Love Shredded Chicken? Try This Cafe Rio Copycat Recipe

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Chicken Recipe - tray of shredded chicken tacos

Make Cafe Rio Chicken In Your Crock Pot (Or Instant Pot)

This copycat Cafe Rio chicken recipe is one of my family’s very favorites (if you’re lucky enough to have one of their restaurants near you, you’ll know why!) I love it because it only takes a few minutes to get everything in the crock pot, and I have a tasty dinner ready-to-go. You can never have too many recipes for delicious, fast, freezer-friendly meals! Great for parties too!

Related: A Bowlful Of Love! Cafe Rio-Inspired Chicken Tortilla Soup

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Chicken Recipe - bowls of Italian and ranch dressing, small bowls of minced garlic, cumin, and chili powder, plate of raw chicken breasts

How To Make Cafe Rio Copycat Chicken

Adapted from Life As A Lofthouse


  • 2 pounds chicken breasts
  • 1 cup zesty Italian salad dressing
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning mix* (mixed with 1/2 cup of water)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin

*Note: You can use 2 tablespoons of homemade ranch seasoning mix instead, if you prefer!

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Chicken Recipe - adding the cumin to the other ingredients in a crock pot

Crockpot Cooking Instructions

Place all of the ingredients in your crock pot and stir.

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Chicken Recipe - all the ingredients in a crock pot before cooking

Cook on High for 5-6 hours, or Low for 8 hours. When the chicken is cooked through, shred it with a couple of forks and return it to the liquid before serving.

Instant Pot Cooking Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in the Instant Pot, then pressure cook on high pressure for 17 minutes.
  • When the timer goes off, allow 5 minutes of natural release, then use the quick release valve to release any remaining pressure.
  • Shred the chicken, then return it to the liquid.

Related: Natural Release? Quick Release? This Guide Makes Instant Pot Cooking Less Scary

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Chicken Recipe - plate of the Cafe Rio copy cat chicken, plate of tortillas, bowls of diced sweet peppers, guacamole, shredded cheese, lime wedges with hot pepper on table.

Cafe Rio Shredded Chicken: Serving Suggestions

You can serve this flavorful shredded chicken in salads, burritos, tostadas, or (my personal favorite) tacos! You can also double or triple the recipe and freeze whatever you don’t eat. Thaw and reheat the leftovers later on for a super fast meal!

Related: How To Make A Sweet Pork Salad (à la Cafe Rio)

Copy Cat Cafe Rio Chicken Recipe - squeezing a lime wedge over chicken tacos

Looking for more dinner ideas? I’ve collected all of my main course recipes in one convenient location!

What’s your favorite way to eat shredded chicken?

Cafe Rio Chicken

Copycat Cafe Rio Chicken Recipe

Jill Nystul
This recipe for Cafe Rio-style shredded chicken is a family favorite, and I love how easy it is to make (in a crockpot OR Instant Pot!) It's great for parties and gatherings, too!
3.78 from 18 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 284 kcal


  • 2 pounds chicken breasts boneless and skinless
  • 1 cup zesty Italian dressing
  • 1 packet ranch dressing mix added to 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin


  • Place all of the ingredients in a crock pot and stir to combine.
  • Cook on high for 5-6 hours (or low for 8 hours).
  • Shred and serve.


Calories: 284kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 32gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.05gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 926mgPotassium: 617mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 264IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • Really great recipe! I made it this weekend and had my doubts how it would turn out with all the salad dressing in it, but it was fabulous. I served it on the Indian Fry Bread recipe you have listed, along with guacamole. Perfect meal.

  • I love this recipe. Even better on day two! It is my go to gf meal for tacos, salads, nachos, etc. that EVERBODY loves. Because it freezes well, I divide smaller potions. My kids like that they can just take some out of the freezer, heat it up and have something they love without waiting hours. I have also made it quickly on the stovetop, but the flavours blend better if it cooks in the crockpot. AND I recently purchased a tortilla press and make corn tortillas (which are so easy), which makes my celiac son very, very happy!

  • Hi Jillee! Thanks for this great looking recipe. WE don’t have cafe Rio here, but this looks like a perfect dinner! I have a question though – how much water should be added? I see it in the photo, but not on the recipe.

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