The crock pot is like black magic to super busy people; put some frozen chicken breasts in them and come back to perfectly cooked chicken for nachos, enchiladas, or casseroles.
As a modern kitchen appliance, it’s hard to imagine it dates back to the 1930s.
Fun fact: it was inspired by traditional Lithuanian Jewish cooking methods. (* )
Slow cookers are a godsend on long days, just like frozen meats. So how can we merge the two for maximum convenience?
We’re going to make the most divine chicken breast crockpot dinner straight from the freezer while avoiding all the pitfalls and making the best of it.
Let’s jump in!
Frozen Chicken Breast in a Crockpot – On a Whim
The technique of cooking meat straight from the freezer is the same for all cuts. Starting out high for food safety, proceeding with low heat to retain moisture, and turning it up again to thicken the juices and caramelize the meat.
We have so much more knowledge to share with you, so bear with us!
1. Slow Cooker Cranberry Chicken
Get the recipe: simplystacie.net
This savory but tangy shredded chicken is festive and simple at the same time. Cranberries are not just for Christmas; they taste heavenly with some chicken or pork.
You don’t need much to make this; some cranberry sauce, frozen chicken breast, thyme, ginger, and onion soup. It’s gonna be a whole winter feast!
Only top it with the fresh thyme at the last minute, right before serving. Start with high heat, then turn it lower after the first hour of cooking.
You don’t have to shred the chicken; they can be amazing as whole filets with some fries as a side dish.
Now let’s look for a more popular version of the slow cooker chicken breasts!
2. Slow Cooker Chicken Cordon Bleu
Get the recipe: lifeshouldcostless.com
Everyone loves Cordon Bleu, especially made from scratch, and not those frozen, ready-made fixes.
Scratch means a quick, 20-minute prep time. You’ll need some chicken stock, butter, milk, flour, ham, and cheese.
Pour the wet ingredients and seasonings into the pot, then start layering the chicken, ham, and cheese. We prefer some white wine to deepen the flavors.
4 or 5 hours is all you need, and for a creamy pasta dish, simply pour some penne on top for the last 30 minutes.
Our next pick is similarly delish and popular.
3. Slow Cooker Chicken Alfredo Tortellini
Get the recipe: thegunnysack.com
As a warm comfort food, it’s not compatible with Weight Watchers. You’ll just have to enjoy the flavors!
It’s more of an all-in-one family meal, carb-loaded and addictive. Instead of the Alfredo sauce, you can opt for a cream soup. The taste will be similar.
Once the chickens are cooked through, you can shred them to pieces or enjoy them whole.
Tortellini are fun to make, but frankly, homemade ones don’t necessarily taste superior to good-quality store-bought packets.
Just buy them ready-made, preferably filled with spinach, and toss them in the cooker, once the chicken is cooked. Be generous with garlic; that’s the soul of this meal!
You can buy a ready-made Alfredo sauce or make some yourself. ( * ) We like to add some chili or paprika to it. Try it next time!
Paprika can be a similarly great addition to our next recipe, so let’s dive in!
4. Crockpot Pepper Jack Chicken
Get the recipe: recipesthatcrock.com
This is one of those designated toss-in-everything crockpot meals you’ll just love on a busy day. With some planning ahead on grocery days, it can be a totally hassle-free dinner.
Leaner cuts like breasts are easy to mess up and cook bone-dry. Cooking it with lots of creamy stuff like a bunch of cheese, cream, broth, and veggies will help you keep it juicy.
This way, you can cook them for long hours until the flavors blend together nicely.
We prefer to leave out green beans, as they can be divisive. But feel free to use plenty of bell peppers, green peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, and even broccoli.
When you’re not cooking a broth or soup and using meat straight from the freezer, avoid vegetables that release a lot of additional liquid.
Similarly, we don’t recommend adding water to cook meat. Professional cooking is clear on only using ingredients that add to the complexity of flavors, never diluting them. ( * )
Even with the best-quality ingredients, you can still mess up the cooking. So let’s move on to some crucial cooking tips.
Pro Cooking Tips: CrockPot Chicken Breast straight from the freezer
You’d think that cooking frozen meat is a quick home fix for a subpar meal. That couldn’t be further from the truth. ( * )
Some of the best chefs regularly cook straight from the freezer. You only need to learn the basics once to make mesmerizing dishes from now on.
- Never layer the meat on top of each other. Let the liquids, aromatics, and air circumvent them.
- Don’t cook chicken (of any cut) on high, unless it’s straight frozen. Even then, only cook on a high setting for the first hour and the last browning and thickening session.
- Modern slow cookers have higher temperatures. Old ones lose some of their efficiency over time.
- Marinating chicken before cooking can get you superior results. We love to bathe them in pickle juice, buttermilk, regular milk, or any wet rub overnight.
- Never cook white meat for more than 5 hours, even in the slow cooker.
- Cooking with tomatoes in a slow cooker is a risk. They quickly burn in those appliances, especially tomato paste. You should only add it at the end of the cooking session.
These tricks cover the most common mistakes when it comes to cooking frozen chicken breasts in a crock pot.
How to elevate chicken breast crockpot recipes
Let’s start with the biggest pitfall; the way chickens are industrially raised today directly impacts their health, hence the taste and quality. It’s both sad for us and for the poor chickens.
As a consequence, simply cooking them unbothered will get you bland, dry, chalky meat.
Slow cooking, by default, won’t solve that problem. You have to learn the proper ways of cooking chicken breast, especially frozen, to get the best of it.
As a piece of general advice, there are a few things to keep in mind when you slow cook chicken breast.
- First, avoid any bland or intricate flavors, or fresh, green herbs. They will simply disappear during the long cooking hours.
- Go for striking elements, and let them overtake the otherwise savourless chicken breast.
- You can also make a divine sauce from the liquids; simply reduce them in a saucepan with some white wine and butter.
- A splash of acidity – To bring together the flavors and help the meat tenderize, you need some acidic elements as well. These can be a hint of white rice vinegar, lime zest, or tomato paste.
While we have endless ideas on flavor pairings, peculiar home cooks might still have some basic questions we need to answer.
Can you freeze the chicken breast for later use once it’s been cooked?
After cooking the frozen chicken breasts, you can refreeze them for an additional 3 weeks. They are not as durable as fresh meats after cooking, but you can elongate their shelf life substantially.
However, without cooking them first, never refreeze thawed meat.
Is it safe to put frozen chicken in the Crockpot?
You can safely cook frozen chicken in the crockpot. However, you need to cook them on a high setting initially.
It is a must to avoid the meat sitting in a dangerous temperature zone for too long, where the toxins can proliferate. If you skip this step, there’s no way to kill off poisonous, heat-resistant toxins later on. ( * )
How long does frozen chicken take in a Crockpot?
It takes between 4 and 6 hours to cook frozen chicken in the CrockPot. However, never go above 6 hours, as the chicken will dry out.
Checking the texture with a fork or the internal temperature with a thermometer is the best way to determine doneness.
After piquing your curiosity about turning blank chicken into a high-class meal, we still have some chicken secrets for you.
Wrapping it up
Chicken might be the most overused and underappreciated ingredient. It’s a major game changer, but hardly any home cooks know how to make the best of it.
Next time you visit a high-end restaurant, do yourself a favor and order some basic chicken dishes. You will recognize the glaring difference in how it was done.
It almost seems like unattainable magic, but it’s very doable with some simple steps. Go over our pro tips again, and do some of your research as well.
Chicken is worth the hassle, as it’s a widely available ingredient. And shockingly, the result won’t depend on the quality of your starting chicken cut.
From a mediocre, industrial pair of chicken breasts, you can make a fine-dining feast on a lazy Friday afternoon.