Easy Chicken Santa Fe

Here’s a dinner recipe that will save you on busy weeknights: Easy Chicken Santa Fe made in the slow cooker.  And here is a short video showing you how to make it.  The printable recipe is at the end of this post.

The video shows the cream cheese being dumped into the slow cooker (please cut it into chunks before adding it to the slow cooker).

Easy Chicken Santa Fe made in the slow cooker - this is such a simple dinner recipe to make for the family!

This is such a simple dinner recipe, and it’s one of those kinds of recipes that will save you on busy weeknights!  Family seems to love this one as you can customize how you’d like to eat it.

We enjoy Chicken Santa Fe served over hot steamed rice, and then everyone adds their own desired toppings.  I suggest a little lettuce, tomato, and cheese..  Avocado lovers can add avocado too.  It also makes for a great taco filling!

Hint:  Leftover turkey is fabulous in this dish too.  Just substitute cooked turkey for chicken, and cook on the stove instead of the slow cooker until everything is heated up.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Easy Chicken Santa Fe

It's a little embarrassing how easy this is. And your family will think you've gone all out for them. Delicious!


  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed & drained
  • 1 small bag frozen sweet corn (or 2 cans, rinsed & drained)
  • 1 cup bottled chunky salsa
  • 6 skinless chicken thighs (or 6 skinless chicken breasts- see tips below)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese (low fat is fine), cut into chunks
  • hot, steamed rice
  • desired toppings:  lettuce, tomato, shredded cheddar, avocado


  1. In a slow cooker, add beans, corn and 1/2 cup salsa. Top with the chicken and pour remaining salsa over the chicken. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, or until the chicken is tender and cooked throughout.
  2. Remove the chicken to a cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces. Return the chicken to the slow cooker along with the cream cheese. Stir and let cream cheese melt into the mixture to create a creamy sauce.
  3. For serving: You can serve the chicken & sauce over rice with a sprinkle of lettuce, tomato and cheddar cheese on top. Or you can serve these as tacos with cheese and a couple of taco fixings such as lettuce and tomato.


  • For chicken, the thighs will turn out more moist and tender than the breasts in a slow cooker. I used bone-in thighs and removed the skin. After the 3 hours, I removed the thighs, cut off the chicken, discarded the bones and returned the chicken to the slow cooker. You can use breasts too, just be sure not to overcook them or you'll run the risk of drying them out.
  • Alternately, you can use boneless, skinless thighs and you can prepare this in the oven- 350 degrees F. for about 70 minutes.
  • If you're watching your weight, you can most certainly leave out the cream cheese. It makes an awfully yummy sauce, but the corn/beans/salsa/chicken mixture would also make for an excellent dinner over rice or inside tortillas. If you're preparing this recipe as GLUTEN FREE, use GF corn tortillas for tacos!
SOURCE: RecipeGirl.com


  1. postedNov 30, 2009 9:35 AM

    This sounds delicious! Quick and easy, too…thank you!

  2. postedNov 30, 2009 9:35 AM
    Miss Rachel

    Looks very good! I love rice and chicken together. Will be trying it soon.

  3. postedNov 30, 2009 10:10 AM
    Sonja @ ActiveFoodie

    I am always looking for good crockpot recipes! This looks tasty and simple, I will have to try it out! Thanks!

  4. postedDec 11, 2009 7:17 PM

    That looks nice and cheesy and good!

  5. postedFeb 24, 2011 11:41 AM

    Tried this recipe with my family the other night with homemade tortillas! Amazing and very easy!
    I really enjoy all these recipes!

  6. postedJun 6, 2011 7:29 AM

    This looks so good! This could use some cubed avocados and fresh herbs. Think it’d also be delicious over a baked potato.

  7. postedJun 6, 2011 7:35 AM

    Wow, I love how simple this recipe is! I can’t wait to try it 🙂

  8. postedJun 8, 2011 5:03 AM

    I think my family will love this. I make something called Southwestern Strudel from puffpastry.com and both recipes have a lot of ingredients in common.

  9. postedJun 9, 2011 12:03 PM
    Tracy V

    Mmmmmm – Just made this and it is so yummy! THanks for the great and easy recipe!
    Tracy V

  10. postedJul 5, 2011 6:03 PM
    Jill Turner

    Will be making this a second time tomorrow for my sister and family who are flying in from out of state. It’s delicious and so easy! Thanks!!!

    • postedJul 6, 2011 9:29 AM

      Excellent! Glad to hear!

  11. postedSep 11, 2011 5:52 PM

    Found this recipe on Pinterest and I sure am glad I did! It was delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  12. postedOct 12, 2011 9:26 AM
    Tracy W.

    I’m making this as an anniversary dinner tonight. I can’t wait to try it!

  13. postedFeb 14, 2012 1:35 AM

    Question for cutting the fat content in the use of cream cheese —
    Which substitute for the 8 oz of the cream cheese will work better – the same ounces of Sour Cream or Silkern Tofu?

    • postedFeb 14, 2012 6:43 AM

      Hi Jenny- I don’t know anything about tofu (don’t use it at all!), so I can’t weigh in with an opinion here…

  14. postedFeb 22, 2012 5:17 PM

    This looks good but my little guy is allergic to dairy. Any suggestions on substitutes? Thanks!

    • postedFeb 23, 2012 6:01 AM

      Well, this recipe in particular has a lot of dairy in it so it might be tough to substitute. You’d be creating a new recipe 🙂

  15. postedMar 5, 2012 4:54 PM

    Yummy – Yummy! This meal is on my dinner plate in front of me as I type! Made mine in the oven (only having to use 6oz of the light cream cheese). Hubby and I both said “This is a keeper!”

  16. postedJul 16, 2012 9:37 PM

    Soy cream cheese should work well as a no dairy substitute. My kids have had dairy issues, but are now ok with dairy since we went on the gluten free diet.
    I used regular cream cheese (fabulous recipe — used pork because I am allergic to chicken. was terrific). However, if my kids still had dairy issues — I would not have hesitated to substitute soy cream cheese in. and just leave the cheddar out.

  17. postedNov 1, 2013 11:21 AM
    Sue Linn

    Your recipes look so darn good!

  18. postedNov 1, 2013 11:31 AM

    This looks delicious! Is there a reason why you can’t go with boneless/skinless chicken thighs and still use the crockpot vs. the oven? Thanks!

    • postedNov 3, 2013 7:16 AM

      I’m sure that would be fine.

    • postedSep 10, 2015 12:43 PM

      I was wondering the same thing…I’m going to try them in the crock pot and not in the oven. Hopefully this works? I’m cooking for my inlaws haha. I was curious how the chicken will be flavored if you do boneless skinless thighs in the oven and sauce in the crockpot? Also, there’s no direction on what ounce of 2 cans of corn you need, I bought 2 and that seemed too much so I just compared it to the 15 oz can of beans.

    • postedSep 14, 2015 5:11 AM

      I’m not sure about the oven/chicken/sauce changes as I have not tried it that way. You can wing it on the corn… I usually use a small frozen bag, but if using cans then probably one to two of the 15-ounce cans will be good.

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