Freezer to Crockpot: Cilantro Lime Chicken

Hi Friends!

Remember a couple of weeks ago when I posted a pic of some freezer meals that I put together during one of my Sunday Food Preps? Well, we’ve been slowly working our way through them and after a couple of fails, we have our first winner to share with you!

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Add this Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken to the menu for your next Mexican night. Or, put the ingredients in a ziploc bag and stick it in the freezer. During a busy week just dump it in the slow cooker and have dinner waiting when you get home!

This recipe is kinda similar to the Salsa Chicken recipes you see floating around out there, but I wanted something a little healthier. Most of those recipes use canned beans and corn and a big jar of salsa that’s loaded with sodium. I kept the beans and corn…I like to cook a big batch of dried black beans and freeze them so I always have some on hand. It’s an easy way to cut down on the sodium. However, if you used the canned variety, just look for no salt added. Same thing with the corn! If you can only find low sodium, give them a good rinse before using them.

I added a bunch of cilantro and lime juice for flavor and opted to save the salsa to use as just a topping!

Here’s the recipe:

Serves 4

Freezer to Crockpot: Cilantro Lime Chicken

The perfect meal for a busy weeknight. Prep ahead of time and stick in the freezer, then simply defrost, dump in the crockpot and dinner is served!

Rating: 5.01

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Freezer to Crockpot: Cilantro Lime Chicken


1 pound chicken breasts
2 cups black beans, cooked, no salt added
1 cup corn kernals, no salt added
1 red pepper, diced
½ cup onion, diced
¼ cup cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers, minced (optional)
½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp cumin
Optional toppings for serving: salsa, cheese, avocado
*brown rice- can be cooked ahead of time and frozen or cooked just prior to serving


  1. Place all ingredients in a large ziploc bag and freeze flat.
  2. Prior to cooking, defrost over night in the refrigerator or under cold running water.
  3. Dump contents into the crockpot. Add a little bit of water to the bag, shake it around and add to crockpot to help get some of the cilantro out if it sticks to the bag.
  4. Cook on low 4-6 hours.
  5. Shred chicken breasts and serve over rice, as is or in tortillas.


This is about as easy at it gets, friends! You can serve this as is, or over rice or in a tortilla. Remember that you can make the rice ahead of time and freeze it in a separate bag or make it right before serving.

Add this Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken to the menu for your next Mexican night. Or, put the ingredients in a ziploc bag and stick it in the freezer. During a busy week just dump it in the slow cooker and have dinner waiting when you get home!

My crockpot cooks chicken pretty quickly, even on low so 3-4 hours is perfect for me when it’s totally defrosted. If yours is still partially frozen when you stick it in the crockpot, you’ll need to adjust your cooking time accordingly.

Add this Crockpot Cilantro Lime Chicken to the menu for your next Mexican night. Or, put the ingredients in a ziploc bag and stick it in the freezer. During a busy week just dump it in the slow cooker and have dinner waiting when you get home!

Top will all sorts of goodness like salsa, avocado, cheese etc and dig in!

Let’s chat: What’s your favorite make-ahead crockpot meal?


About Lindsay

Lindsay Livingston is a Registered Dietitian and new mom from Columbus, Ohio. On her blog, she shares simple, healthy recipes, nutrition tips, workouts and snapshots of her life. Follow her on Twitter @LeanGrnBeanBlog and Instagram @TheLeanGreenBean and be sure to subscribe via RSS or email so you never miss a post!


  1. Looks tasty! I’ll have to try it.
    Betsy recently posted..Why I Am Not A Fan Of Virtual Races

  2. Oh, how I love a good quick crockpot meal like this! And it’s a freezer meal on top of that? So perfect for busy days/nights. Thanks for sharing your freezer meal success. :)
    Maryea {happy healthy mama} recently posted..5-minute raspberry chia seed jam

  3. That does look really interesting. Thanks for sharing!
    LOLZ recently posted..Lake Effect Series: Five Years Lost

  4. I never would have thought to cook and freeze my own beans. Genius! Do you have a how-to post on this? Or I guess, do you let the beans cool to room temp before freezing?
    Becky @ Olives n Wine recently posted..#22 Treat Yourself Tuesday

  5. I have never made a freeze ahead crockpot, but I do love using mine for meals during the week! I had never even thought about it until I read your post! This is a great idea, I love cooking soups, which would be perfect for a freezer meal, and pulled pork! Yum yum yum! I am now really hungry, but 9 miles lie between me and a giant breakfast…..This would be a great meal to come back to after an afternoon run! Love cilantro and lime combination!
    Tina Muir recently posted..Fiber Love Review

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever prepped a crockpot meal for the freezer. The crockpot is so easy that this just makes it 1000 times easier. Great recipe, Lindsay!
    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..5 Reasons to Workout in the Morning

  7. perfect for taco tuesdays!!
    lindsay recently posted..3 Cross Training Workouts & Allowing Mental Breaks

  8. i’ve never done a make ahead crockpot freezer meal!! i always just throw it in the morning of – great idea!!
    Linz @ Itz Linz recently posted..28 Weeks Pregnant | Orange Drink Glucose Test

  9. Looks wonderful!
    I have a question though- why do you need to defrost it before putting in the crockpot? I’m trying to learn more about freezing meals!

    Thanks :)
    Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) recently posted..Brown Sugar & Bourbon Glazed Salmon

  10. Looks delicious! A whole chicken in the crock pot is one of our favorite, easy meals.
    Laura @ Mommy Run Fast recently posted..16 Weeks Pregnant

  11. This looks awesome! I would totally make something like this. I love the idea of prepping this ahead of time, something I”m terrible at remembering to do!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food recently posted..My fantasty Pinterest life

  12. Ummm this looks amazing! I am definitely busting out the crock pot and making this next week! xo
    Krysten Siba Bishop (@darwinianfail) recently posted..70.3 Ironman Starting Stats

  13. Oooh I love this and the fact that it is via the crock pot makes it that much better to me :) Delicious!
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted..My Running Story

  14. YUM! LOVE crockpot chicken recipes!! cannot wait to try this one :) great flavor combos!
    jobo recently posted..Introducing…the MFEO chronicles.

  15. That looks delish!! I am such a crockpot freak — this is right up my alley :) Can’t wait to try it — thanks for sharing!!
    Amanda @ All Day Active recently posted..From Work Out to Street

  16. Looks great!
    I got a slow cooker in December and can’t believe I existed so long without one!
    My favorite creations so far have been black bean chili and a ginger/curry red lentil & butternut squash soup. (Recipe to come.)
    Nicole recently posted..Recent Reads {4}

  17. I just made a beef stew with a sweet potato instead of white potatoes and it turned out pretty well. Perfect for these chilly Houston days we’ve been having and SO EASY for me when I come home at night! Thanks for sharing!
    She Rocks Fitness recently posted..What I Got At Costco + WINNER of POPCHIPS

  18. Still crockpot-less, but I froze a bunch of my Mexican Chicken Soup and I’m SO glad to have it right now during out non-existent snow storm. 😉
    Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table recently posted..Ingredient Spotlight: Cod

  19. Slow cooker meals are the absolute best! Throw it all in and come home to a hot and delicious meal…perfection!
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted..10 Things You May Not Know About Me

  20. LOVE! This reminds me of chipotle, but better, healthier, and easier! My husband is going to marry me all over again when I make this, just wait :)
    Erin | The Law Student’s Wife recently posted..Red Velvet Cinnamon Rolls {Overnight}

  21. this is just awesome. I have been trying to plan my meals since last week – this is on for next week :) thanks for your Sunday Food Prep posts, its really what got me going :)

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  22. This is awesome!! I also freeze my own beans that I cook, and I find that they defrost so quickly that it is just as easy to freeze a ton and throw them into the crockpot with other things. I will have to try out the cilantro lime in the crockpot because those are my favorite flavors. Thanks for the idea, Lindsay!
    Marisa @ Uproot from Oregon recently posted..How To: Strained Yogurt

  23. yum!! this is really similar to the white bean chili I did the other weekend and it was awesome!
    Amanda – RunToTheFinish recently posted..Running Laps for Punishment – #bestfoot weekly link up

  24. I love this healthier version! I think this will be a meal we try next week. I love making soups in the crock pot.
    Elizabeth @ Positive Change recently posted..Personal Pan Almond Meal & Flax Seed Pizza

  25. Oh my goodness- this looks delicious. Sending the recipe to my husband so he can buy everything while I am out of town so that I can make it on Sunday!
    Elena recently posted..From Injured to Running: How to Rehab a Hip Injury

  26. I’ve got a whole chicken in the crockpot right now! To be shredded tonight for BBQ chicken sandwiches.
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted..On Body Image Activism.

  27. Oh yes! We love shredded chicken and shredded pork done with lots of different spices and veggies in the crock. Looks great, this one!

  28. Mmm so easy!!! I have a recipe for crock pot chicken tacos that is super easy, pretty similar, but with a few more mixins’ :) Sometimes we’ll just throw in a bunch of potatoes too with a can of soup, and add it to whatever meat we’re having that night.
    Sarah @ Sweet Miles recently posted..Active by Old Navy Wish List

  29. This is completely my kind of meal. This is the type of food we eat and love in my house. It may not look that great, but the flavor and ease of making it = perfection!
    Lisa @ RunWiki recently posted..Stonyfield Field Greek Yogurt- “you gotta try this”

  30. I so need a crockpot!!! :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Gratitude Monday & a Gratitude Giveaway!

  31. Such a great idea! I love the ease of the crockpot and especially love the added benefit of prepping ahead of time. Looking forward to see any other creations you might come up with.
    Dana @ Conscious Kitchen Blog recently posted..Of Possible Interest

  32. Erin @ The Almond Eater says:

    Yessss this looks absolutely delicious and so simple. Thanks for sharing!

  33. Yum – this looks and sounds every bit as good as Chipotle!!! And, the fact that you can make it in the crock pot makes it a winner for me!!
    Kim recently posted..Off my Game a Bit but Totally Nailed my Step Goal!!!

  34. i don’t like cilantro but everything about this recipe is ON key :)

  35. Yummm!! Looks so simple and so delicious! I love using my crockpot for those days when I’m super busy, or my husband and I are going to be eating dinner at different times. It just makes life so much easier!
    Stephanie @ My Freckled Life recently posted..Finding Your Mental Strength

  36. Lindsay! This looks so good! I have a crock pot that needs to be used more! haha. I’m sure my family will enjoy this. Thanks for sharing!
    Helen recently posted..Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  37. Ah yesss thanks for sharing! My fiance and I are currently living in a hotel, so I have been using a crock pot to cook dinner every night. I have been looking for new recipes and I can’t wait to try this one!

    Ashley, Married to the Game
    Ashley recently posted..“We will grow old together and watch each other’s hair turn grey…”

  38. This needs some cheese and avocado :)
    Matt @ Runner Savvy recently posted..Would You Rather Running Survey #7

  39. Looks SO good! You know that freezer/crockpot meals are right up my alley 😉
    Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family recently posted..Weekly Meal Plan

  40. You had me at crockpot! Great recipe that I will be pinning!
    Katie recently posted..HUGE PopChips Giveaway

  41. This sounds absolutely delish! I’m pinning it for the future. My Crockpot broke last month and I still have to get the crock replaced. Unfortunate braindead moment when I added cold liquid to a hot Crockpot. Oops. Thanks for sharing!
    Jelli recently posted..Fig Walnut Streusel Coffee Cake


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