Crockpot Italian Chicken {Healthy One Pan Meal!}


This Crockpot Italian Chicken recipe was made with Monday nights in mind. Succulent chicken breasts or thighs are slowly simmered in a rich, flavorful tomato and balsamic reduction, then topped with Mozzarella and fresh basil for a Caprese-inspired dinner delight.

a plate with crockpot italian chicken with tomatoes and cheese

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For those nights when the act of even thinking about cooking is exhausting, and all you want to do is call Papa John’s for pizza, this crockpot Italian chicken is here to rescue you.

While I adore cooking, some nights I barely have the energy to put together a peanut butter sandwich, let alone an entire meal (which is interesting considering that I always have the energy for these One Bowl Brownies, but I digress).

This feeling strikes most often on Monday nights, so I try to anticipate the agony with easy one-pot meals like this Italian chicken for the slow cooker.

  • It’s simple—literally just mix, dump, cook, and eat (this Slow Cooker Greek Chicken is equally easy and delicious).
  • It’s filled with classic Italian flavors of ripe tomatoes, fresh basil, and creamy mozzarella.
  • AND made with everyday ingredients you probably have in your pantry to make this dish right this second!
a plate with three pieces of crockpot italian chicken

5 Star Review

“I’ve made this a few times now and I have to say it’s my absolute favorite slow-cooker recipe!! So so easy and the flavors taste like I’ve been slaving away in the kitchen all day!”

— Alexa —

How to Make Crockpot Italian Chicken

This crockpot Italian chicken will transport you straight to Naples with its classic caprese salad flavors of basil, balsamic, tomato, and mozzarella (you know it, Caprese Pasta Salad).


The Ingredients

  • Chicken. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are my go-to for this recipe. However, you may also swap for boneless, skinless thighs if you prefer dark meat.

INGREDIENT NOTE

Frozen vs. Thawed Chicken

Do not place frozen chicken in a slow cooker. From a food safety standpoint, frozen chicken breasts or thighs will sit at room temperature inside a crockpot for too long and become a breeding ground for foodborne illness. Always fully defrost raw chicken prior to adding it to a slow cooker.

  • Diced Tomatoes. Canned tomatoes provide bold flavor and essential cooking liquid to keep the chicken moist as it cooks.
  • Balsamic Vinegar. As it cooks, the balsamic sweetens like a reduction, with less effort (and one less pan to wash).
  • Garlic. Provides that quintessential Italian flavor to the dish.
  • Red Onion. Adds a little bite, color, and zip to accent the flavors.
  • Bay Leaf. Contributes an extra layer of flavor and makes this sauce smell simply divine.
  • Basil. With a combination of both dried and fresh basil, this dish is certainly not lacking any fresh, summery basil flavor. And that’s a good thing!

Substitution Tip!

You may swap the dried basil for extra fresh basil in this recipe. Rather than adding it at the beginning, add it to the crockpot during the final 10-15 minutes of cooking. Then garnish with additional fresh basil when serving.

  • Mozzarella. A sprinkling of fresh mozzarella on each serving melts over the warm sauce and provides this dish with just the right amount of satisfying gooey cheese.

The Directions

raw chicken breasts seasoned with salt and pepper in a crockpot
  1. Place the raw chicken breasts in the crockpot and season.
tomatoes, onion, balsamic and garlic in a white bowl
  1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.
cooked crockpot italian chicken in a slow cooker
  1. Pour tomato mixture over the chicken.
raw chicken with balsamic tomato sauce in a crockpot ready to cook
  1. Cover and cook until chicken reaches internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
crockpot italian chicken resting on a white platter with balsamic tomato sauce on top
  1. Transfer chicken to a plate to rest, spoon sauce over top, and garnish with shredded cheese and fresh basil. ENJOY!

Slow cooker Chicken Cook Times

For any slow cooker chicken recipe (like this Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore), cook times will vary depending on the model of crockpot you have, the temperature setting you use, and the size of your chicken pieces. The type of chicken you choose will also make a difference.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts

  • Two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts should cook in 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours on LOW.
  • I don’t recommend cooking chicken breasts on HIGH in a slow cooker since they tend to dry out easier than their dark meat counterparts.

Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs

  • Two pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs should cook in 3 to 4 hours on HIGH or 5 to 6 hours on LOW.

Bone-in Chicken

  • If using bone-in chicken, I suggest removing the skin first. Chicken skin in the slow cooker will not become crispy, but become soggy and rubbery.
  • Cook the bone-in chicken legs or thighs on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours or on LOW for 5 to 6 hours.

For more chicken slow cooker tips, see my Crock Pot Shredded Chicken post.

crockpot italian chicken on a plate topped with tomato and cheese

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Warm gently, in a microwave-safe container, until heated through.
  • To Freeze. This recipe may be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, let thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave until heated through.

Leftover Ideas

Serve leftovers of this chicken sliced cold or warm over a bed of greens or tossed with your favorite whole wheat pasta for an easy, healthy lunch.

a piece of healthy crockpot italian chicken on a plate with tomatoes, mozzarella, and arugula

Pair this with

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Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Knife Set. I like their durable stainless steel blades and ergonomic handles.
  • Mixing Bowls. Perfect for tossing together recipe ingredients every day. Microwave- and dishwasher-safe too!
  • Kitchen Tongs. I enjoy the locking feature to take up less space in my kitchen drawer.

The Best Slow Cooker

This one has been my trusty companion for years and is still going strong. It has tons of programming features, and the locking lid allows for easy transport to family gatherings and parties.

a plate with crockpot italian chicken with tomatoes and cheese

Did you make this recipe?

Let me know what you thought!

Leave a rating below in the comments and let me know how you liked the recipe.

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 small red onion diced
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese for serving
  • Thinly sliced fresh basil for serving

  • Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Place chicken on top of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

  • In a small bowl, stir together the tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, garlic, bayleaf, basil, and onion.

  • Pour the tomato mixture over the chicken.

  • Cover and cook on low until chicken is no longer pink, juices run clear, and the chicken reaches 155 degrees F on an instant read thermometer, about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours for breasts or 4 to 5 hours for thighs, depending upon your slow cooker. (Chicken is considered safe to eat at 165 degrees F, but the temperature will continue to rise as the chicken rests. Do not over cook or the chicken will be dry.)

  • Transfer the chicken to a plate, cover, and let rest 5 to 10 minutes (keep the slow cooker on so that the sauce mixture in it stays warm). To serve, uncover the chicken then use a slotted spoon to scoop the tomato-balsamic slow cooker sauce over the chicken. Top with mozzarella and fresh basil. Enjoy immediately.

  • To Store. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Warm gently, in a microwave-safe container, until heated through.
  • To Freeze. This recipe may be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, let thaw overnight in the fridge and then reheat in the microwave until heated through.

Serving: 1(of 4)Calories: 429kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 53gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 156mgPotassium: 1156mgFiber: 2gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 289IUVitamin C: 16mgCalcium: 143mgIron: 3mg

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Plan ahead to beat those Monday cooking blues. Here are some more healthy slow cooker dinners:

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