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.
How to Cook Bone-In Chicken Breasts (Cook's Illustrated)