Italian chicken slow cooker tastiness in under fifteen minutes

Guest post by Laura

Italian chicken in the  slow cooker ingredients-2

I happened to check the time before I started making this Italian chicken slow cooker recipe and — starting with a clean kitchen all the way through putting the cutting board into the dishwasher and the slow cooker into the fridge for the night — it took me thirteen minutes to make this. If I skipped the onion chopping and rosemary I could probably get it under ten. Then just a few minutes the next day for the rolls and we had a delicious dinner.

Perfect for those days when you have too many things to do and not enough time — or for when you don’t have time to waste in the kitchen because you need to catch up on Game of Thrones.


  • One package of chicken (around two pounds)
  • About half a cup to a full cup of Italian dressing
  • Some vegetables
  • If you’re feeling fancy, you can add some herbs. I had rosemary handy but it’s fine without it; the dressing brings a lot of flavor.

Italian chicken in the  slow cooker vegetables

Now about those vegetables:
Things that work well in slow cookers are potatoes, onions, diced tomatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, carrots, and parsnips. (I’ve tried bell peppers in the past but mine become bitter — has anyone else had this problem?) I haven’t tried these myself but you could also try squash, turnips, or rutabagas. Mix and match whatever strikes you.

For this I grabbed what I had on hand — the last onion, carrots, and some frozen vegetables. You want the slow cooker to be at least half full when everything is in there. If it’s not already in small bits, chop up your vegetables.

At this point there’s two ways you can make this:
You can put the chicken in first and then the vegetables, or the vegetables and then the chicken. (The rosemary got smushed in the middle so it could share its tasty goodness with everyone.)

Italian chicken in the  slow cooker-2

Once you have everyone in the slow cooker, drizzle the dressing over the top. Honestly I don’t really measure, I just make sure what’s on top has a good coating because I know it’ll work its way down as everything heats up.

The chicken in these pictures was still totally frozen, by the way. I made this the night before and put it into the fridge, but I’ve done this same recipe in the morning before work with frozen chicken and the slow cooker set on low all day and it was totally cooked by the time I got home nine hours later.

chicken slow cooker recipe Tastiness in under fifteen minutes

When I got home, the chicken was falling apart and the house smelled lovely. Notice all the liquid in the bottom with my vegetables. This may impact what you want to be on the bottom — I admit my vegetables were a bit mushy, which was fine that night but did not make for good leftovers.

You know what does make good leftovers? The chicken. So be good, eat all the vegetables like your parents told you to when you were a kid, and you’ll have leftover chicken to use later in the week in a fabulous sandwich or pasta or salad or whatever.

If you think your chicken turned out a bit dry, use a fork to make it into smaller chunks and push it down into the liquid then go do something for five minutes (check emails, catch up of Offbeat Home, pet your cat, contemplate the meaning of life) and it should be in better shape when you get back.

If you added rosemary, take that sucker out and trash it. It’s done its duty (heh, duty) and eating it is like chewing on a damp twig. I don’t recommend it.

I got wild and crazy and busted out the rolls from a tube to serve on the side. You could also do a salad or garlic bread or noodles.

chicken slow cooker recipe in 15 minutes-2

Comments on Italian chicken slow cooker tastiness in under fifteen minutes

  1. If you want to try the peppers again, I suggest skinning them first to avoid the bitterness (I assume you had removed all the seeds when you tried it). Since it’s kind of a pain in the patootie to skin peppers, and defeats the point of having a quick easy meal, I would either buy the pre-skinned variety or skip the peppers altogether.

  2. This looks tasty, I’ve never thought of using salad dressing in there! I love using my slow cooker. It is like a magical vessel for having a healthy and hearty meal with almost zero effort. Also, I’ve heard that slow cookers use WAY less energy than your stove or oven, so they’re saving you money too!

    Oh, and I’ll vouch that you can cook butternut squash in a slow cooker. I peel and cube it then cook it with a pork loin and curry seasoning. When it is all done, take the meat out (you could do it meatless too I suppose), then mash up the squash with the remaining liquid (I get fancy-schmancy and use an immersion blender) to make a creamy golden curry sauce. Super easy and tasty!

  3. I love this sort of recipe because you can substitute any/all of the things and still have something tasty. (If you substitute beef for the chicken and water/broth for the salad dressing you have the basic crockpot pot roast dinner that was a staple in my house when I was young)

  4. We make chicken in the slow cooker a ton, and you can definitely mix it up however you like. Add bbq sauce, or a little chicken stock with lemon juice, onions, herbs, and minced garlic.

    One tip about veggies in the slow cooker: if you hate the mushiness and have the time, consider adding them halfway through on top, instead of the full time on the bottom. Definitely use baby or whole carrots instead of sliced ones, and consider adding them to a beef stew if you want bell peppers. Which reminds me, I should write up our merlot-heavy beef stew sometime.

    • Be warned of using BBQ sauce, though – too much, it it starts to burn and get sticky and just starts tasting terrible and is nearly impossible to wash off the sides of the cooker. I would recommend adding it at the end, but maybe that was just mu experience.

    • Browning the meat first helps add a little extra flavour (caramelization! the maillard reaction!), and keeps the meat a nice looking colour for the finished product (at least with cow parts, which can sometimes end up looking a little grey-ish when braised or slow-cooked without browning first). However, your food still comes out cooked, and if it a stew or something with lots of herbs, browning first shouldn’t matter much in terms of flavour.

  5. Slow cooker newbie here. ( I’m about to buy my first one.)

    What size slow cooker is used by the recipe? There are several sizes of slow cookers available and I’m trying to decide which size I should buy. Is it a big deal if the slow cooker is less than half full? Is there a standard size that most people/recipes use?

    Any advice would be appreciated!

    • Honestly a “too big” slow cooker is going to cook as well as a two small. If you want to experiment send out a call to borrow from family and friends on facebook.

      Above all get a slow cooker that has the cooking vessel removable from the metal electronic parts 300% easier to clean!

      I also prefer to know exactly what temp my slow cooker is at versus the mystery high, Med, low scenario.

    • Hooray! You’ll love it.
      I don’t know exactly how big the slow cooker in the recipe is, but it looks about the same as mine (3qt – oval). I have found that to be a perfect size to hold food for 4-6 people. I can fit most roasts in this size, although some are a tight fit! As long as you can get the lid on, you’re fine. I haven’t had any problem using the slow cooker when it wasn’t all the way full. The most important thing is that there is some liquid in the bottom. I don’t usually follow a specific recipe, but slow cookers are great that way. Just throw in meat+veggies+water/broth+ spices of some sort (whole cloves of garlic/onion soup mix/taco seasoning/whatever!) = crazy good meal! If you’re afraid of over seasoning it, just throw a bit in during cooking, you can always add more when it is all done.

    • I would definitely recommend a larger crock pot over a smaller one. I have the most darling little two quart one which I thought would be the perfect size since it’s just me.

      Unfortunately, most recipes seem to be for a four quart or larger slow cooker so recipes conversions end up being impromptu math lessons which suck when you just want food.

      The moral of the story is down with math and all hail the large slow cooker. 🙂

  6. This sounds amazing! I’m trying for tonight’s dinner using carrots, skinny green beans, sweet pepper chicken sausage, and frozen chicken breasts, with my favorite French vinaigrette (Brianna’s) and a sprinkle of rosemary powder, on low for 9 hours. I’ll post later on how it turned out!

    • I would make this again, but I’d leave out the pre-cooked sweet Italian sausage I’d included, because it tasted like cardboard after 8 hours of slow cooking! I’d also put the chicken near the bottom, where it can stew in the juices of the veggies, and I’d cook for only 6 hours, since the chicken turned out a bit dry and the carrots and green beans a little mushy. Otherwise, it tasted great and made the house smell lovely! I’ll be making this routinely and changing up the veggies to cook what’s in season. Thanks for the ideas, everyone !

  7. When your veggies turn mushy, do what I do with pot roast…mash them up together! Carrots plus potatoes look cuter and it’s easier to ladle gravy on them… (no, I’m not at all averse to eating mush, as long as it’s tasty, delicious mush). 🙂 You can even make them look all fancy and pureed like you did it on purpose, it’s all in the presentation. LOL

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