Snapshot Cooking

These Easiest-Ever Slow Cooker Tacos Only Need 3 Ingredients

updated Feb 3, 2020
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Welcome to Snapshot Cooking, the home of Kitchn’s easiest recipes. These mini recipes are so simple you can practically cook from the before-and-after snapshot itself.

There are few things I love more than meals wrapped up in a tortilla. But despite my deep adoration, I often find myself in a taco rut. To bring new life back into the easy dinner favorite I turned to my trustiest kitchen appliance: the slow cooker. I tossed in just three ingredients — a protein (or veg!) and two pantry ingredients — and a few hours later, returned to flavor-packed, takeout-inspired taco fillings ready to tuck into tortillas or spread onto salads.

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5 Snapshot Recipes for 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Tacos

  • Ingredients: Each 3-ingredient taco recipe starts with a centerpiece ingredient (shrimp, chicken, beef, pork, or cauliflower) and two ingredients that add flavor.
  • Extras: How to serve (corn tortilla, flour tortilla, or greens) and garnish the tacos is up to you. We’ve included suggestions in each recipe, although those extras are not included in our ingredient count.
  • Servings: All of these recipes serve 4 (although the pork can serve up to 6).
  • Slow cooker: All of these recipes can be made in a 4 1/2-quart or larger slow cooker.

Our Favorite Slow Cooker for Easy Dinners (and Beyond!)

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Place 6 to 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (2 pounds total) in the slow cooker. Whisk 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, 1/4 cup water, and 2 teaspoons sambal or Asian chile-garlic sauce in a small bowl. Pour over chicken.

Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F.

Transfer chicken to a clean cutting board; chop into bite-sized pieces. Whisk the sauce in the slow cooker until smooth. Return chicken to the sauce and toss to coat. Serve on warm 6-inch flour tortillas; garnish with crushed honey-roasted peanuts and sliced scallions.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Place 2 pounds flank steak, cut into 1-inch pieces in the slow cooker. Add 1 cup (8 ounces) BBQ sauce and 2 tablespoons gochujang; stir to coat. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours, until the meat is tender.

Serve on warm 6-inch flour tortillas; garnish with quick cucumber pickles and sesame seeds.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Trim off any large pieces of fat from a 3- to 4-pound boneless pork shoulder or pork butt. Season with 1 tablespoon kosher salt and 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Place in the slow cooker. Pour in 1/2 cup pickling liquid from 1 (16-ounce) jar sliced pickled jalapeños, then add 1/4 cup of the pickled jalapeños and 1/2 cup pure maple syrup.

Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours until the pork is tender.

Transfer the pork to a clean cutting board; shred with 2 forks. Serve on warm 6-inch corn tortillas with pickled jalapeños, diced white onion, and chopped fresh cilantro. Refrigerate leftovers with defatted cooking liquid for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Tropical Pineapple Shrimp Tacos

Whisk 1 (8-ounce) can crushed pineapple and 2 tablespoons molasses in the slow cooker. Add 2 pounds large raw shrimp (16 to 20 shrimp per pound), cleaned and peeled (thawed if frozen); toss to coat.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 55 to 65 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even cooking, until the shrimp are opaque.

Remove the shrimp from the sauce with a slotted spoon. Serve the shrimp on warm 6-inch flour tortillas with sliced serrano peppers, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Salsa Verde Cauliflower Tacos

Place 8 cups cauliflower florets (from 1 head cauliflower) in the slow cooker. Whisk 1 (16-ounce) jar salsa verde and 1/4 cup honey in a medium bowl; pour over cauliflower. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours, until the cauliflower is just fork-tender but not falling apart.

Serve on warm 6-inch corn tortillas with thinly sliced radishes, chopped fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.