How to Make the Best Slow Cooker Chicken Breast | Ambitious Kitchen (2024)

If you’ve made my easy slow cooker pulled chicken sandwiches, get ready to use those skills to make perfectly cooked, juicy slow cooker chicken breast any time, anywhere. This super easy method for slow cooking chicken breasts is a great, hands-off approach to cooking chicken whenever you need to add it to specific recipes, but it’s also incredibly easy to spice it up with marinades and sauces.

Beat the heat this summer by cooking chicken breasts in your crockpot and avoiding a hot oven. You’ll just need a few simple ingredients and a few hours for the best slow cooker chicken breasts to add to salads, burrito bowls, tacos and more. Enjoy!

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Everything you’ll need to make slow cooker chicken breast

We’re keeping it super simple with this method for slow cooking chicken breast, but you can always feel free to jazz your chicken up with one of my homemade chicken marinades or seasonings. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Chicken: we’re using one pound of boneless skinless chicken breast in this tutorial
  • Water: you’ll need just 1/2 cup of water to cook the chicken breast in your crockpot. You can also use chicken broth or even your favorite BBQ sauce or buffalo sauce as pictured below!
  • Seasonings: feel free to stay neutral with salt and pepper, or try one of my favorite chicken marinades!

Go organic (if possible)

If it’s accessible, I recommend using organic chicken breasts whenever possible. They tend to be much juicier and less “tough,” than non-organic chicken breasts, so when you’re using the chicken as a blank canvas to add to recipes it makes a big difference.

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Have fun with marinades & seasonings

This method for slow cooking chicken acts as a blank canvas you can use in any recipes you’d like. I have tons of seasonings and marinades to try with this method, too! Get them in these tutorials & recipes:

  • Honey Mustard
  • Spicy Ranch
  • Greek
  • Lemon Yogurt
  • Jerk Chicken
  • Taco Flavored

What’s great about using your slow cooker, too, is that you can cook the chicken in basically any liquid you’d like. Try using BBQ sauce, adding your fav hot sauce, or even a coconut milk base, like in curry recipes. And be sure to get my best easy & healthy chicken marinades here.

Don’t forget this tool when slow cooking chicken breasts

If you don’t yet have a meat thermometer, it’s time to get one! I highly recommend having a meat thermometer so that you can check the doneness of your chicken without having to cut into it and lose the juiciness. Here is a great one that I use all the time.

How to cook chicken breasts in a crockpot

If you’ve spent some time making AK dinner recipes, you’ve probably tried out one of my delicious slow cooker chicken recipes. In this tutorial, we’re using the same method but going super simple and basic to create juicy slow cooker chicken breasts that you can add to salads, bowls and more. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: arrange the chicken. Place your chicken breasts in the bowl of a slow cooker with enough room so that they’re not on top of each other.

How to Make the Best Slow Cooker Chicken Breast | Ambitious Kitchen (3)

Step 2: add liquid. Pour water over the chicken breasts so that it just barely covers them.

How to Make the Best Slow Cooker Chicken Breast | Ambitious Kitchen (4)

Step 3: season the chicken. Sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper (or any seasonings you’d like — I suggest this amazing sazon seasoning!) As a reminder, feel free to try out any of my amazing chicken marinades before slow cooking your chicken breasts.

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Step 4: cover & cook. Cover your slow cooker and cook chicken breasts on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

How to Make the Best Slow Cooker Chicken Breast | Ambitious Kitchen (6)

Step 5: check for doneness. Use your meat thermometer to be sure the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.

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Step 6: let it rest. Always the key! Remove your chicken breasts from the slow cooker and transfer them to a clean bowl, plate or cutting board. Let them rest for 5-10 minutes to seal in those juices before cutting or shredding.

How to Make the Best Slow Cooker Chicken Breast | Ambitious Kitchen (8)

Freezing & storing cooked chicken breast

After you’ve cooked your chicken breast in your crockpot or slow cooker, you can either use the chicken right away or store it for later:

  • To store: let the chicken breast cool completely and transfer it whole, shredded or cubed to an airtight container. Place the container in the fridge and use the chicken within 4-5 days.
  • To freeze: repeat the steps above but instead place your chicken in the freezer. Cooked chicken breast will stay good in the freezer for about 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator and enjoy it cold with salad recipes or heat it up in the microwave for warm recipes.

Delicious ways to use slow cooker chicken breast

  • Add it to delicious soups like this Curry Chicken Noodle Soup, my famousHealthy Chicken Pot Pie Soup or this nourishingGolden Coconut Chicken Lentil Soup
  • Mix it into a fresh salad or wrap like this Spicy Ranch Chopped Chicken Cabbage Salad, thisCashew Crunch Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad or these Crunchy Rainbow Thai Peanut Chicken Wraps
  • Use it to add extra protein as a topping in flavorful BBQ Ranch Chicken Quinoa Bowls orDIY Chicken Burrito Bowls

Recommended tools for slow cooker chicken

Get all of our go-to kitchen essentials here!

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More slow cooker chicken recipes to try

These amazing recipes using the same method from this tutorial on how to slow cook chicken, but with even more flavor varieties and ingredients!

  • Incredible Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sandwiches
  • Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
  • Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Get all of our delicious chicken recipes here!

Try these other methods for cooking perfect chicken

  • How to Grill Chicken Breast that’s Perfectly Juicy
  • How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken
  • How to Poach Chicken Breast
  • How to Make an Easy Roasted Chicken

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I hope you love this simple tutorial on how to slow cook the perfect chicken breast! If you try it out be sure to leave a comment and let us know how you used your perfectly cooked chicken. Enjoy, xo!

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The Best Slow Cooker Chicken Breast

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Prep Time 5 minutes minutes

Cook Time 3 hours hours

Total Time 3 hours hours 5 minutes minutes

ServesServes 4 servings

The easiest tutorial for slow cooker chicken breast you'll ever need! Learn exactly how to slow cook chicken breasts so that they're juicy, tender and perfectly cooked every time. Use this method for cooking chicken breast right in your crockpot and easily add it to your favorite recipes.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • ½ cup water or chicken broth
  • Freshly ground salt & black pepper
  • Optional:
  • try one of our delicious chicken marinades

Instructions

  • Place your chicken breasts in the bowl of a crock pot. Pour water over the chicken breasts so that it just barely covers them.

  • Sprinkle the chicken breasts with plenty of salt and pepper. Cover your crock pot and cook chicken breasts on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.

  • Chicken is done when the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F. Use chicken in your favorite recipes. Perfect for shredding!

Recipe Notes

To store: let the chicken breast cool completely and transfer it whole, shredded or cubed to an airtight container. Place the container in the fridge and use the chicken within 4-5 days.

To freeze: repeat the steps above but instead place your chicken in the freezer. Cooked chicken breast will stay good in the freezer for about 3 months. When you’re ready to use it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator and enjoy it cold with salad recipes or heat it up in the microwave for warm recipes.

Method by: Monique Volz // Ambitious Kitchen | Photography by: Eat Love Eats

How to Make the Best Slow Cooker Chicken Breast | Ambitious Kitchen (2024)

FAQs

Is it better to cook chicken breasts on low or high in slow cooker? ›

We found that the only way to cook chicken (and turkey) in a slow cooker is on the low setting and for a relatively short amount of time.

How long does raw chicken breast take in slow cooker? ›

Cover your crock pot and cook chicken breasts on low for 6-7 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. Chicken is done when the internal temp reaches 165 degrees F. Use chicken in your favorite recipes.

Is it OK to put raw chicken in slow cooker? ›

Yes, you can put raw chicken in a slow cooker! Slow cookers and Crock-Pots are designed to cook raw meats. The direct heat from the pot, lengthy cooking time and steam created from the tightly covered container destroys bacteria, making slow cooking safe. You can put frozen chicken in a slow cooker, too!

Do you need to put liquid in the slow cooker when cooking chicken? ›

Adding some liquid to the slow cooker is an essential step, and ensures that the chicken is tender and juicy.

How to keep chicken moist in the crockpot? ›

If the chicken is cooked too long, it will become dry (even if you use broth or water) and tough. That means the best way to keep chicken from drying out in a crockpot is to stop cooking it as soon as it reaches the proper internal temperature of 165 degrees F.

Why do chicken breasts dry out in slow cooker? ›

In addition, chicken breast has less fat and can become dry (chewy or rubbery) if cooked for too long.

Is 3 hours in slow cooker enough for chicken? ›

For a whole chicken – Place it in your slow cooker breast side down. Cover with the lid and cook on High for around 4-5 hours or Low for 6-8 hours. For bone-in pieces - Arrange chicken pieces in a single layer in the slow cooker. Cover with the lid and cook on High for around 3-4 hours or Low for 4-6 hours.

Do I need to brown chicken before slow cooking? ›

"Browning, or caramelizing, meat before putting it into a slow cooker isn't 100 percent necessary, but it is well worth the effort for the most flavorful and full-bodied end result," he says. "The caramelized surface of the meat will lend rich flavor and color to the finished dish."

Can I leave chicken in crockpot for 12 hours? ›

The general rule of thumb is that 2-4 hours is the maximum length of time you can leave food in a slow cooker on warm. After this, it needs to be cooled and transferred into the refrigerator.

Why does chicken get tough in the crockpot? ›

It's easy to throw in an Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup or shred it in Healthy Chicken Enchiladas. Rubbery chicken is usually an indicator of overcooked chicken. The longer the chicken cooks, the more moisture it loses, and without moisture, the protein fibers become elastic, AKA rubbery.

Does chicken need to be submerged in slow cooker? ›

Water or liquid is necessary to create steam. When cooking meat or poultry, the water or liquid level should cover the ingredients to ensure effective heat transfer throughout the crock. Some manufacturers of slow cookers recommend adding liquid to fill the stoneware 1/2 to 3/4 full.

How do you keep chicken from getting watery in a slow cooker? ›

Dredge the chicken in a bit of flour before placing in the bottom of the slow cooker. There's no need to brown the chicken. Just dredge the chicken in the flour and stick it in the slow cooker.

Is it better to cook chicken on high or low in the crockpot? ›

For optimal results, it's generally recommended to cook chicken on the low setting in a crockpot. This slower cooking method allows the chicken to become more tender and absorb flavors, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful dish compared to using the high setting.

How long does chicken breast take in the crockpot? ›

With the exception of larger recipes (like 8+ servings), It only takes 2.5-3.5 hours on LOW for boneless, skinless chicken breast to be fully cooked in the slow cooker.

Does the chicken have to be covered in water in a slow cooker? ›

Do I add water when cooking chicken in the crock-pot? Cover and cook. Place the cover on the slow cooker and turn it on to high for 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours. You do not need to add any liquid.

Should I cook chicken breast on high or low heat? ›

Start by having the heat medium-high when you put the chicken breast in the pan. Sear it quickly. Then get the heat down to medium-low. The average-size boneless chicken breast takes only about 6 minutes of cooking time.

Does it matter if you cook on high or low in a slow cooker? ›

Foods take different times to cook depending upon the setting used. Certainly, foods will cook faster on high than on low. However, for all-day cooking or for less-tender cuts, you may want to use the low setting.

Does chicken breast get more tender the longer you cook it Crockpot? ›

Slow cooking uses moist heat. The slow cooker is best for meats that have a lot of connective tissue and that are very tough (and typically fairly inexpensive). The connective tissue is turned to gelatin after slow cooking in moist heat for several hours. That is why tough meats become “fork tender” in the slow cooker.

Does cooking chicken low and slow make it more tender? ›

The Benefits of Cooking 'Slow-and-Low'

There are so many benefits to this cooking method. Not only does it make the meat far juicier and more tender but it also works with all kinds of meats. No matter your preference, this cooking method works well with whole cuts of pork, beef, lamb, and even veal.

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