This list of 10 crock-pot chicken recipes will be a repertoire for your slothful days.
Finding yourself with too little motivation to get up and run through the lengthy process of preparing and repetitively checking on a single meal, ending up with no time to finish what you were previously in the middle of? I have just the solution for you!
What is a crock-pot?
A crock-pot is a brand of slow cooker that was first registered in the 1970s and soon came viral on the market and in American households. ‘Crock-pot’ is now better recognized as a general term for electric heating ovens with red hot wires to surround the pot’s outer surface for evenly cooked food, and a glass lid placed on top to trap the heat and moisture inside.
What’s the difference between a crock-pot and a normal slow-cooker?
A Crock-pot is a slow-cooker. That said, recipes cooked in a typical slow-cooker can totally be pulled off using a crock-pot in the very same fashion.
However, there are still differences between crock-pots and other slow-cookers.
A crock-pot contains a container (a cupboard pot) that is snuggled into a crock (a hollow, known as an outer housing), with a long skinny heating element wrapped around it on all sides including the bottom, just like a belt. By comparison, a slow-cooker is just a metal pot on a heated surface – similar to setting a pot on a stovetop. Because of this, typical slow cookers can only provide heat at the bottom of the crock.
Sometimes, there is extra insulation inside the housing that helps cook the food more evenly without having spots that are hotter than others, causing either scorch marks or undercooked parts. All crock-pots come with a glass lid, just so you don’t have to open it up midway to check on the progress and lose the gentle moist heat that’s cooking your food.
The material with which the container included in the crock-pot is made may be stoneware, metal, ceramic or porcelain. Nowadays, big and thick ceramic crocks are widely favored, since ceramic tends to do a better job at accumulating heat in a slow pace, retaining the heat and then radiating it gently to the food.
Metal crocks that heat up fast and cool down fast with heating elements placed underneath are also favorites among crock-pot brands. They allow you to brown the meat directly in the crock-pot without having to pull out a separate skillet.
Go high or low on temperature?
Crock-pots usually have two heat settings: High and Low; while the newest models may include a third option: Warm.
The reason people make their meals with a crock-pot is because of its mechanism of having the heat surround the food, therefore bringing whatever is inside it up to a safe temperature without you having to lay a finger on it during cooking time. The next thing you know, it’s ready in time for your dinner.
It’s a matter of time and what kind of food you’re cooking that determines whether your crock-pot should be set on Low or High. Low heat is typically the best for meats, stews and casseroles, while high heat is usually for pasta or dishes that involve heaps of veggies within.
What are the benefits of crock-pot cooking?
Generally made in an oval shape, the crock-pot is a safe and smart, versatile and adaptable way of cooking, especially for large dishes. Leaving the foods in a moist environment for a long period of time is one of those solutions that helps kill common bacterias such as E. Coli, salmonella and botulism.
A Crock-pot guarantees evenly-cooked food
Crock-pots should always be filled up to at least half of their capacity for the best result. Also, you should not convert the cooking time and the heat level on your own. For example, foods that are cooked at low heat for 8 hours are not similar to those cooked at high heat for 4 hours. If you’re really against the clock at the moment and simply need to ease your sudden hunger, you’d better get a skillet for a faster result.
Technically, you should just stick to whichever recipe you’re using – and if possible, conduct a small test on your newly bought crock-pot first before using it for real. Different crock-pots from different brands may have dissimilarities in the amount of time they take to reach a decent temperature.
Also, don’t hesitate on recipes having soups or paste or broth – crock-pots barely cause evaporation. It’s quite the opposite, to be honest. Liquids in crock-pots are more easily absorbed, to the point that with a single recipe, the final result when cooked in a crock-pot will be thicker in texture than that made on a stove top. Personally, I’ve always had to add more water at the end to thin it out a bit.
In order to keep the vegetables fresh and crunchy with all the natural flavors when using crock-pots, you may want to leave them out and only add them in at the last ten minutes. Crock-pots are meant to tenderize foods to the point that they’re juicy and the ingredients are all well combined to each other. That’s the opposite of how we want our greens – if they are steamed to a point of being soggy and sloppy, they might completely put us out of our appetite.
Can be left to cook unattended
Yes, and that’s not even a question itself. What’s the purpose of using a crock-pot if you’re not benefiting from hands-off cooking? Thanks to the crock-pot, you can have all the hard work done digitally while you’re away from home.
It’s the digital programmable model of crock-pot that does that for you. To ensure that your crock-pot is safe when left to cook unattended, many crock-pot brands have recently introduced sophisticated temperature sensors so they can sense the heat and suppress it when it’s come to an appropriate level for perfect juicy tender food. You simply need to cook your food according to whatever time frame the recipe requires, then let the crock-pot automatically power down to keep the food warm when the time’s up, until you’re ready to eat.
Crock-pots use the same amount of power as a 100-watt light bulb, so don’t worry about electricity bills! Even with a long period of cooking, the energy consumption of a crock-pot is negligible. There’s no need to stir the food while the crock-pot is cooking. In fact, you shouldn’t open the lid midway if the recipe doesn’t ask you to since that will probably lead to heat loss. Otherwise, the total cooking time must be increased.
If you’re not going to present your food right away, especially in fetes when you have big batches of everything that sits waiting to be consumed all day long, then keeping the meals in the crock-pot in Warm mode is ideal. But be careful, some crock-pots might have a “warmer” Warm mode than others – just a reminder as nobody wants an accidentally overcooked feast.
Do you need to pre-brown meat before slow-cooking it?
It depends on the recipe, apparently. Pre-browning the meat is a good way to get rid of excess fat, enhance the rich flavor and give meat the eye-catching searing marks. Searing also helps the muscle fiber within the meat stick together and become firmer, thus lessening the chance of them falling apart when the dish is totally cooked through later on.
Simply put, crock-pots are for a simplified cooking job, so you really don’t have to increase the workload for yourself (as well as another contaminated skillet to wash afterwards). Remember, pre-browning meat cannot be counted as a cooking step – it’s merely adding extra flavors to the dish.
Can you throw frozen meat into a crock-pot?
Theoretically, you can. Just take these 2 notes into account first:
- You will need to adjust the cooking time, as there must be an additional amount of time spent to defrost the meat (usually 4-6 more hours if set on low heat, and 2 more hours on high heat).
- Quick temperature shifts should always be a concern in cooking. Putting hot food in a freezer is an issue regarding food safety, and the same is true the other way round. It is advised not to pre-heat the crock-pot if you’re going to put frozen meat into it. Otherwise, the crock may crack.
How to prevent dry and falling-apart meat?
- The larger the meat is, the longer you need to let it rest after remove it from the crock-pot. Normally, medium-size cuts need around 10 minutes to rest.
- Chicken breasts are cooked faster than other chicken parts (like drumsticks or thighs). Therefore, you should double check the cooking time, or add more liquid to the crock to prevent the chicken breast meat from drying out too fast.
Top 10 crock-pot chicken recipes
1. Easy Slow Cooker Chicken and Stuffing
With only 5 minutes prep, this easy slow cooker chicken and stuffing can be cooked either on high heat for 4 hours or low heat for 7 hours. It’s simply a set-it-and-forget-it recipe. With a simple whisk, some seasoning and mixing in between, your cold days can now be as contented as you wish.
2. Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup
I personally love how all the ingredients for this easy slow cooker chicken taco soup came to a harmonization. It truly hits all the right notes with the authentic flavor combination – the freshness and earthiness from the steamed beans, the special piquancy of both salsa sauce and taco seasoning, then finally, the juicy and savory chicken meat. The extra toppings including Greek yogurt and grated cheese strips are worth taking a peek too.
For this recipe, all you need is 10 minutes of preparation, and the remaining 6-hour long job is all on the crock-pot. A true toss-and-leave slow-cooker dish!
3. Crock-pot BBQ Chicken
It was a whale of a time for me when I brought this crock-pot BBQ chicken to a reunion months ago. I just had to gape at how this bonny dish took only 3 steps to complete. There are only four flavoring agents: BBQ sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce; but when brought together into a fusion, its taste is just beyond words.
This easy crock-pot BBQ chicken left me with forks and messy fingers behind every-single-time. It’s definitely something that’s worth a spot in your weekly meal rotation – and that’s not even an exaggeration.
4. Crock Pot Cheesy Bacon Ranch Chicken
Of course there must be something that goes with cheese in this list – or else you’re missing half the sweetness a crock-pot could give you.
Just like any other crock-pot meals, this recipe follows the familiar fashion of tossing everything in layers and let the machine do the hard work. Crock-pot cheesy bacon ranch chicken is cheesy, tender, juicy and bursting with flavors – I bet you couldn’t ever resist having it on toasted buns, salads or hot steamed rice. Enjoy it in whatever way you love. (σﾟ∀ﾟ)σ
5. Crock Pot Chicken and Stuffing
Extra juicy chicken breasts, together with savory stuffing, all simmered in one crock-pot – no other operating in between. That’s what Crock-pot chicken and stuffing is all about. You don’t even have to get on the ball for it.
This recipe is simply whisking, stirring and turning on the cooker. It’s tasty, comforting, and will definitely be on my list of foods that I take to potlucks, celebrations, bashes. When I say you will want to regale your big family with this dish, I really mean it.
Oh, and don’t forget the crunchy, wholesome vegetable chunks.
You can gauge the moisture level to your preference simply by adjusting the amount of broth that’s going in. The stuffing truly lends depth to the taste, while hours of slow-cooking will give you a perfect fusion of everything melted into each other.
This dish is really no more than a big warm hug. I was just thrilled to give it a go. It’s my go-to treat, and soon it’ll be yours.
6. Crock-pot Chicken Noodle Soup
Crock-pot chicken noodle soup asks for two crock-pots in a row, and is a breeze to make just like all other crock-pot dishes.
This dish truly has me questioning all my years sticking my head in front of the piping hot stainless pot, getting myself sweaty to just whisk things up and set the timer right on my own.
Things have been a breeze now. (σ≧∀≦)σ
7. Slow Cooker Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Though it requires a minor sear beforehand, this recipe is still totally worth it. Slow Cooker Jamaican Jerk Chicken, as indicated in the name, is apparently an easy, authentic Jamaican meal.
With fantastic flavors of peppers, green onions, jalapeno, thyme, cloves, nutmeg and allspice, this dish represents the smoky goodness of grill foods, but is far less complicated than firing up a grill on your own.
Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken is an easier way to make a delicious authentic Jamaican meal than firing up the grill. You’ll no longer have to worry about the smoke you’ll be making or the peppers burning your eyes standing above the indoor grill. When cooked in a crock-pot, the dish will be even more terrific with an extra spicy kick that mellows out to the chicken.
8. Crock-pot Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti
At the risk of sounding annoyingly excited, I must still give a shining recommendation for this crock-pot cheesy chicken spaghetti. It’s creamy, cheesy, and instead of going down with crushed tomatoes like those regular spaghettis do, it’s packed with hearty, savory mushroom soup and cumin.
The recipe will require you to carry out the slow cooking twice – the first is for the chicken to be cooked through and infused with the melted cheese, and the second is for the pasta to absorb the sauce thoroughly to become chewy and charming in flavor.
9. Crock-Pot Chicken Taquitos
Of course this crock-pot chicken taquitos is another toss-and-serve recipe, but this time, with a little help from the oven.
Filled with chicken, cream cheese, taco seasoning and a little water, then covered and cooked throughout the day, the chicken is just crazy tasty! But it doesn’t stop there. Just spare 15 minutes more to shred the chicken into thin strips, roll them in the flour tortillas and put to bake for crispy, mouth-watering rolls.
Crock-pot chicken taquitos can be dipped in either salsa or cilantro-ranch. Otherwise, just blend up some of your favorite spices. Have your taste buds jacked up however you like!
10. Crock Pot Cheesy Chicken, Bacon & Tater Tot Bake
Chicken, bacon, cheese and tater tots – and they even come in 3 layers! Can you believe how chicken and tater tots swaddled in thick layers of cheese will look? Oh now you will.
With just a little hasty stirring for the bacon crumbs beforehand, the remaining job will be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel. Layer and slow-cook, that’s all it takes. This Crock-pot cheesy chicken, bacon & tater tot bake is a huge effort-saver that everyone will love.