New York Times best-selling author, slow cooking expert, mom of three
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A Year of Slow Cooking

Friday, September 19, 2008

CrockPot Applesauce Chicken Recipe


Day 263.

This is a good chicken recipe. Don't be concerned by the name--the chicken doesn't turn into applesauce, it gets cooked in it, but still keeps shape. You should make this.

When I
made applesauce earlier in the week, I meant to save a bit to try out Amiyrah's from (4 Hats and Frugal) Famous Applesauce Chicken. But the kids ate it all. So I used store-bought.

The Ingredients.


--4 frozen chicken breast halves or thighs (I used 2 of each)
--1 1/2 cups of applesauce

--1 T dried onion flakes, or 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
--1 T apple cider vinegar

--1/4 tsp cinnamon

--1/2 tsp black pepper
--2 cloves garlic, minced
--1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, I used them, and added more to the adult servings)

The Directions.

A 3 or 4 quart crockpot is the best size for this, but I did use a 6 quart. If your pot cooks fast, err on the lower end of cooking time.


I decided to up the applesauce a bit from
Amiyrah's original recipe and omitted the water. I live life on the edge.

Put the frozen chicken pieces into your crockpot. Add the onion (if you are using the dried onion, wait and add it to the applesauce). In a bowl, mix the applesauce, vinegar, garlic, and spices together. Pour on top of the chicken.


Cover and cook on low for 5-7 hours, or on high for 3-4.


Serve with rice or quinoa. I used a butternut squash risotto package I had, and then kicked myself because it was the same color as the chicken. I am never going to be a food stylist.

The Verdict.


The kids ate this! And liked it! And said I was the best mother ever and that I should make this every single night from now on. and it had nothing to do with the long lecture about wasting food and starving people. nothing at all.

66 comments:

Hannah Attaway said...

This seems like a yummy fruit-poultry combo. I think my husband might even eat it. (He eats like your average four year-old). I'm always looking for chicken recipes he might like since he's a lover of the red meat. Thanks for another great idea!

EJW said...

I know you won't make this variation, but your readers might like it. I make a similar pork dish.

Mix on pack onion soup mix with applesauce, pour over pork chops or a tenderloin, and bake/cook until meat is cooked through.

Super easy and so good!

Veronica said...

Sounds DELISH! Might have to try it with pork loin. Guess you'll have to take my word on it since, well, you know! ;) Thanks. Have a GREAT one!

~M said...

As someone who does not eat pork, I really like to see fruit + chicken dishes. Thanks!

If I were to use fresh (not frozen) chicken pieces, how would I alter the recipe and timing? Thanks!

The Riggalls said...

You are so funny (last comment about the starving speech)! Okay, this is the first time I've commented on your blog page, but I have been following it for a few months now and I must say, I love it! I am a 28 year old mother of an 18 month old with another one on the way in two months. I need fast easy recipes with easy clean up after dinners and I'm not very creative in the kitchen, but this has really helped me. I've tried a bunch of your dishes (Ziti, a few dips, a few potato recipes, trail mix, etc.) and so far so good! My husband is impressed and proud of me! That always puts a smile on my face. Anyway, I think I'm going to try this dish next. Chicken is popular in this house b/c we buy it in bulk. That and ground beef. Anyway, I just wanted to say, thanks for your efforts in all these wonderful recipes and for actaully getting me in the kitchen cooking! Mary

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Hannah, we really liked it, and my almost-4 yr old was quite impressed.

EJW and Veronica, you know me so well. ;-0 xoxo

~M--I think the timing would be the same on high, but might cook a touch faster on low. It seems that you only need an hour or so longer with frozen chicken. It thaws quickly.

Mary, I'm glad to be of any help to your family. Congratulations on #2!

xox
steph

Mama Squirrel said...

I like your blog very much and am still following along even though we've moved on from gluten-free (didn't seem to help the situation) and are now on low-sodium--and this recipe sounds like it could fit the bill for that. Is your applesauce sweetened or unsweetened?--I couldn't tell from the photo.

Holy Hill Blogger said...

Thanks for this timely recipe! I just bought a bag of frozen chicken breasts and have always been nervous to cook with them because even though it says to use them just like thawed breasts, I always seem to have recipes that make it questionable how to actually use them. This seems like a no-brainer. I can't wait to try it!

Crystal said...

I've been visiting your site for a couple of months now and have tried several of your recipes. I just wanted to tell you how happy I am with the recipes I've tried. I especially like that you put a "verdict" on the recipe. I think that is so helpful in deciding to try a recipe. Thanks for your hard work!

Disneypal said...

This sounds really good - I wonder if you can substitute cinnamon applesauce for the plain applesauce and cinnamon. I might try that.

Your recipes are awesome - you should publish a book !

Amiyrah said...

yay! they liked it! I'm so glad this recipe worked out for you. I like the variations on my recipe...I may have to try it your way next time I make it. I can't wait to see the next recipe from you...these recipes really are saving my sanity. The last one I did was the steak, potatoes and corn all in the crockpot. I was in heaven! DH was amazed too. Thanks again!

Sara said...

I love your blog and because it of I'm using my crock pot so much more! But I've noticed that when I cook my meats for a long period of time (say if a recipe calls for the CP to cook at high for 6-7hrs), my meat is falling apart when I take it out, and it still tastes yummy but doesn't look as pretty. Do you know if this because I need to cook things for a shorter period that what the recipe calls for or will this always happen? Thanks for any insight you can give me!

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Sara,

high for 6-7 hours is a pretty long time. I usually stick to high for no more than 4 hours, and low for 5-6 for chicken, longer for red meat.

xox
steph

Tracy said...

Help! I just found your blog and it's wonderful. The problem is, I'm supposed to be working. Now I admit to reading a variety of blogs here at work, but most of the time I just read the latest post and then I'm done. No more time wasted than if I were a smoker and went outside to take regular smoking breaks. (They have their addictions and I have mine!) But here, I find myself wanting to go back through 200+ entries looking at recipes -- and then cutting and pasting them into Word files. Anyway -- great blog. I've already found a bunch of recipes I can't wait to try. I'll just have to take my time searching them all! Thanks!

Marita said...

I made apple butter in the crock pot yesterday and it was fantastic. Must remember to blog about it when I get a chance. Both my girls enjoyed it on their toast for breakfast this morning.

Angie (mighty-nice) said...

Mmmm - I was wondering if you thought you could cook the applesauce you made the other day WITH the chicken (instead of using premade applesauce) - does that make sense? Kind of combining both recipes (like you mentioned doind if your kids hadn't eaten all the applesauce) - except making them at the same time...

NOLAGringa said...

You're funny!

Glad there are others around who are crockpot obsessed! :)

LouAnne said...

This looks like another winner. We loved, Loved, LOVED your brown sugar chicken and everyone we told probably helped raise your hit count there for awhile. They all have told me now that they visit regularly. I'm using my 2 crockpots more often now and will sure be using them more this winter. I even bought a 2 qt one from Wal-Mart with a removeable crock. Only problem with it is it has a plastic lid and the recipe book only has 3 recipes for that small of a pot. But I thought maybe I could adapt some recipes for our empty nest here. We don't really need loads of leftovers! 'cept that brown sugar chicken.....

mr.sound and mrs.sound said...

whoa! Now I feel like eating. This stuff of yours is great.
www.foodista.com

Barrie said...

I can't help but notice you have a head of garlic in your picture. Did you put this in the recipe? Or did it just sneak onto the plate...?

I'm going to make this tonight! I don't think I have time to make apple sauce then make the dish, but I will make applesauce too at some point!

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Barrie,

huh. I must have! If you have some on hand, throw in 2 chopped cloves. I'll update the recipe, thanks!
xox
steph

Mama Squirrel said...

About how much chicken (weightwise) do you think you used? I'm looking at a 2-lb. frozen tray of chicken breasts, and trying to figure out just how many actual pieces might be hiding in there.

Looking forward to trying this one tonight--especially since I couldn't make that cheeseburger soup come out low-sodium enough for my husband's diet.

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Mama Squirrel,

I'd use 1 pound of your chicken, and save the rest for another day, or double the sauce.

xox
steph

Wheat-free DB said...

I made this yesterday, and OH! did it ever smell good when I unlidded the Crock. YUM! And the flavor didn't disappoint. Thanks for this great idea! I will definitely be making this again.

You should add the tag "aromatherapy" to this recipe!

Aly said...

I tried this today and we loved it!! This is definitely something I will make it the future! Very good!

Mama Squirrel said...

My husband's comment: "Are you sure this isn't salted?" (That's a compliment.) My kids all seemed to like it too.

I did use the two pounds of chicken (without doubling the sauce) and it worked fine for us. Guess it just depends on how big your chicken breasts are.

I had to thicken the sauce near the end, though--it was too wet. I mixed a tbsp of cornstarch in a bit of cold water and added it to the pot, let it finish on High for about 20 minutes.

Vids said...

Steph! This is such a winner! I substituted rice vinegar for cider vinegar since I didn't have any cider vinegar. My 2 year old son loved it! Thanks, thanks, thanks! :-)

Scott said...

This recipe is in the crockpot and cooking away. Thanks for writing such an interesting blog. I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

Jen said...

We ate this last night and everyone thought this was great (except the son with autism...shocker...he ate a burger). My daughter was crabby about it but then ate the whole thing without talking at all through the entire meal. I served this with skin on mashed red potatoes and broccoli. This is a keeper!

tnspr569 said...

Made this a few weeks ago and forgot to comment - it was great!! At the beginning of the day, I thought to myself, "I am NOT cooking dinner tonight. I'm going to use my crock pot!" This recipe was perfect- zero effort, tasty results! SO nice to come home to a delicious, hot meal waiting in the crock pot, not to mention the wonderful smell that filled the apartment! Thanks for the recipe!!

Melanie said...

a keeper! love that i found this recipe around lunch time, had everything on hand to throw in the croc and had a fabulous dinner just hours later.

Vashti said...

Made this one as well and loved it! even my fussy "cant put sweet with savory" husband liked this one!

Lisa in CO said...

This was cooking in my 2nd crockpot yesterday (in addition to the baked oatmeal ;) )...i used unsweetened applesauce and had to use a red onion. I really enjoyed it, my dd said it was too spicy (and my son wouldn't come near it, but what else is new, lol). next time, i may leave the red pepper out and just add it to mine after it's cooked. Thanks again Steph for another easy cp meal!

Anonymous said...

Yummy! I added half a bag of fresh cranberries. Would also work w/ pork.

Jennifer said...

I tried this chicken even though it did not sound like a winner but had all the ingredients on hand so thought why not. I wish I would have thought it through more...even my hubby who eats everything agreed I should not make it again. To each is own but not again for my family! However, I have cooked many of your other recipes and found them to be fabulous! On a positive note, it did make our home smell delightful as it cooked all afternoon!

Anonymous said...

I made this exact recipe with a boneless pork roast, and it was fabulous. I'm thinking for chicken substitute the applesauce with whole cranberry sauce. I'm going to try with rice wine vinegar and leave out the red pepper flakes. When I do this again with pork, I will increase the red pepper flakes. I used a whole onion instead of the power. Served with rice, it was really really good. Can't wait to try the chicken with cranberry.

Lindsay said...

This was the first meal I have EVER made in a crockpot! It was so yummy! We had it with couscous and it was just a greal meal! My husband was very impressed! :)

Sarah said...

Just tried this last night. Other than my husband complaining about how badly the apple cider vinegar smelled, it was a hit! It was mild but flavorful, and I was surprised at how much I liked the savory/sweet combo with the applesauce and the onions (neither overpowered the other). The red pepper flakes gave it a nice little kick without being too spicy. It was also really easy and convenient. A keeper!

The Mom @ Babes in Hairland said...

We had this last night ... pretty tasty - but I think I'll put less black pepper in it & hold the red pepper flakes until afterwards. The girlies ate it and liked it but it was a bit spicy for them. The best part was I had everything & just hurried and put it in before heading out to run errands.

Denise said...

Is this one that I could use a whole bird? No one has commented yet on that. Thanks, I REALLY love your site and can't wait to have the book on my counter!!

CookingMommy said...

I made this the other night and we all enjoyed it. It was a little spicy for my 5 year old... not my 2 year old though. He oddly doesn't mind spicy stuff. I think I might cut the red pepper in half next time though. I was wondering if you used unsweetened applesauce or the regular? I couldn't tell by the picture. I used unsweetened, and I wonder how much it would change the flavor using regular. It was a good, easy, and cheap recipe I will be making again. :-) Thank you!

Anonymous said...

When we Girl Scouts make this with cranberry sauce in a dutch oven, we call it Pilgrim Chicken.

Amy said...

I'm late to the party, I know, but this was my first crock pot dish *ever*, so I had to chime in. My folks cooked in a crock pot when I was growing up but I just got one for CHristmas. I love this dish...so yummy, and so simple.

I cooked it on high for the shorter amount of time. (I'm not just new to the crockpot, I'm new to "real" cooking, and managing my time! LOL!) I'm wondering if the flavor might have been a bit more infused into the chicken if I had either cooked it a bit longer, or even cooked it on low for an even longer time.
But it was still yummy...the next day the leftovers were even *more* yummy. My kids didn't love it oddly enough, although they were more interested in it when I was lunching on the leftovers. ;-)

Anne Marie said...

Has anyone done this with de-frosted chicken? I already thawed my chicken before I read the whole recipe. Any help?

Stephanie O'Dea said...

Anne Marie,
it's just fine! No worries, just check it about 45 min to 1 hr earlier. The frozen chix just buys a tiny bit more time.

xoxo steph

Anne Marie said...

Thanks for the info on de-frosted meat! My hubby and I thought the meal was delicious; just wish our 2 & 4 year-olds would agree! :o) BTW, my youngest daughter also has Celiac Disease so this blog is a godsend! Thanks!

Amy said...

Ridiculously good and SO easy!!! Super picky kids LOVED it!!

Cassie said...

I added sweet potato and it was so awesome!!!

Jenifer said...

I also think this recipe would be AWESOME with pork chops. Next time that's what I'll be using....

I am not sure if I did anything wrong.... I used unthawed chicken and did cook it for an hour less, however it was really dry. The flavors were great and everyone ate it and said it was good.... but I was disappointed the meat turned out dry :(

AMPM said...

I admit to having not made this yet but I accidentally found your site and was STOKED when I realized that your recipes were GF. One of my little nuggets has Celiacs and I might shed a little tear that I just found you!

Catherine said...

I tried this dish tonight since I don't have much in the house tonight and this so happened to incorporate things I do have (chicken breasts and apple sauce). I thought the spiced apple sauce was interesting, but my husband didn't like it. :/ I did use the strategy I saw on another recipe though of putting a layer of foil over the sauce/meat part and cooking sweet potatoes over it. That worked out well.

Sharon said...

This has become a family favorite. Thank you!!!
Oh, and we love ours served over barley. I buy the quick-cooking barley, and cook it in chicken broth instead of water. It goes well w/ this meal! :)

Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I'm a retired guy with my wife still working, so I try to have dinner ready. Got this recipe from your book at the library. We loved it. Now my wife wanted me to make it for company, but I forgot to copy it. Live 22 miles from town, so was glad you had it on this site. Think I need to get the book.

Kelly said...

This was awesome. I used unsweetened applesauce with a tablespoon of brown sugar (to avoid the HFCS). I shredded the chicken when it was done and served it over some no-yolk egg noodles with some butter, parsley, and lemon juice. DELICIOUS!

Jennifer said...

Hi Stephanie - So, the chicken came out AMAZINGLY tender, but the flavor was kind of blah. I left out most of the onion, because we're not onion people, or as my husband tells me, when I eat them, I smell like a troll. :-) But I tried to compensate with doubling the cinnamon and a bit extra applesauce. My five-year-olds ate it, and I loved it as well (with buttered rice). Any ideas to add a bit more flavor w/o the onion? Thx!

Trent said...

yes, i also noted the flavor was muted... like this site has stated, the slow cooker can diminish flavors... maybe using apple butter may elevate this dish. Chicken was tender, but the flavor was "meh" according our family.

Lisa said...

I'm not a fan of fresh onions, but I get great flavors from dry onion soup mix. It's not as "onion-y" as an actual onion. Another option would be more garlic, or even fresh/freeze dried chives or shallots, which are all part of the onion family but a MUCH milder flavor.

When I do chicken in the crock pot, I usually put the dry ingredients right onto the chicken. I would spray the crock pot, add the chicken, then sprinkle with the pepper & onion soup mix, then mix the applesauce with the garlic, connamon, and vinegar to pour over. I've also found that cooking frozen chicken prevents the flavors from going into the chicken so I very rarely cook with frozen chicken if I can help it. Try it with fresh chicken and I bet you'll get a whole different experience.

Barbara said...

I was intrigued by the fruit/poultry combo and since we had the ingredients I tried it. The chicken was really moist and broke apart beautifully, but my husband and I agreed that it was kinda wierd. It tasted good and was cooked fine, but we couldn't get over the apple/chicken combo. It needed a little something more I guess for us. I'm looking forward to the recipe we try from this site, it's SO convenient to use the slow cooker, and I really enjoy your recipes!!

My 3 Girls said...

My two picky eaters, aged 8 and 9 said this was the best dinner ever and ate every last piece. I was thinking raisins might taste good in there with the applesauce next time. I did not use frozen chicken, and used 6 boneless breasts. I doubled the applesauce, garlic and vinegar, kept everything else as is. I am not a huge fan of cinnamon so there was just enough for my taste.
Very good!

Grace said...

I needed an easy recipe for today and this looked like it. I, however, played it safe, unwilling to put all my eggs in one basket (chicken in one crockpot) so I did a test run. I made the peppercorn steak for our lunch (love all that flavor!) and used my tiny crock pot to try the applesauce chicken. The smells that came out of it were tantalizing. But when I tasted it I had to concur with some others that it lacked some depth. So I decided to turn it into a teriyaki type chicken by adding soy sauce, fresh ginger and a bit of brown sugar. Oh my it was sooooo gooood. Now what I like about this recipe is that after cooking the applesauce chicken my chicken was white. Usually when I do a teriyaki chicken I do not do it in the crock pot because I don’t like what it does to my chicken breasts. So when I added the soy, ginger and sugar AFTER it had a lovely taste, rich addictive sauce, but the white meat was still white. So I will make the Applesauce chicken and add these few ingredients just before serving.

twinsmom said...

My husband was diagnosed with celiac disease about two years ago, and dinners have been a struggle ever since. His hours at work bring him home anywhere from 5-9pm depending on how his day goes. When my aunt gave me your cookbook for Christmas, I actually cried in gratitude.
I have been using it at least once a week, and we have had so much fun trying new things. The Applesauce Chicken last night is my new favorite meal. I am already trying to figure out if I can double the recipe and fit it in my crockpot so that I can make it for friends. My husband was literally spooning out the leftover "juice" and eating it before I could get the dishes started.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! You saved me from the same 4 quick-cooking dishes on weeknights.

Kate said...

Made this for dinner today. It really had no taste at all. I followed Grace's example and added soy sauce, ginger, and brown sugar. Better, but this isn't a recipe that I will ever make again. :)

P said...

Had all the ingredients so I thought I'll give it a try. The place smells like apple pie! Two hours on high and the chicken falls off the bones. It was a different combination of flavors than what I was used to and I like it.

RJ said...

I cooked this tonight, We all 3 Loved it :)

Bonnie said...

Wel, I made this recipe last night and had such high hopes! I wonder what I did wrong. I doubled the chicken; doubled the sauce ingredients, but did everything else the same. It finished as one huge 6 quart crockpot of liquid, with floating chicken pieces! It tasted good, but I did not expect it to be so much like soup?!

Uzi Rulez said...

made this for valentines day dinner. FANTASTIC!!! I used fresh chicken breasts because of time. I pna seared both sides of each breast (6) in coconut oil, & used 2 quarts of homemade apple sauce. I added the eftover oil and juices from the pan into the apple sauce. Everybody loved it, thank you so much for this site. I can't wait to try more recipes from your site!! I

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