Crisp & Juicy Slow Cooker Chicken

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Three Ingredients: Chicken, Salt and Pepper. The Easiest method ever for Crispy & Juicy Chicken! Tastes like a Rotisserie Chicken.

Crispy and juicy, the fat in the skin completely melts away leaving crispy chicken skin that will remind you of your favorite rotisserie chicken. Looking at the picture it would be easy to assume there is some trick to chicken that is golden brown and crispy, but still so moist! The secret? A slow cooker.

So Dinner, then Dessert is officially a month old as of this week and I’ve used this method for cooking chicken in two recipes already. Both times, Tony Roma’s BBQ Chicken and Armenian Chicken Pita Tacos I mentioned my love for this method of cooking and both times the pictures were….well… not as enticing as they deserved to be and the focus was on the other ingredients in the dish rather than the chicken. This post is more a method than a recipe.

I love staying simple with Sunday posts, I get to share our staple food items, things that are in heavy rotation and usually always available no matter what. Just like oven baked brown rice this “recipe” is a constant in our fridge. It is one of the few things I can depend on my oldest eating without complaints.

Most people who use a slow cooker are well versed in the school of thought that says “ADD LIQUIDS!!” Well, welcome to the new world here. Two of my absolute favorite ways to use my slow cooker is this chicken and Hawaiia Luau Pork. Both recipes are 3 ingredients total and both have resulted in family members crowding around the slow cooker to pick pieces off before I can even put food on plates.

Please give this a chance, you are going to want to let your slow cooker take all the counter space it wants after you see how great these turn out.

Tools Used in the making of these Slow Cooker Brown Sugar Garlic Chicken Thighs:
Slow Cooker: Love this slow cooker and how programmable it is, it has been a workhorse for me… until…
My New Slow Cooker: For larger roasts I also brown the meat in the insert and not lose a bunch of the flavor by transferring the meat and leaving the browned bits behind. If you’re thinking of a new slow cooker, consider it if your budget is open.

Recipe

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Crisp & Juicy Slow Cooker Chicken

4.88 from 70 votes
  • Yield: 4
  • Prep Time: 1 minute
  • Cook Time: 7 hours
  • Total Time: 7 hours 1 minute
  • Course: Main
  • Cuisine: American
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Three Ingredients: Chicken, Salt and Pepper. The Easiest method ever for Crispy & Juicy Chicken! Tastes like a Rotisserie Chicken.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 Chicken thighs , skin and bone on! (however many you can layer in a single layer)
  • Kosher Salt , to taste
  • Freshly crushed black pepper , to taste

Instructions

Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. Liberally season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper
  2. Put bone in, skin on chicken thighs in the slow cooker in a single layer, skin side up.
  3. Do not add liquids of any kind.
  4. Cook on low for 7 hours.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 , Amount per serving: 371 calories, Calories: 371g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 28g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Cholesterol: 166mg, Sodium: 130mg, Potassium: 347mg, Vitamin A: 130g, Calcium: 14g, Iron: 1.1g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keywords: Crispy Juicy Slow Cooker Chicken, crock pot, crockpot, slow cooker, slow cooker chicken
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Don’t be afraid to put chicken in the slow cooker with no additional liquid! Here is a shot of the chicken while still in the slowcooker. This chicken releases fat and juices into the slow cooker.  Make sure the skin side is up or it won’t get crispy!Three Ingredients: Chicken, Salt and Pepper. The Easiest method ever for Crispy & Juicy Chicken! Tastes like a Rotisserie Chicken.

The chicken skin becomes translucent because all the fat has rendered off. Three Ingredients: Chicken, Salt and Pepper. The Easiest method ever for Crispy & Juicy Chicken! Tastes like a Rotisserie Chicken.The chicken stays very moist and tender. It is perfect for using it in any other recipe that calls for spiced chicken as well. Just add the required spices to the bottom of the slow cooker, then on top as well. No need to toss it with the chicken. Three Ingredients: Chicken, Salt and Pepper. The Easiest method ever for Crispy & Juicy Chicken! Tastes like a Rotisserie Chicken.

Next time you want some chicken, please consider using your slow cooker. You’ll be so pleasantly surprised!

The method for CRISPY Slow Cooker Chicken! So EASY!
The method for CRISPY Slow Cooker Chicken! So EASY!

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Comments

  1. I was so excited to make this chicken for my boyfriend is he’s a huge fan of dark meat chicken and of course I’m a huge fan of white meat chicken. After liberally salting and peppering the chicken, my crock pot is large enuf I laid 4 defrosted thighs skin side up in a single layer around 1 frozen breast, skin side up. I put the slow cooker on warm at 9am. When I came back at 4, I noticed the chicken looked EXACTLY as it had 4 hours earlier so I put the temp up to high and watched it like a hawk. It was finally done at 7:45pm. It was as crispy and delicious as promised but thank God I checked it when I did or we would have been going out for dinner.

    I can’t imagine how yours cooked on low in 7 hours! The low setting is working on my crock pot – I used that setting for beef stew just a couple days before.

    Anyone else have trouble getting their chicken to cook on low?

    I feel like I should subtract a star because of the temperature setting issue I had, but the meal really was so delicious even though it was late, like I said I just wondered if anyone else had this issue…

    1. Unfortunately, the frozen breast in the middle will greatly effect the timing. So glad you checked it and make the adjustment.

  2. This looks great, I’m going to make it today! One question, can I put carrots & potatoes on the bottom? Still using same method with the No liquids & the chicken thighs on top, evenly lined with the skin side up??

    1. Unfortunately, I don’t think it would work. The chicken is going to let go of a lot of fat so the carrots that are underneath would essentially be boiling in fat and I’m not sure that would taste very good and the potatoes may brown before actually cooking. Sorry but it might be best to roast the veggies in the oven instead.

  3. I usually don’t leave comments however this was too good and easy not to. Not to mention my picky kids loved it as well!! Turned out awesome and will definitely be making this again! Thank you so much Sabrina!

    1. It’s awesome to hear that you loved it so much, you came back to let me know! And I know how hard it can be to please everyone, especially picky kids!!

    1. Sure, just keep the side of the legs with more of the skin up to help keep them moist though. Sometimes chicken legs have skin only covering half the meat. The skin keeps things moist since you aren’t adding liquids.

  4. Hi Sabrina,
    I just tried your recipe of these juicy crispy slow cooker chicken thighs. To be homest i was very sceptic about it for one it doesn’t look so good, meaning it looks still raw…. BUT they turned out as described, juicy and crispy
    Let me tell you it was delicious and i would like to thank you for your discovery ?

    Best wishes.
    Hajni

  5. Thank you!!!!! I finally found something that everyone will eat!!! I just made this today and it turned out great! I followed the recipe exactly. I did have to use 2 slow cookers (3 in the smaller and 5 in larger one ) to fit all 8 chicken thighs so my cook time was at 4 hours not 7. These are fabulous and you can either eat the skin or not – everybody’s happy!!! This will be used a lot in our house – Thank you again!

    1. Awesome! I love it when you can find something everyone will eat, a total win!! Thank you for coming back to let me know how much you guys enjoyed it!

    1. Using chicken legs won’t work as well as the thighs, the skin on chicken legs is fairly thin to start and won’t keep the leg meat covered throughout cooking. You may end up with dried out meat if it isn’t covered.

    1. Thawed things work best since frozen ends up producing more liquid and just doesn’t allow for the crisp to happen.

    1. I would hesitate to say yes because there is so much more water in frozen thighs. I think as it melted and cooked the level of the liquid it released would rise above the level of the chicken skin. I’d also question if that skin would crisp up even if it didn’t get covered in too much liquid.

  6. One of the best pieces of chicken I have ever made in my life. Can’t believe it was just salt and pepper. And I never comment on websites. It was that good. Thank you for this.

    1. Thank you so much for coming back to let me know how much you loved it! I take it as a huge compliment that your first comment on a website is for my yummy chicken!!

  7. Would it have anymore color if i sprinkled paprika on top? i have to layer mine, i can only get 4 thighs in the bottom of my slowcooker, not nearly enough for dinner…. Also, since not adding any other ingredients, do you know how to lessen the “smell of raw meat” being cooked? my son hates the smell, and i never noticed till he said something lol

    1. Hello! Paprika and any other dry seasonings you add are certainly welcome and would add color/flavor but if you are stacking the chicken you will have no chance at the skin being palatable by the end for a couple of reasons. First, the bottom layer will stay soggy due to being under other chicken which is releasing it’s liquid. And second, the amount of liquid released by double the amount of chicken will certainly submerge the first layer since when using one layer it comes up about 60-70 percent of the way of the chicken. I think if your expectations are for it to come out looking crispy or having any color you will be disappointed and I don’t want you to be.

      With regards to the smell, I can’t say I have ever noticed it? But I would imagine any spice while cooking would hopefully be more aromatic than the chicken? So maybe if you’re using garlic powder or cumin or paprika it would help alleviate the smell?

      Can I ask what size slow cooker you are using for four thighs? I have a 6.5 quart, I can get 6 untrimmed thighs or 7-8 if I trim some of the excess skin butchers like to leave on the thighs.

  8. I will use the crock pot. Does it work well as same as the slow cooker?
    Also, I notice that there is steam water on the lid and it drops on the top of the chicken skins. Will it prevent it from making chicken crispy? If so, how can i do differently?

    1. If you ever find it isn’t getting quite as crisp on top, leave the top open a crack for the last half hour or hour to let any moisture escape.

  9. Will this recipe (with added time) work with frozen chicken thighs? (I’m sorry if you’ve already answered this – I saw not to cook it on high, but I couldn’t read through 200+ comments!) I can’t wait to make this!

    1. I would hesitate to say yes because there is so much more water in frozen thighs. I think as it melted and cooked the level of the liquid it released would rise above the level of the chicken skin. I’d also question if that skin would crisp up even if it didn’t get covered in too much liquid.

  10. This came out so great,we eat it weekly in my home..Thank you for sharing..Can I cook drumsticks the same way? If not, can you recommend a recipe? I was recently gifted a crockpot,so I’m excited to try new dishes.

    1. Drumsticks aren’t a good fit for it because the skin doesn’t cover the whole leg usually and if it does it is usually quite thin so there isn’t a lot protecting the chicken from drying out. With that said, when it comes to turkey legs I do put them in the slow cooker, I find they come out amazing! I do have a pretty wide selection of slow cooker recipes you can look through too, I am a huge slow cooker fan! //dinnerthendessert.com/?s=slow+cooker

  11. The chicken came out brilliant – crispy skin and juicy, succulent meat. The only problem is the meat seasoning; the skin and base has the saltiness & kick from the sal and pepper but the rest of the meat was bland. Any advise to impart some taste/ spice it it?

    1. Yes! The base of this recipe is in the method, but I frequently add cumin/cayenne/garlic salt or oregano/basil/garlic powder/salt/pepper or rosemary/lemon zest/salt/pepper. If you season heavily with your spices all around it you should have pretty flavorful results. Just don’t add anything liquidy to the mix 🙂

    1. Chicken Quarters? Would that be leg/thigh? or breast/wing? I wouldn’t put chicken breast in the slow cooker, but I can’t see how the thigh/leg combo would go wrong.

  12. This is awesome! My wife and I love food hot `n spicy so all I do is dump on ABUNCH of chili powder and follow the directions. As my wife says: YUM,YUM,YUM! So you know, 3 yums is her biggest compliment. Thanks for this.

  13. For crispy chicken in the crockpot like drummies, create an crumpled aluminum foil bottom. You have to kind of ball it up and prop the chicken on top of it. It allows the liquid to have somewhere to go so the skin isn’t sittin in it. You can Google it for pictures. Also, if your crockpot keeps too much liquid in, try adding a tea towel under the lid (also how you can bake bread in the crock.)

    1. Thanks Rachel! I’ve tried the foil method but find the chicken can get too dry that way (at least with my slow cooker) and slightly stringy? This works on two levels. The liquid around the chicken insulates the meat but the skin being above the liquid allows it to crisp. Maybe I can give the foil ball trick a try again and I love the towel idea!

  14. Turned out perfect except I put the crock pot on high after the first hour and cooked 5 hours more. Chicken wasn’t completely thawed is why. Salt and pepper and a clove of chopped garlic in the bottom and salt and pepper and light sprinkle of rosemary on top.

  15. I will be trying this tonight. It looks really good. I have roasted whole hens in my crock pot before with a similar method and no liquid added and the skin turns out fantastic, so I know this will be as good as it looks.

  16. I cook for 10 people every night and they’re always busy with after school sports activities. I decided to try this chicken today. I used a 7 qt slow cooker. You said not to layer but with 20 chicken thighs it was do or die. None of the 6 kids like skin anyway so if half didn’t get crisp up it was ok. The chicken eas delicious. Even the pickiest ones devoured it. We will have this again. Completed the meal with rice pilaf (boxed) and spinach. Yum. Thank you.

  17. Made this today. It was ok, easy enough that’s for sure. The only thing I will do differently next time is put the slow cooker on low instead of high, turned out dry this time around.

    1. I wouldn’t recommend it – it’s probably going to dry out the meat and it won’t be crisp and juicy anymore!

    1. Sorry this comment took so long to get to, it ended up in my spam filter somehow! I use about 1/2 as much salt as normal table salt.

    1. The frozen chicken has extra water added. It would raise the level of liquids and you wouldn’t have a rendered crispy skin. I would advise against frozen, sorry 🙁

    1. Sorry this comment took so long to get to, it ended up in my spam filter somehow! Sorry I just found a huge number of comments over the last three months that was snared in the spam filter and I am trying to follow up with each one now even though in your case I am way too late to help. I’ve never tried with boneless but skin on. Though I do find the bone helps keep chicken moister as a general rule.

  18. Always love new chicken recipes for the crockpot. Followed your directions exactly. No liquids. Skin side up. Cooked as directed. Chicken never got browned or crispy. But was cooked really moist. Ended up putting the pieces of chicken under broiler for a few minutes. Don’t know what I did wrong.

    1. It’s important to make sure that you only have exactly one layer of chicken – if you overcrowd it, there will be too much fat and the tops will get soggy. If you’d like to shoot me an email, I can help you troubleshoot further!

    1. That depends on the size of the slow cooker – if it’s a smaller slow cooker, and four thighs fit into one layer, then the time will be the same. If you have a bigger slow cooker, I wouldn’t use just four thighs – my rule of thumb is I use just enough to cover the bottom with one layer.

  19. I just made this chicken.what a disappointment.chicken fell off the bone when I took out of crock pot.skin wasn’t even crispy.and I had lot of juice from chicken.I added nothing just chicken.my family laughed at me and said if that’s fried chicken,then we r e going to mars!##,won’t tell anyone about this recipe,

    1. Would love to troubleshoot if you would like, we make this recipe once a week without fail and have been for years. If you would like you could email me at [email protected] or just reply here with the steps you took? What pieces did you use? How did you arrange them? How long did you cook it for?

        1. I’ve not had the same success with the skin getting crispy on high for shorter periods but I think it may have to do with more steam buildup on high heat. Let me know if you give it a try though.

    1. So sorry, this comment got snared in the spam filter! I think on high you may get steam issues that prevent the skin from crisping up. Since I am so painfully late in responding, would love to hear how it turned out.

  20. I love slow baked chicken but not the oven heat and energy- but I had no idea this would work! It did! I took 5 good sized thighs, dried them thoroughly, sprinkled with greek herbs and salt, and let them go. It was actually almost 8 hours as hubby was late, but they were perfect! Fall off the bone, crispy skin. Most of the fat in the crock, just set them on a paper towel before serving. So good he took some for lunch today. thank you so much!

  21. This recipe is so easy and even more delicious! It has become a recipe I go to at least twice a month.

  22. Ooh! Trying this right now! Thanks for what seems to be a very simple recipe. I haven’t done thighs in the slow-cooker before so I wasn’t sure where to begin! 🙂

  23. I just came across this and I’m dead keen to try it. Beautiful in its simplicity. But I have only a small cooker and can only fit three thighs as a single layer. Should I still cook it on low for the full seven hours?

    1. I wouldn’t, I would give it a shot at first for 5 hours. See where you’re at. It can be a bit dependent on the slow cooker, but definitely start a couple of hours less. 🙂

  24. Hi Sabrina..Your recipe looks yummy and I am anxious to try it…I read somewhere in the comments that someone was going to try putting the thighs on top of foil balls to keep it out of the fat and juices on the bottom..would this work or would the thighs turn out less moist..I am wondering because of health reasons I would prefer to keep it out of the fat as much as possible..Thanks, Nancy

    1. yes, definitely less moist, the chicken stays pretty tender in the “juice.” My husband has patted the chicken dry after the fact a few times for the kids, but almost all the fat you’d eat in the chicken is rendered. You’ll have a slight coating of it, but I find a quick pat of a paper towel (kind of like how I do for pizza for the kids) tends to get rid of most of it.

    1. If you want to keep more of the chicken fat away from the chicken it will be slightly less moist but you can put some foil balls under the chicken. It will keep the fat the chicken naturally releases away from the meat. But yes, thighs are going to release that fat. You can also dab with a paper towel, my husband does that at times.

  25. I did this but added salt and pepper, crushed tomatoes, stuffed olives and bay leaves and it was amazing. Rice and green beans were me 2 sides and I was surprised at how amazing this turned out. Something that should be tried !

  26. I made this for dinner tonite. Yummy! But the skin did not crisp up. Usually, when I try a reclpe from the Internet, I first read all the comments. This time I didn’t as it was late at night and I wanted a quick recipe for the morning. Now, after reading the comments, I realize that I should have put it skin side up. If I could make a suggestion, PLEASE put it into the directions that the thighs should be placed skin side up. I’m sure that there will be many more happy eaters!

      1. Question: I’m a broke grad student and I bought boneless skinless chicken thighs for about $2. Is there any way to do boneless skinless chicken thighs in the slow cooker without a ton of sauce?

        1. Hey Zoey, been there too! Boneless skinless makes it kind of hard in the slow cooker because it will dry out a heck of a lot faster. I know a lot of people who will add salsa to chicken in the slow cooker, but if you did it with this recipe your chicken wouldn’t have the protection of the skin and the bone to help keep in moist.

  27. P.S. I tried this with two turkey thighs once, but without the same good results. It just didn’t cook all the meat, and some spots were downright raw still. Any suggestions or tips for cooking turkey thighs? I much prefer turkey to chicken, but I don’t want to deal with my oven in the summer if I can cook it in the crockpot instead. Thanks!

  28. You don’t mention what size slow cooker you use (what DO you use?), but as a single mom with only one very picky eater of a grade school aged child, I use a 3qt Cuisineart for almost all of *my* slow cooking. Besides, my 6qt is WAY too big for 99% of the meals I’d prepare, and it’s a total pain in the arse to clean it too. But I digress.

    Anyway, I found your above “recipe” on accident searching for easy chicken dishes. Because my kid loves the stuff but does not love anything to TASTE like anything, I thought this would be a perfect method to try.

    It has been! I salt/pepper four organic chicken thighs and layer them into the crockpot, set it for 7 hours and done. We now eat chicken several times a week, something I never thought I’d say since I’ve joked my whole life that I never eat chicken (or run) on purpose. My kid loves it right out of the cooker and onto her plate. I love it with garlic, some pesto or as the hearty protein of an entrée sized salad.

    Thank you for making my mealtime planning SO much easier! Sharing far and wide.

    1. So glad to help! Yes, I use a 6qt, even when it was just for the two of us, but only because it meant cooking less often to make larger meals. In your three quart did your turkey sit comfortably in the slow cooker? Also, I know sometimes the 3 qt. can be used for keeping things warm instead of cooking. Does yours have low/med/high for the slow cooker or an on/off switch? My 3qt is an on/off kind so I use it mostly for fondues. If yours does have low/med/high then I would make sure it is kind of a snug fit. You dont want way too much space around it because the liquid the turkey releases should come about halfway up the sides of the turkey as it cooks, leaving the skin to crisp. The best guess I can make, since you mentioned raw meat after 7 hours is that the slow cooker was possibly operating on warm? If you want to troubleshoot via email, I would be happy to help, my email is contact @ dinnerthendessert . com 🙂

  29. I tried this tonight for the first time and oh my goodness it was delicious! We usually bake ours to get a crispy skin, but when it gets hot out I hate to turn on the oven. The skin was crispy and delicious and the chicken was so tender and juicy it melted in my mouth. My husband even raved and went on and on! Thanks for a great recipe!

  30. has anyone experimented with using – for either part of or all of the time – the “high” setting in order to expedite the process?

    1. I’ve actually tried it out and the skin was never quite the same. Not exactly sure why, maybe the skin needs the extra time to render all the fat out? No scientific answer here though.

    1. No, they would fall apart on the grill. You can use a spatula to remove from the slow cooker and put onto a tray and put them under the broiler for a couple of minutes.