Slow cooker chicken breasts are an easy option when you want a healthy and delicious dinner without spending hours in the kitchen. Slow cooking chicken breasts couldn't be easier and there are so many different ways that you can flavour them, and use them.
One of the benefits of using a slow cooker to cook chicken breasts is that it allows the meat to cook slowly and evenly, resulting in tender and juicy chicken that is so full of flavour. Additionally, slow cooking allows the chicken to absorb the flavours of the other ingredients in the dish, making for a rich and satisfying meal.
Whether you are a slow cooker expert or looking for an easy way to use your slow cooker for the first time, slow cooker chicken breasts are a versatile and delicious option that can be enjoyed by the whole family. With a little bit of preparation and some simple ingredients, you have your self delicious chicken that has so many uses.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Chicken breasts - We have used boneless and skinless chicken breasts for this slow cooker chicken breasts recipe. Once you have selected the chicken breasts, rinse them under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels. If there is any excess fat, trim it off with a sharp knife. If the chicken breasts are too thick, you can slice them in half horizontally to make them thinner.
- Chicken stock - This is the liquid that the chicken is cooked in. Try to use the best quality that you can, as it will make a difference. Homemade chicken stock is always best. If making these for kids, then use a low salt stock.
- Salt and pepper - Generously season.
- Butter - This adds such an incredible richness to it, you could leave it out but it's definitely worth keeping it.
- Herbs - I used an Italian seasoning mix which had dried basil, oregano, garlic and red pepper in it.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make slow cooker chicken breasts - Step by step
One: Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chicken breasts. Fry for 2 minutes on both sides.
Two: Put the seared chicken breasts into your slow cooker.
Three: Pour over the stock, sprinkle over the seasoning and add the butter.
Four: Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
Choosing chicken breasts
Choosing the right type of chicken is essential to achieving the best results. Here are a few things to consider when selecting chicken breasts for your recipe:
Skinless and Boneless - For slow cooker recipes, it is best to use skinless and boneless chicken breasts. This is because the skin and bones can affect the texture and flavour of the dish. Skinless and boneless chicken breasts are also easier to shred or cut into smaller pieces after cooking.
Fresh or Frozen - Fresh chicken breasts are a great option if you plan to cook your dish within a day or two. However, if you want to save time and money, frozen chicken breasts can be just as good. Just make sure to thaw them completely before cooking.
Size - Chicken breasts come in different sizes, so it's important to choose ones that are similar in size to ensure even cooking.
Quality - Choosing high-quality chicken breasts is important for both safety and flavour. Look for chicken that is free-range, organic, and hormone-free. Checking the label for any additional information can help you make an informed decision.
Vegetables - Slow cooker chicken breasts can be cooked with a variety of vegetables. You can include onions, carrots, celery, potatoes, and mushrooms. It's important to chop the vegetables into similar sizes to ensure that they cook evenly.
Seasonings - To add flavour to the chicken breasts, it's important to season them properly. You can use a variety of seasonings such as salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika (this adds a lovely smoky flavour), and herbs like thyme or rosemary. Rub the seasonings onto the chicken breasts evenly, making sure to cover all sides.
Liquid - Adding liquid to the slow cooker is important to prevent the chicken breasts from drying out. You can use chicken broth, water, or a combination of both. For added flavour, you can add some white wine, soy sauce, or balsamic vinegar.
Marinade - A marinade is a mixture of liquid and seasonings that is used to flavour the chicken. Some popular marinades include:
- Lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and thyme
- Soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger
- Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, and rosemary
To marinate the chicken, place it in a resealable plastic bag and pour the marinade over the top. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours. Remove the chicken from the marinade before placing it in the slow cooker.
Slow cooker chicken breasts are a versatile and delicious protein that can be added to a variety of dishes. Here are some serving suggestions to inspire your family dinners:
Shredded Chicken Tacos - Shred the cooked chicken breasts and serve them in soft or hard taco shells with your favourite toppings, such as shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, chipotle sauce, and salsa. For a healthier option, use lettuce wraps instead of taco shells.
Chicken Caesar Salad - Slice the cooked chicken breasts and serve them on a bed of crisp romaine lettuce with croutons, grated Parmesan cheese, and a creamy Caesar dressing. For an extra flavour boost, add some bacon bits or anchovies. Why not try our Healthy Caesar Salad recipe?
Chicken and Vegetable Stir-Fry - Slice the cooked chicken breasts and stir-fry them with your favourite vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, and onions and our Healthy Teriyaki Sauce. Serve over perfectly fluffy microwave rice or noodles for a satisfying and healthy meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
The low setting is ideal for cooking chicken breasts as it allows the meat to cook slowly and evenly, resulting in tender and juicy chicken. It is recommended to cook chicken breasts on the low setting for 6-8 hours.
But you can use the high setting if you are short on time. However, it is important to note that cooking chicken breasts on high heat for too long can result in dry and tough meat. Cook chicken breasts on high heat for 3-4 hours.
The cooking time may vary depending on the size and thickness of the chicken breasts. The best way to check they are done is to use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 75°C before serving.
Allow the chicken to cool down to room temperature before storing it in an airtight container or ziplock bag. This will prevent any condensation from forming and potentially causing bacterial growth. Store the chicken in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to label the container or bag with the date it was cooked and stored to keep track of its freshness.
When reheating the chicken, it is important to do so thoroughly to ensure that it is heated all the way through. This can be done in the microwave, oven or on the stove. Make sure the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 75°C before eating.
There really is no rule here, just make sure that all the ingredients can fit in your slow cooker. We use a Crock Pot DuraCeramic Slow Cooker and we love it. What I love most about it is that you can put the bowl insert on the hob too - not necessary for this recipe, but helps with others. I also love that it has a clear lid, as I am so impatient that I want to keep looking and seeing what it is doing. If you don't have a clear lid, then lifting it to see will release lots of the heat and add to the cooking time.
Yes, chicken thighs can be used in place of chicken breasts in a slow cooker. However, the cooking time may need to be adjusted as chicken thighs have more fat and connective tissue than chicken breasts. As a general rule, boneless, skinless chicken thighs should be cooked on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours.
More chicken recipes
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Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts
- 0.5 tablespoon Olive oil
- 340 g (12 oz) Chicken breasts - (about 85g/3oz per breast)
- 125 ml (0.5 cups) Chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1 pinch Sea salt
- 1 pinch Black pepper
- 1 tablespoon Butter
- Heat 0.5 tablespoon Olive oil in a frying pan and add 340 g Chicken breasts. Fry for 2 minutes on both sides.
- Put the seared chicken breasts into your slow cooker.
- Pour over 125 ml Chicken stock, sprinkle over 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, 1 pinch Sea salt and 1 pinch Black pepper and add 1 tablespoon Butter.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
- It is important to use the right amount of liquid when slow cooking chicken breasts. Too much liquid can result in a watery sauce, while too little liquid can result in dry chicken.
- Brining involves soaking the chicken in a saltwater solution before cooking. This technique helps to tenderise the meat and infuse it with flavour. To make a basic brine, combine 4 cups of water with ¼ cup of salt and ¼ cup of sugar. Add any additional seasonings or herbs you like, such as bay leaves or thyme.
Place the chicken in the brine and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours. Rinse the chicken before placing it in the slow cooker.
- Browning the chicken before placing it in the slow cooker can add flavour and texture to the dish. Brown the chicken in a pan on the stove before adding it to the slow cooker. This will help to seal in the juices and create a crispy exterior.
- You can skip the browning though if you are short on time.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.