A tender, lemony dish that'll send your taste buds singing
Looking for something to cheer you up on a gloomy day? I’m no expert in color psychology but just looking at the bright yellow of lemons tends to make me feel a bit lighter. Talking about bright and light, this Lemon Chicken recipe calls for boneless chicken thighs, green olives and cumin, to combine with the robust citrus to create this easy, bubbling slow cooker dish. This Slow Cooker lemon chicken is so easy because this is truly cooking where you can discard timing! Leave this on the heat and come home to enjoy in as little as 3 hours.
Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken FAQ’s
“Can I use Chicken Breasts?”
If you’re going to use the leaner breast, make sure you correspondingly lower the cooking time. Chicken breasts that are steamed or cooked for too long become incredibly dry. The only way to get around this is completely submerging them in sauce and making sure not to cook too long. Bone-in and skin-on chicken thighs are much more forgiving. There is almost no way to overcook them.
“What if the Thighs I bought aren’t Skinless?”
This recipe does call for skinless thighs but really, both work. What you have here is a compromise. Exclude the skins and you lose some flavor, but use them and you up the fat content of this recipe and risk some greasy residue. If you’re cooking with the chicken skins, you have two options once the chicken thighs are cooked through. Either remove and discard the skin. It will be super easy to remove at this point. Or, remove the chicken thighs on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes. The skin will crisp up super nicely and taste absolutely fantastic.
“What if I don’t have any Green Olives?”
Black olives work just great too. Although capers are typically eaten with fish, I think they work surprisingly well with poultry.
“Do I need to use Whole Lemons?”
While the bottled lemon juice you keep in your refrigerator works just fine for adding here and there to sauces, we’d recommend skipping the bottle for this recipe. First of all, using freshly squeezed lemon juice will guarantee the brightest, most flavorful sauce for this slow cooker lemon chicken. Secondly, if you have a lemon, why not grate a little of the outside rind into your slow cooker? This adds essential oils into your sauce. As long as you avoid the pith (the white layer that separates the rind from the flesh), you’ll be left with a bright citrusy flavor. So, how many lemons do you need to buy for this recipe? As a general rule of thumb, one lemon should produce 2 to 3 tablespoons of juice.
My first thought is how good this slow cooker lemon chicken would be with some roasted or sautéed zucchini slices. Pair with brown rice and you’ve got yourself some dinner! Alternatively, I like shredding up this slow cooker lemon chicken, adding a dash of cream and adding it to penne for some creamy lemon chicken pasta. All you need now is lots of freshly ground black pepper!
Another idea is to make this into a one-pot slow cooker meal. For some carbohydrates, pearl barley would be delicious. Potatoes are a great option because they don’t need to be submerged in any liquid to cook through. You can place them all to one side or layer on top of the chicken. If you’re using potatoes, the best variety to use here would be baby potatoes. They hold their shape the best. No need to peel them either because the skin is very soft and stays stuck on the potato halves as opposed to fall off and float around in the sauce. If you’re adding vegetables, be warned that many may turn to mush if you add them in at the beginning. The only vegetables that can withstand long cooking times are root vegetables. Try carrots or celery.
You know how much we like these slow cooker chicken dishes… If you liked this, you might also enjoy our Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken. Equally yummy, what about our Slow Cooker General Tso’s Chicken or this Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken?
Slow Cooker Lemon Chicken
- 12 boneless and skinless chicken thighs
- kosher or sea salt to taste
- 3/4 teaspoon black pepper divided
- 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 lemon sliced (optional)
- 1 cup chicken broth fat-free, low sodium
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1/4 cup flour optional cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 cup pitted green olives
- Sprinkle chicken thighs evenly with salt and ½ teaspoon pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add half of the chicken. Cook about 3 minutes per side, or until browned. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to skillet, and repeat the procedure with remaining chicken.
- Combine broth, juice, flour, and cumin, stirring with a whisk. Pour broth mixture over chicken.
- Top with olives and remaining ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cover and cook on low heat for 6 hours. Add lemon slices as a garnish to serve, if using.
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