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Crockpot Chicken for the Freezer

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite money and time saving tips in the kitchen. I mentioned it in THIS post and have had so much interest, I decided it needed it's own post. 

I usually buy the family sized packages of boneless, skinless chicken breasts when I find them on super sale. Trimming, cutting, cooking and cleaning up after meat every night makes dinner take so much longer, so I have learned a trick to cut a ton of time off my nightly meal preparation. I cook all the chicken at once in the Crockpot! Here's how I do it:

1. Cut an onion into chunks and layer half of it on the bottom of my Crockpot.

2. Layer the whole family pack (about 8 breasts) into the Crockpot.

3. Place remaining onion pieces over the top.

4. Optional: Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika

5. Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours or until chicken is done through and tender.

This is what it looks like when it's done:

6. Put each chicken breast into it's own plastic bag with a spoonful of the juices from the bottom of the Crockpot. This will keep it moist when you defrost it. I use regular zip-lock bags because I use the chicken quickly. If your chicken will be in the freezer for a while, you might want to use freezer bags.

7. Put all the individual bags of chicken into a bigger bag. This keeps the chicken all in one place in the freezer so it's easier to find, and it adds another layer of protection from freezer burn. I recycled an old bread bag and totally felt like a grandma for doing it, but it's earth-friendly and budget-friendly, so who cares?!

I use chicken cooked this way in all my soups, sandwiches, casseroles, and pasta dishes.

Some of the benefits of pre-cooking chicken in the Crockpot:

1. I am not a fan of touching raw chicken. Ew! It's just gross. This method reduces the amount of raw-meat-touching because I can basically just dump it straight from the package into the Crockpot.

2. There are a dozen recipes I can make in less than 20 minutes because I have my chicken cooked and ready to go.

3. It reduces dishes. One pot to clean instead of busting out the frying pan for every meal. And even though the Crockpot looks scary, if I soak it overnight, the baked-on crud comes right off.

4. The chicken is just plain tasty cooked this way! It's so juicy and tender. Yum!

5. When I've got pre-cooked chicken in my freezer, I am not tempted to spend money eating out because I know a home-cooked meal is only a few minutes away.

6. In the summer when it's hot, I don't have to heat up my house by using the oven or stove top.

You can do the same thing with ground beef. How nice would it be to buy a 10 lb chub, cook it all up, divide it out, freeze it, then have meat for tacos, sloppy joes or casseroles done and ready to go? Talk about a time saver!

Update: You asked for are 30 recipes using pre-cooked chicken! Enjoy!
The Craft Patch
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  1. I cook hamburger in batches and freeze it in smaller portions all the time. So much easier for cooking! I never thought of doing chicken in the crockpot like that though!

  2. You don't add any liquid with the chicken and onions in the crockpot?

  3. Add water and more salt/pepper and spices back to the crockpot to soak off the "crud" to make homemade chicken stock. Then freeze it for later.

  4. Do you add any liquid to the crockpot?

  5. Would you please share some of the recipes you make using the chicken? I am always looking for good, simple, inexpensive, family-friendly food!

  6. Nancy-

    I only add chicken, onion, and spices. The chicken makes plenty of juices on it's own.

  7. Andrea,

    I'll work on putting a list together of some of my favorite recipes using the chicken and I'll post it.

  8. Love the idea of making chicken stock with the "crud". :) You could also use a crock pot liner (from the $ store) and save a lot of time on cleanup!

  9. Chelley-

    I love the idea of making stock, too! Thanks, Bonnie for sharing it. I actually HAVE made stock before. This time I didn't because I put all the extra juices in the bags to freeze.

    I will have to check my dollar store for crock pot liners. Don't know if I could get myself to spend the money on them, but it does sound nice!

  10. This was one of those "why-didn't-I-think-of-that moments for me. I HATE touching raw chicken and while it's my husband's favorite, I often skip those recipes for not wanting to mess with cooking the chicken. Thanks for sharing such a great idea!

  11. Great idea. I love the bread bag, too, you thrifty granny!

  12. How do you defrost it? In the microwave?

  13. Love this idea! I also hate touching raw meat of any kind. ick. I go through a lot of gloves, let me tell ya. I was about to start buying that chicken that's individually wrapped but this is cheaper and sounds better overall. I do something similar with ground beef or pork. I cook 5 or 6 lbs at a time in a giant stockpot and freeze them in individual zipper bags. Super easy to use.

  14. I have a question. I got my chicken today-it's a bag of 12 but I have a 6 qt crock pot so it should fit. Do I put it in frozen or do I need to let them thaw?

  15. gale-

    You CAN add them to the crockpot frozen! How's that for easy!?

  16. Perfect! thanks so much for answering so quickly.

  17. I second the comment about the crock pot liner. There is zero scrubbing afterwards...just remove the liner and rinse the crock.

  18. Just an update-I finally got mine cooked and my bag of Great Value chicken breasts that supposedly has 12 in it actually had about 5 and they were all different sizes. I may try another brand next time.

  19. How do you thaw the chicken? And how do you warm it (for recipes that aren't going to be baked in the oven)?

  20. Rachel and Kayla,

    I thaw the chicken overnight in the fridge if I'm that organized. Most of the time I just gently thaw it in the microwave on half power. It doesn't have to be hot if it's going in a dish that will be baked or added to a hot sauce.

    That's why it's important to spoon some of the juice into each bag so that it doesn't dry out when you defrost it.

  21. I always spray my crock pot with cooking spray before use which cuts down on having to use the elbow grease or soaking.


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