Crockpot Cafe Rio Chicken

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This is one of my favorite recipes I have made in the crock pot.  I can't believe that I waited this long to share it with you!  We hosted a Mexican inspired little get together with my college roommates a few months ago and I made this chicken.  These pictures must have just snuck off of my memory card because I just came across them again today.  

This recipe has very few ingredients can be scaled down or up depending on how much you would like.  Added bonus: it is really easy to freeze.  We ate them in tacos the night of the party and the remainder of the week I had them on salads for lunch.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect with Italian dressing, ranch dressing mix and cumin!?  The result was fantastic, a real crowd pleaser.  

Oh, and I do have to say I have never been to Cafe Rio--it's just the name of this dish I found via Chef in Training. I do hear good things about it and upon googling found it is the "number one Mexican restaurant in the nation."  Good to know…there are none in Minnesota.  I guess we will have to make a trip out west to give it a try! 

Musical Selection: Notion by: Kings of Leon.  I can't stop listening to this song. 
Start by trimming the chicken breasts and placing them into the crockpot that you have sprayed with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, add Italian dressing--reduced fat would work and I don't think it matters what brand you use.
One packet of ranch dressing mix
A few cloves of garlic, chopped
Chili powder
Pour the sauce over the chicken
Flip the chicken around a bit to coat.  It looks like I had wayyy too much sauce but it worked out perfectly. I let this cook for about 6 hours…it smelled divine.
I took the cover off and was like "shiz" looks burnt.  Oh it wasn't, just the top looked a bit sketchy but it was great.
Take the chicken out and using a pair of tongs press gently.  It will fall apart completely.
Pop it back into the crockpot and toss back into the sauce.  
We served it taco style with cheese, lettuce and corn salsa.  Amazing. 

Cafe Rio Crockpot Chicken
6 Chicken breasts
1 16 oz bottle Italian dressing (I used Wishbone) 
1 ranch dressing packet
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced 
1 tablespoon chili powder--I would add more if you want more spice
1 tablespoon cumin--also add more if you want it to taste more like "tacos"

Trim the chicken breasts and place them in a crockpot that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  

In a small bowl, combine the Italian dressing, ranch packet, garlic, chili powder and cumin.  Pour this mixture over the chicken. 

Cook the chicken on low for about 6-8 hours.  If you want to speed it up, cook it on high for 4 hours. 

After fully cooked, take the chicken out and gently press with a pair of tongs.  The chicken will fall apart. Place back into the crackpot and toss back into the sauce. 

Serve as tacos, quesadillas, on salads or any other use you can think of.  This makes a lot and freezes great!  


Recipe adapted from: here


  1. Hi there. It would be great if you linked this in to Food on Friday which is collecting slow cooker/crockpot recipes this week. Have a good week.

    Ps I haven't seen you in my blog list. Do you follow via GFC or some other way?

  2. HI Carole--sorry I missed it! I follow through GFC!

  3. Best restaurant ever, I gain weight after I eat there haha. They started in Utah and are slowly spreading so maybe someday. ...ourbestbites has the best copycat of their enchilada sauce mmmmmmmmm


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