Slow cookers are now an essential part of any kitchen. They make the process of cooking delicious meals much easier. As a result, many questions may arise regarding cooking different things in a slow cooker. One of the most common questions is: can you overcook chicken in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can overcook chicken in a slow cooker. Cooking your chicken way past its intended cooking time can result in it losing its juiciness and becoming dry. The texture may become hard and chewy, making it feel like you are eating leather. So, I highly recommend against overcooking your chicken if you want to enjoy whatever dish you are cooking.
In this article, I will go into more detail about overcooking chicken in a slow cooker. As well as what kind of chicken you can use in your slow cooker and some recipes for cooking chicken in a slow cooker. So, please stick around till the end and let us dive right into the article.
Cooking Chicken In A Slow Cooker
As I mentioned earlier, you can overcook chicken in a slow cooker. This is because leaving the chicken in it beyond the recommended time will make it dry. This is the result of all the juices being used up in the cooking process, leaving the chicken dry, hard, and chewy.
So, my word of advice would be to follow the recipe’s instructions for how long you should cook your chicken. And if you do plan on using less chicken than the recipe specifies, cut down on the cooking time accordingly.
But what about frozen chicken? Can you use it in your slow cooker? Well, no, you cannot use frozen chicken in slow cookers because it is unsafe. According to food safety guidelines, you need to thaw the chicken breasts before putting them in the slow cooker.
Cooking Chicken All Day In Your Slow Cooker
One of the worst outcomes of long hours spent near the stove is overcooked chicken. A close second is the mushy, soggy, stringy chicken that results from cooking it all day in the slow cooker.
If you want to leave your chicken cooking in the crockpot for the entire day, there is a hack for this. I’ll show you how I use my crockpot to cook chicken throughout the day.
When it comes to cooking chicken in a slow cooker, the texture can get compromised. But why not use it to your advantage by shredding the meat and putting it in the cooking liquid? After all, chicken, while being super tenderized, will not be easily sliced, so this is your best option.
Thighs And Wings Instead Of Breast Meat
When it comes to slow cooking for long durations, you need to take the juiciness of the meat into account. For chickens, thighs are the best choice due to how juicy they are when compared to other parts of the chicken.
Furthermore, bone-in chicken has more flavor than boneless chicken, which is why I prefer it to chicken breast. Especially when cooking for a long period of time, as the flavor will penetrate the food more thoroughly.
Cooking The Entire Chicken
Cooking an entire chicken in a slow cooker will not get you the perfect crispy-skinned, golden-brown chicken. However, the chicken will be full of so much flavor and the meat will come right off the bone. I recommend keeping the skin on for now and adding lots of herbs in the pot and layering the bottom with vegetables.
Put The Chicken On Top
Chicken meat, especially the thighs, dries out much more slowly when placed on top of all the other ingredients. Not only that, as the chicken continues to cook throughout the day, the flavors seep out into all the other ingredients.
Never Use Frozen Chicken
A lot of people may look at this tip and choose against it. But that would be against the better judgment as you can risk salmonella poisoning. This is because the frozen chicken will not reach the required 165 F within the recipe’s cooking time.
Recipes For Chickens In Slow Cookers
Now that I have gone over whether or not you can overcook chicken, and how you can avoid this, let us look at recipes. There are many different chicken recipes that you can make in a crockpot. I will go over two of my favorite recipes that you can make without worrying about overcooking them.
Cooking a whole chicken in your slow cooker might sound complicated at first, but it is quite easy. I prefer it over buying a rotisserie chicken. So, let us dive into the recipe with the ingredients list.
- Half a cup of butter
- A small whole chicken around 5 pounds
- Four carrots
- One lemon
- One-fourth tablespoon of pepper
- Half a tablespoon of dried thyme
- One red onion
- Half a tablespoon of paprika
- One tablespoon of salt
- One-fourth tablespoon of garlic powder
Firstly, you will need to prepare all the vegetables. Peel and cut the carrots and onions into halves and quarters. Then, place the vegetables at the bottom of your slow cooker, making a layer of vegetables to place the chicken on.
Next, get the chicken ready. Drain any excess liquid from the chicken and remove any packaging on the inside. Then place the chicken on top of the bed of vegetables. Melt half a cup of butter and pour it over your chicken. Next, season your chicken, cut your lemon in half and squeeze it over and sprinkle it with the other seasonings, and you are ready to cook.
Put the lid on your slow cooker, turn it on low, and let it cook for 7-8 hours. Depending on the size of your chicken, it may take more or less time. You can usually tell if your chicken is done when the drumstick starts moving away from the breast and the liquid starts to look clear.
And voila, your chicken is ready to eat. You can enjoy it with some mashed potatoes and gravy as well.
Shredded chicken is another excellent slow-cooked chicken recipe with a low risk of being overcooked. But is extremely flexible and can be used for tacos as well as filling for meat pies. So, let us look at what you will need.
- Around 4 pounds of skinless and boneless chicken breast or boneless thigh meat
- One-fourth tablespoon of black pepper
- A tablespoon of salt
- Half a tablespoon of garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons of salted butter
- A bay leaf
- 14.5 ounces of chicken broth
Start by adding all the chicken to the slow cooker, and season it with black pepper, salt, and garlic powder. After seasoning, add your bay leaf and butter to the chicken and top it off with the chicken broth.
Now put the lid back on and slow cook your chicken for the next 6-8 hours on low, or you can cook it for 3-4 hours on high. When the time is up, drain the majority of the broth, leaving around half a cup of broth in the pot.
Now the fun part of shredding the chicken. You can either do this with a fork or a hand mixer. For hand mixers, use the beaters on a low setting to shred the chicken.
And with that, you should be left with perfectly shredded chicken that you can use in all kinds of dishes.