If you haven’t planned anything for dinner and you have a chicken in the freezer, you don’t need to defrost it before you can cook it.
You can cook it frozen in the crock pot.
But how long should you cook a frozen chicken in a crock pot?
You need to know that the chicken is going to be cooked through and safe to eat.
We have put together this guide to help you know how to correctly and safely cook frozen chicken in a crock pot.
Crock pot cooking is so simple and easy, and is ideal for those days when you are too busy to spend lots of time in the kitchen.
Keep reading to find out more about how to cook chicken in a crock pot, along with some recipe inspiration.
What Is The Best Way To Cook Frozen Chicken In A Crock Pot?
The easiest cut of chicken to cook in a crock pot is chicken breast. Because there are no bones, the breasts will cook quite quickly.
The breast meat is soft which means it will thaw quickly, allowing it to cook much faster than drumsticks or thighs.
Place the chicken breasts in your crock pot with whatever flavoring you want to use. Turn the crockpot on to the low setting and cook the chicken.
You can start with2 to 3 hours, then check the chicken and see how much longer it needs.
It could take up to 6 hours depending on how many chicken breasts you are cooking at once.
It is safest to check the temperature of the meat before you serve it.
Use a meat thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the meat has reached a minimum of 165 degrees fahrenheit.
If you are cooking chicken drumsticks or thighs with bones, you need to give the chicken longer to cook.
It will take about 4-6 hours. The bones slow down the thawing process and the cooking process.
There is also blood in these cuts of chicken, so you need to cook the chicken long enough to cook all of the blood out.
When checking the temperature of boned meat, you need to make sure that the tip of the thermometer reaches right to the meat that is touching the bone.
This is the part that will take the longest to cook.
Which Crock Pot Setting Do You Need To Use?
If you are cooking frozen chicken then you need to use the low setting. The gentle heat will allow the meat to thaw and cook at the same time.
If you use a high heat setting then the outside of the chicken could overcook before the middle is defrosted and cooked.
This means that your chicken will be unsafe to eat.
If you leave it in long enough to cook the whole piece of chicken, the outside will be overcooked and burned.
This will also result in your chicken being tough, as it has been defrosted and cooked too quickly.
The rapid change in temperature causes the meat to tense up and become tough and chewy.
Using the lower heat setting will ensure that the meat is soft and tender. Slow cooked meat tends to be more succulent.
How Do You Stop The Meat From Drying Out?
Cooking frozen chicken takes longer than cooking thawed chicken.
You may be concerned about the chicken drying out during the lengthy cooking process.
To counteract this, you can add some liquid to the crock pot. This could be chicken stock or vegetable stock.
It could be a tin of chicken soup or a meaty gravy. You could use chopped tomatoes, garlic and other flavorings.
You could also cook the chicken in wine, cider or apple juice. It depends on what meal you are making with your chicken.
What Is The Difference Between A Crockpot And A Slow Cooker?
Is there any difference between a crockpot and a slow cooker? Does it change the way that you cook chicken?
A crock pot is a particular brand of cooking pot. They were created in the 1970s and are made from ceramic or stoneware.
There is a heating element which ensures that the heat applied to the pot is spread evenly, consistently cooking the contents of the pot.
This removes the need to stir the contents of the pot. The thick ceramic keeps the heat in.
Crock pots tend to have three heat settings – low, medium and high.
Once you select the heat it will remain at a consistent temperature throughout the cooking process.
Some crock pot models have a cooking timer and will switch off or switch to a ‘keep warm’ mode when the time runs out.
A slow cooker is not a specific brand but a type of kitchen appliance.
They can vary in style and design, but they are usually a metal cooking pot on a stand which acts as an electric heat source.
The heat is not evenly distributed so it is possible for food to stick on the bottom of the slow cooker, and the metal does not retain the heat as well as the ceramic crock pot.
The heat settings of a slow cooker are very similar to that of a crock pot.
There tends to be a low, medium and high setting. Slow cookers can also have timers and keep warm functions.
Cooking Chicken In A Crock Pot Or A Slow Cooker
The process for cooking chicken in a slow cooker is pretty much the same as cooking chicken in a crock pot.
It is still best to check whether the chicken is cooked by using a meat thermometer.
The main difference is the risk of the chicken sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Slow cookers do not necessarily spread the heat evenly around the pot.
This means that the chicken could get stuck on the bottom. You may need to check the chicken every half hour or hour and turn it to prevent it sticking.
You may need to add some liquid to the pot to help prevent the chicken from sticking.
The slow cooker won’t retain the heat in the same way as a crock pot so it might take a little longer to cook the chicken.
Depending on the make and model of slow cooker or crock pot, you might be able to use it on the stove top or put it in the oven.
This can be helpful for starting off a dish (such as browning or sealing meat) or finishing off a dish (like melting cheese).
Here are some ideas that you can use to cook frozen chicken in your crock pot or slow cooker.
Shredded BBQ Chicken In The Crock Pot
This shredded BBQ chicken is ideal for sandwiches, or as a topper for jacket potatoes and nachos. You can also use it as a filling for tacos, quesadillas, or enchiladas.
- Frozen chicken breasts (boneless and skinless – 4 pounds
- Water – 0.5 Cup
- Garlic (thinly chopped) – 5 gloves
- Garlic Powder – 1 Teaspoon
- Salt – 1 Tablespoon
- Pepper – 1 Teaspoon
- BBQ sauce – 2 Cups
- Place the frozen chicken breasts in the crock pot
- Add the water, garlic cloves, garlic powder, salt and pepper
- Place the lid on the crock pot and select the low heat setting
- Cook the chicken on low for 6 hours
- Use a meat thermometer to check that the chicken is cooked through
- Remove the chicken from the crock pot and place it on a plate
- Use a fork to shred the chicken breasts
- Coat the shredded chicken breasts with BBQ sauce
Slow Cooker Chili Chicken
This is a delicious recipe for chili chicken which can be easily made in the slow cooker. You can serve it with rice, a jacket potato, or warm bread with butter.
- Frozen chicken breasts (boneless and skinless) – 3 large
- Chicken broth – 2 Cups
- Diced tomatoes – 2 Cups
- Tomato Sauce – 2 Cups
- Full Cream – 0.5 Cup
- Diced Onion – 0.5 Cup
- Green Bell Pepper (Chopped) – 1 Large
- Black Beans (drained) – 1 Can
- Jalapenos (thinly sliced) – 2 medium
- Salt – 1 Teaspoons
- Italian Seasoning – 2 Teaspoons
- Chili Powder – 3 Teaspoons
- Cumin – 1 Tablespoon
- Minced Garlic – 1 Tablespoon
- Place the chicken, chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, peppers, black beans, jalapenos, salt, chili powder, cumin, minced garlic and italian seasoning in the slow cooker
- Stir all of the ingredients until they are well combined
- Choose the low heat setting and place the lid on the slow cooker
- Cook the ingredients for 6 hours. If possible, remove the lid and stir every hour or so
- Use a meat thermometer to check if the chicken is cooked
- Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker. You can either shred the chicken or chop it up into chunks, then return it to the slow cooker
- Add the cream and stir well to ensure that all of the ingredients are well combined
- Taste the sauce to check for seasonings and add more if needed
- Cook for a further 15 minutes on the low setting
- Serve with your choice of rice, bread or potatoes. Garnish with grated cheese and fresh cilantro
Cooking chicken from frozen can make things easier for you, as you don’t need to wait for it to thaw.
However, there are two important things to remember.
You should always cook frozen chicken on a low temperature to allow it to thaw properly as it cooks.
You should also use a meat thermometer to ensure that the chicken has an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees fahrenheit before you serve it.
This is very important for preventing food poisoning.
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