Slow cookers are lifesavers in the kitchen, especially during busy weeks when (let’s face it) cooking is the last thing you want to do after a long workday. In these cases, the tiniest bit of advance planning can have a major payoff: All it takes is a few minutes of prep in the morning, and by the time you get home, you’ll have a hot meal waiting for you.
Though there’s an endless number of dishes that can be made in a slow cooker, we’re focusing on one of the most versatile proteins out there: chicken. Whether you’re a dark meat evangelist or a fan of a boneless and skinless chicken breast, slow cookers consistently yield a juicy, tender bird without any of the fuss. Here are 10 of our favorite slow cooker chicken recipes.
Our best slow cooker chicken recipes
1. Slow-Cooker Chicken Breasts with Lemon, Sage, and Milk
Cooking chicken breasts directly in whole milk may sound strange at first, but the technique actually results in an ultra-moist (and never dry) texture. Here, the milk is scented with lemon zest and sage, but feel free to use your favorite aromatics instead.
These wings are first cooked in the slow cooker, then finished under the broiler for a golden exterior. A simple glaze consisting of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and Sriracha finishes off this sticky, sweet, and spicy dish.
3. Slow-Cooker Chicken Parmesan Soup
This dish takes the flavors of chicken parm and transforms them into a cozy soup. And, with the help of the slow cooker, it’s far easier to make than its namesake dish — no breading or frying necessary.
4. Slow-Cooker Chicken Breasts with Creamy Mustard-Leek Sauce
Taking inspiration from a classic French dish typically made with rabbit, this chicken is infused with flavor thanks to an overnight marinade prior to cooking. Paired with buttered noodles and a creamy mustard and white wine sauce, you couldn’t ask for a more comforting meal.
5. Slow-Cooker Rotisserie Chicken
While it’s not technically rotisserie, this chicken will easily rival those you pick up at the supermarket. Make it in advance and use it all week for soups, sandwiches, salads, and more.
6. Slow-Cooker Chicken Soup with Ginger and Fennel
This easy soup calls for cooked chicken — meaning it’s the perfect dish to make with leftovers (see above!). Fresh ginger, scallions, garlic, and fennel revive the already-prepared chicken, while soba or brown rice gives the soup some heft.
Chicken shares the spotlight with some other proteins — namely shrimp and andouille sausage — in this slow cooker-friendly version of jambalaya. These inclusions give the rice a ton of depth and help make the dish feel like a complete meal.
8. Slow-Cooker Bourbon BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
For sticky, sweet, and savory drumsticks, the chicken is first coated in a blend of spices, then slow cooked in a quick bourbon BBQ sauce. It’s a perfect Game Day snack, party food, or appetizer for entertaining.
9. Slow-Cooker White Wine Chicken with Orzo from Eleni Vonissakou
This chicken and orzo dish might feel fancy with the rich flavors of wine and lemon, but it comes together with the ease of a one-pot meal.
10. Slow-Cooker Mediterranean Chicken Thigh Stew
Don’t be fooled by the deceptively short ingredient list on this recipe. Each one — from the lemon to the Kalamata olives — plays a key role in elevating the humble chicken thigh and creating a balanced, deep flavor.
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