I love a good shortcut to making meals come together quickly. Learning how to cook chicken in the crockpot to have on hand to create a delicious meal on a busy weeknight is essential to survival in the chaos.
The beautiful thing about this meal-planning trick is it takes me five minutes of prep time in the crockpot. I simply shred the warm juicy chicken with a hand mixer or allow it to cool and dice. I have successfully done it both ways, with minimal effort, depending on what type of delicious chicken recipes I want to make. It is the best way to prep cooked chicken, except for buying a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. Ok, that may be easier, but not as budget-friendly, and you will get both white and dark meat.
- Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - This is my favorite and the easiest way to get juicy results for super easy meals.
- Chicken Broth or Water - Water will work fine if you don't have chicken broth.
- Salt - Kosher salt is my favorite for cooking.
- Ground Black Pepper - Freshly ground pepper or ground black pepper will work.
See the recipe card for the exact measurements and complete instructions. Selected ingredients are based on current serving sizes measured by the Monash App at the time of publishing. As always, follow your gut and modify as needed.Jump to Recipe
Place the chicken breasts in a single layer on the bottom of your crockpot. For the best results, I would use a six-quart crockpot. Add the chicken broth. Next, sprinkle the salt and black pepper over the chicken.
Cook on low setting for 1.5 to 2 hours until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
Once the chicken is fully cooked, you must decide if you want shredded or diced chicken. Decisions, decisions...If you want shredded chicken, pull out the warm chicken, place it in a medium-sized bowl, and shred it with a hand mixer. Otherwise, use a large plate and two forks to shred by hand. Let the chicken breasts cool slightly if you want diced or sliced chicken. If you dice the chicken while it is still hot, it will lose its juices.
Store the diced chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Once the chicken is completely cool, you can portion it into two freezer quart bags and freeze it for future meals or use it within four days. Now you have prepped chicken for all your favorite recipes, ready for the next time you need cooked chicken for a great recipe.
How to Cook Chicken in the Crockpot
- 4 - 6 Quart Crockpot
- Hand Mixer
- Cutting Board or Large Plate
- Measuring Cup
- 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts
- 1 cup chicken broth or water
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- In a six-quart crockpot, place the chicken breasts in a single layer on the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Pour in the chicken broth or water.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken.
- Cook on low heat for 2-3 hours until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer. Each slow cooker will vary on cooking times. Monitor and take the chicken's internal temperature every hour to every thirty minutes after two hours. Nobody wants raw chicken or overcooked chicken.
- If shredding, place chicken into a medium size bowl and use a hand mixer or two forks to shred the warm chicken.
- If you want diced or sliced chicken, allow the cooked chicken breasts to cool slightly. If you dice the chicken while it is still hot, the chicken will lose its juices.
- Store the diced chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Once the chicken is completely cool, you can portion it into two freezer quart bags and freeze it for future meals or use it within four days.
Substitutions for Types of Chicken
- Boneless Chicken Thighs - Cook on low for 3-4 hours
- Bone-In Split Chicken Breasts - Cook on low for 2-3 hours
- Whole Chicken - Cook on low for 4-5 hours
Always cook chicken on low in a crock pot. Cooking chicken on a high setting cooks the chicken unevenly and becomes tough.
There are so many great ways to use cooked chicken! Some of my favorites include chicken flautas, adding some diced chicken to Banza rice Greek salad, sub out the ground beef in a classic Dorito taco salad for a lighter version. Use it in chicken salad sandwiches too!
Additional Cooking Options
Another great way to meal prep the cooked chicken and shorten the cooking process is to use an Instant Pot. In the chicken flautas recipe, I use the Instant Pot to prep the shredded chicken for the filling. The most important thing to know about using the Instant Pot versus the crockpot, you will need at least one cup of liquid and allow the chicken to cook for twelve minutes under high pressure plus time for a natural pressure release before shredding or dicing.
I know we all really want this to be an option, but it just isn’t a good one. Chicken that is cooked on high heat will be tough and cook unevenly. The end result is just not that pleasant. If you have the time, cook your chicken on low. Otherwise, if you are in a hurry, try using an Instant Pot to meal prep chicken quickly.
Store the cooked diced chicken breasts in a freezer-safe zip-top bag or a freezer-friendly container in the freezer for up to four months. After four months, the quality of the chicken will start to fade.