Slow cooker chicken thighs is an effortless meal solution resulting in outrageously tender chicken generously dusted with a simple chicken seasoning rub.
Once upon a time, when I was a kid I drove our lawn mower into the side of my parent's garage, significantly damaging it. The only thing that spared me from the full extent of my dad's wrath was a tree falling on our roof before my dad got home. Fast forward twenty years and my son drives an ATV into the side of my pole shed, punching a good hole in it. What happens next? Well, a tree lands on the roof of the shed! I wish history didn't repeat itself quite so often.
So that's pretty much what is on the agenda today. As soon as I am done writing about these slow cooker chicken thighs I have to meet with the insurance adjuster to assess the damage.
But, you know what? It is hard to beat the slow cooker for crazy days like today, and it is hard to beat chicken thighs for an inexpensive hassle-free meal. Let's take a look at one of my favorite ways to make them!
Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs (Bone-In)
I actually prefer to cook chicken thighs in the slow cooker instead of the oven. Why? As the bone-in chicken thighs cook the moisture renders out of the skin, pooling in the bottom of the slow cooker where the chicken is sitting, essentially cooking the chicken in its own flavorful juices. Not only does this make the chicken taste better, the moisture makes the meat more tender.
How Long to Cook Chicken Thighs in Slow Cooker
I find 4 hours on low to be ideal when cooking chicken thighs in the slow cooker. This gives the skin plenty of time to render out the fat, resulting in firmer/dryer skin when served. You can cook the chicken longer if needed, nothing bad will happen. The meat will get more tender the longer it cooks until it finally falls off the bone.
How Do I Cook Bone-In Chicken Thighs
You have a lot of flavoring options for cooking your chicken thighs. When using a slow cooker, I personally recommend sticking to a dry rub, or basic chicken seasoning. By not adding moisture to the slow cooker (like a BBQ sauce for example), you will allow the skin to dry out as it cooks, resulting in a more crisp skin. Adding a sauce will certainly flavor the meat, but the skin will remain soggy.
How to Cook Chicken Thighs in the Slow Cooker
I find six chicken thighs fit perfectly in the bottom of my 6-Quart Crock Pot, however, you can still easily make this recipe if you have a different sized slow cooker. The chicken thighs need to be laid in a single layer at the bottom of the slow cooker, so you are welcome to use as many thighs as will fit in yours.
Will Skin Get Crispy in the Slow Cooker?
The slow cooker is NOT an ideal cooking vessel if you are looking for crispy chicken skin. Baking or broiling your chicken thighs will result in much crispier skin. That being said, you do not need to settle for soggy, rubbery skin just because you are using a slow cooker. As the chicken thighs cook they will release moisture, the skin sitting in the pooling liquid will never get remotely crisp. However, the portion of the skin resting above the liquid will render fat and will firm up. I still would not describe it as "crispy", however, it is crisp enough that you can bite through it.
To summarize: If you are looking for maximum crispy chicken skin, use your oven.
Chicken Thighs Recipes
Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs (Bone In)
- 6 Chicken Thighs (bone in)
- Salt and needed
- Lightly sprinkle chicken with salt on each side.
- In a small dish combine chicken seasoning and blend together. Sprinkle liberally over chicken thighs.
- Arrange chicken thighs in a single layer at the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker, skin side up. Turn on low and let cook for 4 hours. Chicken will surpass 165 degrees when measured with a meat thermometer.
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