9 Easy Marinades for Slow Cooker Chicken

Many of our weeknight repertoire recipes are for chicken. And as such, our relationship with chicken can get stale pretty quickly. And yet, it’s one of the easiest, quickest, healthiest options on the block, so we inevitably return to it time and again. The holy trinity of salt, pepper, olive oil works wonders on meat and vegetables, but sometimes you gotta change it up on chicken.

In our efforts to keep our relationship with chicken excited, we also didn’t want to make things more complicated, so we bring you simple marinades for slow cooking chicken. Just pour it in the marinade at night, and then pour it in the slow cooker in the morning. Then pour some out for your homies. But definitely into the trash because raw chicken liquid is scary. These are so easy, future-you is already thanking you.

1. Italian Dressing

Dear Crissy

It’s that easy. Marinate chicken in Italian dressing (yep, that stuff in the bottle on the fridge door) and then slow cook while you’re doing laundry and running errands. This recipe gets a little fancy, adding lime juice and honey, which is great, but don’t let it hold you back if you haven’t got a lime handy. Pour it on, pour it out! Get the recipe here.

2. Tandoori Style Marinade

This recipe relies on yogurt to do all the tenderizing work for you, so leaving it overnight makes it even better. Simply put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend up for this one-step marinade that packs a spicy punch. Get our Tandoori Style Marinade recipe.

3. Frank’s Red Hot

Sweet Little Blue Bird

Let your chicken bathe in the all-American glory that is buffalo sauce. Let it swim like a dolphin emoji in a sea of spice, in a Ziploc bag in your fridge like a fish you won at a carnival. If you run out of time to put it in the crock-pot, just grill it! Get the recipe here.

4. Balsamic Marinated Chicken

Rosemary and soy sauce are the key ingredients to round out the balsamic marinade in this recipe. Tart and sweet, this is another easy food processor recipe with just a few ingredients before the chicken hits the slow-cooker. Get our Balsamic Marinated Chicken recipe.

5. Easy Ranch Marinade

The name says it all on this one. A packet of ranch seasoning and little vinegar make this a quick toss-together recipe no matter what you have on hand. Of course you can get fancy and make your own ranch powder, but it’s a no-brainer to keep a packet or two in the cabinet for simple marinades like this! Get the recipe here.

6. Lemon Marinade

Chowhound

Combining plenty of lemon juice with chili flakes creates a surprisingly complex flavor for slow cooker chicken while maintaining a really bright profile. Fresh squeezed is the key to this one though, so be sure and use the marinade within a few hours of making it. Get our Lemon Marinade recipe.

7. Peanut Chicken Marinade

All Recipes

This is the perfect chicken to go from dinner to lunch. Pop it in the slow cooker for a few hours and when you come home you have perfect take-out style chicken. It’ll taste even better the next say on cold noodles for lunch! Sure beats a pb&j. Get our Peanut Chicken Marinade recipe.

8. Honey Dijon Marinade

Chowhound

Just another two main ingredient marinate to yield incredible results with this honey and mustard combination.  It’s essentially an adultified version of your favorite chicken tenders from that bar in college. Hard to beat such classic flavors. Get our Honey Dijon Marinade recipe.

9. Greek Marinated Chicken

This is another recipe where the yogurt has a chemical effect on the chicken, but using  a spice profile from the other side of the globe. Oregano and garlic shine through this marinade and create a versatile Mediterranean chicken for schwarma wraps or salads. This will certainly become a dinner to lunch favorite. Get the recipe here.

Header image: Grilled Chicken with Balsamic Rosemary Marinade from Chowhound

Vanessa W. Simmons is a former cook living in San Francisco, helping to run a food business. She's probably hungry, but if not she could eat.

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