Lazy Chicken CrockPot Recipe

Sometimes the very best dinners are the ones where there really isn't a recipe.

Lazy cooking is my most favorite way to use the crockpot slow cooker. For this particular recipe I used frozen chicken pieces and a jar of pasta sauce, but you really can use anything jarred you'd like -- in fact, they even now sell simmer sauces in the grocery store just for this reason.

Put the meat in the pot. Add the sauce. Plug in the pot. Turn it on.

Leave house to go do your thing, and come home to dinner.


I make this recipe or a variation of at least once a week! I love easy and simple crockpot recipes! Dump and Go, and get on with your day!

Day 20.

This is the easiest crockpot recipe ever. All you need is frozen chicken pieces and a bottle of marinara sauce.

For this recipe:

--frozen chicken pieces (rule of thumb is 1/2 pound per person)

--bottled marinara sauce

cook on low for 8 hrs, high for 4. Shred chicken with forks; serve over hot pasta.

Other Variations:

use bbq sauce! 

or your favorite salad dressing! 
or any of those ready-made marinades or sauces such as sweet and sour, curry, teriyaki, etc.

If you have gluten allergies, PLEASE read all labels carefully and contact manufacturers when in doubt.

This technique works great with beef, lamb, pork, and hardy vegetables.

The Verdict.

OH STEPH. How is it that this can even be considered a "recipe"? You must have really lost your marbles this time.

 ---->  Okay. so here's the thing. I don't believe cooking should be a complicated, drawn-out process. I think cooking is so you can Eat Food. 

I am not the kind of girl who is going to have a Zen Moment chopping an onion, I'm just not.

I like to cook because I like to eat and because I like to give the kids something other than frozen Tater Tots. If it was just me on my own?

I would eat take out each and every night. Seriously. BUT. I'm trying to raise healthy humans and healthy humans need to eat food other than food from a Delivery Guy.

if you are a Food Snob you probably think this isn't "homemade". Whatever.

This is Crock-Pot food at it's finest.

(imagine me sticking my tongue out....)


PS. Since this post was written (eons ago!) I have now created THOUSANDS of crockpot slow cooker recipes. These are the Very Very best ones. Enjoy!

Do you love this recipe?

Please share it with your friends!

Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at April 08, 2021

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What they say about this recipe

  1. I love your blog! I subscribe just to make sure I don't miss out. It all looks so yummy...

  2. Hey! I think I just paid $12 for that same dish from the Carino's last night :)! Yum!

  3. Anonymous1/20/2008

    Sounds great and Cheap my favorite thing.

  4. That sounds good and way too easy.
    Hey, I made the chicken tortilla soup someone posted about last week or so. It was a big hit here!

  5. Ok, well this is totally my new favorite blog. I just subscribed and can't wait to read more.

  6. Yum! That looks very good and easy :-)

  7. I just found your blog today, from ToastyToes'es (is that correct?) blog. I am new to crockpot cooking (just got one for Christmas) and am going to follow your blog closely this year! I linked to you from my blog!

  8. yum & easy-just my style!

  9. I just LOVE this blog!! You can also make this with chicken and barbeque sauce. Very yummy. I haven't tried it with marinara sauce. Sounds easy and delicious! My two favorite things when it comes to cooking.

  10. Anonymous4/02/2008

    So you can put frozen meat in the crockpot? I thought that wasn't safe as far as bacteria? 8-/

  11. Hi anon.

    I am most certainly not a food scientist or anything remotely resembling one. If you are freaked about the food danger zone, don't use frozen meat. Here's what Rival has to say about adding frozen meat to their cookers.


  12. Anonymous5/04/2008

    Just found your website. LOVE IT!!! Made this last night.. SO GOOD! Instead of the noodles I served it with mashed potatoes.

  13. Made this many times over for friends and my BF! Few things I would say about potential mistakes I made:

    Do not shred the chicken then let it since in the sauce for awhile when it's done cooking, when you shred it the chicken soaks up a lot of the extra liquid and the pasta was drier than I wanted.Shred then eat right away!

    I really want to try this with alfredo sauce, I'll let you know how it goes!!

  14. Anonymous7/09/2008

    Just saw you today on Rachael Ray, so I thought I'd look for some recipes. This lazy chicken looks a lot like the chicken catchatore (sorry if I mispelled that) I make in the crockpot. I use pre-marinated italian chicken breasts I found at the store (I think tyson makes's right alongside of packaged chicken breasts at the store) with sliced onion, red and green pepper, a jar of marinara and some italian seasoning. It cooks for about 8 hours which makes the chicken so tender and juicy. I serve it over noodles too. My husband loves it!

  15. Anonymous8/23/2008

    I'm loving your blog! My only problem is that I really like quantities. I never know how much chicken/fish, etc... to use to go with the amount of sauce or veggies that you recommend. There are 5 of us.

  16. Sort of related to Steph's post, what size crockpot works with this recipe? I have a 6 qt round smart pot, I want to try this but I'm not sure if it would be 2/3 full?

  17. OK, so I'm one of those that just CANNOT leave a recipe alone!
    And I really do try. I promise.
    When I read this recipe, I decided I just had to try it. Sounds way too easy and awesome!
    then I didn't have marinara sauce...So the tweaking began.
    I decided to use alfredo, "sun-dried tomato alfredo" to be exact.
    I ended up putting my whole chicken breasts in the pot mostly thawed, but still raw.
    As I was getting out the pasta, I decided to use rice instead, for something different. We put the whole chicken breasts and the sauce over the rice.
    We loved loved loved it!!! Thanks for the inspiration, if not the recipe! : )

  18. I love your blog! I found it two days ago from I don't remember where, and I've spent the past 2 days reading. My aunt does something similar, only she uses a pork tenderloin instead of chicken. Makes great pork sandwiches...

  19. Anonymous11/10/2008

    Hello, this sounds great...i dont have any marinara but I think i may try the bbq sauce suggestion. I also tried this with a jar of salsa w/ 1 1/2 # of frozen chicken breasts...and it came out great. I sprinkled a little taco seasoning and served w / warm tortillas w/ sour cream and it was great!

  20. Im new to crockpotting, so ignore my crazy question, but do I cook for 8 on low, then 4 on high?

    OR is that like either/or?

    Like if I want to cook on low do it for 8 hours or if I want to cook on high, do it for 4?

  21. Hi Alana Jo, your question isn't crazy, my writing wasn't clear.

    Yes. 8 hours on low or 4 hours on high. If your crockpot isn't 3/4 of the way full, it will not take as long to cook.


  22. Anonymous3/04/2009

    I usually make this, but add 1/2c. red wine and some garlic. My kids and husband love it!

  23. Love this blog... I make a similar recipe but I add:
    1 jar of mushrooms (drained)
    2 teaspoons of chicken boullion


  24. I made this recipe last night only I added onions, garlic, green pepper, mushrooms and a zucchini and put it over rice, it was so great! Very filling and my husband and kid's loved it, well they did pick away the zucchini and green peppers. Thank you for sharing!

  25. Anonymous1/20/2010

    Love the idea of taking the chicken right out of the freezer. I made it canned whole cranberry sauce. I buy the sauce without corn syrup (in the Kosher aisle). Delicious!

  26. Just tried this, but I used frozen leg quarters and barbecue sauce. OH MY GOSH! So tender, so moist, so tasty. Like Rotisserie on steroids. Must say that I think I'd prefer to do without the skin, but since they were frozen and I couldn't get it off...Anyway, gotta try the whole chicken now. Can't wait!

  27. Putting this in right now!! I just emailed you... I can't find your recipe for the steak and the 3!

  28. Anonymous4/14/2010

    I made this for dinner tonight (sans the mushrooms and veggies. I'm a chicken & dumplings purist,ha). I used Pillsbury frozen southern style biscuits and served glazed steamed carrots on the side and mashed potatoes.

    Delicious dinner! Thanks a bunch for the recipe/idea :]

    -Ashley L

  29. Anonymous4/14/2010

    Okay, so I shouldn't comment when my baby is fussy. I meant this for this recipe. Sorry.

  30. Trying lazy marinara chicken tomorrow night.

    My dad has been making chicken breasts with bbq sauce for years. He uses a very small crock pot and adds onions and green peppers. Very tasty.

  31. This is very good. Almost too easy. Even the clean up is easy.

  32. I made this two days ago with salsa. I had it for dinner last night with corn bread. It was delicious!

  33. Anonymous1/31/2011

    I Made this with pork tenderloin that I had in the freezer. It was really good!

  34. Anonymous2/15/2011

    I just put this in the crockpot! I have no doubt that it will be delicious. I've already tried the 20 to 40 garlic cloves chicken and dh and i loved it so much! Thank you for this blog, and for keeping our bellys warm with healthy delicious meals!


  35. Anonymous2/16/2011

    I made this last night, and have a lot left over since it's only dh and i. Any suggestions for what to do with leftovers? we had it with whole grain pasta and side of salad.

  36. Melanie2/24/2011

    Just curious - are there any food safety issues cooking frozen chicken? Does it get hot all the way through? (I would cooking it at least 8 hours on low)

  37. Melanie, Use a digital thermometer, $14 from Amazon. Here is a useful link to FDA guide to meat cooking temps and on that page is a link to the thermometer. If its cooked through and up to temp, there are no health issues even from frozen. Yummy recipe and Steph: thanks for a life enhancing blog, you rock!

  38. I made this using slightly defrosted chicken and a jar of marina. It was wonderful! I'll definitely be making it again. Thank you for including this recipe in your book. I love reading your blog too.

  39. Hey Stephanie - if you guys like Mexican, this recipe is great w/ a jar of your favorite SALSA too. Serve over rice. Oh. My. Gosh. Yum-O!

  40. laurie gosh3/25/2012

    Looks great! Love quick, easy, and yummy. Thank you.

  41. I'm trying this tonight with bone-in chicken and alfredo sauce. Thanks for the recipe!

  42. I'm making this today because it's just too hot to use the outdoor grill.

  43. I was looking for some way to use frozen leg quarters with no muss. When I saw this recipe it brought back memories of a pulled pork recipe I make. It's so simple.

    1 1/2 cup water (or low salt chicken broth)
    1 28 oz can crushed matoes
    1/2 c cider vinegar (key ingredient!)
    2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (I use the lower sodium kind)
    1/4 c brown sugar
    salt and pepper to taste, but between the Worcestershire and canned tomatoes, I think it is salty enough.
    1 tsp celery seed
    1 tsp chili powder (I used more)
    2 tsp minced garlic. (I just use the jarred stuff to save time)
    1 medium onion roughly chopped.

    I stuffed four leg quarters in a large crock. Mixed all the ingredients together, and poured them over the leg quarters. Cook on low for about 8 - 10 hours. You can shred the chicken in that sauce, or pour off the sauce, shred, and add BBQ sauce. This works well with a Boston butt too, but I brown the Boston butt first.

  44. I'm still using what I believe to be your original recipe for crock pot yogurt - and spreading the recipe to others. Dannon must hate me.