Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken is the answer to your last-minute “what’s for dinner” woes! Using basics that you likely have on hand, this healthy dinner can be made in the slow cooker with just a few extra ingredients. Serve over rice or with a side of steamed veggies for a satisfying meal at home!
Why Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken Is The Best
- Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken is one of the best options for a truly yummy dinner at home when you don’t want to venture out to the grocery store. Use some pantry ingredients for the sauce and serve over rice. If you have chicken stored in the freezer, even better!
- This is such an easy-to-prep dinner because it goes with lots of side dishes and the mild but delicious flavor appeals to just about everyone – including the picky eaters!
- On those days when you are tempted to pick up takeout for ease, you can opt for lemon chicken knowing that it is healthier and will cook quickly enough for you to start it around lunchtime. This only took 3 hours on high in my 3.5-quart slow cooker.
- Restaurant lemon chicken dishes tend to have lots of added sodium, MSG, vegetable oil, or gluten. This version is so much better for you!
You might already have everything you need at home! Add some rice and extra veggies on the side and you’ll have dinner set in no time.
- Chicken – I used boneless skinless chicken breasts for easy shredding. Boneless skinless chicken thighs will also work!
- Chicken broth – Broth always makes a tasty sauce base. If you like, you can use bone broth for extra nutritional benefits.
- Soy sauce – Soy sauce aids in tenderizing the chicken and works so well in slow cooker recipes. Use coconut aminos or tamari sauce for a gluten-free option, if needed.
- Honey – Just a bit of sweetness offsets the acidity of the lemon juice.
- Lemon juice – Fresh-squeezed lemons or a fresh bottle of lemon juice will do. The fresher the better for a more impactful flavor!
- Rice vinegar – Rice vinegar is a key ingredient in Asian-inspired home-cooked recipes.
- Garlic powder – Using garlic powder helps even distribution in the sauce.
- Ground ginger – Is there a better combo than ginger and lemon? Ground ginger adds a wonderful element to the lemony sauce.
- Hot sauce – You only need a dash of hot sauce for spice. Choose sriracha, chili sauce, or any hot sauce that you already have.
- Cornstarch slurry – Just a bit of cornstarch dissolved in water will provide a slight thickener to the sauce. This gives a little extra stickiness to the sauce that is perfect for serving over rice or other veggies.
How To Make Lemon Chicken In The Slow Cooker
This is one of the easiest chicken recipes you can make in the slow cooker.
- Start by placing the chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
- Whisk together all remaining ingredients in a measuring cup or bowl.
- Pour the mixture over the top of the chicken.
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Remove the chicken, shred it with forks, and return it to the slow cooker to toss and fully coat with the sauce.
- Serve shredded lemon chicken over rice or as desired.
A few extra tips for the best results:
- Make sure to use thawed (not frozen) chicken for food safety precautions.
- It is worth the extra step to shred the chicken rather than serving whole chicken breasts. When you shred it and add it back to the sauce, not only is it more visually appealing, but the chicken also absorbs the sauce and becomes so much more flavorful!
Variations and Substitutions
Try a few variations to make this lemon chicken just how you like it!
- If you’d rather use boneless skinless chicken thighs, go for it! The water content in chicken can vary so sometimes it is easier to prevent chicken from drying out by using chicken thighs.
- You can substitute tapioca flour for cornstarch or just leave the cornstarch out if you want a thinner sauce. Also, if needed, you can thicken the sauce with a little additional cornstarch slurry.
- You can use freshly squeezed lemon or just use bottled fresh lemon juice. Keeping a bottle on hand in your refrigerator makes it easy to meal prep!
- As an optional step, garnish bowls of lemon chicken with sesame seeds and green scallions.
What To Serve With Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken
Lemon chicken is so delicious served over steamed white or brown rice. The rice soaks up the extra lemony juices from the chicken and makes a filling meal. You could also pair some sautéed veggies like zucchini, Green Beans with Garlic, or try some Oven Roasted Carrots.
To complement the acidic taste of the lemon, pour a glass of crisp white wine. Enjoy!
Storing and Reheating
Lemon chicken with a side of rice and veggies would be a fabulous option to prep ahead for leftover portions throughout the week. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight container or freeze for up to 3 months.
Defrost if needed and reheat single servings in the microwave for short increments.
Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken
- Slow Cooker
- Place chicken breasts in slow cooker
- Whisk together remaining ingredients in a measuring cup or bowl
- Pour mixture over chicken in slow cooker
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours until chicken is fully cooked
- Remove chicken, shred it with forks, and return to the slow cooker to toss and fully coat with sauce
- Serve shredded lemon chicken over rice or as desired
- Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost from frozen and reheat single servings in the microwave.
- Garnish with sesame seeds or scallions. If needed, thicken the sauce with a small additional amount of cornstarch slurry.
- Chicken must reach an internal temperature of 165 ℉, but it tends to shred better at 205 degrees ℉.
Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken FAQs
- Should I brown the chicken before putting it in the slow cooker? No, you do not need to brown the chicken first. This recipe works best with thawed chicken breasts straight into the slow cooker.
- Can I use frozen chicken for this recipe? No, make sure the chicken is thawed before placing it in the slow cooker. For this recipe and the allotted time, this helps to ensure food safety.
- Can I replace the lemon with other citrus fruits? I don’t recommend replacing the lemon in this recipe. If you’d like to try another citrus fruit variation with your chicken, you might like Slow Cooker Crispy Orange Chicken or Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken which includes chunks of pineapple.
- How long does this recipe take to cook in the slow cooker? This recipe is designed to cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Since slow cookers can vary slightly, check the temperature with an internal food thermometer to ensure doneness. Chicken breasts are fully cooked at 165 ℉, but I find they shred better at 205 degrees ℉ and won’t dry out since they are cooking in liquid.