Cooking frozen chicken in a crockpot saves time and produces delicious slow-cooked chicken. This cooking method requires little effort because after adding the chicken and other ingredients to the pot, all that’s left to do is wait. The long cooking time also allows the flavors to completely infuse into the chicken.
Cooking frozen chicken in a crockpot typically takes six to seven hours on medium heat or three to four hours on high heat. Cooking frozen chicken this way is safe as long as the chicken cooks for the required time. Compared to a slow cooker, a crockpot reduces cooking time by heating food from the bottom and the sides, instead of just the bottom.
Can I Cook A Frozen Chicken In A Crockpot?
Cooking frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot is safe when the chicken is cooked for enough time and the internal temperature reaches a heat of 165°F. Cooking the chicken for at least seven hours on low heat gives enough time for the chicken to defrost and thoroughly cook before being served.
However, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends fully defrosting frozen chicken before cooking the chicken in a crock pot or slow cooker. The USDA recommends this method because frozen food takes a long time to thaw in the cooker, possibly allowing bacteria to multiply. Defrosted chicken also cooks more evenly, making it more likely for the chicken to reach a safe internal temperature throughout.
How Long Does it Take To Cook Frozen Chicken In a Crockpot?
Frozen chicken takes between three and seven hours to cook in a crockpot, depending on how the poultry is prepared and what level of heat is used to cook the chicken. The time required to cook the chicken includes the time required for the chicken to thaw in the crockpot. Smaller pieces of boneless chicken cook quicker than larger pieces of chicken that contain bones.
When cooking a frozen chicken breast on low heat, the chicken will take up to seven hours to cook thoroughly and reach a safe internal temperature. Or cook a frozen chicken breast on high heat to reduce the cooking time to around four hours. To reduce the cooking time even more, cut the chicken breasts into smaller pieces before freezing.
Cooking a frozen chicken breast on a low heat will extract more flavors from the chicken and other ingredients in the crockpot. Meanwhile, cooking the chicken at a high heat will ensure the chicken is in the danger zone for a shorter period. The danger zone is a temperature of meat and poultry that promotes the growth of bacteria, which can lead to food-borne illnesses.
How Long To Cook Frozen Chicken In a Crockpot On High
Cook frozen chicken in a crockpot on high for three to four hours until the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. While this method is faster than cooking on low heat, the high heat results in chicken that doesn’t taste as good. Cooking chicken at high heat leads to tough, dry, and overcooked meat in many cases.
When cooking frozen chicken at high heat, the outside of the chicken will thaw and cook faster than the middle of the chicken. This imbalance of cooking may lead to overcooked outer chicken when cooked for the full four hours. If the chicken is not cooked for the full four hours in an attempt to avoid overcooking, the chicken may remain undercooked in the middle, which can cause food poisoning.
How To Cook Frozen Chicken In a Crockpot
There are various ways to cook frozen chicken in a crockpot based on the desired flavors and type of dish you’re creating. An excellent recipe to make is simple shredded chicken, which can be added to various meals. Freeze the shredded chicken for later use as a quick solution for weekly meals.
Most methods of slow cooking chicken are similar to this method, but the spices, base, and other ingredients differ. To make shredded chicken, you will need the following ingredients:
- 4 pounds frozen skinless and boneless chicken breasts
- 14.5 ounces of chicken broth (fresh or from a can)
- 2 tablespoons of salted butter
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- First, add the chicken breasts to the crockpot and sprinkle over the garlic powder, poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper
- Then place the butter and bay leaves on top of the breasts and pour over the chicken broth
- Close the lid of the crockpot and cook the chicken on a low heat for seven hours or on high for four hours
- Keep the lid on the crockpot for the entire cooking duration
- When the time’s up, remove the cover and check the internal temperature of the chicken using a meat thermometer. The temperature should be 165°F or higher
- When the internal temperature is correct, drain all but half a cup of the chicken broth, and save the drained broth for later if you plan to freeze the chicken
- Use two forks to gently shred the chicken inside the crockpot, allowing the remaining broth to coat the shredded chicken
- Use the shredded chicken immediately in a dish, keep it in the refrigerator for up to three days, or freeze it with the saved broth for up to six months
How Long Does it Take To Cook Frozen Chicken In a Slow Cooker?
Cook frozen chicken in a slow cooker for eight to nine hours on low heat and five to six hours on high heat. Slow cookers take longer than crock pots because the slow cooker only heats from the bottom. The bottom element takes longer to heat the chicken to a safe internal temperature.
Since the slow cooker only heats the food from the bottom, stir the food occasionally to distribute the heat to cook all of the chicken entirely. However, don’t stir too frequently, as frequently lifting the lid of the slow cooker causes heat to escape and prolongs the chicken’s cooking time.
The USDA recommends cutting the chicken up into small pieces before cooking in a slow cooker to ensure even cooking of the poultry. The smaller food portions will allow the food to move out of the danger zone quicker.
The slow cooker has a slight advantage over a crockpot in that it can be removed from the heating element and used on the stovetop for faster cooking.
How To Cook Frozen Chicken In a Slow Cooker
Preparing frozen chicken in a slow cooker is simple, especially when the chicken is cut into small pieces before freezing. Here is an easy cheddar ranch chicken recipe to try in your slow cooker:
- 2 pounds frozen skinless, boneless chicken breasts (cut into small pieces)
- Eight pieces of cooked bacon (diced)
- 16 ounces of cream cheese
- 1 ounce ranch seasoning mix
- 1 ½ cups of cheddar cheese (grated)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Sprinkle ranch seasoning and other spices over the chicken pieces and place the chicken in the slow cooker. Add the cream cheese on top of the chicken pieces
- Close the lid and cook the chicken for eight to nine hours on low heat, or three to four hours on high. Stir the chicken once or twice during the cooking process if possible
- Once the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F, open the cooker and use two forks to shred the chicken. Stir the mix in the cooker to combine, and add the bacon to the mix
- Top the chicken with the cheese and leave covered for 10 minutes to let the cheese melt
Benefits Of Cooking Chicken in a Crockpot
There are many benefits of using a crockpot beyond simplicity and ease of cooking. Crockpots heat the food from the bottom and the sides of the dish to ensure an even cook and a faster cook than regular slow cookers.
The crockpot is also excellent at tenderizing tough cuts of meat that need a long and slow cooking process. The crockpot also uses much less electricity than a traditional stove.
Cooking frozen chicken in a crockpot or slow cooker is a convenient way to cook frozen chicken. Crockpots cook frozen chicken faster and more evenly than regular slow cookers, saving time and increasing food safety. Cook for about seven hours on low heat or about four hours on high heat.