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How to Make Chicken Breast in the Slow Cooker

How to Make Chicken Breast in the Slow Cooker @fifteenspatulas

After I posted the Tex-Mex Chicken Casserole last week, I got a ton of emails and comments from you asking exactly how I make chicken breast in the slow cooker.

And even though I always thought this would be a topic too simple to post on Fifteen Spatulas, I think it’s time I finally post it so you know how to do it, because it’s definitely very useful. I make chicken breast in the slow cooker every other day, so I have the option to add protein to whatever meal I’m making at the time.

You can dice the chicken and make chicken salad or toss it in pasta, shred it and put it in a burrito or soup, or slice it and layer it in a grilled cheese.

And because the chicken cooks so slowly and gently, you end up with really juicy, tender meat. Win!

First, you’re going to take a 2-3 lb package of boneless skinless chicken breasts, and snuggle them as evenly as you can into the bottom of your slow cooker:

How to Make Chicken Breast in the Slow Cooker

Now, sprinkle the chicken breasts generously with salt:

How to Make Chicken Breast in the Slow Cooker Tutorial

And some black pepper too:

Slow Cooker Chicken Breast Tutorial

Then, you can add whatever seasonings you like. Sometimes I do fresh herbs, like thyme:

Slow Cooker Chicken Breast Recipe

And other times if I know I’m using the chicken for something Mexican, I’ll sprinkle the chicken with taco seasoning instead.

You can really add anything you want.

Then, I put the lid on, turn the dial to “low,” and cook for 3 hours, which is how long it takes for a single layer of snug chicken breasts to reach 165 degrees F in my slow cooker.

The particular slow cooker I own is this 4-Quart Slow Cooker that cost me $18 in April 2013 (it now costs $20). Maybe one day I’ll get a more expensive one, but this one does a great job. If you have a different slow cooker, you can use a thermometer to test out how long your particular slow cooker needs to reach the proper temperature, but three hours on low is a good start.

Other notes:

  • I don’t add broth or liquid to the slow cooker.
  • I recommend only adding a single layer of chicken breasts (don’t stack them on top of each other).
  • As most slow cookers state, try not to take off the lid at all during cooking, as this dramatically lengthens cooking time.

I hope this answers many of your questions, and if you have more, please post them below and I will reply. Happy cooking!

Slow Cooker Chicken Breast

This is a very simple way to cook chicken breast in the slow cooker so you always have it on hand for recipes.

Yield: 3 cooked chicken breasts

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours




Place a single, even layer of chicken breasts into the bottom of your slow cooker. Sprinkle with anything you desire, like salt, pepper, seasonings, herbs, etc. Cook on low for approximately 3 hours* until the chicken reaches 165F on a digital thermometer. It is now ready to eat and be used in recipes.

*You will have to learn the time your slow cooker needs to fully cook through. Mine takes 3 hours.

Disclosure: this post contains an affiliate link.

31 comments on “How to Make Chicken Breast in the Slow Cooker

  1. Looks so good!! I love this, Joanne!! Super simple is always good. :)

  2. Hi Joanne, thanks for posting this recipe. I, too, was hoping you’d post the slow cooker chicken recipe. Although I probably could have figured it out on my own by experimenting, sometimes it’s just easier to have it spelled out so I can get on with making the other recipes. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for this… I haven’t ventured into cooking anything with chicken in my crock pot because I find it over cooks the chicken. Keeping at a single layer on low for only 3 hours is genius! Thank you!

  4. Thank you for posting this!!!

  5. Joanne – I’m so glad you posted this. Would you cook chicken thighs the same way?

    • Hi Beth, I’m happy to hear that! Are you doing bone-in chicken thighs? I imagine they would take longer to cook, so you should test/adjust the cooking time, but I bet it would work well too! Also, you want to cook them to 180 instead of 165F.

  6. Thank you for this. How do you store the cooked chicken before you use it in a meal/How long will it keep?

    • I just put it in a Pyrex container to store, and I try not to keep the chicken around for more than 4 days. I’ve stretched that a few times but try not to =)

  7. This is so simple, I have to do this!

  8. Sounds like a good, simple recipe. I am just wondering but is there a benefit to cooking them this way vs. in the oven or sautéing them? Are they more juicy? Or is it just kind of a set it and forget it sort of thing. Thanks!

  9. Love using the crockpot for chicken – great tips Joanne!

  10. Hi Joanne, have you done this directly with frozen chicken breasts? If so, how does that impact the overall time needed?

    • Hi Chihawk, it generally isn’t advised to do any slow cooking starting with frozen meats. There are food safety issues and also consistency issues there. It is best to use thawed meat. Hope that helps!

  11. This is a great post as somehow my chicken ALWAYS comes out tough in the slow cooker, I will follow the three hour rule this time, thanks!

  12. As a noobie to using a slow cooker I definitely appreciate this post. I would of never thought you could just cook chicken without anything else (liquid) . That’s great to know about taking the lid off too I’ve done that about 5 times today lol (cooking pulled chicken first time using my slow cooker!) . I look forward to using my slow cooker so much more now thanks again for this post :).

  13. First time cooking anything in a slow cooker for me. Been wanting to for a while. Chicken breast for supper tonight! Thank you for providing the instructions.

  14. A good recipe to keep on hand. Thank you.

  15. Chicken in. Thank you x

  16. I’m gone for work at least 8 hours in the day. Do you think I could cook the chicken on the “warm” setting instead of the “low” setting since I’m away for longer? 

  17. I cooked mine on low for about 3 hrs while I was home. Then I went to work and left it on warm for about 15 hours. It was so tender and juicy. Lol

  18. Quick question! When it says nothing else needs to be added to the slowcrooker (liquid), does it also imply that no oil needs to be added?  Or do we need to add oil to avoid the chicken from sticking to the pot? Thank you!

  19. Thank you so much for your post regarding the simple Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts. As a Slow Cooker beginner, there is nothing you can post that I would consider “too simple”. For instance… I have a question regarding the chicken breast slow cooker recipe: How much longer in cooker if the breasts are not boneless?

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