Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken

Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken with butter, garlic and lemon coating tender chicken breasts in a creamy sauce. Even great as a pasta topping!

Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken with butter, garlic and lemon coating tender chicken breasts in a creamy sauce. Even great as a pasta topping! 
Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken

Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken bucks the general rule of thumb I live by with slow cooker chicken recipes. I almost NEVER add chicken breast to a slow cooker. My Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken is one of the only exceptions on the site along with Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken.

This recipe uses chicken breast meat but it would be completely amazing and delicious with chicken thighs. The reason I avoided chicken thighs in this dish was I didn’t want all the extra fat to render because the sauce would’ve been too greasy.

The easiest, creamiest, slow cooker lemon chicken.

I also wanted to note that even though you see the lemon wedges in the slow cooker before pic, you only use the zest and the juice in the recipe. I just loved how pretty it looked.

Don’t worry, I’ve lowered the cook time to account for the use of breast meat. And if you want to make this Creamy Lemon Parmesan Chicken instead, add in ½ cup shaved Parmesan cheese. Note: shaved Parmesan cheese is different than shredded or grated.

Some ways to use this Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken in other recipes:

  • Cut it up and add cooked pasta to the slow cooker to make a creamy lemon pasta.
  • Chop the chicken and add to the top of a baked potato with some of the sauce spooned over it.
  • If you have leftovers you can use the chicken in salads, it is full of flavor.

We've made this dish three times in the last week, we LOVE this Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken.

Looking for more slow cooker chicken recipes?

Tools used in the making of this Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken recipe:
Cast Iron Skillet: If you don’t have a slow cooker with a stovetop friendly insert, this is my most used pan in my kitchen, heavy, keeps heat well and gives the BEST sear ever.
Slow Cooker: This recipe was made in this 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.
Pig Tail Flipper: I use this to flip the chicken breasts easily. I use this tool EVERY time I cook something that requires flipping, it is amazing.
Chicken Base: I almost never buy boxes of broth because I keep the beef, chicken and vegetable version of this Better Than Bouillon.

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Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken

Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken with butter, garlic and lemon coating tender chicken breasts in a creamy sauce. Even great as a pasta topping!
Yield 5 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder

Ingredients
 

  • 5 chicken breasts boneless and skinless
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 lemons juiced and zested
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base optional, but delicious!

Instructions

  • In a large cast iron skillet add 1 tablespoon of butter to melt on medium high heat.
  • Add the kosher salt, black pepper and Italian seasoning to the chicken and add it to the pan.
  • Cook on each side for 4-6 minutes.
  • Add the chicken to your slow cooker.
  • Cover with lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic and the rest of the butter in pieces (I added the lemons in the before picture just for reference. Don't cook the lemons in the slow cooker).
  • Cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.
  • In a large measuring cup add the half and half, cornstarch and chicken base and whisk well.
  • Add the liquid, mix, and cook an additional hour on high.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 198mg | Sodium: 756mg | Potassium: 958mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 660IU | Vitamin C: 26.4mg | Calcium: 86mg | Iron: 1.2mg
Keyword: Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken
Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken with butter, garlic and lemon coating tender chicken breasts in a creamy sauce. Even great as a pasta topping!
Slow Cooker Creamy Lemon Chicken with butter, garlic and lemon coating tender chicken breasts in a creamy sauce. Even great as a pasta topping!

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the upcoming cookbook: Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients which is being published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

Dinner, then Dessert, Inc. owns the copyright on all images and text and does not allow for its original recipes and pictures to be reproduced anywhere other than at this site unless authorization is given. If you enjoyed the recipe and would like to publish it on your own site, please re-write it in your own words, and link back to my site and recipe page. Read my disclosure and copyright policy. This post may contain affiliate links.

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Comments

  1. I mistakenly just put the half and half in at the beginning of the recipe. It’ll cook in the crockpot with the chicken for the 4+ hours. Is that okay?

    1. I am assuming you have already finished the recipe. I imagine the milk cooked down too much. How did it go? Did it work out well?

  2. This is my 3rd recipe from this site and once again a winner. My family of six, 3 of which are picky eaters all enjoyed it. I doubled the recipe for my large family. The only thing I will change is probably half the zest. A few of them commented about it being very strong. Thanks for another great recipe!

  3. If I don’t have a cast iron skillet can I brown my chicken in a normal pan? Will it make a huge difference?

    1. Hello, while your recipe will likely work fine with a normal pan, it won’t develop the same kind of crispy exterior that it might with cast iron.

  4. Thank you for your wonderful website.
    I was wondering if the half and half could be substituted with heavy whipping cream? That’s what I have on hand.

  5. If I use thighs without skin, will it still be fattier? Does the cooking time change? I am so excited to make this recipe!

    1. Our nutrients are auto generated, I don’t calculate them, sorry! I am not sure what it would do to the fat content.

    2. I made this recipe with chicken thighs without skin. It was superb! Next time I would probably use less butter to reduce the fat content. It was fully cooked in 3 hours. Now I am inspired to try other recipes you have posted. Thanks so much for this recipe. Easy to make, moist, delicious! Everyone loved it!

    1. I wish I had the answer! I haven’t tried it and with slow cookers its hard to gauge unless you do it a few times. You don’t want it too long since the pasta would get very mushy.

    1. I haven’t tried making this creamy version on a stove top so I don’t have exact directions to give, sorry!

    2. I am going to make this tomorrow night for a dinner party for my friends birthday. Wondering what size crock pot to use and if I am serving 8 people should I add more ingredients?!

  6. I just made this for the first time today exactly as the recipe states and Omg it was perfection! Savory, tangy, and the most tender chicken. This may possibly be my new favorite weekend dish. My family absolutely loved it.

    1. In the US it’s what we often put in coffee. I’ve seen it called 10% cream in Canada.If you have regular cream on hand you can mix it with milk about 50-50. HTH!

  7. I am new to cooking but trying this recipe. Does it matter that the chicken isn’t covered in liquid in the slow cooker? Thanks!

  8. Hi
    One ingredient in the list says “1 cup half and half,” but does not say what the ingredient it is referring to.

    1. Hi Art – I believe it means one cup of ‘half-and-half’, like the cream that can be found in the milk aisle 🙂

  9. Really wanted to try this but forgot to start it early in the day so I converted it to an instant pot. Added enough water to the lemon juice to make it at least 1 cup of liquid (I also added the chicken base in this step because I misread the directions) and place my chicken on my trivet insert above the liquid. Cooked high pressure manual for 8 minutes, then naturally released the pressure for 5 minutes. Set the chicken to the side while I added the half and half and cornstarch, thickened the sauce on the sauté setting, then added the chicken back in to get coated in the sauce.
    The instant pot also negated the use for a skillet, so less dirty dishes! I love simple recipes like this that I can tweek each time if I choose. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I haven’t tested this recipe using an Instant Pot yet so I’m not comfortable giving recommendations. I’ll add it to my research list.

    1. That will work too. It just might be a little bit saltier depending on how much is in the butter. Enjoy!

  10. I only 1.65 lbs (3 chicken breast)
    cooking on high for 2 hours. Is it still best for the additional hour to be on high as well? Or should I do warm after adding half and half etc . Thanks!

    1. I am just seeing this tonight. I am sure the recipe has long been cooked/or not but I still want to try to help.

      How did this turn out for you?

  11. OMG this was just my 2nd time using a crock pot 1st time I attempted to make a roast and It bombed looking at my croc pot I decided to check out a lemon chicken recipe and came upon yours and it turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever had thank you and because of you I’m keeping my slow cooker

  12. This was delicious! I had to make one change because I didn’t realize we are out of corn starch until it was time to add it. I substituted 1/2 teaspoon of xantham gum and it worked perfectly. I served this over spaghetti squash. Thank you for a great dinner!

      1. I learned the hard way, don’t zest beyond the peel. The white part is bitter. I learned! Great recipe!

    1. I just want to make sure I’m understanding it right, after the chicken is finished cooking in the slow cooker with the lemon, then I add the half and half and chicken base to it and then slow cook it for an additional hour?

  13. I am looking for a lemon chicken recipe to make for an upcoming dinner for my daughters robotic group. If I add it to pasta how juiciy will the dish be?
    I need to make a dish for 40 people and looking for a lemon chicken pasta dish.

    1. You can easily add pasta to this dish to make what you’re looking for though you’ll want to use either multiple slow cookers or make in dutch ovens to accommodate that size that you need. Good luck!

    1. Oh no! Does your slow cooker have the option to switching to a “warm” setting once the cook time is done? I wouldn’t want the chicken to dry out. Hope it all works out.

  14. Hi Sabrina, Trying this recipe today… I was trying to find a recipe that would include browning the chicken first then slow cook it and how long to slow cook it. Found your’s so trying it out. Thank you! Unfortunately I can’t use lemon since hubby doesn’t like lemon.
    I have also taken the ServSafe certification in order to run a food trailer for a non-profit organization that has a museum at a farm that was given to us by the town since they really didn’t have any use for it but we did! We now have lots and lots of antique tractors, restored tractors, antique engines of all types, some farm implements, etc. etc. We usually have 3 shows a year where we (in the trailer) serve egg sandwiches, pancakes, etc. Building new kitchen now so it will be fun and exciting. Thanks for your help and thank you for your web page!!!
    Dianne in Colchester CT

    1. It’s nice to hear about your business! It sounds so rewarding and fun too! That simple, old fashioned food is what people want.

  15. I love the flavor and texture of the chicken in your Indian Butter Chicken recipe. I want try this recipe for a different flavor, but would like a similar texture to the Indian Butter Chicken. Do you think that I could cut the chicken in this recipe into chunks before cooking to achieve a similar texture? Also, what do you think about marinating the chicken in a yogurt marinade similar to the one in the Indian Butter Chicken recipe? Thanks!

    1. I am just seeing this tonight. I am sure the recipe has long been cooked/or not but I still want to try to help.

      I would say yes, the yogurt marinade will help tenderize it. But I’m not sure how to convert it for the slow cooker too. I haven’t tested it.

  16. Hello Sabrina, I’m in Scotland and we don’t have “half and half”. Can you please tell me what it is? Many thanks Anna

    1. It’s actually just half whole milk and half heavy cream. It’s comes prepackaged here in the states but you can easily just combine your own. Hope this helps!

  17. I am going to make this tomorrow and have really large chicken breasts. If I cut them in half do I still cook for 4 hrs?

  18. This was amazing. I made it as written. I had some leftover thin spaghetti from the night before. I threw that in at the end and mixed it altogether. The chicken fell right apart! Definitely will make this again and again! Thank you for sharing this superb recipe.

  19. making this tomorrow! how essential is the chicken base? is that like better than bullion? i know it says optional but wondering if i need to run out and buy it!

  20. Hi, I am so anxious to make this.. I forgot to get the Better Than Bouillon..CAN I use chicken broth instead? If so, how much? Thank you for sharing 🙂

  21. This is the crock pot recipe I have always been looking for!!! It is so yummy. Some people said it didn’t have enough flavor, mine was bursting! I zested both lemons completely. I also added a Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning. I followed everything else exactly. It’s creamy and has a wonderful balance of salt, fat and acid. LOVE IT! Thank you.

  22. Am I supposed to leave the chicken in the crockpot after I add the cornstarch mixture and cook for an additional hour?

  23. OMG, this was better than restaurant quality! We love us some chicken piccata, and this recipe blew us away. I swayed a bit, but not much. I used olive oil rather than butter to sear the breasts (and the searing is essential). After the breasts were done, I took the cast iron pan off the stove to cool down a sec, and then put the butter (plant-based as Hubbs suffered a heart attack) and garlic in to help loosen up the bits; then finally put all the squeezed lemon juice in the pan to totally release the bits. Then poured all that over the breasts in the crockpot. Also, I used whole milk rather than half & half to further reduce the fat. Because corn starch is so forgiving, it was easy to just add a little slurry at the end to get the sauce to the desired consistency. I even messed up and made it a bit too thick … no worries, just added a little water with a chicken stock packet, and voila! PERFECT! Lastly, I added a generous amount of capers about 20 minutes before completion. I will tell you what … this recipe ROCKS. The chicken was fall apart tender and FULL of flavor. Fresh lemon and zest really puts the dish over the edge. Girl, you know how to cook!

  24. Just to make sure i’m reading this correctly.. Do you add the half & half, cornstarch, and chicken base mixture at the 3 hour mark if cooking on low for 4 hours, and then let it cook for the final hour?

  25. This was a total hit! It had the perfect amount of lemon flavor without overwhelming. I used almond milk instead of half and half. This got the color right, but the consistency of the sauce was liquid-y. That was okay though because it was all delicious!

    I agree with the previous comment, cooking the chicken on the pan is essential! It gives everything the perfect texture and colors the meat really nicely.

    I paired it with green bean casserole and mashed potatoes. Both are lightly flavored side dishes so they helped make the chicken a star!

    1. You can use between 8-10 tablespoons of lemon juice as a substitute. For the half and half, mix 4 teaspoons of melted unsalted butter int a measuring cup and then add enough milk to equal 1 cup and use that as a substitute for half and half. Hope this helps!

  26. Very good! I halved the recipe but put in all the garlic. I sautéed some spinach and then added it at the very end to the sauce. Next time…yes, there will be a next time…I’m going to add capers. My husband was impressed and he is a foodie. Leftovers will probably be even better!

  27. I thought I saw mention of adding shredded parmesan to this lemon chicken? If so, how much and when! That sounds lovely!

    1. I just add it at the end. How much is really a personal preference. It’s delicious so I highly recommend adding it.

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