Need a delicious, easy one-pot meal? These slow cooked balsamic chicken thighs take just minutes to prep, frankly the most time-consuming part is dicing an onion you could grab pre-chopped in the freezer section. This recipe is like a little kitchen miracle – flavor packed but low effort. It's the kind of easy meal that makes you feel like you've got it all together, even on those busy weeknights.
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Why You'll Love This Slow Cooker Meal:
- Super Simple: Throw everything in the slow cooker, and let it do the work.
- Rich in Flavor: The balsamic vinegar and brown sugar make an easy but delicious sauce.
- Flexible: This is easy to scale up or down, or make substitutions to.
Let's Get Started! Here's What You'll Need:
Balsamic Vinegar- It's hard to make balsamic anything without it! There are different ratings, but the short version is use a budget friendly one. There are fancy balsamics and those are great, but it would be a waste to cook them.
Chicken broth- I'm using Better than Bouillon here because the amount is much less than a can. If you have homemade that's also a great option.
Brown Sugar- Adds that sweet note that balances out the vinegar's tang.
Yellow Onion- This helps physically elevate the chicken, as well as add flavor. You can swap out yellow for a white or sweet onion if that's what you have.
Chicken Thighs- Bone-in, skin-on for maximum flavor and juiciness.
Whole Mushrooms- Add an earthy note that compliments balsamic well. You can use sliced too, using whole just lets us get everything cooking at once and minimizes chopping.
Seasonings- Italian seasoning and garlic powder create a classic flavor combination, while salt and pepper to taste round everything out.
Of course our slow cooker is the MVP here, and it's easiest to use a whisk to dissolve the brown sugar into the liquids. You'll also need a knife and cutting board for the onion, and some measuring cups. We'll mix everything right in the crockpot so there's no need to dirty any bowls.
How to Make This Flavorful Balsamic Chicken:
Step 1: Balsamic Sauce Base
Whisk your water and better than bouillon (or chicken broth), balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar together in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Step 2: Dice Onions
Chop up your yellow onion and add that to the sauce.
Step 3: Place & Season Chicken
Lay your chicken on top of the onions in a single layer with the skin side up. The onions help keep the chicken from being fully submerged in the sauce, so the skin can brown a bit without needing to dirty another dish. Next, sprinkle with your dry spices: Italian seasoning, garlic powder, sea salt, and black pepper.
Step 4: Mushrooms & Cook
If you like your mushrooms well cooked, add them still whole now, and turn your crockpot on LOW heat for 6-8 hours. If you prefer them less cooked, you can start cooking the chicken without them, then add sliced mushrooms 30-60 minutes before you're ready to eat.
Step 5: Serve & Enjoy
The easiest side dishes for this are some rolls or a bagged side salad. This is also great on top of pasta, rice, or mashed potatoes. If you have any leftover chicken, store it in the fridge in an airtight container. The chicken is great on a salad with balsamic dressing the next day!
Yes and no. You can definitely swap in legs or quarters, and if you want the dish leaner you could use boneless skinless chicken thighs, which will both hold up well with the longer cook time. A whole chicken may take a little longer, but will also give you delicious, tender chicken. If you want to use skinless chicken breasts then either swap the onions for onion powder or sauté them first. I've used boneless chicken breasts before and the cooking time is much shorter, so the onions simply don't have enough time to soften.
Of course! It's your kitchen, your rules. Just keep in mind the cook time. If you want to use a heartier vegetable like carrots or peppers you can add those right away, but for say, fresh green beans, you'll want to add those 30-60 minutes before eating depending on how much crisp you like them to have.
Sure thing! Most slow cooker recipes convert easily enough and this is no exception. Set your pressure cooker to 10 minutes on high pressure for one layer of fresh bone-in thighs. Allow a natural release after pressure cooking.
Absolutely, you can cook this in a baking dish in a 400 degree oven for about 45 minutes.
More Easy Weeknight Meals
If you're looking for more slow cooker chicken recipes for chicken thighs, this lemon pepper chicken is delicious and only 4 ingredients! Or for a shorter afternoon cook time, try this slow cooker caprese chicken.
I hope your whole family loves this crock pot chicken recipe! Next time you need a fuss-free dinner be sure to give it a try, and come back to let me know how it went for you with a star rating or review.
Slow Cooker Balsamic Chicken Recipe
- 1.5 lb chicken thighs bone-in, skin-on
- 1 ea onion
- 8 oz white mushrooms
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ⅓ cup chicken broth water + better than bouillon
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon italian seasoning
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Combine your water and bouillon (or chicken broth), balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar in the bottom of the crock pot.
- Add onions to the sauce base and top with chicken, skin side up.
- Season chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning.
- Top with mushrooms and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours.
Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate. It is recommended to use your preferred calculator with the actual ingredients you use for optimal accuracy.