Slow Cook

Slow-Cooker Chicken Breasts With Lemon, Sage & Milk

April  4, 2019
Photo by Rocky Luten
Author Notes

Full disclosure: I used to despise breast meat because of its dry, stringy texture, its terrible flavorless monotony, its unforgiving tendency to go from raw to overcooked in the blink of an eye. But when I started working in food, I learned what a demand there was for it (Google "chicken breast" and you'll get back more than 200 million search results).

I've found that if I poach my chicken breasts low and slow in some milk with lemon and sage—à la Jamie Oliver's Chicken in Milk—then the meat will come out unutterably tender and moist. Even better if I add garlic here, or maybe swap out the sage for thyme or rosemary. What I love most about these Crock-Pot chicken breasts is that they're really just a blueprint, never hard or fast in their rules of what flavors can join them in the hot tub. —Eric Kim

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: I Finally Learned to Love Chicken Breasts, Thanks to My Slow Cooker. —The Editors

  • Prep time 5 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Makes 2 pounds chicken
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, zest peeled in thin strips
  • 3 sprigs fresh sage
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, plus more (depending on the size of your slow cooker)
In This Recipe
  1. In a slow cooker, place the chicken breasts down in a single layer. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Add the lemon zest, sage, and milk (enough to cover the chicken).
  2. Cook on low for 1 hour, then flip the chicken and cook for an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. (Times will vary depending on the thickness of your breasts and the model of your slow cooker.)
  3. Congrats! You have a week's worth of healthy protein. Chop the chicken up for salads, shred for soups or enchiladas, or eat on its own with a little olive oil and lemon, or your favorite condiment (I like spicy chile crisp or English mustard).

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Eric Kim is the Table for One columnist at Food52. Formerly the managing editor at Food Network and a PhD candidate in literature at Columbia University, he covers food, travel, and culture and lives in a tiny shoebox in Manhattan with his dog, Quentin "Q" Compson. His favorite writers are William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemingway, but his hero is Nigella Lawson. You can follow him on Twitter @ericjoonho.