Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken Copycat

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I seem to have a little obsession with Cafe Rio. There is just something about that place that I could totally eat there weekly. You can’t go wrong with any of the meats that they have. I love their sweet pulled pork (copycat recipe here) and their chicken is also fantastic. I have been dying to try out the recipe for the shredded chicken, and now my copycat recipes of all of the Cafe Rio recipes are complete!

The best part about this shredded chicken is that you cook it in the slow cooker. You can throw in the simple ingredients within 5 minutes. The chicken just peels apart it is so tender. And the flavor is AMAZING!! My family couldn’t get enough of it. I served these with simple veggies in homemade tortillas. But the cilantro ranch dressing is my absolute favorite and topped them off perfectly!

Recipe source Today’s Creative Blog

cafe rio shredded chicken copycat

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Delicious shredded chicken that is packed with flavor and tastes just like Cafe Rio's version!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 6 Servings


  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup zesty italian dressing
  • 3/4 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 package dry ranch dressing mix 11 ounce
  • 1/2 cup water

Optional toppings:


  • Spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all of the ingredients except for the chicken into your slow cooker. Mix until combined.
  • Add the chicken and cook on low for 4-6 hours or on high 3-4 hours until the chicken is no longer pink and cooked throughout.
  • Remove chicken from the slow cooker and shred. Replace the chicken back in the slow cooker and mix with the juices! Enjoy!


Serves: 6

Calories239kcal (12%)Carbohydrates6g (2%)Protein32g (64%)Fat8g (12%)Saturated Fat1g (5%)Cholesterol97mg (32%)Sodium733mg (31%)Potassium605mg (17%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar2g (2%)Vitamin A243IU (5%)Vitamin C2mg (2%)Calcium20mg (2%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword shredded chicken, shredded chicken recipes
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

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  1. A friend posted one of your recipes on facebook. Everything looks yummy. Can’t wait to try some of them.

  2. We made the chicken tonight. I wanted to make a simple side dish to go with the chicken enchiladas. I drained a can of black beans and mashed them with 1 cup of the liquid from the chicken to make refried beans. Oh my, so good! As my husband said of the recipe, it is definitely a keeper.

  3. Could i make this ahead of time and freeze it, then reheat it in a crockpot? I need to feed fifty people dinner one night and can’t make that amount all at once. Thanks!

  4. I Live in Thailand and cannot get the dry Ranch dressing mix. I can get ranch salad dressing. Would this be a reasonable substitute. Thankyou

  5. Just wanted to let you know I read the dry ranch as eleven ounces at first!! Maybe my browser is messed up… So glad I read and reread it & figured out it said one 1 oz 🙂

  6. I made this for my kids and parents and everyone RAVED! It was delicious and so easy. I followed the recipes exactly for both the chicken and the cilantro dressing. Next time I’ll cut the dressing recipe in half (it makes a lot, so I’ve got the extra in the freezer) and perhaps reduce the amount of buttermilk so it’s a little thicker. Definitely a keeper.

  7. Uh oh! There is a typo in the recipe. It calls for 11 oz of ranch dressing mix which is A LOT! I think it’s supposed to be 1 oz? Unfortunately we used that much at first but then realized it was wrong and fixed it. It was delicious!

    1. Sorry for the confusion. Yes, it is 1, 1 ounce packet. The way it looks can be confusing. I apologize about that. Thank you for sharing and so glad you enjoyed it! XOXO

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