A lovely Greek style chicken with lemon is such a great option for a quick, tasty dinner. This slow cooker lemon chicken pretty much makes itself, and produces incredibly juicy, tender chicken thighs. It’s a light and versatile chicken dish, which can be varied endlessly. As you don’t have to add any oils, butter or sauce for cooking, it’s lower in fat and calories than many chicken dishes. I love it because it tastes great, but if you’re looking for low calorie diet recipes, this is it!
What do you need to make slow cooker lemon chicken?
- Chicken thighs
- Dried oregano and thyme
- For this recipe, you’ll also need a slow cooker
About the chicken skin
Cooking chicken in the slow cooker is great. The meat goes super juicy and tender and perfect. Unfortunately that’s not always the case for the chicken skin, if you use thigh fillets with skin on. As the slow cooker fills up with liquid from the chicken, and cooks the fillets in a steamy environment, the skin will not roast or dry out as it would cooking in the oven or in a pan. The skin instead goes soft and rubbery, and it’s not very pleasant to eat. This is especially the case if you place chicken fillets on top of each other, because the bottom layer always ends up being cooked by the juice of the fillets above.
When I make any skin on chicken in the slow cooker, I usually do one of two things: I either discard the skin, and just eat the meaty bits, or I transfer the fillets to a roasting tin or baking pan and roast them in the oven on high heat for a few minutes to crisp the skin slightly. The second method takes a bit longer, but is totally worth it instead of eating mushy chicken skins. Just keep this in mind, and make sure you allow for a reasonable amount of time regardless of which method you prefer.
How do you make lemon chicken in the slow cooker?
Add chicken thighs to the slow cooker. Squeeze over half a lemon, and sprinkle thyme and oregano. Add a few lemon slices on top. There is no need to add oil or liquid to the slow cooker. Put on the lid, and cook on low for 4-6 hours. After cooking, remove the chicken skins, or transfer to a roasting tin and move to the oven. Roast for about 10 minutes on a high temperature to crisp the skins up. As explained above, you either have to discard the chicken skins, or crisp them up in the oven after cooking, as the slow cooker gives chicken skin an unpleasant texture.
What can I make to have with slow cooker lemon chicken?
This dish is super versatile, and you can serve it with any of your favorite side dishes. If you’re up for a salad, I think Mediterranean chickpea salad, Tomato and mozzarella salad or Greek pasta salad with feta and spinach suit wonderfully as they carry the same Mediterranean type flavors. Roast vegetables, onion rings, roast potatoes, or cooked vegetables are also excellent options. You can even shred the chicken meat and make pulled chicken, which is great in salads, as a sandwich filler, or in Pulled chicken thigh tacos. I also like lemon chicken served with chips or potato wedges!
Tips and substitutions
Chicken thighs – I usually use bone-in chicken thighs with skin on when I make a slow cooker recipe. Chicken breast fillets tend to dry out really quickly in the slow cooker, and is not recommended. The chicken thighs produce a juicy, tender meat, and it’s honestly my favorite dish to make in the slow cooker. If using chicken breast fillets, reduce the cooking time significantly, and make sure to keep an eye on it. As explained in the “about chicken skin” section, the chicken skins will not taste very well, and you will either have to remove the skins before serving, or roast the chicken in the oven on high heat after cooking to crisp the skins up.
Lemon – Lemon and chicken is a great combination. Simply squeezing lemon juice over the meat adds so much flavor, and makes your kitchen smell absolutely amazing. You could substitute lemon for lime if you prefer.
Oregano and thyme – We add dried herbs on top of the chicken to improve the flavor. I recommend using dried herbs and not fresh ones, as dry herbs just tend to work better when cooked for long periods of time. You can always substitute any of the herbs with what you have on hand. Rosemary and sage are both also lovely paired with chicken, but thyme and oregano are my favorites for this slow cooker lemon chicken.
Storage – Slow cooked lemon chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. It can also be frozen.
Like this slow cooker lemon chicken recipe? Here are more healthy chicken recipes
- Chicken and mango salad
- Easy slow cooker apricot chicken with thyme
- Pulled chicken thigh tacos
- Mediterranean apricot chicken bake
- Cauliflower chicken fried rice
Slow cooker lemon chicken
- Slow cooker
- 1 kg chicken thighs
- 1 lemon
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- salt, pepper
- Add raw chicken thighs to your slow cooker
- Drizzle the juice of half a lemon over the fillets
- Sprinkle thyme, oregano, salt and pepper on top, and add a few lemon slices
- Cook on low setting for 4-6 hours
- Before serving, remove and discard chicken skins, or roast the chicken thigh fillets in the oven
Roasting the chicken fillets
- Pre-heat the oven to 230°C
- Add the chicken thigh fillets to a roasting tin or baking tray, and roast in the oven until the skins are looking slightly browned and crispy. This takes about 10 minutes.
- Serve with your favorite side dishes