Slow Cooker Chicken with Apricots and Dates Recipe

Don't be turned off by the name of this recipe or the list of ingredients. It sounds a bit odd, I know---
dried apricots? dried dates? with chicken?

Trust me. This tastes good.

The Ingredients.
serves 6

1 1/2 pounds chicken meat (boneless, skinless thighs are the best. If you're going to use chicken with bones, fish them out about halfway through cooking)
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried pitted dates, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup orange juice

The Directions.

Put the chicken into the bottom of a 4 to 6-quart slow cooker. My chicken was frozen solid. If you are using fresh chicken, shave off about 90 minutes or so of cooking time.

Add diced onion, and spices. Sprinkle on the apricots and dates. Pour the broth and orange juice evenly over the top. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours, or on high for 3-5. The chicken should be quite tender and shred easily with a fork. If your chicken isn't tender enough, stir well and cook for a bit longer on low.

Serve with quinoa or brown rice with the juices----the broth is delicious!

The Verdict.

What a fantastic combination of flavors. The chicken was super tender, with just a touch of sweetness. The dried fruit softened immensely, and kind of became one with the cooking liquid (the apricots shown in the picture were placed there as a garnish).
All of us ate our dinner happily, and my grandma enjoyed the leftovers. I'd make this again for sure.

The most expensive component to this dish was the dried fruit. The packages were $2.99 each at our local grocery store, and we finished it off by putting it in steel cut oatmeal.

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at February 11, 2010

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What they say about this article

  1. Anonymous2/11/2010

    I've just started reading this blog recently, and this one really caught my eye. I've never used dried fruit in the slow cooker before, but I don't know why not! This looks wonderful. As soon as I get some orange juice, I'm trying it!

  2. This just sounds really to good not to try. I love the slow cooker just wish I remembered to use it more often.

    btw..we think you are awesome and would like to invite you to join us in the kitchen. It is new so we are trying to get new members.

  3. Yum! Reminds me of the brisket with dried fruit my mom used to make.

    Cardamom might be a good addition here.

  4. Anonymous2/11/2010

    Is your slow cooked chicken like mine? My chicken breasts, no matter what the recipe end up soft and tender, but dry & stringy and mostly void of flavor. The only way it seems to turn out is if I make something like your chicken enchiladas - lathered in cream sauce and cheese!

    I do fine with a whole chicken (maybe it's the dark meat and the skin on that helps) in the crock - with rotisserie seasonings...but it still seems a little dried out.

    Looking for a better way to do slow cooked chicken....please advise if you can find the time.

    Thank you!!!

  5. Hi Christine,

    Boneless, skinless breasts do tend to be much drier and stringier than dark meat. I prefer cooking with boneless, skinless thigh meat. If you do want to stick with the breasts, you can pound them thin to break up the membranes a bit, or you can take them out before serving and shred, or dice than return to the sauce to soak up flavor and moisture.


  6. Anonymous2/11/2010

    I bet prunes would be a good substitute for the chicken marbella...

  7. Chicken and dried fruit are wonderful together. Can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks!

  8. This sounds delicious! I like the idea of using dried fruit for a main dish; it's a great way to 'sweeten' it up without adding sugar. I think I'll substitute the dates with prunes, as suggested above. I think dried cherries would be good too (I just bought a lifetime supply of them at Costco; I've got to use them up somehow!)

    Maybe adding some roasted, slivered almonds would be a good addition as well?

  9. Looks so good - I'm salivating!

  10. This actually sounds really tasty. Yum!

  11. This recipe sounds fantastic, and I might just make it for family dinner night next week.

    BTW, just got your book and loving it!

  12. I do something very similar to this, but add lentils and more broth. it is delicious and my family eats it up!

  13. I love adding apricots to meat dishes -- they really add something special to the dish. I've been using it with roast beef and it makes the gravy so tasty and delicious!

  14. I love slow cooker recipes. Ill have to get your book!

  15. ok, using what I have here...I am going to use half a pork loin, leftover pineapple, and dates, I already chopped the onions and put in with the pineapples for overnight. I have a good feeling about this! Will cook up rice when we get home. And M, I will even add in some cardamom! And why not throw in some red lentils!? ( really, thanks for the inspiration, all of you! )

  16. Norman2/14/2010

    I made this last night, but with drumsticks instead of fillets (and couldn't be bothered fishing the bones out), then accidentally put dried pineapple in instead of apricot (and added the apricot anyway), then randomly threw in some nutmeg as well because I always use it with cinnamon (why not?).

    It was still delicious -- thanks!

    I haven't commented before, but I think this is the sixth or seventh of your recipes I've made. (Favourite so far: 20 to 40 clove garlic chicken.) Thank you so much. :)

  17. Rhonda from Baddeck2/15/2010

    I made this over the weekend, and it was delicious. I've found the same thing with chicken breasts (dry), so I use your shredding idea. I tried boneless thighs for the first time, but had "issues" with the fat.

    Hurray for another great recipe! I think next will be the chicken recipe that uses lemonade.

  18. Anonymous2/15/2010

    Discovered you through our Sunday paper insert: love your site, and your warm, friendly conversational tone.

    I am excited about trying these recipes...our Sunday paper had an article on how to save money feeding your family, and your website came up as "delicious and money saving."

    Looks very appetizing so far!


  19. Hi Steph, I keep meaning to ask you if you have more layered dinner recipes than the steak potato and corn on the cob? I currently have 3 of my crockpots going at once...I thought you'd be proud!

  20. Anonymous2/15/2010

    Cooked this today and it is delish :) I'm going to double batch it next so I have more leftovers

  21. I love cooking with fruits. Dates do offer a great flavor for chicken. Thanks for another great recipe.

  22. I am going to make this tonight - bought the ingredients yesterday! I made a similar dish from Martha Stewart Living, but it wasn't in a slow cooker. Used thighs and a jar of apricot preserves. It was good. This looks better. (and it does remind me, too, of Chicken Marabella.)

  23. I made this last night - my husband loved it. The dark meat is definitely the way to go. I wish it had vegetables in it - could I add carrots and/or peppers 30 minutes before serving? Any suggestions? I bookmarked this site - can't wait to try another recipe. There is nothing better than coming home after a day of dealing with snow and slush to the smell of a healthy dinner already cooking!

  24. Hi! I recently discovered your website, and I LOVE IT!!!! OK, I'll stop screaming now, but I am literally jumping up and down like a 5 year old. THANK YOU!

    I have never realized how cooking with a slow cooker could simplify my life! I work full-time and instead of using my precious "home time" in the kitchen, when I get home, dinner is ready and I can spend time playing with my kids! Keep up the good work!

  25. This looks AMAZING!!!

  26. I'm SO excited to have found your website. I'm always looking for interesting crock pot recipes and it looks like you have shared a lot! I've already printed off several to try and I'm sure i'll be back for more!

  27. Anonymous2/21/2010

    nameyourdevice, I almost always add more vegetables than the recipes call for, and most of the time, those vegetables are carrots. It's a way to get the guys to eat more vegetables, because they don't eat vegetables unless I serve them. Another way to add vegetables is to cook them in the rice.


  28. Anonymous2/21/2010

    These are typical Moroccan seasonings, along with the dried fruit (sometimes I use prunes) and it's one of my favourite slow cooker dishes. Vegetables that go well with it are green beans, carrots, winter or summer squash; I just put them in the slow cooker at the beginning and cook it all together.

    Often I will add a can of chickpeas too, or use that and leave the chicken out entirely.

    We serve it with couscous (not gluten free I guess!) but rice works too, and with hot Moroccan mint tea (mix of green tea and peppermint). Lovely smells to come home to.

  29. Kim in Minneapolis2/21/2010

    Heard you on The Weekly Dish on Minneapolis/St. Paul radio Saturday... glad you mentioned the creme brulee... planning to try it soon!

  30. Anonymous2/22/2010

    Commenting on the cooking chicken breasts. I have recently discovered that chicken breasts (boneless, skinless) are done much sooner than many recipes call for - and getting them when they are just done is the best way to keep them moist. I realize that this isn't helpful if you are not at home to do this and it defeats the purpose for using the crockpot for many. - Dee

  31. My husband is away and I am eating the entire thing by myself. It turned out awesome. I was scared of all the onion, but it makes an awesome sauce. Great recipe. Great job. Thank you. Love your blog and use your recipes.

  32. This recipe is my favorite of yours that I have tried so far. In fact, when I was making this dish, I lifted the lid off the crock pot while holding my four month old. She pulled out of my arms toward the smell. Her eyes were huge as she inhaled. Needless to say, we started solid foods shortly after that.

  33. this sound great! one way to cut costs is to buy the dried fruit from bins in the grocery rather than the whole bags. can't wait to try it!

  34. I'm so glad I've found your blog! My partner and I are huge slow cooker fans! we used a slow cooker last night in fact!

  35. Wish I could compliment, but this recipe turned out terrible! Have liked many other things I've tried here, but the kids turned up noses, and I couldn't even say I would "eat my mistake" the way I usually do when I experiment on them. Something went astray because I didn't see any other negative comments. 3 lbs of chicken, minus my attempt to like it, went in the trash.

  36. Anonymous3/09/2010

    I see garlic in your ingredient photo, but it's not mentioned in the ingredient list. Did you add it? I have this cooking in crockpot right now, and decided to throw in a couple of cloves anyway. And I'm going to be calling it Morrocan Chicken..

  37. Anonymous3/12/2010

    Another good one, did it yesterday. Lots of good suggestions on the comments, too. I did it without the dates, since I only had the dried apricots on hand. I get them from Whole Foods, unsulphured and yummy. They *do* kind of melt and blend so well with the oj. I added corn on the cob (tiny sweet fresh Florida ones) wrapped in foil...they were great!
    Joanne from Florida

  38. I made this today and it was wonderful. Thanks for the recipe!

  39. OH. MY. GOSH.

    Posted my experience with this dish on my diet/exercise/GF food blog

    Amazing. For those who don't want to read the other link:

    BOTTOM LINE: I followed the recipe exactly except for adding an extra 1/4 cup of broth and extra 1/4 cup of orange juice, mostly because my meat was 6 HUGE chicken breasts. I cooked on high for 3 hours, shredded the breasts, and put them back in the crockpot. Turned it to low for 2 more hours to let the moisture soak into the meat more. Cooked the rice, chickpeas (1 can), and steamed carrots separately, though adding the chickpeas and carrots at the end would certainly work.

    I bought 1 pound of slivered almonds from the bulk foods at Sunflower Market and fried all of them in a scant amount of oil. Most of them are not in the picture on my blog. The secret of the almonds--use them on this meal like you would use croutons on a salad. Crunchy and perfect! You have to fry them. If you have leftovers, do not store the almonds with the main dish, because they will become soggy and ruin the texture of the meal.

  40. Anonymous8/25/2010

    I've got this going in the slow cooker now. Found out I was out of apricots so I subbed some apricot preserves; hope that doesn't affect it too much.
    Love, love, love this site & your recipes, Stephanie! I tell EVERYONE about it and your book. I'm impressed with the cost & time savings you've afforded me and my family, and I haven't tried a recipe yet that we haven't all liked.
    Thanks so much!

  41. Anonymous11/29/2010

    So... I had some chicken breasts in the fridge that were quickly becoming defunct and I remembered this recipe and thought I had all the necessary ingredients. Not so - the package in my pantry I thought was dried apricots was actually prunes. So I subbed 1/2 cup chopped prunes plus the zest of one lemon (I was trying to replicate the zing!). Cooked at low 6 hours. Then added 1/2 to 1 cup (wasn't measuring!) raw cashews at hour six and cooked one more hour. Oh. My. Goodness! Total Yumminess! I could hardly stop myself from sampling directly from the crockpot!

    Thanks for the recipe! :-)

  42. Jennifer R3/06/2012

    Made this tonight. Maybe my dates were too sweet because it wasn't tangy enough for my taste. I think next time I may sub some apple cider vinegar for some of the OJ and up the apricots and reduce the dates. But the chicken was very tender and juicy. Only needed about 4 hours 15 minutes for fresh chicken (unfrozen).

  43. I do not even like chicken. THIS WAS DELICIOUS! I ate it at a friend's house and could not stop raving about how yummy it was so she sent me here. I am a HUGE fan and cannot wait to try some recipes!