Today, I wanted to share with you my absolute favorite way to use the slow cooker: to bulk prepare chicken. I really love using my slow cooker to cook a lot of chicken at once (aka bulk food prep). After it is cooked, I freeze small portions of it so that I can pull it out to use for meals throughout the month. I have posted a tutorial on using frozen chicken in the past but today I wanted to show you how you can also use raw chicken breasts.
Before we get started, I need to first give props to the amazingness of the slow cooker. Pretty much anyone can use it, regardless of cooking skills. You can use it to make all types of dishes, from casseroles to meats to desserts to just plain food prep. Unlike the oven, you don’t have to stand over the slow cooker and babysit whatever you’re cooking. I love the feeling of tossing the ingredients all together and coming back hours later to a tasty, beautiful meal.
The slow cooker is my all-time favorite kitchen appliance, and I’d highly recommend it if you are looking for a simple, convenient way to make healthy meals at home. There are lots of options out there, but I think the 6-quart programmable slow cooker is the most versatile and perfect size! (like this one)
I made this tutorial at B’s house using his slow cooker (his is white, so you can see the chicken better for photos)
Using A Slow Cooker
An important note about chicken breasts in the slow cooker: really fatty meats turn out nice and tender in the slow cooker, unlike super lean meats like a chicken breast. That’s why this specific cooking method works better with a liquid in the slow cooker.
Get to know your slow cooker: I always suggest staying close to home to keep an eye on things the first time you ever use your specific slow cooker. Each one cooks a little differently and it’s helpful to know how yours will be when you’re making a new dish. For example, it always a little less cooking time than what a recipe suggests in my slow cooker. I take this into account for cooking time with dishes in my home.
How to Bulk Prep Chicken in the Slow Cooker
- 2 lb. raw chicken breasts
- 1-2 C low sodium chicken broth
- slow cooker
- Turn the slow cooker on high
- Pour broth into slow cooker until the bottom is completely covered
- Place chicken in slow cooker
- Add more broth until chicken is halfway submerged in liquid
- Cook on high for ~4 hours or low for ~ 6 hours (or until chicken is 165 degrees F)
- Turn the crock pot off and pull apart the chicken with a fork
- Let it sit for about 10 minutes until it has cooled off some
- Separate chicken and broth into individual servings
- Freeze chicken
I purposely do not make the chicken with any seasoning so that I can use it for pretty much any type of dish later on
How I Use Bulk Prep Chicken
Freezing: I like to freeze my chicken into servings large enough for either 2 or 4 people, depending on the dish I’m making. I find the quality is best if the chicken is used up within a month of when it is frozen. It is perfectly fine to leave it frozen longer, but sometimes I think prolonged freezing makes meats seem a little dried out.
Thawing: I pull out one of the frozen bags and let it thaw out for about 24 hours in the fridge- then it’s ready to use! If you’re short on time or don’t think of it in advance, you can also thaw it in the microwave.
Here are a few ideas for using up this chicken:
- Mexican dishes: chicken tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, etc.
- Topping for a salad
- Pasta dishes: chicken alfredo, spaghetti with chicken, baked pasta
- Chicken BBQ
- Soups: chili, chicken noodle soup, etc.
- Chicken Salad
I always have a bag or two of this frozen chicken on hand in case I don’t have enough time to cook a meat but still want a healthy, home-cooked meal.
Please let me know if you make this and how it turned out!