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

4.87 from 68 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. Yes, 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.

  1. Hi there! 8 hours is the lowest low setting hour I have, and I wont be able to switch to warm/off earlier because of work. Will the extra hour ruin it terribly??

    Thanks so much!

  2. Well i got my chicken legs cooking exactly like the recipe calls it. Its looking and smelling delicious hope it turns out great. Wish i had a bigger pot but guess itll have to do for now. I cant wait to try more of your dishes!

  3. This recipe is incredible. Followed exactly with no liquid at all and just salt and pepper. I was skeptical leaving it dry but it was so good! I’m in medical school and I never have time to cook. This saved me so much time and I’ll be doing it every week 🙂

  4. I’m putting 8 thighs in on low but have people coming overaround 5 or 6 PM, which means I only have 5 or 6 hours to cook it. is there a way that I can get it finished a little quicker? take em out and put them in the oven? Thanks!

  5. Hi , i have a few round slices of leftover sweet onion and red onion from a bbq we had yesterday i would like to add those onions in the crockpot with this recipe , will it work ok underneth the chicken in this recipe ???

    1. You really don’t want to add anything else to the slow cooker with the chicken that would affect the chicken crisping up. I would suggest just sautee them on the side and add them at the end.

  6. Thanks! This sounds so easy and delish! I’m making this now! Will have to come back and let you know how it comes out. I have a large, shallow, casserole crockpot that allowed me to put 8 large thighs in. I love that thing!

    1. They came out delish! Will definitely be a new go to recipe. I seasoned with Badia country poultry seasoning on both sides and flavor was perfect! Whole fam loved. Skin even got slightly crisp and brown. Thank You! I wouldn’t have tried this method without your recipe 🙂

  7. I made the chicken last night. And it was DELICIOUS!! I could not believe that I did not have to add any liquid, but I didn’t. My son said that this was better than any baked chicken I have EVER made. GREAT recipe and SUPER easy.

    Thank you.

  8. I am making this now! I’m coming up on the sixth hour. Mine is looking pretty juicy and a couple of them are just barely uncovered. I think I may pour a little out in about 20 or 30 minutes then have the lid a little open for the last hour to see if it dries them out a bit. I will report back. Let me know if there’s a better way. I’m excited.

    1. No, I’m sorry but you need to use completely thawed chicken for this recipe to crisp up. If you use frozen, it will release too much liquid and make it all soupy.

  9. Thanks for the recipe for summer crispy chicken. I’m using drumsticks, patted dry, salt pepper, skin side up. Hope it comes out the same?

    1. You don’t want to add anything else to the slow cooker besides the chicken otherwise you won’t be able to get the crisp that you’re looking for. Sorry.

  10. Good Morning Sabrina,  i got a new 6 quart  crock pot for mothers day , and I made your CRISP & JUICY SLOW COOKER CHICKEN last month June 5th ,, I did exactly as your directions ,but i used kinder bbq dry rub on the chicken .. i took the lid ajar to brown the skin the last hour and it still didnt get that brown and crispy ..  the chicken was very dry and falling apart a lot …I put 5 chicken thighs bones one layer very snug and i moved them more apart from each other as they shrank done in size  and i took a little bit of the fat liquid out because there was a lot of fat liquid ,,,
    do i need to cook it for a shorter time so the chicken is not so dry and/ or do i not take the fat liquid out ,,, and for the skin getting crispy and brown do i need to leave the lid off longer?? ..
    Lori

    1. Next time, I wouldn’t remove any of the liquid and if it still doesn’t crisp up to your liking after leaving the lip ajar for the last hour, just pop it into the oven under the broiler before serving. 🙂

  11. Ok so I want to make this tomorrow and I was wondering if I can use drumsticks instead of the thighs. Cause I only have drumsticks. Please let me know.

    1. Sure, 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.

  12. Do you recommend leaving a small gap in the lid to allow steam to escape, hence keeping the skin dry and crispy?

  13. Making this right now put 5 thighs one layer , all snug in a 6 quart crock pot seasoned them all over with Kinders Mild Dry BBQ Rub.. wanted some bbq flavored chicken
    Hope the chicken comes out yummy as well as the skin coming out crispy yummy 

  14. Hi i would like to make this but with a bbq flavor any suggestions on what to use for a  bbq dry rub or use of bbq sauce and  for bbq sauce when would l put the bbq sauce on the chicken 
    thanks 

    1. You can do any type of rub you prefer but I would wait until done cooking to add any BBQ sauce. You really want to limit any liquid on the chicken while it’s in the slow cooker so it has a better chance of crisping up.

  15. Giving it a go right now … my thinking is that if the skin is not 100% crisp to you liking you can always drop the chicken on to a baking pan and broil it for several min. Will report back.

  16. Hi! I can’t wait to try this!!! I Got most of my questions answered from the comments but I was wondering  If I’m going to be away for 10 hours do you think it’s okay to set a timer for 7 hours and it stays in warm for 3?  Do you think I can add in tomato paste? How about onions?
    What are some variations of this you make? Just different dry spices?

    1. Adding anything to the slow cooker will affect the crisp on the chicken so I don’t recommend it. If the chicken stays warm for an additioanl 3 hours, you may need to pop it under a broiler for a bit (though watch it so it doesn’t burn) before serving. Enjoy!

  17. I made this tonight and it was awesome! I used chicken quarters (thighs and legs) and wings, from a whole chicken. I seasoned with some Cajun seasoning and salt and pepper and slow-cooked on low for about 7 hours, plus a few more mins with the lid off. The meat was very tender and the skin was reasonably crispy. If you want crispier skin, cook under the broker for a min or two. Next time I may cook for six hours, but I’ll definitely make this agaij. Thanks!

  18. I love this recipe & have made it at least 7 times. However, it IS possible to cook boneless chicken breasts in slow cooker without any liquid. Pat dry chicken & salt & pepper both sides & place however many chicken breasts as you can in a single layer & cook on Low for 3 hrs, maybe 3-1/2 if using very large pieces. It makes its own juice & comes out really tender! 
    Thank you for sharing your delicious recipes. 

  19. I have to say, I was a bit worried, but decided to give it a go…well I am so glad I did. This was the Best Chicken…so moist and juicy and the skin was crisped. I used a few more seasonings and some paprika, it was perfect. And I used the “drippings” to make chicken gravy! Thanks for a great recipe

  20. I made this last night and it turned out AMAZING! I always had trouble with keeping my chicken juicy, and always used chicken breasts. I used fresh, not frozen, chicken thighs and the difference is outstanding! Skin was so crispy! ( I was very skeptical on how this would work in a crock pot, but decided to give this a try!) This recipe is going to be a staple in my house! My husband raved about it, and there wasn’t any leftovers!
    Thank you so much for this recipe!

  21. A trick that I learned is to roll up some aluminum foil and lay it on the bottom of the slow cooker and then place chicken thighs on top of foil. This method helps prevent the chicken from sitting in all that liquid. I also use other seasonings with salt and pepper and I have used bbq sauce but wait towards the end of the cooking process before brushing the chicken with bbq sauce

  22. I made this last night for today’s lunch. OMG!!! This is fantastic. From the crispy skin to the tender juicy meat. Do you thing this would work well with chicken wings for buffalo wings??

    1. The wings would be so much shallower and would sit in the liquid too far for a good crispy texture. But you can certainly make hot wings in the slow cooker. I’ll add that to my list to recipe test.

  23. Just a quick question to get clarification. Throughout the comments you as well as others have said using a crockpot liner does and does not work. Is this dependent on the crockpot and how hot is runs? It just seems people’s comments/responses have been contradicting.

    I usually use a liner to avoid having to scrub as hard, but if it will not work for this recipe I’d like to know before starting.

    1. It may vary depending on your slow cooker but I don’t recommend using one for this recipe. I don’t think that you’re able to get as much crisp on the chicken by using a liner. If you plan on still trying it, I’d love to hear how it worked out for you.

        1. No, some people use the plastic liners to line thier slow cooker to help with the ease of clean up but it doens’t allow the chicken to crisp up. Hope this helps clear up any confusion.

  24. I never use liquid when cooking meat in crockpot unless I have a lot of raw veggies in the bottom. I discovered this form of chicken awhile back. Ribs with a dry run and cooked fat up work well with this concept as well. No liquid= better flavor.

    1. No, I’m sorry but the chicken breast will dry out and adding potatoes into the slow cooker will hinder the chicken from getting crisp and juicy.

  25. I’m going on 6 hours and 45 min. Abs m chicken seems to be swimming in liquid.. At this point should I pour some off? Or put under broiler? Obviously I failed somewhere.. I don’t think this will crisp in the next 15 min!

    1. Oh no! Yes, I would’ve poured out some liquid. Was your chicken fully thawed? Sometimes I even pat down my chicken before putting it in the slow cooker just to take off any excess liquid. Hopefully you’re able to give it another try.

  26. Hello, Dinner, then Dessert,

    Thanks be to you for this recipe. I enjoy it alot because it’s quick and simple. A family member walked by and said to put some water in that pot, and I told her: No, water was not needed. It said so in an online recipe. This is a healthy way to cook chicken. You get extra points for that. 🙂

    1. Are you only cooking 4 thighs because that’s all that will fit in your slow cooker or all that you need for your dinner?

  27. I put 5 leg quarters in my new 6 qt Crockpot and followed the directions as written. Pieces were done in three hours on low, but the skin was not at all crispy. Meat was tender, flavorful, but very greasy. The chicken pieces were sitting in about 1.5 inches of rendered fat.Would draining the fat once or twice during cooking help the skin to get crispy? Thanks!

    1. Yes, sounds like that would’ve helped. The pieces might have just had more fat rendering down on them. So glad the meat will still tender and flavorful though 🙂

  28. Will this work on these large quarters of legs/ thighs in those ten pound bags? Same amount of time for two quarters (about two pounds total)? Sounds delicious!

  29. I bought one of those 10 pd. bags of leg/ thigh quarters. The sections are large. Will this method work on them? Same amount of time for two quarters? Recipe sounds so good, hope to try it soon.

    1. Yes, it will work 🙂 Just make sure that all the chicken is completely thawed and placed in the slow cooker in one single layer. Enjoy!!

  30. What I can’t figure out is why everyone keeps asking about adding broth, and barbeque sauce and layering the chicken on top of each other ? People this is the most simple recipe that has ever been published. Bravo to the nice lady that was kind enough to post it. Bone in , skin side up 7 hours. End of story. Stop trying to reinvent the wheel.

  31. I made this for dinner tonight. SCORE! This is a winner. I followed the instructions to the letter, and only improvised when I added my own homemade dry rub in addition to the other seasonings. I did pour off some of the rendered fat as the chicken thighs were cooking. It turned out fantastic. CRISPY SKIN, YAAAS! Everyone loved it. Thank you so much 🙂 Going into regular rotation, for sure!

  32. DELICIOUS!
    I did mine in the oven on 120 degrees celcius for 7 hours uncovered. It was crispy, and tender, falling off the bone. My husband absolutely loved it.

    Will do this recipe again for sure!
    Thanks a lot!

  33. Sabrina, just had the Crispy, Juicy Slow Cooker Chicken and it turned out as you said it would. My husband who very seldom comments on a meal said, “Well that was good.” He also ate the skin which he only does when it is crispy. So happy to have a super easy meat to prep for dinner. Thank you.

  34. This was not as everyone says… HORRIBLE……I cook this exactly like recipe post. The chicken was dry, seem to be over cooked, no seasoning taste..

    1. So sorry to hear this. Does your slow cooker run hot by chance? Just trying to figure out what could’ve been the issue. We use this recipe almost weekly wth success. I’d be happy to troubleshoot with you. You can contact me at [email protected]

  35. If you forgot to start your dinner in the morning and now are in a time crunch could you do this on high for a few hours and get the same results?

    1. No, the chicken fat really doesn’t render as fully on high. I’ve tried it and while it would be cooked it wouldn’t have the same level of doneness. Sorry ?