For some home cooks, the slow cooker is the fairy godmother of kitchen appliances. Toss in a few ingredients (maybe sear the meat or sauté some veggies, if you like), set the timer, go about your day, and, when you get home, ta-da! Your kitchen smells like someone has been on the stove all day and dinner is, except for a few dots on the i, ready.
The 13 recipes below all feature chicken, that ever-versatile and beloved protein, and unless otherwise noted, were created by Sarah DiGregorio, a recipe developer and slow cooker fangirl. Many of the recipes call for boneless thighs, but boneless breasts work too. Keep in mind that you may need to reduce the cooking time to avoid dry, stringy chicken.
(Shopping for a new slow cooker? Wire cutter has some recommendations.)
“So reassuring. I had leftover rotisserie chicken and threw in the whole chicken to simmer and reduced the time to 3 hours, enough to soften the carrots.
This vibrant chicken soup is packed with carrots, onions, garlic, jalapeño, and three kinds of tomatoes. Feel free to swap canned tomatoes for fresh, and while the roasted cherry tomatoes add a nice dimension, you can skip those too if you’re in a rush. Serve with tortilla chips of your choice, avocado, lime wedges, hot sauce, cilantro and queso fresco as topping.
Cacciatore, which translates to “hunter’s style,” refers to a classic Italian chicken or rabbit stew with lots of peppers, tomatoes, and wine. Serve this version, which gets a flavor boost from bacon and mushrooms, over pasta or polenta and with chunks of bread to soak up the sauce.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore With Mushrooms And Bacon
“I made this tonight and my teens happily joined in.
Jennifer Steinhauer’s slow cooker version of the transcontinental favorite can be prepared quickly in the morning and then simmered until you’re ready for dinner. Serve with rice or naan.
“Our verdict: Really tasty, and we look forward to leftovers.”
Lively and light, this chicken soup calls for asparagus and peas, but feel free to substitute two cups of quick-cooking seasonal veggies, such as fresh or frozen corn, baby spinach or arugula, or thinly sliced zucchini.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Lemony Chicken Soup
“Spicy food gives me heartburn and yet I can’t stay away from it. This recipe was absolutely worth it!”
Tinga is a Pueblan dish of stewed chicken or pork in a chipotle, tomato, and onion sauce. This slow cooker variation calls for fresh or frozen corn kernels, which add cheerful little sweets.
Recipe: Slow cooker chicken tacos
“Brilliant. Put it in the jar, get to work. The food is on the table half an hour after you get home.”
Miso soup is traditionally made with dashi, a broth made from kombu seaweed and dried bonito, but this recipe takes a shortcut by using chicken stock, optional dried shiitake mushrooms, and a quick kombu steep.
“Big hit in my house.”
There’s no need to add liquid to the pot for this spicy-sweet pulled chicken: the meat releases flavorful juices as it cooks. Leftovers are great as a topping for nachos or baked potatoes.
“This soup tastes like a hug :)”
When British settlers met rasam, a soupy lentil dish from Tamil Nadu, a region in South India, they added ingredients to bring it closer to the soups they knew. Over the years, the stew has evolved and yielded many delicious versions. This slow cooker version includes masoor dal (or red lentils), coconut cream, boneless chicken thighs and sour apple.
“Aroma was a nice compliment to football and some paperwork. All in all, an easy and tasty meal.”
Ten minutes in the morning and 10 minutes right before you eat: that’s all the time it takes to put together this delicious soup. Add only the amount of tortellini you plan to eat — or cook the whole bag separately and add to your bowl as you go — because tortellini left in the soup will get mushy.
“This was absolutely delicious; the comfort food of my dreams.”
Boneless chicken thighs are braised with tomato, carrot, onion, garlic, oregano, thyme and red pepper flakes in this spicy chicken ragù. Toss with pasta, then add a dollop of ricotta for a welcome lasagna vibe.
Recipe: Chicken ragout from the slow cooker with seasoned ricotta
“So tasty and the microwave roux has changed my life!”
This clever recipe skips the roux on the stovetop and instead calls for making it in the microwave in the crock. (Make sure your slow cooker insert is microwave safe first!)
Recipe: Slow cooker chicken gumbo
“Had this twice for dinner; first the day we cooked it and reheated it a few days later. Great both times.”
Also known as dakbokkeum tang, this warming Korean chicken stew is unabashedly spicy from gochugaru, gochujang, and Korean chili. Serve over a pile of white rice to reduce heat.