Can You Put Raw Chicken in a Slow Cooker? Easy How To Guide

Cooking chicken in a slow cooker can be a game-changer for busy home cooks looking for an easy and convenient way to prepare meals. But before you throw that uncooked chicken into your slow cooker, it’s crucial to understand the proper guidelines to ensure your dish is not only delicious but also safe to eat.

Yes, you can put raw chicken in a slow cooker. As long as the chicken cooks to the safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, the chicken will be safe to eat. While preparing your chicken, ensure you clean all surfaces the raw chicken touches so you don’t contaminate your kitchen.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of cooking raw chicken in a slow cooker, covering everything from safe internal temperatures to common mistakes to avoid. Let’s dive in and learn how to make the most of your slow cooker while keeping your meals safe and scrumptious.

Can You Put Raw Chicken in a Slow Cooker?

can you put raw chicken in a slow cooker

You can put raw chicken in a slow cooker, as long as you cook the chicken to the safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C)

When you’re prepping the chicken for the slow cooker, make sure you don’t use the same utensils or surfaces that you used for the chicken on other things until they have been washed.

This will prevent any cross-contamination in the kitchen which could lead to food poisoning. Nobody wants that.

Understanding safe internal temperatures is key to preventing foodborne illnesses and ensuring that your chicken is cooked thoroughly, so let’s talk about understanding safe internal temperatures.

Understanding Safe Internal Temperatures

When it comes to cooking raw chicken in a slow cooker, one of the most important factors to consider is ensuring that the chicken reaches a safe internal temperature. Understanding safe internal temperatures is key to preventing foodborne illnesses and ensuring that your chicken is cooked thoroughly.

The USDA recommends that chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to be considered safe to eat.

This temperature ensures that any harmful bacteria present in the raw chicken is killed off, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Using a meat thermometer is the best way to accurately measure the internal temperature of the chicken.

To measure the internal temperature, insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. If the thickest part of the chicken is at the correct temperature, then the rest of the chicken will be as well.

Safe internal temperatures are something you should keep in mind when cooking all raw meat, not just chicken. Here is a table with safe internal cooking temperatures according to the USDA.

ProductMinimum Internal Temperature & Rest Time
Beef, Pork, Veal & Lamb Steaks, chops, roasts145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Ground Meats160 °F (71.1 °C)
Ground Poultry165 °F
Ham, fresh or smoked (uncooked)145 °F (62.8 °C) and allow to rest for at least 3 minutes
Fully Cooked Ham (to reheat)Reheat cooked hams packaged in USDA-inspected plants to 140 °F (60 °C) and all others to 165 °F (73.9 °C).
All Poultry (breasts, whole bird, legs, thighs, wings, ground poultry, giblets, and stuffings)165 °F (73.9 °C)
Eggs160 °F (71.1 °C)
Fish & Shellfish145 °F (62.8 °C)
Leftovers and Casseroles165 °F (73.9 °C)

Avoiding Common Mistakes

Avoiding common mistakes when cooking raw chicken in a slow cooker is crucial to ensure a safe and delicious meal.

The first common mistake to avoid is not properly thawing the chicken before cooking. You should never put frozen chicken, or frozen anything, in a slow cooker.

Putting frozen meat in a slow cooker will throw off cooking times and could cause the meat to still be raw in the middle. This goes for all meat in a slow cooker, not just chicken.

Simply thaw out your meat in the refrigerator or use the defrost setting on your microwave before placing the meat in the slow cooker and you’ll be good to go.

Next, always make sure you fully cook the chicken. If you follow a slow cooker chicken recipe, they will give you how long you need to cook the chicken.

But, to be extra safe, it’s always a good idea to check the internal temperature of the chicken with a meat thermometer.

Place the kitchen thermometer in the thickest part of the meat when checking the temperature. This will ensure that every part of the chicken is fully cooked.

Using a thermometer instead of guessing at a longer cooking time will also help make sure you don’t overcook the chicken. Following a recipe and checking the internal temperature will ensure you get nice juicy chicken that’s safe to eat.

Last but not least, don’t open the slow cooker lid too frequently. This can release the built-up heat which could cause the chicken to not be fully cooked when it’s supposed to be.

Slow cookers are designed to set and forget, so the less you open the slow cooker lid the better.

By following these guidelines, you can enjoy a perfectly cooked and safe chicken dish every time.

Next, we will discuss whether you can cook a whole chicken in a slow cooker.,

Can You Cook a Whole Chicken in A Slow Cooker?

Can you put a whole chicken in a slow cooker

Cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker can be a convenient and delicious way to prepare a meal for the whole family.

Cooking a whole chicken isn’t that much different from cooking anything else in your crock pot. If you follow the guidelines we’re outlined above, you should be able to easily accomplish a delicious whole chicken.

The main thing you need to think about when cooking a whole chicken is to make sure that the chicken fits completely in your slow cooker. If the lid doesn’t set on properly all the way around, it could throw off the cooking time.

Get a chicken that fits and make sure it reaches that all-important safe internal temperature, and you’ll have a delicious whole chicken in no time.

Here’s a good recipe from Dinner at the Zoo that takes you step by step through cooking a whole chicken.

5 Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes

To continue your slow cooker chicken journey, let’s dive into some easy and delicious slow cooker recipes. These recipes are perfect for lazy weekends or easy meal prep for the week.

1. Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

This recipe from Well Plated gives an Asian twist on shredded chicken in 4-5 hours on low heat or 2-3 hours on high heat.

It combines chicken, soy sauce, honey, and garlic to create a delicious no fuss dish. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.

For the full recipe, check out their website, here.

2. Slow Cooker Chicken Breast

This juicy slow cooker chicken breast recipe adds some great seasoning to the humble chicken breast and is a quick way to prepare the protein for your meal in advance.

The Recipe Rebel has a great spice blend and the chicken can be ready to eat in 3 hours. Here’s a link to the full recipe.

3. Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

The next crock pot chicken recipe changes boneless chicken breasts into delicious tacos in under five hours.

The only things you need for this recipe are boneless skinless chicken breasts, salsa, diced tomatoes, taco seasoning, half an onion, and your trusty crock pot.

Here’s a link to the full recipe by Spend With Pennies.

4. Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken

This recipe creates wonderful flavorful barbecue chicken for shredded chicken sandwiches with just a few ingredients.

Grab your favorite bbq sauce and get cooking. Here’s the full recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.

5. Instant Pot Chicken and Rice

Now I know an instant pot and crock pot aren’t the same, but I wouldn’t feel right giving you slow cooker recipes without adding a recipe for the instant pot as well.

This flavorful chicken and rice recipe will give you a delicious creamy dish in a super short amount of time, around 40 minutes.

Here’s a link to the full recipe from 40 Aprons.

Will Chicken Get Tough in A Slow Cooker?

Chicken can get tough in a slow cooker if you overcook your chicken. If you follow a slow cooker recipe, it will tell you the correct amount of time to cook the chicken so that it won’t get overcooked. If you’re worried about undercooking your chicken, make sure to check the internal temperature using a kitchen thermometer.

What Temperature Does a Slow Cooker Cook at?

A slow cooker will cook at around 300 degrees on high, around 200 degrees on low, and around 140 degrees on the warm setting. For a full breakdown of slow cooker temperatures and cook times, check out our other post all about it: Slow Cooker Temperature: How to Cook Safely on Low and High.


Leslie has lived in tons of different places that were all in different states of repair. She has experience remodeling and replacing just about everything in a home including the roof. When she's not working on a project, Leslie blogs about home improvement tips to pass on her knowledge to others.

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