Easy Dutch Oven Pulled Chicken – Mexican Style!

This stuff is tastier than takeout! Slow-cooked pulled chicken in a chipotle and black bean stew. It’s an easy dinner recipe, delicious in nachos or as the ultimate Mexican rice bowl with steamed rice and a chopped salad! 

A chipotle chicken salad and rice bowl is on a vintage cream and green tray. A pot of salt and cutlery sit beside.

Here is why you are going to love this big-batch recipe

It’s ONE Pot! This shredded chicken recipe is probably the easiest one-pot recipe around. You don’t even need to brown the meat. just coat the chicken with spices, add the liquids and spice, and pop it in the oven. It’s such a simple recipe that you’ll love to have up your sleeve! Plus don’t you just love a meal that is full of flavor but requires very little effort?

This easy recipe has SO MANY USES and different ways to eat it. Think any kind of Mexican, salad & rice bowls, I’ve even made toasties with this one.

Hands up who loves a Dutch oven full of slow-cooked Mexcian in the middle of the table to feast on? Yes, please! Like this black bean chili, this recipe is perfect for Taco Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays… You get my drift.

What you need to get started

  • Pantry staples – olive oil, chicken stock, canned tomatoes, canned black beans.


  • Vegetables – a sliced onion, garlic cloves. If garlic is out of season you can always use garlic powder instead. Same goes for onion powder. 


  • Spice – ground cumin, sweet smoked paprika, ground coriander


  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs


  • Chipotle chillis in adobo sauce – I always have a tin of chipotle in my pantry. They are perfect for adding a smokey, warm chili flavor to dishes. You’ll find them in good food stores and selected supermarkets.


  • sea salt flakes and black pepper to season
All the ingredients you need to make Mexican style shredded chicken.

Equipment

To slow-cook chicken thighs in the oven, a good cast iron Dutch oven is essential. For this recipe, I use my Le Creuset 24cm French oven. It cooks everything perfectly and I can pop it straight onto the table, which means no serving up. Winner! Note, If you batch cook this one and make a double recipe, you’ll need to use a 28cm pot.

You’ll also need two forks to shred the chicken.

This recipe could also be cooked in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, however, please note that cooking times will vary.

The details

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.


  2. Sweat off the sliced onions in a little olive oil (2 tbsp) in a cast iron pot on low heat till translucent.


  3. Add garlic and dry spices. Cook for 20 seconds till fragrant.


  4. Add the chicken to the pot and give everything a good stir to coat the chicken thighs in spice. Make sure you get any browned bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven too. It’s all flavor, so stir it in! 


  5. Add the canned tomatoes, chicken stock, chopped chipotle, and adobo sauce. Mix all the ingredients together. Pop on the lid, turn up to medium heat and bring to a simmer. Pop the Dutch oven into the preheated oven for 60 minutes.


  6. Remove the pot from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 180 degrees Celsius. Remove the cooked chicken thighs and pop them onto a dish to shred. Without the lid (and the chicken), return the pot to the oven and cook for 30 minutes


  7.  Shred the chicken with two forks. Add both the shredded chicken and black beans to the pot. Stir through and return to the oven (lid off still) for 30 minutes to let the beans infuse with flavor and reduce the sauce.


  8. Season (if required) with sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper.

Cooks notes

This shredded chicken recipe has a mild-ish heat level. If you like a good bit of heat and want to spice things up a bit, here’s how. My favorite way is to add an extra chipotle (or two) to the pot. Alternatively, a teaspoon of chili powder can also take this up a heat level.

Let’s take this up a notch and make burrito rice bowls

I’m a huge fan of anything you can turn into a bowl meal and burrito rice bowls have long been a go-to for an easy mid-week dinner. Because this shredded chicken freezes so well, I sometimes make a double batch and fill the freezer.

It’s then as simple as reheating the chicken alongside some steamed rice, sliced avocado, capsicum strips, sour cream, fresh chili, and a chopped salad of diced tomato, cucumber, corn, red onion, and cilantro with a squeeze of lime. While these are the usual suspects in my Mexican rice bowls, I also mix it up depending on what is on hand.

Here are some of my favorite additions…

  • canned corn
  • red kidney beans
  • guacamole/avocado slices
  • grilled or roasted vegetables
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • pickled vegetables
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • fresh chilies
  • lime wedges
  • salad vegetables/salsa. I either make a quick pico di gallo or chopped salad with whatever is in my fridge, but think outside the box. I sometimes make chicken tikka bowls that have a chopped mango salad with it which I just love!

Want to rehash this for tomorrow’s dinner? Try these variations…

My slow-cooked chipotle chicken can also be used as a base for nachos, tacos, burritos, and my favorite, enchiladas… Anything you would put with corn tortillas really! You get the picture. Make a double batch and you’ll be eating Mexican pulled chicken for days! Which if you’re like me is not a bad thing! 

Turn it into shredded chicken enchiladas by mixing the chicken with the leftover rice to fill wraps. Roll and place in an ovenproof dish, then top them with a little leftover sauce and grated cheddar cheese. Bake till cooked through and cheesy on top!

Make the ultimate sub. Grab a roll and top with shredded chicken and cheese. Grill and then top with your fave salad, fresh chilis, avocado, and a little mayo. Bliss!

Serve this one up with these chipotle butter corn ribs and a quick salad to beef things up a little if you’ve got a crowd!

Storage

Keep this one in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat either pop it in the microwave or use your Dutch oven to warm it up on top of the stove. You may need to add a little water if you don’t have a huge amount of liquid in the pot.

To Freeze, again an airtight container that is suitable for freezing with do the trick. I meal prep this easy shredded chicken recipe and then divide it into 2+ portions depending on the next few week’s activities. It freezes well for up to 3 months.

Love a Dutch oven dinner. Here, try these recipes…

Happy slow-cooking!

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A chipotle chicken salad and rice bowl is on a vintage cream and green tray. A pot of salt and cutlery sit beside.

Dutch Oven Mexican Pulled Chicken

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  • Author: Emma Lee
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: slow cook
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

Tastier than takeout! Slow-cooked shredded chicken in a chipotle and black bean stew. Delicious as nachos, or as the ultimate Mexican rice bowl with steamed rice and a chopped salad!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 ½  tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1kg chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 x 400g canned tomatoes
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 2 x chipotle chillis in adobo sauce, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp adobo sauce
  • 1 x 400g can black beans, drained
  • sea salt flakes and black pepper to season

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
  2. Sweat off the sliced onions in a cast iron pot on low heat till translucent.
  3. Add garlic and dry spices. Cook for 20 seconds till fragrant.
  4. Add the chicken to the pot and give everything a good stir to coat the chicken thighs in spice. Make sure you get any browned bits on the bottom of the Dutch oven too. It’s all flavor, so stir it in! 
  5. Add the canned tomatoes, chicken stock, chopped chipotle, and adobo sauce. Mix all the ingredients together. Pop on the lid and bring to a simmer. Pop the Dutch oven into the preheated oven for 60 minutes.
  6. Remove the pot from the oven. Increase the oven temperature to 180 degrees celsius. Remove the chicken thighs and pop them onto a dish to shred. Without the lid (and the chicken), return the pot to the oven and cook for 30 minutes.

  7.  Shred the chicken with two forks. Add both the shredded chicken and black beans to the pot. Stir through and return to the oven (lid off still) for 30 minutes to let the beans infuse with flavor and reduce the sauce.
  8. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Notes

Let’s take it up a notch and make burrito bowls… It’s as simple as serving the chicken alongside some steamed rice, sliced avocado, capsicum strips, sour cream, fresh chili, and a chopped salad of diced tomato, cucumber, corn, red onion, and cilantro with a squeeze of lime. While these are the usual suspects in my Mexican rice bowls, I also mix it up depending on what is on hand.

This shredded chicken recipe has a mild-ish heat level. If you like a good bit of heat and want to spice things up a bit, here’s how. My favorite way is to add an extra chipotle (or two) to the pot. Alternatively, a teaspoon of chili powder can also take this up a heat level.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 309
  • Sugar: 8 g
  • Sodium: 352.7 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.7 g
  • Protein: 35.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 92.7 mg

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