We’re here to rescue your weeknight meals with the top slow cooker chicken recipes for busy nights.
Here are the top recipes using slow cooker chicken. Yum, yum, yum.
Here are the top recipes using slow cooker chicken. Yum, yum, yum.
Between working, chauffeuring the kids to school and their activities, maintaining the ever-growing laundry pile and simply taking a few minutes to relax, life is busy. After a long day, takeout is often the simple and easy solution to a weeknight dinner.
But we all know it’s better for us, and cheaper too, to make these dinners at home. Using a slow cooker for classic takeout meals like chicken teriyaki, orange chicken and chicken burrito bowls, you can make takeout yourself with very little effort at the end of your long day. You can use a rice cooker (like this one) or an Instant Pot (so many features in this small appliance!) to make the rice can make dinnertime even easier.
The key to this dish is the teriyaki sauce, a savory teriyaki made with the distinct flavors of honey and soy sauce which are pulled together with a bit of rice wine vinegar and ginger. The sauce comes together in two easy parts. First it’s cooked with the chicken in the slow cooker; this keeps the chicken moist and gives it a ton of flavor. Then it’s thickened with a cornstarch slurry over the stove before being added back to the chicken. This dish is best served over white rice and topped with chopped green onions – every single bite is packed with flavor!
I’m a firm believer in the fact that anything, yes ANYTHING, can be made in a slow cooker. Don’t believe me? Check out this amazing Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan with crunchy breadcrumbs and all… or slow cooker Coq au Vin… or orange chicken delivered by the slow cooker instead of your favorite takeout restaurant.
Today though, we’re stepping up your slow cooker game even more. We’re taking the classic Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic and slowing things down. This recipe is traditionally made in the oven and cooked for 1-2 hours, depending on the size of your bird. We’re doing it more slowly in the slow cooker. If you’re pressed for time, we also have this quicker 40 Clove Garlic Chicken recipe.
But the magic of this recipe is the garlic – I mean, there are 40 cloves! As garlic cooks, the pungent flavor is replaced with a softer and sweeter intensity. That’s why I like making this recipe in my slow cooker. Plus, the additional cooking time allows for the intense garlic flavor and the cloves themselves to soften. Spread the cloves on top of the chicken after it is cooked or smash them on a piece of crusty bread and dunk it in the leftover jus.
Because this is a slow cooker dish, it couldn’t be simpler to make. Put all the ingredients in the slow cooker, add some fresh thyme for good measure and then let it do its thing. This elegant chicken dinner is best served with a slice of crusty bread and a glass of wine.
Set it and forget it! While we know this phrase from the classic rotisserie chicken infomercial of the 90s, it so accurately describes the best feature of slow cookers. And like everyone in today’s busy world, I can certainly use more recipes where I can “set it and forget it”. Bonus points for leftovers that make tomorrow’s lunch the best meal of the week.
Oregano, garlic and lemon juice make this slow cooker lemon chicken dish memorable with bright flavors and juicy chicken. If you add one extra step to your preparation, the results will increase tenfold. All you have to do is brown the chicken in olive oil or butter first to lock in those juices, then let the slow cooker do the rest. If you have an Instant Pot it’s even easier since you can brown the chicken right in it then set the slow cooker feature.
Traditionally Lemon Chicken is served with rice or pasta, but it’s equally good with a big salad and a side of green beans. If you want a little more lemon on your plate you could make these Lemon Pepper Green Beans. Don’t forget the crusty bread and a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Dinner is served!
When the weekdays get busy – and let’s be real, when don’t they – there’s nothing easier than throwing ingredients into the slow cooker and having a delicious, filling meal ready in a few hours. That’s exactly why this Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken is on constant rotation in our household. It really doesn’t get any better (or tastier) than this recipe. Although, have you seen these chicken carnitas? Or chicken stuffed peppers? My meal plan is filling up with all these delicious slow cooker chicken dinners.
What makes it so good? The homemade BBQ sauce is pretty special, at least partly because it includes a special ingredient (hint: it’s a common hot morning beverage!).
Did you guess the special ingredient? It’s espresso! The coffee notes of the espresso tie in perfectly with the sweet acidity of the tomato paste and apple cider vinegar. It’s truly a match made in barbecue sauce heaven.
This Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken is so crave-worthy that everyone will come back for more.
Did you know you can cook a gorgeous whole chicken (with vegetables) in a slow cooker? I have to be honest, this girl didn’t. I thought whole roasted chickens were a labor of love, meant for Sunday afternoons when you have all the time in the world to cook a quality dinner for the family.
The truth is, you can make this stunning, browned bird in your slow cooker (with a little help at the end from your broiler) while you’re at work. This bird can be cooking up in your slow cooker with vegetables so when you come home, all you have to do is throw the dish in the oven to crisp up the skin and set the table. Just check your casserole dish to make sure it’s broiler safe (here’s one that is).
A key component of this chicken dish is the chili rub. The combination of dry spices seeps into the juicy meat of the chicken, making this anything but your ordinary roasted chicken.
The other key component is stuffing the chicken with citrus and garlic cloves before you cook it. This helps infuse the chicken with bright and savory flavors to compliment the chili rub while keeping the meat oh-so tender from the inside out. With less than 10 minutes of prep, you’ll be on your way to a homemade slow cooker roasted chicken dinner that everyone will love. The flavor of the dry rub, the citrus and the garlic all combine to make the chicken juicy, flavorful and rustic.
However, the good flavor doesn’t end there. As the chicken cooks, the flavorful juices drip down, giving the vegetables an intense savory deliciousness that adds so much to the dish as a whole. You can even shred the leftovers for easy meals if you’ve run out of our super easy shredded chicken. Or, instead of washing the slow cooker and putting it away, you could prep some orange chicken or Coq au Vin for tomorrow night’s dinner. You’ll feel like you’ve already won the day when you pop it in and hit start in the morning.
Everyone will think you spent hours on this whole roasted chicken, and you can secretly laugh to yourself about just how easy the recipe really is. It’ll be our little secret, ok?
Mexican food always inspires me to get in a better mood, so I’ve been really excited during our slow cooker chicken dinner series. Did you see those slow cooker carnitas? And those slow cooker fajitas? Oh my. This inspiration is something we seriously need in life, which is why I’m throwing my hat in the ring with these copycat Chipotle Chicken Burrito Bowls, done in the slow cooker. Bam!
This is a whole new level of delicious meal prep. Yes, you can totally prep this meal ahead of time. Make the chicken on a Sunday afternoon, then assemble the slow cooker chicken burrito bowls for the week. The key is to keep the cold ingredients (i.e. sour cream and salsa) on the side so you can warm up the bowls and top them when you’re ready to eat.
The entire meal is pretty darn easy to pull together. The flavorful, tender chicken is made in the slow cooker and with the chicken stock, tomato juices and spices it cooks in, it is oh-so easy to shred when you take it out. It’s that melt-in-your-mouth tender chicken that you attribute to Chipotle except with even MORE flavor.
The rest of the recipe takes about 5 minutes to assemble and there you go. You have lunches or dinner made ahead with very little work. Packaging each serving in its own container also makes it handy to top each bowl the way family members will enjoy it without going to a lot of work.
However, that’s only if you feel like sharing. I guarantee after one bite of these explosive flavors you’ll want to keep the recipe to yourself.
Slow Cooker Chicken:
I’m sure you’ve thought about making takeout at home at least once or twice in your lifetime. After all, wouldn’t it be nice to save a little money and make your favorite takeout at home?
The answer is a resounding yes for me.
The only question is, is it really worth the time? Generally, taking the time to make takeout recipes at home can be more complicated than picking up the phone and ordering.
I’m so glad The Cookful put together this Slow Cooker Chicken Series because the slow cooker is a busy household’s go-to tool year-round for easy meals. By the end of the workday, no one feels like putting a ton of time into making dinner. You order takeout for dinner because you want it made and ready to go when you walk in the door.
This is why we all end up ordering so much takeout, isn’t it?
With Slow Cooker Orange Chicken and Teriyaki Chicken you can have the magic of takeout at home without spending a ton of active time putting dinner together. This simple recipe has all of the rich, bright flavors of classic orange chicken and it’s beyond easy to prepare. Promise.
This is one of those recipes you can simply dump into the slow cooker and forget about it until you come home to a house filled with the smells of delicious Asian food.
Many people, myself included, may be familiar with Coq au Vin because of the oh-so-popular home chef Julia Child. When thinking of her and this fabulous French dish, her famous quote came to mind: “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food!” No wonder Coq au Vin is such an incredible meal!
The wine is not only essential for sipping, but it also serves 2 main purposes here. First off, the red wine adds a deep, rich flavor and secondly, the acid helps tenderize the chicken.
The beauty of cooking Coq au Vin in the slow cooker is that it adds even more tenderness and allows the flavors to further blend together. If you don’t already have a slow cooker, Coq au Vin is a good reason to get one. This is the one that we love over here at The Cookful.
Coq au Vin appears complicated, but in reality, it’s a very simple French dish and is made even simpler when using the slow cooker. That’s why we simply had to add it to this slow cooker chicken dinner series. Typically you’ll find potatoes in Coq au Vin, but I prefer to serve it over mashed potatoes instead.
This beautiful dish is simply delicious and not at all intimidating. Trust me!
Whether it’s Mexican Monday or Taco Tuesday, slow cooker chicken fajitas are always a good idea. Granted, fajitas aren’t technically tacos. I get it… BUT they do make a great alternative. You can have Mexican-style slow cooker meals several nights of the week if you add Chicken Burrito Bowls and Chicken Carnitas to the lineup. Meals that are easy and packed with flavor every night of the week? Yes, please!
Making chicken fajitas in the slow cooker is a set-it-and-forget-it kinda meal. And who wouldn’t love that! I love leaving my slow cooker on low while I’m away from home. Before you know it, dinner’s ready and you didn’t waste time standing over a stove all day. We really love this slow cooker because it’s programmable, making it easier than ever to have dinner ready when you get home.
These chicken fajitas are so juicy and flavorful and your house will smell amazing. Loaded with bell peppers, onions, diced tomatoes and a hint of lime, just one whiff and your mouth will be watering for dinner. They’re a hit with the whole family. I bet you have most of the ingredients in your house as we speak. Here’s how easy it is to bring these bad boys to life.Print
If you’ve been craving comfort food, look no further. Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings is just the thing to satisfy that craving. It’s always a crowd favorite and the best part is it’s made entirely in the slow cooker.
Whether you’re pressed for time or in need of something warm and filling, a slow cooker is your best option for comfort food like these Chicken and Dumplings or White Chicken Chili. Slow cooker meals are easy to make and oh-so-flavorful. We love this slow cooker. It’s programmable and has a slew of cool features.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings couldn’t possibly get any easier or more delicious than this. In the slow cooker, the chicken gets fork tender and soaks up the juices from the soup and chicken stock. Simply add the dumplings after a few hours of slow cooking. I even have a super easy hack for the biscuits – store-bought biscuit dough. Voilà! It’s that easy. Comfort food at its finest.
The biggest blessing to ever come to the kitchen is the invention of the slow cooker (we really love this one, in particular). It’s perfect for busy days. Preparing a meal has never been easier. Case in point, Slow Cooker Chicken Stuffed Peppers.
These stuffed peppers look like you’ve spent all day in front of the oven when really, you literally prepped and threw it all into the slow cooker in less than ten minutes. Imagine that, a hearty meal that’s mostly hands-off.
Take ground chicken, combine it with rice, corn, beans, salsa and spices, then stuff the mixture inside a bell pepper and slow cook it to perfection. It’s like a flavorful mini meal, full of protein, with melted cheese on top. The peppers are so tender. Your whole family will eat it right up. On the other hand, if you forgot to get dinner started in the morning you gotta try oven baked Classic Stuffed Peppers or, even faster, whip up these quick and easy Stuffed Peppers with Chicken and Cheese.
There’s nothing like coming home after a long day and putting together easy chicken burrito bowls or chicken carnitas, but sometimes you just want to throw some shredded chicken onto a salad or toss it with pasta and call it a day. That’s why you need to know how to make shredded chicken in the slow cooker.
Shredded chicken is one of the ingredients that makes busy weeknight meals so much easier. It’s essential for healthy eating and time-crunched families. The only thing better than having chicken ready to eat is making it with minimal effort. Cue this slow cooker shredded chicken. It takes five minutes to prepare and you can make a variety of meals simply by adding a few more ingredients. Plus, making it in the slow cooker (we love this slow cooker and not only because it’s programmable!) leaves the chicken moist, flavorful and ready to take on any flavors you want to put on it.
There are two ways to enjoy the ease of slow cooker shredded chicken. You can either throw it in the slow cooker in the morning to enjoy for dinner or make it during the weekend so weekly meal prep is easier. I’m a huge fan of having ready-to-go chicken for different meals during the week.
Use it to top salads, throw it in a wrap or toss in a bowl with some grains and veggies. There’s no way to get bored with slow cooker shredded chicken when it’s so versatile. Once the chicken is done, put it in a container with a half cup of the liquid and let it cool before putting it in the fridge. Just like that, you’ve got chicken ready to go!
These Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas are guaranteed to be your family’s next go-to meal for future taco nights. Each bite will leave you craving more. Even though traditional carnitas are made with pork, the low and slow method of making carnitas in the slow cooker (we really like this slow cooker) makes the chicken just as flavorful.
The citrus juice paired with savory spices give the broth a great base. Once the chicken is done cooking, save the broth to drizzle over the tacos, infusing even more flavor into the chicken.
You can totally make up some basic shredded chicken in the slow cooker to put into pasta dishes and on salads, all kinds of things. It’s such a great ingredient to have on hand. However, when I want Mexican, I want some shredded chicken with crunch. I want chicken carnitas!
The key to adding a satisfying crunch to slow cooker chicken carnitas is using the broiler for the final step. Set an oven rack to just below the broiler. I adjusted it to about 6 inches away and turned the broiler on just before I transferred the chicken from the slow cooker to a cookie sheet (I use a 17×11 inch cookie sheet, like this one), which gave the broiler enough time to warm up.
To get an even crunch to the chicken, you’ll have to stir the chicken occasionally and put it back in the oven. Drizzle a little of the broth over it each time to avoid drying it out too much. No one likes dry chicken. Pick off any burnt pieces and continue until you get your desired crunch. I found that it was a longer first cycle and two more shorter cycles that led to perfection. Finish with a little more broth and you’re ready to go!
Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili sounds like it’d be a bland, flavorless dish. A lack of color doesn’t mean a lack of flavor though. It’s one of the most flavorful chilis I’ve ever had and it will be a popular dish during cold months. It’s also hearty and makes enough for a crowd.
Let’s talk about these flavors. There are layers and layers which make it more delicious the longer it sits. The flavors also build with each bite which is one of my favorite qualities in a dish.
You’ve got poblano peppers that hold up perfectly in a slow cooker (we really like this slow cooker) with their thick skins, and green chiles that give off a little heat. The onions and garlic are the aromatics with cumin, oregano and coriander added for some warming spice.
My favorite part of the chili might be the smoked paprika. It gives it an earthy and smoky (obviously) flavor that ties it all in. If you’re looking for more heat, I suggest topping it with some jarred jalapeños. You can also serve it with shredded cheese, sour cream and avocados to cool it right back down.
Be ready to break out this recipe again and again once you’ve tried it. And if you’re making dinner for a crowd, prep will be a breeze when you pair your slow cooker chicken chili with Grilled Cheese for a Crowd.
Christine is the founder of TheCookful and also of her blog COOKtheSTORY. Her passion is explaining the WHY behind cooking – Why should you cook things a certain way; Will they turn out if you do it differently; What are the pros and cons of the method? Learn more about Christine, her cookbooks, and her podcast.
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