Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken (Freezer Meal) — Damn Delicious

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Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken (Freezer Meal)

Stock your freezer with the easiest, quickest crockpot FREEZER MEAL. Simply drop into the crockpot and you’re set.

Did you guys know about this?

This whole straight-from-freezer-to-crockpot situation?

Because I’m sitting here wondering where this has been my entire life.

It’s a game-changer, guys.

There’s no prep cooking ahead of time here.

  1. All you do is prep.
  2. Throw it in a Ziploc freezer bag.
  3. Freeze.
  4. Thaw.
  5. And dump into slow cooker.

And you know what?

It tastes freshly made.

It doesn’t taste like I’m eating 3-day old leftovers.

Where has this been my entire life?

And you know I made burrito bowls with this cilantro lime chicken.

Just add some brown rice.

A dollop of sour cream.

Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 8 hours

Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes

Stock your freezer with the easiest, quickest crockpot FREEZER MEAL. Simply drop into the crockpot and you’re set.


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (10-ounce can) Ro*Tel® Mild Diced Tomatoes & Green Chilies
  • 1 cup corn kernels, frozen, canned or roasted
  • 1/2 cup salsa, homemade or store-bought
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, diced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Juice of 2 limes


  1. In a gallon size Ziploc bag or large bowl, combine chicken, beans, tomatoes, corn, salsa, cilantro, onion, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder and garlic. Place in freezer for up to 1 month.*
  2. Place chicken mixture into a 6-qt slow cooker; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours. Stir in lime juice.
  3. Serve immediately.

*Thaw chicken mixture for 12-24 hours prior to adding to the slow cooker.

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Simply brilliant! What an awesome idea and time saver. You’re a Rockstar!

Is it ok to put raw chicken next to fresh veggies. Also do you have any Instant Pot recipes like this?

Yes, and no. I don’t have any instant pot recipes at this time. Sorry!

Instant Pot directions for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, all ingredients defrosted – put all ingredients (except lime juice) in the pot, manual setting 9 minutes, manual release – delicious. This is a wonderful recipe.

Timing for 8-oz boneless breasts is 8 minutes. 10 minutes if they’re frozen.

You can also poach chicken using the same timing, covered halfway with chicken broth and a little seasoning. Easier than buying a rotisserie chicken for shredded chicken, and you can re-use the tasty broth.

Why do I have to thaw it if I’m cooking it in a slow cooker? Can’t I just increase to 10 to 12 hours cook time?

Yes, you can increase cooking time if it is still in its frozen state. Some people just prefer the 7-8 hour time frame so it’s ready after work.

Cooking from frozen in a slow cooker means the meat will spend too much time in the temperature danger zone where bacteria can grow.

Kaitlyn is right about the danger zone for the frozen chicken. It’s only safe to cook from frozen if it’s completely covered in water, and some will argue even then it’s not safe. Best to just thaw first!

I’m trying this one tomorrow! Thanks!

Can you not include the corn?

If you wanted to use beef instead what kind of cut a beef do you suggest “?

Chuck roast would work really well!

How about skipping the freezing part

I’m not in the US, what can I use to replace the tomato/chilli mixture? Tinned tomatoes and add in some chillies?

Another winner recipe! I used pork tenderloin instead of chicken and it was SO good and tender! My family loved it!!

Winner winner – slow cooker lime chicken dinner!

Would chicken thighs work instead of boneless skinless chicken breast?

This was so good thank you

Oh my goodness, YUMMY! I made this tonight – but I couldn’t wait to freeze it first – and it was so delicious, and easy! I made one change and salt & peppered my chicken, then browned it in a frying pan first with a bit of avocado oil and butter before putting it in the crock pot with the other ingredients.

So amazing with the sour cream and avocado! Will definitely do this one again. Thank you for sharing it!

The additions sounds AMAZING.

Looks yum! Def adding this to my list.
Can you post more of these? I need freezer meals

Umm what if I put the lime juice with all the food to cook I didn’t read that you put that in after it’s cooked is it going to ruin it?

Unfortunately, marinades that contain citrus juices, especially lemon or lime juice, should be used for only 2 hours or less.

Super tasty! I left out the jalapeño because I am a baby when it comes to spices, and I used a bottle of lime juice instead of squeezing limes, but otherwise followed the recipe. Very easy and very tasty!

I made this over the weekend and had meal prepped for several days. This was delicious and super easy. I ate it over brown rice, cauliflower rice and wrapped into a tortilla. Add a little cheese and guacamole–outstanding!
Thanks for another great recipe

This came out awful. Super watery I guess because of the various cans of vegetables (even though I drained them). And zero flavor.

​I’m sorry that this recipe did not turn out the way you had imagined. I only post recipes that have been successfully (and professionally) tested and re-tested by my team, and as you can see from the comments here, many of these readers have had great outcomes in the final dish as well. But I really appreciate your honesty and feedback.

Chicken dishes in the slow cooker can get watery sometimes especially if you buy chicken infused with broth (which it is a lot) just dump off the water half way through cooking time and adjust spices depending on if you use no salt veggies

I have to admit, this meal was simply nasty. I am an at home chef and thought I would try it. I’m not sure who test these meals out ahead, or if they even are, but I would not recommend any to waste their time and money on this one. Sorry.

​I’m sorry that this recipe did not turn out the way you had imagined. I only post recipes that have been successfully (and professionally) tested and re-tested by my team, and as you can see from the comments here, many of these readers have had great outcomes in the final dish as well. But I really appreciate your honesty and feedback.

I made this for dinner last night and it was really good. I didn’t plan ahead so I skipped the freezing and slow cooker and just put all the ingredients in my instant pot for 8 minutes. We ate it as burrito bowls with brown rice, cheese, sour cream, lettuce and avocado. I also added the cilantro at the end with the lime juice for even extra freshness. It was delightful. Love the freezer option, this will be a freezer meal that I can get excited about. My husband thought the Chicken was so good he wanted to skip the other fixings. Thanks for a great quick and easy meal option that is also healthy!

More recipes like this please! Freezer, little prep, fast, and damn delicious is everything I need!

Is there are reason you only suggest it being in the freezer for only a month? I am due with my third child the middle of September, and am starting on some freezer ideas now. Do you think it would last 2 months?

As I am not an expert on food safety, I cannot really say with certainty – sorry, Jolene! Methods for optimal food storage and shelf life should be based on good judgment and what you are personally comfortable with.

Yes you can store the food in freezer for a long time if you use food savor bags which is expensive but trust me it’s worth it some machines is expensive but others aren’t but you will save mony in the long run

Thanks for the inspiration. I clean and chop lots of veggies on market days in Baja Mexico so packing them with meat or legumes and seasonings would be a natural in my Baja kitchen. More time to play in the sea or hike!

This is delicious!

This is delicious!

I felt I had to add a comment after reading the negative ones. This is DELICIOUS! The lime juice at the end really makes it. I followed the recipe to a T and have shared it with many others already. Don’t let those few people who didn’t like it dissuade you- do yourself a favor and make it tonight!

Do you add all the liquids from diced tomatoes beans and corn?

The beans and corn should be drained.

The bag in the picture shows a nice orderly stacking yet you say to mix it up.

If you are to stack it- what is the procedure? I see the chicken is mixed with the salsa…

Lisa, the ingredients are stacked simply for photographic purposes. It is not necessary.

I am a pretty accomplished & very particular cook. I love experimenting in the kitchen but equally enjoy trying other peoples’ creations, modifying them slightly to suit my family’s taste.

Your recipes are consistently outstanding. I enjoy them for their flavor profiles, texture and freshness! This recipe was so easy and yet so tender and flavorful. I garnished mine with a little sliced avocado and a dollop of sour cream to contrast the heat. It’s been so nice to have some meals in the freezer for those nights you just can’t pull it together! Thank you for your contributions and willingness to share!

Won’t the beans turn to mush after 3 or 4 hours?

Can I sub another can of green chiles instead of the jalapeño? My 6 year children likes spicy, but not spicy hot.

Are the breasts cooked whole or are they diced

Thank you for this recipe, it has been a life saver lately! Super easy and the best part is there’s always leftovers for nachos, egg rolls or a frittata the next night. So good!

This was awesome! I made two batches…one for dinner right away and one freezer pack. The flavors all meld together so well in the slow cooker. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

I made this recipe last night for dinner and my kids couldn’t stop eating it ( I have tried quite a few of your recipes – all of them have been a hit).

Thanks for an another great slow cooker recipe!

Hi – I’m not able to have peppers or tomatoes due to allergy restrictions. What else do you suggest for a tasty substitution for the Rotel, Jalapeno, Also, what is the serving size? Thanks!

Sorry my comment was messed up for some reason – it should read for the rotel, jalapeno, chili powder, and salsa… 🙂

Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

How do you cook it in crockpot?

Please refer to the recipe above.

Hi there,
How would I convert this recipe to cook in an instant pot?

Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

Should I mix all ingredients in the bag before freezing or leave them separated as in the photo?

However you prefer. It doesn’t change the recipe or freezing process.

I made this before the birth of my son and it was a big hit! Unfortunately my slow cooker decided to die that week. Heads up if you defrost your bag of ingredients and simply saute on the stovetop till the chicken is cooked through it is a fast and delicious meal. I still make this on the stovetop as a quick and easyvrice bowl or burrito filling.

I’m making this freezer meal for a family who may want to only cook small portions at a time. That is, only cooking enough to serve two people at a time. If I were to half or even third the recipe, how should I adjust the cook time? Thanks!

Is there a different procedure/amount of time if I wanted to make this recipe with bone-in chicken? I really really want to try this but I love my chicken with the bones in it.

Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, we cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

This turned out incredibly poorly for me. Not just “meh” poorly, but couldn’t-stomach-it poorly. 3/4 of it is uneaten and going to be tossed in the trash.

I realized, however, that I did three whole things wrong!

I think they were honest mistakes; and I wouldn’t be surprised if others who hated the recipe did similarly! Read and learn! (And maybe consider super-duper-clarifying the directions?)

1. I cut the chicken breasts into large cubes rather than leaving them whole. Reading through the comments, it became clear I was supposed to leave them whole. However, the recipe wasn’t clear and the ones in the picture looked vaguely diced, I guess? Result: tough and tasteless chunks of chicken breast in the final dish.

2. I threw it in the crockpot from frozen rather than letting it thaw and marinate. See again, tough and tasteless chunks of chicken breast. I don’t know whether I missed it myself or whether my recipe clipper failed to clip it: but may I humbly suggest that an important step like thawing for 12-24 hours before proceeding should NOT be a footnote, but an actual STEP within the recipe!

3. I FORGOT THE LIME JUICE. So, I’m not great with directions, what can I say. I assembled the meal ahead of when I cooked it — and when the time came, I forgot the “lime” component wasn’t already in the bag. I DID scan the directions before throwing it in the crockpot — but failing to see any directions besides “3. Serve immediately!” after what looked like the simple and obligatory “throw it in the crockpot at x setting” step 2, I assumed there was nothing more to do in between cooking and serving. Can you make “stir in the lime juice” its own instruction item, or at least group it with the serving step, rather than slipping it in it at the end of the crockpot settings line? You know, for people who are … less than careful readers? 🙂

Anyway, the way I made it, it was certainly awful. Bad camp food awful. Bland canned tomatoeyness interspersed with tough bits of chicken breast. I didn’t taste ANY of the spices and not a hint of cilantro. My memory of it is so bad I probably won’t remake this recipe; but I can perhaps save others the stomach-turning experience, hahah! I have faith it is not actually a horrible recipe if made correctly!

Elisa, thank you so much for your feedback!

Few things here:
1. The chicken breasts are left whole as stated in the recipe, and as seen in the images.
2. I always find it super helpful to read through a recipe in its ENTIRETY at least twice before beginning to cook (that includes all steps and footnotes). It’ll save you time, money and a headache. PROMISE!

Is the chicken shredded at the end or eaten as a whole piece of chicken?

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