Boneless, skinless chicken breast is considerably lower in fat and calories than chicken breast with the skin left on.
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According to the USDA, half a chicken breast with skin has about 13.4 grams of fat and 249 calories; without the skin, the same amount of chicken breast meat has only 135 calories and 2.96 grams of fat.
One disadvantage of skinless chicken, however, is its tendency to dry out. Avoid this by using a slow cooker — the long, slow cooking process will concentrate the flavors of the chicken and added seasonings without drying the meat, and you won't have to add any fat.
The basic method for cooking plain chicken breast in the slow cooker can be easily adapted to include other ingredients.
Read more: 10 Simple and Delicious Slow Cooker Meals
Step 1: Prep the Chicken
Rinse the boneless, skinless chicken breasts under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.
Step 2: Arrange in Slow Cooker
Arrange the chicken breasts in the bottom of your slow cooker. Try to keep the meat in one layer without overlapping.
Read more: How to Slow Cook on a Stovetop
Step 3: Season Your Chicken
Sprinkle seasonings, such as freshly ground black pepper, fresh or dried herbs, and a little salt, over the chicken breasts. Sodium-free seasoning blends are a good choice if you are on a low-salt or salt-free diet.
Step 4: Add Your Liquid
Add just a dash of liquid — about a tablespoon or two — to the slow cooker. The small amount of liquid will help the chicken remain moist as it steams in the cooker.
For a neutral taste, use low-fat chicken or vegetable broth. For a more distinct flavor, try white wine or lemon juice.
If you're looking for no taste added whatsoever, perhaps if you're cooking for picky children, just add cold water.
Step 5: Turn Your Chicken
Turn the chicken breasts over with tongs so they get a thin coating of liquid. This will prevent the chicken from sticking to the bottom of the cooker.
Step 6: Turn Your Slow Cooker On
Place the lid on the slow cooker. Turn it on and adjust it to cook on high for three to four hours or low for seven to eight hours — or the closest standard setting on your particular model.
In general, the longer the cooking time in your slow cooker, the more flavor in the dish. As the Crock-Pot site notes, "It's called a slow cooker for a reason!"
Step 7: Check Your Chicken Half-Way Through
Remove the lid about halfway through the cooking time and turn the chicken breasts over with tongs. Replace the lid and continue to cook the chicken.
Step 8: Prepare to Enjoy!
When your timer dings, switch the slow cooker to the “warm” setting if it has one, and leave the lid in place until you are ready to serve the chicken.
Otherwise, transfer the chicken to a cutting board with tongs. Slice into one of the chicken breasts with a knife and examine the middle. It should be steaming and white all the way through.
Read more: Slow Cookers & Nutrition
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- USDA: Chicken, Broilers or Fryers, Breast, Meat Only, Raw
- Crock-Pot.com: Spicy Honey Chicken Teriyaki
- USDA: Chicken, broilers or fryers, breast, meat and skin, raw
- What's the Difference Between Slow Cooking on Low vs. High?
- Eating Well: Healthy Crock Pot Chicken Recipes and Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes