10 minutes of prep time is all you need to make this Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Creamy Southwest Chicken. The creamy sauce is filled with spices and a bit of tangy lime. You’ll love the addition of bell peppers and fresh cilantro! Dairy-free, Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 approved.
Creamy Southwest Chicken: a weeknight staple!
File this recipe under one that needs to be added to your permanent rotation. It’s so flavorful, easy, and sure to be a hit with the family.
All the reasons why you are going to love this recipe:
- One pot ease in the Slow Cooker or Instant pot. Set it and forget it!
- No need to turn on the oven or the stovetop during the warmer months
- Healthy and satisfying with a creamy sauce that screams comfort food
- Only 10 minutes of prep time!
- So versatile! Serve over Spanish Cauliflower Rice, rice, salad, or as part of your Taco Tuesday.
As a nutritionist, I am always searching for the trifecta in creating dinners: Easy, delicious, and healthy!! And oh yes, this dinner definitely comes through for us.
How to make Creamy Southwest Chicken:
- To start, I’ve combined a blend of super yummy spices: paprika, cumin, chili powder, coriander, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper. Rub this all over your chicken!
- Before placing the chicken in the slow cooker, I seared it on my skillet to give it that crispy look (not necessary if you are using chicken breast). I do like this extra step because it seals the spices to the chicken. You want it crispy on the outside, but still raw on the inside. This should only take a few minutes.
- Place the chicken inside the slow cooker and top with broth and lime juice. I also threw in some sliced red peppers.
- Once the chicken has cooked for 4-6 hours, I added in 1/2 cup coconut cream (full fat coconut milk is also okay).
Tips and adaptations:
- Coconut milk/cream: We follow a mostly dairy free diet, and I find that coconut milk makes a great substitute for heavy cream or half and half. If not following a dairy-free diet, you can use half and half or cream for this recipe.
- Chicken: I used chicken thighs in this recipe, but you can also use breasts. I have made this dinner multiple times with chicken breast.
- Arrowroot Starch: Is used to thicken up the sauce if necessary. It seems that the Instant Pot variation needs to be thickened more than the slow cooker.
- Canned tomatoes: Looking for a thicker and more tomato based sauce? Feel free to add in a a can of diced tomatoes.
- Corn: Fire roasted corn would also make a delicious addition if you have no dietary restrictions. Corn is not Paleo, Keto, or Whole30 compliant.
Instant Pot Variation:
You can also easily make this recipe in the Instant Pot. You’ll follow similar directions by searing the chicken before it comes to pressure. Do all of this on the saute function of the Instant Pot. Add in the broth and bell peppers.
Make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to get any extra browned bits and to also prevent the burn signal! Secure the lid and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.
Once the lid is removed, you’ll stir in the coconut milk and the arrowroot starch to thicken the sauce. Garnish with cilantro and serve over vegetable noodles or cauliflower rice.
The whole family will enjoy this one!
Healthy Slow Cooker and Instant Pot recipes:
Looking for more healthy Instant Pot recipes? Check out my 50 Whole30 Instant Pot Recipes!
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Be sure to rate the recipe below and comment if you make it! Also, tag me on Instagram @wholesomelicious with your creations. I love to see them!
Slow Cooker Creamy Southwest Chicken
10 minutes of prep time is all you need to make this Slow Cooker or Instant Pot Creamy Southwest Chicken. The creamy sauce is filled with spices and a bit of tangy lime.
- 1.5 lbs boneless chicken thighs or breasts
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 red bell peppers sliced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp arrowroot starch*
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/2 cup coconut cream or coconut milk full fat
- Fresh cilantro to garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Slow Cooker:
Begin by heating a large skillet to medium high heat. Use a non-stick spray or olive oil to lightly grease the pan.
In a small bowl, mix together all spices. Rub each chicken breast or thigh on both sides with rub. Place each piece of chicken on to the pan, and sear for 1-2 minutes per side (inside will be raw).
Bring chicken to the slow cooker, top with chicken broth and lime juice. Place peppers on top of chicken. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or until chicken is very tender. Mix together arrowroot with water, and add to the chicken broth mixture, if your mixture is extra runny feel free to add in another tbsp of arrowroot. Also add in coconut cream or milk. Cook on low for another 15-20 minutes until mixture is thickened and creamy.
Serve hot on top of vegetable noodles, rice, potatoes, or pasta.
For the Instant Pot:
Select the saute function on your Instant Pot and let your pot get hot.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the spices. Rub the chicken with the spice mixture. Reserve any extra spices.
Coat the bottom of your Instant Pot with oil, and add chicken. Cook chicken on each side for only a minute or 2, to seal in the spices. Select cancel.
Place chicken broth, lime juice, any leftover spices, and peppers on top of the chicken. Secure the lid.
Select manual, and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Once cooking is complete, use a quick release using a towel to cover the vent to prevent a mess. Make sure to completely let out the steam.
Open the lid, pour in coconut cream or milk. Mix together the water and arrowroot starch, and add to thicken the sauce. If you want an even thicker sauce, add in another tbsp of arrowroot.
Salt to taste, add in any additional lime juice for more flavor.
Garnish with cilantro and serve over rice, cauliflower rice, vegetable noodles, or pasta.
*arrowroot starch is a thickening agent that can be found in most health food sections of your grocery store.
**Use only the full fat coconut cream or milk (can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store). If not following a dairy-free diet, half and half can be substituted.