An easy Crock-Pot chicken recipe the whole family loves is solid gold. This Crock-Pot Italian chicken is a flavorful go-to recipe you can throw together even on your busiest days. All it takes is three simple ingredients: chicken thighs, sliced onion, and a jar of spaghetti sauce. If you want to make your Crock-Pot Italian chicken even better, add a few extra flavor ingredients from the fridge and pantry.
Slow simmering chicken thighs in a tomato-based sauce is almost a magical process. You’ll end up with chicken that is tender, juicy, and full of flavor. Serve this Crock-Pot Italian chicken over your favorite pasta, or over steamed or roasted veggies for a low-carb option.
Choosing a sauce
Use a marinara or tomato-basil spaghetti sauce for this recipe. Choose a sauce that is low in sugar. Not only is a low-sugar sauce healthier, it’s less likely to scorch during the long cooking time. Even on the low setting, sugary sauces have a tendency to scorch in the Crock-Pot. Look for a sauce that has six or fewer grams of sugar per serving.
This is the sauce I like to use:
You don’t have to use this particular sauce. There are plenty of low-sugar marinara style sauces to choose from. Choose your favorite, as long as it has six grams or less of sugar per serving. Another good option for this recipe is to use a homemade sauce, like Extra Veggie Marinara Sauce.
Prepping and cooking Crock-Pot Italian chicken
Start your Crock-Pot Italian chicken by slicing a large onion and placing it in the bottom of the Crock-Pot. Use a yellow onion or sweet onion for this recipe.
Trim the excess fat from six chicken thighs, and place the chicken on top of the onions. You don’t need to trim all the fat from the chicken thighs; just trim away any large pieces.
You may be wondering if chicken breasts will work in this recipe instead of chicken thighs, and the answer is yes. Chicken thighs are my number one choice for this recipe, but you can also use chicken tenders or chicken breast fillets. If you want to use breast meat instead of thighs, I recommend doubling the olive oil, butter, and water. This is because chicken breasts are drier than chicken thighs.
After adding the chicken, you can choose to to add a few pantry seasonings, including garlic salt, Italian seasoning herb mix, and dried basil. Adding these extra ingredients isn’t absolutely necessary, but I recommend it to boost the flavor of the dish. I also like to drizzle the seasoned chicken with a little olive oil and melted butter. Chicken thighs, olive oil, and melted butter provide just the right amount of fat in this dish to boost the flavor of the chicken, onion, and all the seasonings.
Pour the spaghetti sauce over the chicken, along with a little water to prevent burning. Cover and cook three hours on high or six hours on low.
During the last 30-60 minutes of cooking, remove the lid and turn the Crock-Pot to high to boil away any excess water. At this point, you will be able to shred the chicken with two forks.
Taste your Crock-Pot Italian chicken and adjust the seasonings. You may want to add more herbs, pepper, or garlic salt.
Serve this Crock-Pot Italian chicken over your favorite pasta, or over steamed or roasted vegetables. Optionally, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and garnish with fresh basil.
I get pretty excited when I come up with a recipe like this one that’s incredibly easy and incredibly flavorful at the same time. This recipe is a keeper, and I hope you and your family love it!
World’s Easiest Crock-Pot Italian Chicken
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds)
- 1 large yellow or sweet onion sliced
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning herb blend
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 jar prepared marinara or tomato-basil spaghetti sauce see notes
- ¼ cup water
- Thinly slice a large yellow or sweet onion and place in the bottom of the Crock-Pot.
- Trim excess fat from 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs. It is not necessary to trim all the fat from the chicken, just any large pieces.
- Place the chicken on top of the onion slices. Sprinkle with garlic salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and dried basil.
- Drizzle seasoned chicken with olive oil and melted butter.
- Pour the jar of spaghetti sauce over the chicken. Pour in water.
- Place the lid on the Crock-Pot, and cook the chicken on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
- During the last 30-60 minutes of cooking, turn the Crock-Pot to high and remove the lid to evaporate any excess water.
- Shred the chicken with 2 forks.
- Taste your Crock-Pot Italian chicken and adjust the seasonings. You may want to add more herbs, garlic salt, or pepper.
- Serve over your favorite pasta, or over roasted or steamed vegetables.
- Garnish with grated Parmesan and/or chopped fresh basil, if desired.
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