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Slow Cooker Chicken Breast

Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 5 mins
Servings 4 servings

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This Slow Cooker Chicken Breast recipe comes out perfectly juicy and seasoned every time! Learn my tips for getting the best crockpot chicken breast, perfect for salads, sandwiches or an easy dinner.

slow cooker chicken breast in white crockpot sitting in broth

I KNOW.

Boring, right??

Except, perfect slow cooker chicken breast isn’t boring at all.

This chicken is so flavorful, and so juicy, with just a few ingredients (and one secret ingredient!).

I will admit, I have made plenty of dry, overcooked, unpalatable boneless chicken breasts in the slow cooker. I’m not proud of it, but we all do it every now and then, am I right??

I wanted to come up with a foolproof way to make great crockpot chicken breast — that is big on flavor (but still versatile enough to use it a variety of different ways or add your own sauce at the end), and ridiculously juicy.

Naturally, I started with this Crockpot Shredded Chicken recipe as my base, since so many of you have already loved it (check out this Instant Pot Shredded Chicken if that’s more your style!), but I made a couple swaps and additions for an extra little boost of flavor.

This slow cooker chicken recipe is perfect just on its own, with a side of rice or noodles or a big salad if that’s your thing, but if you’ve got leftovers?

Throw them in this Crockpot Chicken Spaghetti the next day, or swap the ground beef for chicken in this Rigatoni Pasta Bake.

crockpot chicken breast on blue plate sliced close up

How to make perfect Slow Cooker Chicken Breast:

  1. Choose good quality chicken. I’m not saying it has to be expensive (I buy my chicken breasts frozen when they’re on sale!), but overtime I’ve noticed that there can be a real difference in quality from one box of chicken breasts to the next. Find a kind you’re happy with it and stick with it.
  2. Not too full or too empty: I use this 2.5 quart crockpot for, honestly? Almost everything these days. It’s the perfect size for 4 or 6 chicken breasts. I’ve found if I cook just a couple chicken breasts in a larger crockpot, it cooks more quickly and is more prone to overcooking. When you have your slow cooker at least half full, it gives the chicken a little “insulation” and prevents it from cooking too quickly.
  3. To sear or not to sear. I tried both ways because I like to know what I’m talking about when I’m giving you the most delicious slow cooker chicken breast you’ve ever had. What I found was not a lot of difference between the two. If you want to sear it beforehand, go ahead, if you’re frazzled enough as it is and want to dump and go, do that.
  4. Butter (my secret ingredient that makes all the difference). Or margarine. Another moment of honesty — I use margarine a lot. I just don’t hate it. Chicken thighs are known to have much better flavor and juiciness than breasts, and it’s because they have 3x the amount of fat. I figured if I added just a little bit of fat into the slow cooker, I could give my chicken breasts some of that some fat love. (SPOILER: it works. It’s delicious, and not even drowning in half a cup).
  5. Don’t overcook. If you want a longer cook time, try filling your slow cooker more than half full, as this slows down the cooking process some.
slow cooker chicken breast close up on blue plate sliced

Tips for making frozen chicken in the crockpot:

Here’s the truth:

I woke up one morning, the morning I wanted to start testing this slow cooker chicken breast, with my chicken breasts still rock solid in the freezer because I, like many parents of 3 kids 6 and under, had forgotten to take them out.

Rather than cooking frozen chicken in the crockpot, I placed my chicken breasts in a large freezer bag, sealed it tight, and covered them with cool water (think perfectly not cold or not warm), and let them sit about 20 minutes. Flip, and let sit another 20 minutes. Perfectly thawed.

I threw them in the slow cooker and away I went.

It’s not that you can’t cook frozen chicken in the crockpot — it’s just that I knew they would cook more evenly and probably be better if I didn’t.

Now, I’ve cooked frozen chicken breasts plenty of times (remember that I used to work outside of the house and be gone for 8+ hours a day), and they’ve been just fine.

They will release more moisture and cook a little less evenly, but the world will (probably) not end.

Variations on this Slow Cooker Chicken Breast:

  • Toss in a package of taco seasoning for slow cooker chicken tacos!
  • Brush with barbecue sauce once they’re done cooking, before serving.
  • Brush with pretty much any of your favorite sauces, and there you go — the easiest dinner you never had to babysit!

More crockpot chicken breast recipes:

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Slow Cooker Chicken Breast

4.85 from 79 votes
This Slow Cooker Chicken Breast recipe comes out perfectly juicy and seasoned every time! Learn my tips for getting the best crockpot chicken breast, perfect for salads, sandwiches or an easy dinner.
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 5 mins
Cuisine American
Course Main Course
Servings 4 servings
Calories 157cal

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Instructions

  • In a small bowl, stir together the salt, parsley, garlic, pepper, onion powder and paprika. Season both sides of the chicken.
  • Add chicken broth and butter to slow cooker, and stir to combine (mash the butter up a bit to disperse if you can).
  • Add the chicken to the slow cooker, overlapping only as much as necessary.
  • Cover and cook on low for 3 hours or until an internal temperature of 165 degrees F is reached. 
  • If you’re hoping for clean slices, remove to a cutting board and cover to keep warm. Let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 157cal | Protein: 24g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 79mg | Sodium: 451mg | Potassium: 430mg | Vitamin A: 150IU | Vitamin C: 1.3mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 0.4mg
Keywords crockpot chicken, slow cooker chicken

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Comments

  1. Em says

    I’ve used this recipe several times and my family loves the flavor of the chicken and the slow cooker convenience. We also change it up, sometimes adding veggies, chili, sage, or thyme. The basic recipe provides a great beginning. We keep a small mason jar filled with this mix and go from there. Thank you.

  2. Deena says

    I have an instant pot with a slow cook function. I believe it is 6 quarts. Wondering how I should adjust this recipe for 6 chicken breasts? I really want to try it!

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Deena! Unfortunately although I have an Instant Pot I have never used the slow cooker function as I’ve heard it’s not great (since I still have my slow cookers I prefer to use those). I would likely start with about the same amount of time and then check the internal temperature to see if it should be adjusted.

  3. Jena says

    This was absolutely delicious! Even my EXTREMELY picky 7 year old son liked it. This will definitely be a staple in my household. Thank you!

  4. Joy says

    Best chicken ever! I was really pleasantly surprised to find the chicken very tender and juicy. I’ve not had much luck in the past as the chicken usually came out too dry. I will be cooking my chicken this way from now on! Thank you!Joy

  5. Christina P says

    I signed up for your emails Every recipe is always awesome ,thank you for your time and effort creating these delicious easy meals for us to enjoy !

    Christina from Newmarket Ontario

  6. Alicia says

    Great recipe! I added chopped onion, green onion and bell peppers to it and it came out amazing! I’m from New Orleans, so you know we have to use the holy trinity (chopped seasoning). I will definitely recommend this recipe!! And will make it again:)

  7. Laura says

    I only have a 7qt crock pot. How long would 3-4 breasts cook in that? How do I know when it’s done so I don’t overcook? Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  8. Barbara Galagusz says

    I made this on the weekend and although I loved the simplicity of the recipe, my chicken breasts were dry and not very flavorful. I used fresh chicken breasts and prepared according to the recipe. I did not use a large slow cooker, it is medium size. I was able to fit 2 large breasts without overlapping the meat. I cooked on low for 3 hours. I am wondering if because I used a smaller slow cooker that I cooked the chicken too long? Any feedback is appreciated. Thank you.

    • Ashley Fehr says

      Hi Barbara! My slow cooker is 2.5 quarts and I find that 3 hours is perfect. If you only used 2 chicken breasts, or your slow cooker cooks on the hotter side (they all cook at a slightly different temperature), you may be able to get away with a cook time of 2-2.5 hours on low, but I would be sure to check the internal temperature before eating to make sure they are cooked through.

  9. Margot says

    Appreciate your tip on thawing frozen chicken breasts as I have actually cracked a crockpot liner – I always thought because of the cold frozen meat (don’t recall exactly what cut I was cooking) not reacting well with the crockpot heating up. 😕

  10. Jo Ann says

    Went right by the recipe. Forgot the butter. Turned out great. Was not dry. Very moist. Will cut back on the salt next time.

  11. jerome says

    super recipe!!!! i had no chcken broth melted 4 tablespoons of butter with white wine had six breasts,,soper moist delicious great flavor..so quick and easy! A++++++++++++++++

  12. Lisa P says

    This looks great — so easy too! I’m going to try this tomorrow and I’m thinking about browning the chicken first (only because that’s what I always do.) I imagine the cooking time will then need to be reduced, but I’m also making a large batch (got 5lbs at Sam’s Club) and freezing it for later so maybe not?

    Have you tried the browning step by any chance? Any tips?

    Also, I like my chicken HIGHLY seasoned so I’m probably going to double all of the amounts. Wish me luck! 🙂

      • ROBIN A ADAIR says

        I am just now cooking……I do have a question, did you mean 3 hours on high? I’ve slow cooked these a number of times and it has always taken 6-8 hours low, 3-4 hours high so I had to ask.

        • Steve says

          I’ve read that frozen chicken in a slow cooker will be in the danger zone 40-140 degrees fahrenheit

      • ROBIN A ADAIR says

        My bad Ashley, I didn’t realize you had a magic recipe where the Breasts cook in half the time than is normal per my experience….Go figure

  13. Terri says

    I have made this recipe several times. The butter is an excellent addition, especially when I make gravy with the liquid. I slice the breasts in half and place them on edge side by side in my 2.5 qt. crock pot, then add a bit more chicken broth to almost cover them. They are moist but not “boiled”. I’ve also tried using chili powder and a bit of red pepper for a spicier twist. Easy, quick, and delicious!

  14. Linda says

    Thank you for the tips on the cooking time. My crock pot is large so I checked the chicken at 2 hours and it was at 166. Perfect! It was moist and perfect with wild rice and mushrooms. This will be my go to method of cooking chicken for many of my dishes. So easy.

  15. Cynthia Waters says

    I have used this recipe countless times and it’s always wonderful! I have also used it with taco seasoning and that’s even better. I have a question and hope to get a quick reply. Can this same method with a few variations, be used for chicken tenderloins?

  16. Jen F. says

    I just came to see if the chicken was good, so thanks to the first several, on point, reviewers.

    PS) No one. Literally not any one cares how any of you defrost your chicken. Just defrost that poultry however you always have, and go boldly into the world with your head held high.

    • Nikki Stone says

      Jen F. You literally have just made my day! Now, I shall go boldly into my kitchen to slice the chicken that just finished cooking after following this recipe! It smells amazing!

        • Nikki Stone (Business) says

          This is a FANTASTIC recipe!!! I made it last week and took half of the chicken out to slice for “strips” for later in the week and left half in to cook a little longer to shred for chicken tacos 🌮! Both ways were just so good!!! My 5 year old daughter and her friend had some for lunch 2 days later with bbq sauce and they were in heaven! They ate every bite! I had some with bbq sauce and leftover coleslaw for lunch and on a different day some salad with chicken. This has made meal prepping SO MUCH EASIER for me! Thanks so much!

  17. Bonnie says

    Why do people waste time with being negative!? This recipe is DELICIOUS! Finally, a NOT dry chicken breast!
    Thank you for this GREAT recipe!

  18. Gilda Allutto says

    Trying it right now! My chicken has arrived in the sink! I usually defrost in microwave, but must keep a very close eye. If not, the ends could start to cook! Ahhhh!

  19. J says

    Yeah I’ve been defrosting chicken sealed in a ziplock placed in water forever and nobody has ever gotten sick. The trick is to keep an eye on it and not let it get to room temperature for too long (ideally at all). It should still be cold when you take it out of the water. You can’t go wrong following the rules but that’s what has worked for me. And agree also about there being no reason to respond rudely. It’s 2021, we’ve been through enough and are better than that.

  20. Michelle says

    I’m trying this recipe for tonight’s dinner. 🙂 but when reading how you defrost your chicken made me want to share what my fiance has taught me… we separate our chicken when we buy in bulk (normally we buy perdue chicken that are in their own pouches). We separate the pouches and put in X amount of pouches in freezer bags. When it’s time to defrost, put some cool water right inside the freezer bag and let it sit in the sink. Works like a charm! no need to have a sink full of water or a bowl of water. 🙂

    • Debbie says

      I think your husband is so wrong you never but it in cold water have you never watched food safety on youtube. You should be ashamed.

      • Appauled at Debbie says

        Debbie, First of all, you should be ashamed at your comment. How dare you. I have no idea who Michelle is, but your comment was absolutely ridiculous!

        Read below… or dont. I will not care. I will not even be back on here to reply again. But, you might want to make sure you checked your Youtube video on how to change your blinker fluid. I left you a link to that below. Just copy and paste into your browser. As well as the USDA website address for thawing meat properly.

        How to change your blinker fluid: https://youtu.be/ZxkHqPXwNZ4

        From the USDA:

        Cold Water Thawing

        This method is faster than refrigerator thawing but requires more attention.
        The food must be in a leak-proof package or plastic bag. If the bag leaks, bacteria from the air or surrounding environment could be introduced into the food. Also, the meat tissue may absorb water, resulting in a watery product.
        The bag should be submerged in cold tap water, changing the water every 30 minutes so it continues to thaw.
        Small packages of meat, poultry or seafood — about a pound — may thaw in 1 hour or less.
        A 3-to 4-pound package may take 2 to 3 hours. For whole turkeys, estimate about 30 minutes per pound.
        Once thawed food must be cooked immediately. Foods thawed by the cold water method should be cooked before refreezing.

        Here is the direct link to them for your convienence.

        https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/the-big-thaw-safe-defrosting-methods-for-consumers/bigthaw2

        HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY!!!!

      • Anastasia Fienen says

        Wow, Debbie! That was rude and unnecessary to say it in such a self-righteous manner when the English language affords us ample opportunity to say the same thing but in more productive and less offensive ways.

        Michelle, I think all Debbie is trying to convey is that she has concerns about salmonella / food poisoning due to defrosting outside of the refrigerator. Personally, I always defrost my chicken in the sink, usually in hot water (gasp!) and never once in 20 years has anyone gotten even remotely sick. But then again, I also lick the spoon and eat raw cookie dough. I guess I’m just adventurous that way 🤷‍♀️

        I will be trying your tip because I think it’s genius! Thanks for sharing.

        And for anyone who doesn’t want to try it, just don’t. No need to tear anyone apart.

      • Snail says

        I’m dying laughing at this interaction because yeah Debbie’s comment is kinda ruthless but I don’t think you guys realized Michelle is saying she puts the water right IN the bag with the chicken (not letting the bag sit in COLD water obvi that’s fine) not judging but to me that is strange to submerge chicken with the water being in the bag.
        Sorry I had to add that in but I am gonna try this chicken tomorrow sounds dank

        • Ashley Fehr says

          Michelle did not say that. Michelle said that she puts the chicken IN THE INDIVIDUAL pouches in a freezer bag, then adds water to the freezer bag to thaw the chicken.

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