicken broth


  1. Add all ingredients to slow cooker and put on the lid.

  2. Cook 6 hours on low, or until chicken shreds easily. Shred chicken and switch slow cooker to keep warm.

  3. Let chicken soak in the juices for one hour before serving.

  4. Serve on a bun, as a taco, or on a salad.

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