If you’re looking for a crock pot chicken recipe right away, try our Mexican style chicken today and have some healthy tacos ready for you when you get home.
You walk in the door after a hectic day at work to the dog barking, your cranky children running around and your spouse is complaining their hungry. You’ve been too busy to even think about dinner, so you end up scrambling around and throwing a not-so-delicious frozen dinner on the table.
Wouldn’t it be nice to walk in the door and be greeted with the delicious smell of a home cooked meal that’s ready to be eaten? That’s what Crock Pots are for! All you need to do is throw your ingredients in before you leave for work, set it to the desired temperature and that’s it. If you’ve never used a slow cooker before, we recommend starting with a healthy chicken crock pot recipe as they always turn out delicious!
Here are all the basics of cooking with a crock pot…
Why A Crock Pot?
We love using a slow cooker for all those crock pot chicken recipes we see. It’s an easy clean up because it’s a one-pan meal, which gives you more time to spend with your family. Speaking of timing, using a crock pot is so efficient! It takes minimal time to prepare the ingredients, throw it in, set it and forget it. Do we have you convinced, yet?
Well if not yet, we have a few more reasons…
Using a slower cooker ensures that your healthy chicken recipe is cooked thoroughly as it is heated for longer periods of time. And it is so versatile, no matter what type of chicken dish you are cooking, you can use the slow cooker!
Another reason we love crock pots is that cooking chicken at a lower temperature over a longer period of time releases more flavors giving you and your family a tastier meal.
The Health Benefits Of Crock Pot Chicken
Now you know why we love using a crockpot, but there are even some amazing health benefits from slow cooker chicken! Read on to find out more.
A common way to cook chicken is to grill on the barbeque. Unfortunately, grilling can produce cancer-causing toxins. Uh oh! But you don’t need to worry about that when using a slow cooker because the chicken is not directly in contact with heat.
Cooking your chicken in a slow cooker enhances the amount of Taurine. Taurine is an amino acid that increases good cholesterol and prevents blood clots keeping your heart healthy! Who doesn’t love that benefit?
When making slow cooker chicken, it preserves all the nutrients and makes it more bioavailable to you because the meat is trapped.
Do I Use A Whole Chicken Or Just The Pieces?
Depending on the recipe you are following, you have options of what cuts of chicken you use. For slow cooker shredded chicken, boneless chicken breast works best, while chicken thighs are popular in chicken cacciatore recipes.
A whole chicken can be roasted in a slow cooker with minimal ingredients! You only need some spices. But if you wanted to add some vegetables like onion, zucchini and peppers, you’d have a complete, healthy, low carb meal ready for you when you get home from work. Sounds easy enough, huh?
What About The Skin?
You can use both skinless and skin on chicken in a slow cooker. Using skin on may give you a crispy chicken texture, which is a favorite for some people. However, the skin on the chicken is the fattiest part of this type of meat so be only eat it sparingly!
Boneless Or Bone-In?
Just like the above, using boneless or bone-in is personal preference. Bone-in chicken usually leaves you with a juicier meat as it has more natural juices. But this can be a bit more time consuming to prepare the meal. Either way it’s personal preference so try both and see what works for you.
How Much Liquid Should I Use?
When using a slow cooker for chicken, it is important to put the right amount of liquid to ensure the chicken doesn’t get too dry. On the other hand, you don’t want to put too much as your dish may end up more watery than anticipated. Generally, the amount of water, broth, stock or sauce is about ½ cup for every pound of chicken. But of course, if you are following a healthy chicken crock pot recipe, use the portions listed.
Spices, Seasonings And Herbs, Oh My!
The wonderful thing about cooking with chicken is the variety of flavors you can create. Using basil gives it a sweet flavor that works well in marinades and rubs for Italian inspired dishes. Ginger always adds a comforting flavor and tastes delicious in Asian inspired meals. Cardamom and paprika add a warming, sweet taste that work well in soups and marinades. Thyme and Rosemary are herbs that add an earthy flavor that really emphasize how delicious chicken can taste. Garlic is also a crowd favorite that works well in curries, soups, sauces and dry rubs.
As you can see, there are tons of varieties of seasonings to use so experiment with different types and find your favorite. Don’t forget you can use multiple spices at once to create a delicious crock pot meal! We included some popular mixtures below.
Want To Add Some Heat?
If you’re feeling like a spicy dish today, try making your own spice blend with black pepper, paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and some thyme.
What About A Thai Inspired Dish?
Make a dry rub with some basil, cumin, garlic powder, ginger, turmeric (this spice has tons of anti-inflammatory benefits!), cardamom and curry powder to make a delicious Asian themed meal.
Is Curry More Your Style?
An Indian flavored chicken dish is one of our favorites! To make a spice blend at home, mix up bay leaves, cardamom, cayenne, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, nutmeg, paprika, turmeric, garam masala and curry powder. This is a lengthy list but we promise it’s worth it!
What’s The Best Cooking Time?
The length of cooking times is usually dependent on the recipe you’re using. However, there are some general rules you can follow. Chicken breast cooks the quickest on low for about 6-7 hours, while chicken thighs take a bit longer at 8-9 hours. If you’re following a slow cooker whole chicken recipe, that takes the longest to cook at 8-10 hours.
Are Crock Pots Dangerous?
Did you see the episode where the beloved Jack Pearson was killed in a fire caused by a crock pot? It became a trending topic and some viewers even threw out their slow cooker to avoid any kitchen fires. But you don’t need to worry about that! Crock Pot companies released statements reassuring users that it is just a television show and crock pots are safe to use.
Extra Crock Pot Tips
- Don’t overfill your slow cooker. Most brands of crock pots don’t recommend filling more two-thirds of the way but be sure to read any manuals beforehand.
- Don’t peak. Resist the urge to open the lid until the meal is almost done cooking. Removing the lid for even a minute or so will let heat escape and delay the cooking time.
- Get creative! Crock Pot’s aren’t only for cooking chicken. You can cook beef, pork, soups, stews or even a lasagne in them. Experiment with different recipes and see what works best for you!