This is our favorite slow cooker chicken recipe! Watch us make super tender lemon chicken with lemon chicken sauce in our slow cooker. So delicious and thanks to a slow cooker, this recipe is mostly easy to use! Skip to the ultimate slow cooker lemon chicken thighs recipe or read on for our tips on how to do it.
Why I Love These Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs 2
A few years ago we shared our Original Lemon Chicken Recipe. In this recipe, we’ll brown the chicken thighs on the stovetop and then finish them off in the oven. This recipe takes our original with all the lemon flavor of the herbs and adapts it for the slow cooker.
When we first made this recipe, I knew it would taste good, but I honestly had no idea it would be as tender or appetizing. The slow cooker does magical things with chicken thighs. Let’s see how to make them.
How to make the best slow cooker chicken thighs
First, let’s talk about what happens to skinless chicken thighs when cooked in a slow cooker. Many slow cooker chicken recipes call for additional liquid to be added to the pan, but this is not necessary.
To make the best slow cooker chicken thighs, all you have to do is add the chicken thighs straight into the slow cooker, season with salt and cover with a lid. As the slow cooker heats up, the fat will melt from the skin and drip onto the chicken. The chicken literally cooks in its own juice and fat.
Now let me come back. You can Just place the chicken thighs in the slow cooker, but for best results I like to add some extra flavor with herbs and lemon zest, then brown the skin in a skillet. This will give the chicken some color, which will make it look much better in the end. Then, while I get the pan dirty, I use it to make a delicious lemon sauce that I serve with the chicken at the end of cooking.
In the photo below I show what the chicken looks like after 5 hours of cooking. Do you see all the liquid below? It’s pure gold. It’s a rich chicken broth that’s absolutely delicious mixed with our lemon sauce or simply spooned over the chicken. Just trim most of the fat from the top and you’re good to go.
I’m not even sure I can tell how tender the chicken is. Just looking at this photo makes my mouth water.
For the BEST Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken, make my Lemon Sauce
We give this chicken a lemon flavor in two ways. First, rub the chicken with a combination of mustard, lemon zest, herbs, and salt. After seasoning the chicken, I brown the chicken skin in a hot skillet until golden.
As I mentioned earlier, searing isn’t 100% necessary, but it does leave a delicious, golden-brown chicken skin when the chicken is done. It also gives us the perfect opportunity to prepare a delicious sauce right in the pan.
The lemon sauce is optional but how delicious it is. It’s easy and made right in the pan that the chicken was browned in. Using the same skillet, you can scrape off any browned chicken pieces that have stuck to the bottom, adding extra flavor.
To make the sauce, we’ll fold in some of the rendered fat after we’ve browned the chicken in flour. After the fat and flour have boiled for a minute, I pour in the chicken broth and lemon juice. Then I cook the sauce until it thickens a bit. It takes a minute or two, at most. (This is exactly how we make regular sauce, by the way.)
And that’s it. Appetizing, tender and ultra-tasty chicken thighs prepared in your slow cooker. Honestly, this is one of the best chicken recipes we’ve ever shared.
Easier slow cooker recipes
Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Thighs
This is our favorite slow cooker chicken recipe! Watch us make super tender lemon chicken in our slow cooker with Lemon Chicken Sauce. So delicious and thanks to a slow cooker, this recipe is mostly easy to use!
We’re making an easy lemon sauce for the chicken. This is done in the same pan that the chicken is browned in before it is placed in the slow cooker and saved for the end of the chicken cooking. At the end of cooking, there will be just over 2 cups of chicken broth on the bottom of the slow cooker; some of it is melted fat, which we prefer to remove. After removing most of the fat from the broth, you have a flavorful chicken broth. To serve, mix this broth with the lemon sauce. It is delicious.
Add as many chicken pieces (thighs or breasts) as will accommodate a single layer on the bottom of your slow cooker. They can be very cozy: they shrink when they are cooked.
Makes 6-8 chicken thighs
6 to 8 chicken thighs, skin on, bone in, no fat, about 2 pounds
1 tablespoon grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon lemon zest (1 teaspoon for grating and 2 teaspoons for the sauce)
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)
1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, see our chicken broth recipe
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- prepare the chicken
Grate for the chicken. Combine mustard, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, oregano, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 teaspoons olive oil in a small bowl. Use your fingers or a pastry brush to coat both sides of the chicken with the mustard mixture.
In another bowl or measuring cup, combine remaining lemon zest (2 teaspoons), lemon juice, and chicken broth. Put aside. Note: The lemon and chicken broth mixture can be made up to a day in advance. Cover both and store in the fridge.
- cooking the chicken
Heat remaining teaspoon of oil in a large ovenproof skillet or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, and cook 3 to 5 minutes or until the skin is golden brown and some of the fat has melted.
Transfer the browned chicken to a slow cooker and lay it out in a single layer, skin-side up. Cover with a lid, then cook on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or until chicken is cooked through. Reserve the pan with the cooking juices to prepare the sauce.
- make sauce
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan used to sear the chicken. If the fat isn’t enough, add butter, leaving 2 tablespoons of fat left in the pan.
Cook over medium heat until hot, then add the flour. Continue beating until flour and shortening are combined into a smooth batter and medium blond in color; Add lemon juice and broth mixture for about 1 minute and stir until smooth.
Bring sauce to a simmer. As it simmers, it thickens and becomes shiny. Transfer to a jar or measuring cup and refrigerate until chicken is done.
When the chicken is done, it will sit in about an inch of the cooking liquid and melted fat. Place the chicken on a plate, then skim as much of the fat as possible from the liquid. There should be about 2 cups of liquid left in the slow cooker.
Reheat the previously prepared lemon sauce, then add the lemon sauce to the slow cooker and stir until combined. Place the chicken thighs in the slow cooker to serve, or serve with the sauce drizzled over them.
Advice from Adam and Joanne
- Can I use chicken breast? Absolutely. If you can find it, use skinless chicken breasts as this keeps the chicken more tender and adds flavor while cooking.
- Skip the Lemon Sauce – If you’re short on time, you can skip the lemon sauce. Chicken broth, made in the slow cooker after the chicken has been cooked for 5 hours, is absolutely delicious and goes great with chicken or any side dish you choose to serve it with.
- Nutritional Information: The nutritional information below is an estimate. We use the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutritional value per serving: Part 1 thigh / calories 252 / protein 23 grams / carbohydrates 2 g / fiber 0g / total sugar 0g / total fat 16 grams / Saturated Fatty Acids 4g / cholesterol 133mg / sodium 313mg
Source : inspiredtaste.net
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