Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

by heidi on December 22, 2013

When I received an S.O.S. comment on Facebook from one of my favorite readers, Maribel, I put on my thinking cap and went straight into action.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

With Christmas Eve approaching in just a wink of an eye, Maribel commented that she was in need of a recipe that had enough style to impress at the holiday dinner table.

But there was one condition. The main dish had to be cooked in a slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

See Maribel doesn’t have an oven. No, I don’t know why—I’m fantasizing it’s because she’s either in the midst of an amazing kitchen remodel or lives in a teepee fashioned with an es long extension chord to a chugging generator or possibly just doesn’t believe in the clutter an oven adds to her kitchen?

While I do have several slow cooker recipes I almost suggested to her—My Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup and my Slow Cooker Pork Posole Stew almost slipped from my lips—I decided coming up with a new slow cooker recipe was a challenge I was ready to take on.

I am here to serve.

My husband actually wheedled down, and out, my list of recipe ideas and nailed the idea of this Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken. While I’m usually averse to cooking a slow cooker meal when it takes browning and dirtying more pans than just the beloved slow cooker, this time I caved to my husband and his browning suggestion for the sake of flavor. And my, my. It is totally worth that extra pan to wash.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

A few recipe notes:

After a quick batch of chicken browning, everything goes into the slow cooker pot. Cooking for just 3 to 3 ½ hours keeps the chicken juicy and sweetened up thanks to that lovely sauce. Be sure to check the doneness depending on your own slow cooker’s cooking habits.

I used frozen white pearl onions both for flavor (I love the sweet flavor burst of cooked onion with each bite) but if you can’t find them, substitute 1 medium size yellow onion thinly sliced or even the white part of one or two leeks to give a mild but delicious onion flavor.

If the balsamic sauce is a little too pungent for you, add another tablespoon or two of brown sugar to the hot sauce to sweeten it up. It’s all up to your taste buds.

Aaand, one you’ll have one more pan to wash. This is totally my husband’s idea. After the chicken is finished cooking, reduce the balsamic sauce by half, add some butter and you’ll create a smooth and succulent balsamic sauce worthy of any entertaining meal. My man had this epiphany after I’d taken photos, so the sauce isn’t shown here.

Serve the chicken over rice or noodles. Even mashed potatoes would make it shine.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken

Yield: serves 4

Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken


8-10 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 16 ounce package frozen white pearl onions
8 ounces white button mushrooms, quartered
5 garlic cloves, minced
2 stems fresh rosemary
1 bay leaf
¾ cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken stock
3 tablespoons tomato paste
¼ cup brown sugar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter
½ cup pomegranate seeds
¼ cup flat leaf parsley leaves, torn or chopped


  1. Season chicken thighs with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat and brown thighs in batches for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Layer the pearl onions, button mushrooms, garlic, fresh rosemary and bay leaf in the bowl of a 6 quart slow cooker. Add the browned chicken to the slow cooker bowl. Mix the balsamic vinegar, chicken stock, tomato paste and brown sugar in a medium bowl or a 4 cup measuring cup and season with salt and pepper. Pour over the chicken and cook on high for 3 hours, testing for doneness and cook another 15 minutes to a half hour until chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish and cover with a lid or foil. Separate the liquid from the vegetables, and add the vegetables to the chicken. Add the liquid to a sauce pan and cook over medium heat, at a low boil, for about 5 minutes or until reduced by half. Add the butter and whisk until melted and sauce has thickened.
  4. Garnish the chicken with pomegranate seeds and parsley and serve immediately with rice, mashed potatoes or other grain and balsamic sauce.

Good luck Maribel! Maybe Santa will bring you a new slow cooker to celebrate more merry meals.


Maribel shared she recently moved to Costa Rica where her kitchen is absent of an oven. Her crockpot is now hard at work.

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Posted in: chicken and turkey,entrees,recipes

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Sarah | The Sugar Hit December 22, 2013 at 8:42 pm



Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet December 22, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Done and done. Pinned.


Tieghan December 22, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Simply gorgeous, heidi!! I love those pom arils for a pop of freshness and color! Pinned and making ASAP! :)


Serena | Serena Bakes Simply From Scratch December 22, 2013 at 11:45 pm

I was totally cracking up over the Teepee for a year. I don’t know how she managed. I remember being maybe 7 or 8 and spending one night with her and totally thought I was going to freeze to death. No wonder she didn’t let me stay the night in the dead of winter. She since moved on to live in a cave on the big Island, after buying a house for a few years and deciding it wasn’t her thing. Her cave has internet and solar power so I think she probably could cook in a crock pot!


Belinda@themoonblushbaker December 23, 2013 at 3:07 am

Really this the best use of slow cooker i have seen this season! The pom seeds are the thing that make it pop!


Liz December 23, 2013 at 7:46 am

Nice recipe. Thank you.


Varada December 23, 2013 at 9:28 am

Looks absolutely fabulous! Thanks


THL December 23, 2013 at 10:14 am

Has anyone tried this recipe with pork? I’m thinking it would be yummy with pork tenderloin, but I’m not sure about cooking time.


Linda December 23, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Necessity truly is the mother of invention! About 30 years ago, my oven died just before the holidays and I couldn’t afford to replace it. I managed to roast a turkey in my large rectangular electric skillet using aluminum foil to cover/tent the bird, and I cooked a canned ham in a crock pot. You would never guess that that they weren’t prepared in the traditional way. I love this recipe, and am going to give it a try. If it tastes even half as good as it looks, it will be AMAZING!!!

xo Linda


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Maribel Reyes December 24, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Thank you once again for the delicious recipe! Tonight we enjoyed it for Christmas Eve dinner. My 8 year old asked for seconds and my family was impressed with the flavors! Loved it!


Ashley - Baker by Nature December 26, 2013 at 6:49 pm

This is such an impressive meal, lady! I am not even a chicken fan and I’m in love with this one!!! I hope you and your gorgeous family had an amazing xmas :) xo


Vero @ French Cooking for Dummies December 27, 2013 at 3:37 am

Wow this looks amazing! Great festive dish, I’m definitely saving it ;)


Katie December 30, 2013 at 7:51 am

Oh, this looks delicious! I’m thinking of making this for my New Years Eve party tomorrow! Has anyone tried making this dish with boneless chicken breasts? Does it taste just as good? And how much longer would it need to cook in the crockpot!


Ashley January 1, 2014 at 5:07 pm

When my husband was stationed in Japan, we lived off base in a beautiful Japanese home sans oven. We had a 2 burner stovetop. You learn to live by slow cooker!! You can make chocolate chip cookie in a slow cooker if you must!


heidi January 6, 2014 at 9:30 am

Oh, THAT is the recipe I need!


laura@dairyfreekids January 3, 2014 at 11:43 am

Lovely recipe, we just had it for dinner, everyone loved it. Thanks!


Regina M. January 14, 2014 at 11:39 pm

I made this for dinner tonight and it was quite tasty! Thanks for sharing thia yummy recipe!


Kristen R October 28, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Not sure I can get pomegranate seeds – thinking about substituting cranberries? Thoughts?


heidi October 29, 2014 at 8:17 pm

I think that would be fabulous. Dried cranberries are tart too, so they’d play off of the other flavors. I find pomegranate seeds at Costco or I’ve seen whole poms at the grocery store too.


Irma November 17, 2014 at 12:40 pm

This is on my dinner lineup this week! Can you please tell me how to convert this if I was to bake it in the oven? Thanks for sharing this good looking recipe!


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