Can You Put Frozen Chicken in the Crockpot?

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Chicken can be cooked in a Crock-Pot, or slow cooker, straight from the freezer for convenience and simplicity. Many chicken slow-cooker recipes call for either whole or cut frozen chicken and various other ingredients.

Can You Put Frozen Chicken in the Crockpot?
(Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media)

A Crock-Pot is one brand name of a slow cooker. A slow cooker is an electric cooking appliance that sits on the counter top. Slow cookers cook food at a relatively low temperature for a long period of time. This makes it possible to leave meals unattended while they cook. Slow cookers are particularly suited to preparing stews, pot roast and other one-dish meals.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

Frozen chicken pieces such as chicken breasts, drumsticks or thighs, can be placed directly in a slow cooker without thawing. It is generally suggested that a recipe with frozen chicken pieces be cooked for at least eight hours on low, or four hours on high. If the recipe calls for thawed chicken, water or other liquid should be reduced by about 1/2 cup when substituting frozen chicken.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

A 4-to-5-pound frozen whole chicken can be cooked in a Crock-Pot on low for 10 hours. When cooking a whole frozen chicken, one cup of warm liquid should be added before setting the poultry in the slow cooker. Warm liquid acts like a cushion against sudden temperature changes. For a larger frozen whole chicken, four additional hours at low or two hours at the high setting will be required.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

Some cookbooks suggest that frozen poultry thaws and is held at a dangerously low temperature when cooking in a Crock-Pot. Bacteria in raw chicken multiplies between 40 degrees and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. A cooking temperature of 160 degrees should be achieved to safely cook chicken. Slow cookers set to the "low" setting that cook at a minimum temperature of 160 degrees and 200 degrees on "high" will safely thaw and heat chicken for long-term cooking.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

All brands of slow cookers, including Crock-Pots, come with specific instructions. If the instructions say specifically to use only thawed chicken, the advice should be followed. It is possible that some of the ceramic pots of these slow cookers may not heat quickly enough to reach a safe cooking temperature. Manuals for Crock-Pots and other brands of slow cookers can be found on the manufacturers' websites. These will include general instructions for cooking frozen meat.

Kyria Abrahams/Demand Media

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