I love the way that healthy eating makes my body feel, but I have to admit something: I miss comfort food. I’ve found a ton of skinny versions of my favorite comfort classics, but I thought it was impossible to make a healthy version of fried chicken. I had just about given up hope and resigned myself to have a cheat day when I discovered this Slow Cooker Southern Fried Chicken for Two.
Okay, you’re probably thinking it’s impossible to make healthy fried chicken, and even if you could it wouldn’t be possible to easily make it in the slow cooker. That’s totally what I thought, too! This recipe must be a miracle, then, because it accomplishes both of those things. We swap in chicken breasts for the more fat-laden dark meat and keep things light by using whole wheat Panko bread crumbs.
Why The Slow Cooker Works
You’ve heard about oven-fried chicken, right? Well, the slow cooker uses the same idea as the oven method, but it actually works a bit better. In the oven, you’re using convection heat to “fry” your chicken. That uses the air in the oven to crisp up the breadcrumbs. A slow cooker uses direct heat (more similar to a saute pan) to do the same thing more efficiently.
The slow cooker is designed to apply electric heat to your food without burning it. That’s why you can pop something in there, run a bunch of errands, and come back to perfectly cooked food. For this Slow Cooker Southern Fried Chicken for Two, we’re simply taking advantage of that fact. The breaded chicken gets cooked on the bottom as it cooks in the slow cooker, and you crisp up the top by removing the lid for the last 10 minutes.
It doesn’t get easier than that! If you’re looking for a great sauce to go along with your fried chicken, check out this incredible Asian Dipping Sauce recipe. You could also whip up a batch of our favorite barbecue sauce or serve this chicken with the store-bought sauce of your choosing. Just make sure you’re looking at those ingredient labels!
Yield: 2 Servings | Serving Size: about 3 ounces cooked chicken | Calories: 376 | Total Fat: 12 g | Saturated Fat: 3 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Carbohydrates: 36 g | Fiber: 4 g | Sugar: 4 g | Protein: 31 g | Cholesterol: 73 mg | Sodium: 446 mg | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 5
- 2 small (boneless and skinless) chicken breast
- 1/2 cup reduced fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs
- Lightly spray a 2 to 4 quart slow cooker with nonstick spray.
- Pour the buttermilk into a small mixing bowl. In another bowl, combine the flour, black pepper, paprika, garlic powder, and kosher salt. Add the panko bread crumbs to a shallow dish.
- Dip the chicken breast into the buttermilk and allow the excess to drip off. Dredge the filet into flour mixture before dipping it again into the buttermilk.
- Press the chicken breast into the panko, pressing it gently into the breadcrumbs on each side to make sure they adhere.
- Mist the chicken on both sides with nonstick cooking spray and place it in the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on high 2-1/2 hours or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
- Remove the lid and allow to continue cooking for 10 minutes. Removing the lid helps the chicken get crunchier.