Chicken is versatile, nutritious, and inexpensive. A slow cooker is an easy, foolproof way to prepare foods. Put the two together, and you have the perfect recipe for many flavorful meals.

A basic slow cooker is a ceramic pot enclosed in a heating element with a lid. The pot can be held at a constant low temperature for many hours allowing for slow, even cooking. The lid ensures that flavor and liquids stay inside the pot. Many newer versions of slow-cookers or crockpots have temperature controls, and some have a stovetop browning feature.

Whether you have a traditional crockpot from the seventies or a modern deluxe edition, you can make many delicious chicken dishes with a few simple ingredients. Choose a cut of chicken, spices or flavorings, and a liquid. You may also want to add vegetables or grains to round out the meal. Here are tips for slow cooking three cuts of chicken: whole, breasts, and thighs.

How to Cook Whole Chicken in Slow Cooker

A whole chicken is the most difficult cut to cook in a crockpot. However, it is the cheapest way to purchase chicken. A slow cooker will not give you crisp chicken skin. If you want that roasted chicken look, slide the bird under a broiler for 5-10 minutes after it has finished cooking.

Season the whole bird inside and out with at least salt and pepper. Dried herbs and garlic will also greatly enhance the flavor. Add onions, celery, fennel or citrus fruits to the cavity for a genuinely gourmet recipe. When cooking without liquid, place the chicken on a ring of crumpled aluminum foil or a few quartered onions in the bottom of the pot. Preventing the chicken from touching the bottom or sides of the pot will protect against uneven cooking.

Stewed chicken recipes are an excellent way to cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker. Add a little liquid to the pot to marry the flavors and to distribute heat around the bird evenly. Water is fine, but stock or a few tomatoes will make a richer broth. Adding wine or spirits is good, but be careful as the alcohol cannot cook away quickly, and the liquid may become bitter.

Don’t add too much liquid. Your chicken and any added vegetables will create some liquid, and the slow cooker lid will prevent evaporation. A little goes a long way.

A whole chicken will take about 4 hours to cook on high heat and 8 on low heat. The internal temperature should be above 165 degrees, and juices should run clear from the thigh. Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before slicing or shredding.

How to Cook Chicken Breast in Slow Cooker

Chicken breasts are the most popular cut of chicken and available with or without skin and bones. Skinless chicken breasts are low in calories, high in protein and a favorite for dieters. Consider cooking breasts with the bone in for extra flavor.

The easiest and most convenient slow cooker recipes for chicken breasts call for diced or whole skinless and boneless chicken. Brown the pieces before cooking for extra flavor and better visual appeal. Some new appliances allow for browning in the crockpot itself.

Again, be sure to season your chicken liberally. Oregano and garlic will give your dish an Italian flare. Add mint and citrus for a Mediterranean flavor. Try coating the chicken in a curry paste, or simply add your favorite barbecue sauce to the slow cooker.

When using dried herbs, garlic, and onion, try waking the flavors up before adding to your crockpot. Combine the seasonings with a little vegetable oil or tomato paste and microwave for one minute. This blooming adds depth to the flavors.

How to Cook Chicken Thighs in Slow Cooker

Chicken thighs have a little more calories and fat than chicken breasts, but they also have much more flavor. A 3-ounce serving of boneless, skinless chicken breast has about 140 calories, 26 grams of protein, 3 grams of fat, and 1 gram of saturated fat. The same amount of skinless chicken thigh meat has 152 calories, 21 grams of protein, 7 grams of fat, and 2 grams of saturated fat.

Boneless and skinless chicken thighs can be one of the most expensive cuts of chicken. It takes a lot of work to skin and bone a thigh. Consider removing the skin yourself to save money and cook the chicken on the bone to add flavor. Substitute chicken thighs in most slow cooker recipes calling for chicken breasts, and the result will be a richer, more delicious dish.

Due to the unique ratio of skin and fat to meat, you may be able to cook crispy-skinned chicken thighs in your slow cooker. Cook the thighs skin side up in a single layer with plenty of space in between. Leave the lid slightly open to vent and cook on a low setting for 6 or 7 hours. The skin will crisp, but not brown, so be sure to season with something that will add color such as paprika.

Rounding out your Meal

If your slow cooker chicken recipe includes liquid, then you can easily add some vegetables or grains to the dish. Add root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and turnips directly to the pot at the start of cooking. Canned or dried beans are also an excellent complement to many recipes.

Avoid adding green vegetables to your slow cooker, as they will lose most of their colour and flavor. Frozen vegetables should also be avoided as they may cause your dish to remain at an unsafe temperature for too long also most pasta will turn to mush.

For a flavorful grain side dish, bring the cooking liquid to a boil on the stovetop while the cooked chicken is resting. Use the liquid for cooking quinoa, rice, or couscous. Add additional water or stock if there is not enough chicken cooking liquid. Do not try cooking the grains directly in the slow cooker. They will cook unevenly.

Use your imagination, your favourite cut of chicken, and the bounty of your pantry to slow cook your way to a fabulous meal today.

Here's some of our Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Video Recipes

How to Cook a Chicken in the Slow Cooker

  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 Lemon
  • 1 Chicken Stock Pot
  • 2 Tablespoons Sage
  • 2 Tablespoons Thyme or Oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Puree

Slow Cooker Whole Chicken

  • 1 Medium Chicken
  • 2 Lemons
  • 2 White Onions
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • 1 Garlic Bulb
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Tsp Salt and Pepper

Slow Cooker Thai Whole Chicken

  • 1 medium Chicken
  • 2 White Onions
  • Coriander Bunch
  • 4 Tablespoons of Thai Curry Paste
  • 2 Chicken Stock Pots
  • 400ml Tin of Coconut Milk
  • 2 Limes
  • 1 Red Chilli

Slow Cooker Cajun Whole Chicken

  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • 2 Onions
  • 1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoon Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Chicken Stock Pot
  • 2 Tablespoon Worcester Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Puree
  • 2 Tablespoon Tomato Puree
  • 1 Tablespoon Thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon Oregano

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