home cooked dinners by the season

Slow Cooker Healthy Chicken Dinner

Slow Cooker Healthy Chicken Dinner

There is no denying the magic of a slow cooker. The ingredients go in and hours later your house is ruminating with the welcoming smells of something fabulous. Every time I use my slow cooker I am infinitely appreciative and admittedly a bit smug knowing what is waiting for me when I return home. It’s a simple pleasure that makes me so happy. I think every kitchen should have one in its arsenal of equipment.

Slow cookers erase the late afternoon dread for anyone, no matter what age or experience in the kitchen, who has no idea what to make for dinner. No more wandering the grocery store aisles “hangry” and looking for a quick dinner fix. Instead, you will become one of the happy people returning to a house filled with good smells and a meal that is ready to dig into.  

I chose chicken thighs for their flavor and fall apart ability when slowly cooked. I know it might be tempting to remove one step from this recipe and not brown the chicken or the onions and spices, but take the time to do it. I tried this recipe both ways – just throwing all the ingredients into the slow cooker – and the flavor difference was pronounced (darn I love a short cut too).

Cinnamon, turmeric, kale are all on the list for healthy ingredients. How great to have them in one recipe. Cooked Israeli couscous (takes 8 to 10 minutes to cook), quinoa or basmati rice makes this a more filling dinner. Or not, if you are looking to eat a bit more lean.

Cooked Israeli couscous, quinoa and rice

Slow Cooker Healthy Chicken Dinner
Serves: 4 to 5 servings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless or bone in and skin on (I prefer boneless)
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onion (1 small to medium size)
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and lightly smashed open
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Dash or more cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 14.5 ounce can fire roasted or regular diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 cups thinly sliced kale
  • Cooked Israeli couscous, quinoa or brown basmati rice
  • 2-3 tablespoons currants
  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat; add 4 to 5 pieces of chicken and cook without turning until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, turn and repeat with the other side. Transfer browned chicken to the slow cooker. If necessary, add an additional 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and brown the remaining chicken; transfer to the slow cooker.
  2. To the same skillet, over medium heat, add onion and garlic and cook until lightly browned, about 3 to 4 minutes; add chili powder, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, salt and cayenne pepper and cook and stir to release flavors, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth, tomatoes and tomato paste; heat to a simmer stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any bits, then transfer to the slow cooker. Move chicken around to evenly distribute ingredients.
  3. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours (chicken should be cooked and falling apart), adding the kale in the last 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper if needed.
  4. Serve cooked chicken and the sauce over cooked couscous, quinoa or rice and sprinkle with currants.

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22 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Healthy Chicken Dinner”

    • It is so nice to hear from you Jeannie. Thank you for taking the time to comment. This is such an easy and rewarding recipe. I hope you enjoy it!

  • So I have a sous-vide, not a slow cooker. Living in a small condo, space is a premium. 🙂 But, I think it will work if I do everything the same in your recipe, except saute the chicken quickly to brown at the end of the cooking period. Then I will add all the liquids into the pan immediately after the sauteeing step, to thicken the sauce. I have been doing this with a number of meat/poultry recipes recently and the results are quite remarkable. Thanks, Linda, for the great recipe idea.

    • It is great to hear from you, Julie. And I do understand space limitations and small equipment in the kitchen. I am a true minimalist at heart anyway. 🙂

      The only thing to make sure when using the sous vide (and I am sure you know this) is to make sure the chicken things reach an end temperature of 165 degrees as that is when they are fully cooked.

      I am glad you will try the recipe. It is a favorite for the winter.


  • Just sent this off to my daughter Claire who has a slow cooker. Andrew has a tiny apartment in Boston so he has limited kitchen real estate. Would you recommend a slow cooker or an Instant Pot; a blender or a food processor; a toaster oven or a toaster? Thanks!! We all use your recipes and love them!

    • It is always good to hear from you and I am glad everyone is using my recipes.

      I would recommend a slow cooker, a food processor and a toaster oven for Andrew’s apartment. He will love the slow cooker for making all in one dinners, the food processor takes care of grating, slicing and it can even be used for making a smoothie. I don’t think a blender is as useful. And the toaster oven has more functions then a toaster.



  • Made this for tonights dinner and it is quite good. And so easy too! Love the kale in it. The only thing I will do differently next time (and there will be a next time!), is to cut the chili powder to one tsp. My husband asked if it was chili, but of course, what does he know?! Thanks for another good dinner !
    Oh, we had Israeli couscous with it.

    • Liz:

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. And your tip on trying it with less chili powder is a good one, if you don’t want that deep chili flavor. The Israeli couscous is my favorite with it.

      I am glad you will try it again!


  • I made this tonight. We enjoyed the incredibly deeply tasteful sauce. I had not used currants before so that was fun. This is an easy and extremely tasteful recipe. Thanks!

    • That’s great news. Thank you for being such a loyal follower of my recipes and for taking the time to comment.

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