How To Cook Chicken Thighs From Frozen in a Slow Cooker

Hey, can you slow-cook chicken straight from the freezer? It’s not recommended for safety reasons. Frozen Chicken thighs take a while to reach cooking temperature, they may stay in the “danger zone” of 5-60°C for too long.

To be safe, it’s better to defrost the chicken in the fridge overnight or in cold water for an hour. Then rinse off any ice crystals and pat dry with paper towels to ensure they’re safe to slow cook. We’ll also discuss how to add flavour enhancers for even tastier dishes, as well as suggestions of what sides or garnishes work best with cooked chicken thighs. Let’s dive into this so you can enjoy perfectly cooked chicken every time.

Table of Contents

Preparing Frozen Chicken Thighs for Slow Cooking

Preparing frozen chicken thighs for slow cooking requires specific steps to guarantee a delicious result. First, you’ll need to thaw your chicken thighs, overnight in the fridge or submerge them in cold water for an hour. Once they’re thawed, rinse off any ice crystals and pat dry with paper towels.

Next, season the chicken with salt and pepper before adding additional herbs and spices of your choice. Consider marinating the chicken beforehand using olive oil and lemon juice as a base for extra flavour. Place the seasoned chicken into your slow cooker and add enough liquid, such as chicken stock or white wine, to cover at least half of each thigh.

Set your slow cooker to low heat for 6-8 hours.

If time permits, sear your chicken in olive oil over medium to high heat on both sides until you get a little colour before placing it in your slow cooker. This will boost the flavour of your dish and make it even tastier.

Wanting some marinade recipes? Click here

Slow Cooker Settings and Timing – How long to cook frozen chicken thighs in crock pot.

Low heat is best for longer; setting your slow cooker on low should take around 6-8 hours. If you’re in a hurry, you can select the temperature to be high and cook for 4-6 hours.

Internal Temperature Guidelines

When it comes to cooking chicken thighs, the internal temperature is key. Verifying the heat of your cooked chicken is critical for keeping yourself and those you feed healthy from foodborne illnesses. The recommended minimum internal temperature for cooked poultry is 74°C (165°F ). Use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature of your chicken thighs before serving them. Insert the thermometer into the meatiest area of the thigh, avoiding any bones or fat. If they’re still below 74°C (165°F ), cook them longer until they reach this desired temp.

Don’t have a thermometer? With a knife or skewer, check the juices’ colour – clear means fully cooked, while pink or red means undercooked.

Flavour Enhancers

Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Oregano, Basil, Cumin, Turmeric, Curry powder, Lemon or lime zest, and Mustard powder.

If you’re looking for something with some heat and spice, try adding one of these options Smoked paprika, Chipotle powder, Cayenne pepper, or Chili powder (Don’t go overboard with the chillies as they become hotter when cooked for longer periods).

My favourite is incorporating coarse mustard to add texture; numerous varieties are available in the market. Here are a few of my top picks from Village Green in Nelson (Gluten Free), which we offer for sale both online and at my Deli; Hot Whisky, Manuka Honey Mustard, Chilli Ginger Mustard, Blackcurrant Mustard, Smokehouse Mustard, French Supreme Mustard.

I’ve made my own range of pre-made Gault’s seasoning mixes that are complex and ready to use. They come in sealed sachets to keep ’em fresh and save you the hassle of mixing your herbs and spices, which can lose their flavour over time just chillin’ in your pantry.

Sauces and Marinades:

A tablespoon or two of teriyaki sauce can give your chicken thighs an Asian-inspired twist, while a dollop of Mexican salsa adds some Latin flair. You could also mix up your own marinade using ingredients like soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and honey for a unique blend of flavours that will tantalize your taste buds. Or try marinating the chicken with Italian seasoning overnight before adding it to the slow cooker.

To thicken the sauce, add cornflour and water to your slow cooker, stirring occasionally, and heat on high for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, add cream or creme fraiche to enrich your sauce.

Serving Suggestions

You can pair them with simple sides like roasted vegetables, rice, quinoa, or mashed potatoes. For a healthier option, try serving it with a fresh salad. You can also shred the chicken in sandwiches, wraps, or tacos. Perhaps even top them with some avocado, salsa, or sour cream. And, of course, remember to garnish with some fresh herbs for a pop of colour and taste.


You can have delicious results every time with proper preparation, achieving internal temperature checks, and flavour enhancers. Whether served over rice or on their own with vegetables as sides, your family will love this simple meal solution that is sure to become a regular favourite.

Check out the incredible range of pantry ingredients available at Gault’s Deli? We can deliver to your door anywhere in New Zealand. If you’re in the Auckland area, stop by our deli at 3 Hannigan Drive, St Johns to taste some of the amazing ingredients we have in stock.

Flavour shots are bursting with flavour because of their chef-inspired combination of herbs and spices, plus they are individually packed in sealed packets. Have you tried our tinned tomatoes? Full of flavour and goodness.

FAQs About Cooking Frozen Chicken Thighs in a Slow Cooker

What’s the process for cooking frozen chicken thighs in a slow cooker?

You can place frozen chicken thighs directly into your slow cooker without thawing. This method is safe and ensures that the chicken remains tender.

How do I know how long to cook frozen chicken thighs in my crock pot?

The cooking time depends on the setting: low requires approximately 6-8 hours, and high requires 3-4 hours. Ensure the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).

Is it really okay to put frozen chicken in a slow cooker?

Yes, it is safe to cook frozen chicken in a slow cooker. The key is not to overload the pot and to ensure there is enough liquid for even cooking.

Can cooking frozen chicken thighs become a gourmet experience in a slow cooker?

Absolutely. Slow cooking allows for flavour infusion, creating gourmet meals with recipes like chicken cacciatore or honey garlic chicken.

What safety measures should I follow when cooking frozen chicken in a slow cooker?

Always handle frozen chicken with clean hands to prevent cross-contamination and ensure the chicken reaches the safe internal temperature before consumption.

Can I experiment with different recipes using frozen chicken thighs in the crock pot?

Yes, frozen chicken thighs are versatile in a slow cooker, perfect for a variety of recipes from different cuisines.

What are the benefits of using a slow cooker for frozen chicken thighs?

The slow cooker offers a hassle-free way to cook frozen chicken thighs, requiring minimal prep and no need to thaw the chicken beforehand.

What are some common questions about cooking frozen chicken thighs in a slow cooker?

Common questions include whether bone-in thighs can be used, cooking time adjustments for frozen chicken, and if it’s necessary to stir during cooking. All have straightforward answers that streamline the cooking process.

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