For some home cooks, the slow cooker is the fairy godmother of kitchen appliances. Toss a few ingredients into the crock (maybe sear the meat or sauté some veg, if you like), set the timer, go about your day and, when you come home, ta-da! Your kitchen smells like someone has been minding the stove all day, and dinner is, with the exception of a few finishing touches, done.
The 13 recipes below all feature chicken, that ever-versatile and much-loved 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. Just be aware that you may need to cut down on cook time to avoid dry, stringy chicken.
(Shopping for a new slow cooker? Wirecutter has some recommendations.)
“So comforting. I had a leftover rotisserie chicken and threw the whole chicken in to simmer and cut down the time to 3 hours, enough for the carrots to soften.”
This vibrant chicken soup is loaded with carrots, onions, garlic, jalapeño and three kinds of tomatoes. Feel free to sub 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 your choice of tortilla chips, avocado, lime wedges, hot sauce, cilantro and queso fresco for topping.
Cacciatore, which translates to “hunter style,” refers to a classic Italian braise that features chicken or rabbit 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 hunks of bread to soak up the sauce.
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Chicken Cacciatore With Mushrooms and Bacon
“I made this tonight and my teens fell in with delight.”
Jennifer Steinhauer’s slow cooker version of the transcontinental favorite can be quickly prepared in the morning, then left to simmer until you’re ready for dinner. Serve with rice or naan.
“Our verdict: really yummy, and looking 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 vegetables, like 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 lay off of it. This recipe was totally worth it!”
Tinga is a Pueblan dish of braised chicken or pork in a chipotle, tomato and onion sauce. This slow-cooker variation calls for fresh or frozen corn kernels, which adds happy little pops of sweetness.
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Chicken Tinga Tacos
“Brilliant. Put it in the pot, go to work. Dinner is on the table half an hour after you get home.”
Miso soup is traditionally made with dashi, a stock made from kombu seaweed and dried bonito, but this recipe takes a shortcut by using chicken broth, optional dried shiitake mushrooms and a quick kombu steep.
“Big hit in my house.”
No need to add liquid to the crock 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 colonizers encountered rasam, a soupy lentil dish from Tamil Nadu, a region in southern India, they added ingredients to make it closer to the soups they knew, changing it until it became a thick, chunky and meaty stew called mulligatawny. Over the years, the stew has evolved, yielding many delicious versions. This slow cooker version includes masoor dal (or red lentils), coconut cream, boneless chicken thighs and tart apple.
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Mulligatawny Soup
“Aroma was a lovely compliment to football and some paperwork. All in all, an easy and enjoyable meal.”
Ten minutes in the morning, and 10 minutes just before you eat: That’s all the time it takes to put together this satisfying soup. Add just the amount of tortellini you plan on eating — or boil the entire bag separately and add to your bowl as you go — because tortellini left in the soup will become 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.
“So delicious and the microwave roux changed my life!”
This smart recipe skips the stovetop roux and instead calls for making it in the microwave right in the crock. (Double-check first that your slow-cooker insert is microwave-safe!)
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Chicken Gumbo
“Had this for dinner twice; first the day we cooked it and then a couple days later reheated. Great both times.”
Also known as dakbokkeum-tang, this warming Korean chicken stew is unabashedly spicy from gochugaru, gochujang and Korean chile. Serve over a pile of white rice to cut the heat.
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Daktori Tang