Mexican Pulled Chicken is easy to make, super flavorful and the basis for so many delicious meals!

Mexican Pulled Chicken

Jack recently prepared a wonderful Mexican-themed dinner for us, and this Mexican Pulled Chicken recipe played a starring role in several of the dishes he made.  This chicken is perfectly flavored with a spicy blend of tomatoes and peppers as well as other seasonings. It’s cooked in the oven until fork-tender, then shredded. Scroll down to the recipe card below to watch a video to see how it’s made.

A good Mexican pulled chicken is a great recipe to have in your go-to recipe collection!  It can be eaten as-is or as part of a sandwich, or it can be used in many other recipes!  In fact, several of our other very popular recipes here on A Family Feast use this recipe including our enchiladasMexican lasagna, and our chicken chimichangas!


Mexican Pulled Chicken

The key is to use a mix of white and dark meat in this recipe (we used a combination of boneless chicken thighs and breasts) – because the thigh meat lends so much more flavor and juiciness to the finished dish than using the breast meat alone.

Since originally posting this recipe back in February 2013, this Mexican Pulled Chicken has become one of our most popular recipes of all time. We’ve updated the photos and created a video (scroll down below to watch it) since our original post.

Mexican Pulled Chicken - A Family Feast

Can I make Mexican Pulled Chicken in the slow cooker?

Over the years, we’ve been asked if this Mexican Pulled Chicken recipe can be made in the slow cooker. The answer is YES!

While we haven’t cooked it in the slow cooker ourselves,  several of our readers have posted in the comment section below that they saw great results making this recipe in their crock pot.  Enjoy!

Interested in more chicken recipes?
Click here for our 100+ Best Chicken Recipes.

You may also like these other recipes made with this Mexican Pulled Chicken:

Mexican Pulled Chicken - A Family Feast

Mexican Pulled Chicken

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 pounds
  • Category: entree
  • Method: baked
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • 1 sweet red pepper, stemmed and seeded and cut into large rings
  • 1 large onion, trimmed and cut into large rings
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 4 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons Agave Nectar
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 2 tablespoons Rocket Fuel (or your favorite hot sauce)


  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
  2. Spray a pan or glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and lay pepper and onion rings on the bottom.
  3. Lay chicken over onions and peppers.
  4. In a medium sauce pan, place all other ingredients and heat to a boil. Stir to combine ingredients and remove from heat.
  5. Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken. Cover with parchment paper then foil. (The parchment paper will prevent the tomato acids from reacting with the foil.)
  6. Place in oven for three hours.
  7. Remove the pan from oven and peel off parchment paper and foil.
  8. Place chicken on a cutting board and shred with two forks.
  9. Pour remaining mixture from baking dish into a strainer and strain out most of the liquid then place back into baking dish
  10. Place pulled chicken meat back in with tomato mixture in baking dish and mix to combine.

Keywords: chicken



Mexican Pulled Chicken

Mexican Pulled Chicken

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  • Natasha Pollard wrote:

    I LOVE your site!!!! I am having a house warming and will be using several of your recipes. I am wondering if The ground beef tacos ( x3) , the Mexican Beef shredded (x3) , and the pulled chicken ( x2) would be enough meat to feed around 50 individual. Thanks SOOOOO much for your opinion. I also plan on making the mexican rice ( x3) ( Not sure if I triple it if it will be enough? ) OK I all stop rambling and I appreciate any advice!!!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Natasha! What a great idea for a house warming menu! Doing the math on our end – we think you would have just enough, but depending on if there are other foods you are serving as well if you have picky or hearty eaters at your party, all adults or lots of kids, you might want to increase the quantities. Jack – who has planned some large scale events in his day – for 50 adults would recommend doing 4x the ground beef tacos, 4x the shredded beef and 3x the chicken to ensure that you have enough for everyone. On the rice, assuming everyone will take a portion, we’d suggest 5x since the recipe serves 8-10. We hope that helps! Please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any other questions! Good luck with the party! Martha

      • Natasha Pollard wrote:

        Thanks soooo much! This is a HUGE help for us. Have a great day!!

      • Natasha Pollard wrote:

        Oh I also plan to have dessert ( store bought cake) and chips and salsa/guacamole.

        Because I was slightly off with the meat. I wonder if the toppings are a little off as well. Please take your time with getting back to me. When you do have time can you ask Jack about some of the following.

        Tomatos: 10

        Lettuce: 3 heads

        Onion: 4-5

        Cilantro: 3 cups lightly packed

        Limes: 15 ( cut up)

        Sour Cream: 3 Pints

        Cheese: 4-5 Lbs

        Taco Sauce: 3 bottles ?

        Hard Shells: 43 ?

        Soft Corn: 60 ?

        I wish I could hug you both as I really am excited for the party in two weeks, however, Ive never had this many people to entertain. lol 🙂

        • Martha wrote:

          Hi Natasha – Below are Jack’s recommendations and other thoughts for quantities! Have a great party!
          If you are assembling and serving, you can control the amount of food used and gauge as you serve. If this is self-service, you need to have food in reserve. Some people really like loading up tacos.
          (Tomatoes: 10) That may need to be bumped up a bit. I would go with 15.
          (Lettuce: 3 heads) That seems OK as long as they are nice large heads of iceberg
          (Onion: 4-5) Assuming these are large onions that seems OK too. People tend to shy away from onions in mixed company.
          (Cilantro: 3 cups lightly packed) More or less cilantro shouldn’t hurt anything if adjustments need to be made so OK there (maybe a few nice bunches, could also be used to garnish plates)
          (Limes: 15 (cut up)) Sounds good unless they will also be needed for Margaritas. (BTW – Have you seen our Margarita recipe on the blog? It’s fantastic!)
          (Sour Cream: 3 Pints) That is about one ounce each, may want to bump that up a tad to four
          (Cheese: 4-5 Lbs) 5 pounds is only about an ounce and a half per person. If this is self-service, may want to bump this up a bit.
          (Taco Sauce: 3 bottles ?) Assuming they are 12 ounce bottles, that is a little more than a half ounce per person…should be OK.
          (Hard Shells: 43 ?) My guess is that people will want one of each. I would go with 60 shells each (extra for the usual breakage of the hard shells)
          (Soft Corn: 60 ?) Sounds good

          • Natasha Pollard wrote:

            Ohhh margaritas I will have to check that out! Thank you for your kind words of advice. I am now officially ready to take on this taco meal!! This is for our house warming so I will take in your advice for self service as well. I will also make your taco sauce. Have a awesome week!!! I will send you some pictures of the finish spread. 🙂

          • Martha wrote:

            Thanks Natasha!! Can’t wait to see the photo!!

  • Slscottxny wrote:

    Made this tonight and used it for Buritos. A big hit! It makes a lot but i don’t think the leftovers will last long.

    • Martha wrote:

      Glad you enjoyed the recipe! We have lots of recipes on our site using this chicken – so if you need inspiration for the leftovers, be sure to search our site for pulled chicken recipes!

  • stephanie wrote:

    What us a good sub for the Agave here? I cannot wait to make this. Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Stephanie – you can substitute honey. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Ydubby wrote:

    Not sure what you pour over the chicken at the end, the vegetables or the strained liquid?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi – Sorry for the confusion. You want to strain out the excess liquid so after you’d done that, you’d put the chicken and vegetables back in (not the liquid). Thanks for writing to us – let us know if you have any other questions!

  • Monica wrote:

    Hi Martha! I’ve made this recipe multiple times now, each time it has been delicious!! I have always wanted to make chicken that taste as good as you get in a real Mexican restaurant, and this tastes even better! The last time I made it, I used the left over meat to make individual quesadillas and burritos and froze them. They’re quick and easy for lunches and taste just as good as the first day! Much less expensive and healthier than buying something prepackaged from the grocery store! Any idea on nutritional facts for this recipe?? Thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Monica – We’re glad you are enjoying the recipe as much as we do! I haven’t calculated the nutritional information for this recipe – but MyFitnessPal had a great recipe calculator tool: Hope that helps!

  • bj wrote:

    disappointed u would tell people to cook with plastic wrap.. i would never attmpt this ..everyone has a variety of lids at their disposal these days.. glass being best. plastic does melt in heat AND it gives off a toxic chemical that will turn into a vpir and be absorbed into the food. aside from this toxin, i highly doubt some of the plastc chemical doesn’t melt into the food… honest to god ths is the craziest most irresponible howto i’ve ever seen advertised on the net…

    • Martha wrote:

      Hello BJ and thank you for taking the time to write to us with your concerns! The first time I saw my husband Jack use plastic wrap under the foil in a recipe like this, I thought he was crazy and feared that the plastic would melt from the heat of the oven. But done correctly – with the plastic pulled taut over the pan and edges completely covered by the foil – the plastic shouldn’t melt and it is very effective in preventing the foil from disintegrating from the acid of the tomatoes in dishes like this, as well as creating a seal that prevents the moisture from escaping. This is a technique that has been (and still is) used in many commercial kitchens on a regular basis.

      Having said that, we certainly hear your concerns about plastic chemicals – and we have had a few other comments from other readers as well who either don’t feel comfortable with using plastic wrap in this manner, or perhaps didn’t correctly cover the plastic with the foil and had issues. We have updated this recipe to suggest using parchment paper instead to avoid any further concerns.

      Of course, anytime you are making a recipe that uses an ingredient you don’t like or a process you don’t feel comfortable with – you should adapt as you see fit. Thanks again for writing to us! Martha

  • Samantha wrote:

    I was just wondering if this recipe is just as good done ahead of time and reheated or made in the slow cooker?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Samantha – It can definitely be cooked ahead of time and reheated. I believe in the comments here on the post, we did have one reader who made this in the slow-cooker rather than the oven. Other than needing to drain off a bit more of the liquid at the end, it seemed to work well in a slow cooker! Hope that helps!

  • Michaela wrote:

    I’ve just cooked it and it is absolutely delicious! Thanks from the Czech Republic 🙂

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Michaela!

  • Barb McArthur wrote:

    Love your recipes and can’t tell you how much our family loves anything Mexican.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Barb!! Happy New Year!

  • Mattie wrote:

    Just a question on this, does the whole grain mustard refer to whole mustard seeds? Sounds silly, but I just want to clarify it so I’m not putting the wrong thing in!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Mattie – Not silly at all! 🙂 Yes – look for the mustard that has the whole mustard seeds in it for this recipe! Hope you enjoy the dish!

  • Penny wrote:

    Martha, thank you so much for taking the time to share this wonderful recipe. I made the mexican chicken yesterday and it was amazing. I made chimichangas and the chicken with a little pepperjack cheese was all that was needed to make them an instant hit with my husband. This recipe will definitely become a regular in our home. Thank you again!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much for writing to us Penny! We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for visiting our site too- Martha

  • Jennifer wrote:

    I tried this recipe for the enchiladas recipe on your site and it was awesome, actually i’m about to make it again. Hopefully I can stop “tasting” the chicken before I stuff it in the enchiladas this time, lol, it is soooo good.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jennifer – so glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • Amy wrote:

    Are you sure I can put the plastic wrap under the foil in a heated oven????

    • Martha wrote:

      We’re sure!! Just make sure the foil covers the plastic wrap completely before you put it in the oven! (I thought Jack was nuts the first time I saw him do this -but it works and really helps keep the moisture in while the food bakes!)

      • Maree wrote:

        Hi there,
        I know I’m coming to the party a bit later here, but this recipe sounds delish. I want to do it for my daughter’s 18th birthday party in early December 2014. We’re doing a Taco Bar and it sounds like it will be perfect as a filling! One question about the wrap. The recipe states PARCHMENT wrap (which here in Australia means baking paper) under the foil…but Amy asked about PLASTIC wrap…so which one do I use? Also, is there any way I can prepare this and freeze before hand to reheat on the day? I’m going to serve from crockpots but will need to re-heat before going into them to keep warm. Just trying to keep the work load reasonable. Thanks for sharing…recipes look fabulous. Going to do the Rocket Fuel sauce too. Should be a blast! LOL :o)

        • Martha wrote:

          Hi Maree – Originally, we wrote the recipe with steps to place plastic wrap under the foil as is done in most commercial kitchens – but so many readers worried about the plastic melting from the heat of the oven (it won’t if it’s covered completely with foil) that we changed the recipe to parchment paper (or baking paper as you call it). Either will work – and yes – you can prepare ahead of time and reheat in the slow cooker! I hope that helps and I hope you enjoy the recipe! Martha

  • Steve wrote:

    I was looking for recipes for pulled chicken and I came across yours. It looks good, so good in fact I realized it also looked familiar. I saw the picture five minutes ago at:

    They didn’t even both to remove the “family ” logo at the bottom. If these folks aren’t you you may wish to speak with them!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Steve! I’ll be dropping them a note right now! I appreciate you letting us know! Thanks – and if you try the recipe – I hope you enjoy it!

  • Mark Smith wrote:

    This is in the oven right now, house smells wonderful…. I am preparing to make a loaded baked potato an Mexican Pulled Chicken casserole.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hope you enjoy the recipe Mark! Thanks for visiting our site!

  • Danielle Storm | Traditional Mexican Cooking wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I love Mexican food and love trying new recipes. This will be added to my list of ones to try.

  • Rachel @ {I Love} My Disorganized Life wrote:

    This looks delicious, Martha!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Rachel!

  • Looks like a great recipe for the crockpot, too!

    • Martha wrote:

      That’s a great idea Jenna – let us know how it comes out if you try cooking this in a crockpot! Martha

      • Kari wrote:

        Just made this last night in the crockpot and it turned out amazing! There was a lot more liquid that I had to drain off than I thought there would be but after I shredded the chicken I put it back on and let it simmer in the sauce for and other 30 min. Definitely crock pot friendly.

        • Martha wrote:

          Thanks for letting us know that it works in the crockpot too Kari! We’re glad you enjoyed the recipe!

          • Tara wrote:

            How long would you cook this in a crockpot?

          • Martha wrote:

            Hi Tara – We’ve only made it as written, but I just browsed through some of the earlier comments and it looks like someone made this in the slow cooker and for her, it took 3/5 hours. Hope that helps!

        • Briana wrote:

          Awesome! I just threw everything in my crockpot and have high hopes!

  • Morgan wrote:

    Oh the possibilities with this pulled chicken! I’m imagining it would be perfect for burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, salads! Looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Julia {The Roasted Root} wrote:

    You sold me at “Mexican”! Mexican’s a huge winner in my house (in fact, we had carnitas tacos tonight!) and we’re always looking for fun recipes. This one’s a keeper!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for stopping by Julia! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

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