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How to Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts in a Slow Cooker

by 
author image Joanne Thomas
A writer of diverse interests, Joanne Thomas has penned pieces about road trips for Hyundai, children's craft projects for Disney and wine cocktails for Robert Mondavi. She has lived on three continents and currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is co-owner and editor of a weekly newspaper. Thomas holds a BSc in politics from the University of Bristol, England.
How to Cook Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts in a Slow Cooker
The slow cooker is an easy way to cook large quantities of food. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts can easily be made in this vessel for dinner tonight, or to freeze for later. Photo Credit: YelenaYemchuk/iStock/GettyImages

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 and dry your chicken breasts.
Rinse and dry your chicken breasts.

Rinse the boneless, skinless chicken breasts under cold water and pat them dry with paper towels.

Step 2: Arrange in Slow Cooker

Arrange your chicken breasts without overlap.
Arrange your chicken breasts without overlap.

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

Add seasonings to your chicken to boost the flavor profile of your meal.
Add seasonings to your chicken to boost the flavor profile of your meal.

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

Adding a liquid to your slow cooker helps the chicken remain moist as it cooks.
Adding a liquid to your slow cooker helps the chicken remain moist as it cooks.

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

Make sure your breasts are coated with your liquid of choice to prevent sticking.
Make sure your breasts are coated with your liquid of choice to prevent sticking.

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

You can choose to cook your chicken on high for three to four hours, or on low for seven to eight hours.
You can choose to cook your chicken on high for three to four hours, or on low for seven to eight hours.

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

As you reach the half-way point on your slow cooked chicken, remove the lid and turn the breasts.
As you reach the half-way point on your slow cooked chicken, remove the lid and turn the breasts.

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!

Turn your setting to warm until you're ready to eat, or remove the chicken, cut and enjoy.
Turn your setting to warm until you're ready to eat, or remove the chicken, cut and 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

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