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Slow-Cooker Poached Chicken

Hands Down, the Best Way to Poach Chicken

Poached chicken has a reputation for being dry, bland, and boring, but it doesn't have to be that way. Some recipes circumvent this problem by bringing the poaching liquid to a boil, turning off the heat, and leaving the chicken in the poaching liquid until it has completely cooled off (the residual heat cooks it gently and completely). Personally, I prefer a more hands-off method: using a slow cooker. Not only do you not need to watch the pot, but it's even gentler and thus harder to mess up, as the water never hits a boiling point.

The results speak for themselves: the chicken is tender, moist, and juicy. Plus, the poaching liquid can be repurposed as a delicate chicken stock. (Just strain off the aromatics.) Two things for the effort of one!

Slow-Cooker Poached Chicken

Adapted from One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from Your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More by the Editors of Martha Stewart Living and Easy Slow Cooker: Fuss-Free Family Food from Your Slow Cooker by Ryland Peters & Small

Slow-Cooker Poached Chicken


  1. 4 smallish carrots, rinsed and roughly chopped
    3 celery stalks, rinsed and roughly chopped
    1 leek, thoroughly rinsed and roughly chopped
    1 smallish onion, peeled or unpeeled, roughly chopped
    1 teaspoon black peppercorns
    1 bay leaf
    1 sprig fresh thyme
    1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    1 whole chicken (about 4 pounds)
    8 cups water


  1. Add all of the aromatics to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker — a smaller slow cooker will be too small — place the chicken on top, breast up. Then add the water, adding more if the chicken isn't covered (or almost covered). Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours (or on low for 4 or more hours), or until the chicken reaches 165°F.
  2. When the chicken is cooked, lift it out of the slow-cooker. Let it rest for at least 20 minutes, and carve it into portions. Discard the aromatics, then pour the stock through a fine-mesh strainer. (For the clearest stock, line the fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth before straining.)
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nicole Perry
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