Up until recently, I had been a strong believer that white chicken meat does not belong in a Crock Pot. Surprisingly, this slow cooker chicken breast recipe completely changed my mind. The breast meat comes out so tender, flavorful, and juicy that it can easily rival slow-cooked dark chicken meat.
Admittedly, the success of this dish did not come as a complete surprise to me though. The marinade here is an adaptation of my wildly popular Killer Chicken Thigh Marinade, which I can literally drink on its own. It’s that good! Similarly, it works amazingly well on slow-cooked chicken breasts.
I’ve been asked for a slow cooker chicken breast recipe a number of times on this blog, so here it is, and you won’t be disappointed. As a matter of fact, I would be surprised if someone did not like it.
All you have to do is marinate the chicken overnight, give it a nice sear before slow-cooking, then put in the Crock-Pot and cook for two hours on low. Two hours is enough. The chicken will be very tender, it will practically melt in your mouth, and exceptionally delicious. You will love it. It tastes like slow cooker BBQ chicken breast.
Marinating the chicken is key. Give it at least 30 minutes to 2 hours but the best results will come from 12-24 hours of marination.
After mariantion, give the chicken breasts a nice sear. This will add flavor and make the chicken look much more appetizing. Unseared sloww cooked chicken breasts look pale and unappetizing.
Once the chicken breasts are nicely browned, transfer them to the slow cooker, pour the marinade all over, cover, and cook on low for 2 hours. I’ve cooked this chicken for up to 3 hours and it was good but 2 hours seem to be enough.
You may try cooking chicken breast on high but I wouldn’t recommend it as high heat draws too much moisture out of lean white chicken meat, rending it a bit dry. If you do want to cook on High, I recommend shortening the cooking time to about 45-60 minutes or until the meat in the thickest parts of the breast reaches 160F.
After 2 hours, switch the slow cooker to ‘warm’ and keep the chicken in the Crock Pot until ready to serve.
The pot juices can be thickened if you wish, though I like them as they are. If you want to thicken them, transfer the liquid to a saucepan and cook down with some corn starch or flour mixed with a little bit of water.
The secrets to this amazing slow cooker chicken breast
Bon Appetit’s once wrote that the biggest mistakes when cooking chicken breast are to not use bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts and to not marinate them, among other things. This recipe takes into account all of their recommendations and more, and it really shows.
- It uses bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts which help keep the meat moist. No exceptions here.
- The chicken is cooked on low heat; high heat makes the meat lose more moisture.
- Chicken breasts are marinated. It makes the lean breast meat tender. A great tasting marinade, like the one I am using here, will add an enormous amount of flavor.
- The breasts are not covered with liquid all they way. You don’t want to poach your chicken breasts, it will make the meat tough and chalky.
- It uses one of the BEST TASTING CHICKEN MARINADES ever.
- 4 Bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice (or lime juice)
- 6 cloves garlic (minced or pressed)
- 1 inch ginger root (peeled, minced or grated)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper (freshly ground if possible)
- kosher salt (to taste)
- Fresh parsley for garnish (or fresh coriander)
- Mix all of the ingredients (except the chicken breasts and fresh parsley) together in a large bowl or a Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and rub the marinade all over to ensure proper coverage. Get some of the marinade under skin as well. Marinate in a fridge overnight or up to 24 hours. I typically start the night before and get about 20-24 hours of marination. If pressed for time, go for at least 30 minutes to 2 hours. The chicken won't have the same tenderness but will still taste amazing.
- Pan-sear the chicken skin side down for about 3-4 minutes or until the skin is dark golden brown.
- Transfer the chicken into a 6-quart slow cooker, positioning the chicken breasts skin side up. Pour the marinade all over the chicken.
- Cook on Low for 2 hours. Switch the slow cooker to Warm to keep the chicken warm until ready to serve.
The 4 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Cooking Chicken Breasts (Bon Appetit)
How to Cook Bone-In Chicken Breasts (Cook’s Illustrated)
It iis noot myy first time to make this dish and it’s great every time. Thank you for posting this recipe.
Really nice recipe. Thanks for sharing.
Hello Victor, wow this recipe looks amazing! I’m going to try it on Friday. But I’d like to do it with chicken thighs and legs as they are easier to get. Would I be right in thinking the same cooking time would apply? Thank you for sharing this with us (meant to post this here, not on the chicken thighs page x)
Hi JW, my apologies for the delayed response. I cook chicken breast a lot less to make sure the meat stays juicy. Dark meat parts can take longer cooking and I actually like the texture when it’s cooked for longer. Three-five hours on low is how long I slow cook dark meat. Hope this helps. Enjoy!
Its really a nice recipe.
Linda E Evans
is it possible to cut down on the sugar level? Could I use a sugar substitute such as Swerve in place of the honey?
Linda, I don’t know as I’ve never tried but you can always omit the sugary ingredients.
Linda E Evans
thank you for your reply. I might give it a try and I will let you know.
Good morning. Would you happen to have the nutritional facts for this recipe?
HI Debbie, nutrition facts added.
My oven bake element was out so I needed to use the slow cooker and I had chicken breasts so searched: chicken bone in, skin on, honey, slow cooker, and found this recipe. I served it with couscous. Absolutely delicious!
I made it about a month ago and when my son arrived unexpectedly, I fed him the last piece left over. He loved it so much he asked me to make it again for when he visits this coming weekend. I had to come back here to write the recipe out and decided it deserved a glowing review.
Hi Victor, I love this recipe, so I decided to try it with a small 2.25lb center cut pork roast. I am curious about your opinion on whether I should slow cook this low or on high. I love how you explain that cooking bone in breast is fine in a slow cooker. The roast has only a little fat on it.
Hi Jennifer, sorry for the late response. I would definitely cook on low. Lower temperatures over longer cooking time will help keep the moisture in. Higher temps make meat fibers contract and squeeze out water. If it’s a leaner piece, low and slow is the best way to cook in a slow cooker.
I have made this recipe twice and i love it, so does my partner. Thanks
We only use boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
What alterations do I need to make for this recipe?
Dying to try it!
Thank You 😁
HI Susan, the only adjustment I would suggest is checking the temperature at 2 hours, the skinless white chicken meat may be ready a little sooner.
I’m using one split chicken breast. Should I consider the split breast as 2 chicken breast and halve the recipe, they are rather large breast?
No, I would keep the recipe as is. You want to have enough liquids in the cooker.
Do you use split breasts or whole? Thank you.
Tried today, but I marinated for 2 days and put it on the bbq. I cant tell u how good it came out. I’ll be using this marinade all the time. AWESOME whoever came up with this recipe
Glad you liked it. I created this recipe to slow cook chicken breasts using my very popular killer chicken thigh marinade which works on chicken breasts very well too.
Would the cooking time be the same if I doubled this recipe and is a 6 qt pot still my best choice?
Ideally you’d want to keep them in one layer so if you double the recipe a larger pot would be a better choice. If you must layer on top each other, mix them up during cooking a few times so they cook evenly. I never tested this, but I would assume that cooking time would increase. It would help to be checking internal temperature during cooking and pull as soon as it reaches 165F.
I’m getting ready to cook this but I wanted to be sure the time is correct. You only cook it 3 hours on low? That hardly seems like enough time.
I’ve tested this recipe several times before posting. Each time the internal temps would hit 165F after about 2.5 hours. I recommend 3 hours just to be sure. Going longer would likely dry out the delicate white meat so I think it’s not a good idea. Beides, if they they are done at 3 hours, why cook longer, right? If you want to be certain, cook for 3 hours and check the internal temperature. If it has not reached the safe level then cook longer. You can also try 5-6 hours and see how you like the texture. The breasts are marinated so they should take a longer cook fine. I like mine at 3 hours.
I rarely post feedback but this recipe deserves it. I marinated my chicken for almost 24 hours and it came out so unbelievably tender that my husband asked for seconds and he mostly eats dark chicken meat. I’ve actually never tasted chicken breast this tender. Loving this recipe, and the marinade!
LOL… glad to hear that you and your hubby loved my recipe. I do know why..;-)
I made this chicken past weekend for our family dinner. Everyone loved it! People were asking for seconds and extra sauce! The sauce was fantastic, and the chicken was tender, delicious and flavourful. Making it was a breeze too.
You are welcome! 😉