Slow cooker apricot chicken is an easy recipe using chicken thighs and dried apricots for a delicious dinner with big, fresh flavor and an intoxicating aroma - your house will smell amazing!
Oh, you guys... potty training with J this weekend was an epic fail.
Little man tried hard and we certainly went potty about a thousand times, including several extended stays. But alas, he didn't take to it. At all.
(Let's just say all 13 pairs of the big boy underwear I bought were used on the first day. 😩)
So, back to diapers we go and we'll try again in a few more months. The weekend was not a total loss, however, as M was captured on video with this amazingness. Absolutely my favorite video! And now, onwards and upwards...
Anyone else get giddy when your house fills up with the aroma of what you’re cooking and you can almost taste it as you begin to salivate, like a Pavlov reaction?
The first time I made this slow cooker apricot chicken, I had stayed downstairs for several hours after starting it, working on my deadlines, cleaning up the kitchen, etc.
I finally moved upstairs for a workout and shower and when I walked out of my bedroom, having pretty much forgotten about it cooking away, I was struck with the savory-sweet smell wafting up to me.
Seriously ahhhhmazing! 🧡
And a half-hour later, when I walked back into the house after collecting the little ones from preschool, M said, “Mommy? What’s THAT? That smells GOOD!”
The whole house was filled with it and it was practically torture waiting until dinner time.
And so I nearly burned my tongue as soon as I heard the slow cooker beep that it was finished. #nopatienceAnd happily, the taste is as swoon-worthy as the smell.
The depth of flavor from the tangy Dijon mustard, the sweetness of the apricots, a quick hit of acidity from the fresh lemon juice, a shot of earthiness from the thyme and the background of savory from the chicken broth, garlic and onion… it’s a flavor fest for sure!
And those onions, they are melt-in-your-mouth tender and full of the chicken and apricot flavors.
The dried apricots get full and juicy and fall-apart tender as they cook. You’ll find little bits of apricot clinging to the chicken throughout the dish. Divine!
Even my husband, who is not particularly fond of main dishes that have any sweetness to them, loved this. He didn’t eat many of the apricots on their own but really enjoyed the infused flavor.
My main tip: Save ALL of the juices.
I like to serve this over brown rice (couscous or quinoa would also be good) and pile the chicken, onions and apricots on top. Drizzle a little of the juices over the whole plate and then serve the rest of the juices at the table.
My husband added another drizzle or two and I poured, poured, poured.
The chicken and rice soak up the sauce and everything really comes together as one dish. 👌
A few notes on this slow cooker apricot chicken:
- Please don’t skip searing the chicken thighs in the pan first. I know it’s an extra step — and you know I like to take shortcuts and keep things simple — but this really helps seal in the flavor.
- I also would highly recommend sticking with chicken thighs. Normally, I prefer chicken breasts myself, but the thighs here offer a greater depth of flavor and heartiness that’s needed to balance the light, sweet flavors of the dish. They also retain more flavor in the crockpot than breasts do, in my experience.
- Any apricots that are sticking out of the cooking liquid in the slow cooker may turn brown/black. They taste fine - not burnt - but you could also simply toss those pieces. There are plenty of apricots here!
- I’ve cooked this on low and on high. Mine took 6 hours on low and 3 hours 45 minutes on high, but slow cookers can vary so check your meat with a thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked through.
This slow cooker apricot chicken is now on regular rotation in our house. And every time I make it, I get so excited when the smell starts permeating the house.
Hope you give this a try and enjoy!
P.S. Check out all my slow cooker chicken recipes for more easy dinner inspiration!
And be sure to check out my new VIDEO for this recipe!
Slow cooker apricot chicken
A simple slow cooker apricot chicken that has big fresh flavors and an intoxicating aroma!
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 cup sliced onion
- 1 cup dried apricots, halved if desired
- Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan.
- Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add to pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, until browned, turning once.
- Combine chicken broth, lemon zest and juice, mustard, garlic and thyme in slow cooker and whisk to combine. (Or you can stir it all together in a small bowl and add to your slow cooker.)
- Add onions, apricots and seared chicken thighs to the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- Serve chicken thighs and plenty of sauce over brown rice or whole wheat couscous.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 400Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 4gSugar: 19gProtein: 48g
Just thought I would leave a comment here because this is the second time I have looked up this recipe because it was so good the first time.
I made two small changes, I used tinned apricot and less broth so there wasn't too much liquid, and I added ginger. It is SO good. Thanks for awesome recipe.
I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it Jules! Thanks for sharing! 😊
Made this tonight in the instant pot- did 20 manual setting. FANTASTIC! Tx for the recipe!
I'm SO happy to hear you enjoyed it 🙂 And so happy to know the instructions for the Instant Pot. Thanks for sharing!
What kind of onion do you use? I'd probably to default to yellow/brown, but has anyone tried this with white or red?
Hi Marisssa! I use a sweet onion, but white or yellow would be fine, too. Hope that helps!
Winner, winner, chicken dinner, legit!
I added a cup of sultanas, cup of carrot, cup of celery and a cup of butternut pumpkin to the recipe. Heaven.
I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed it Shane! Thanks so much for sharing! And I LOVE all those veggies you added to this - yum!
Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen
What an interesting combination, it looks like a very satisfying dinner!
Thanks so much - they go really well together!
Megan @ MegUnprocessed
I just love apricots! I also love my slow cooker! It makes meals so much easier.
Yes and yes!! 😊
Giving this a try today! Hope it is amazing!
I hope you liked it Anika! 😊
Hi there I’m making this tmr love the look of it
Oh great! I hope you love it!
Hi there I made the chicken apricot dish so delicious I used fresh apricots instead of dried to enhance the flavours plus I added some cumin and apricot jam I served it over basmati rice This is surely a keeper 😊
I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it! Sounds like some great additions! 😊
I work a 10 hour day (from leaving home to arriving home) can I pre-prepare this and set a timer to start? or pre prepare, refrigerate and cook on high for 3-4 hours?
Hi Caroline, do you have a warm function on your slow cooker? If so, you could prepare it and start it in the morning and then have it switch to warm when the cook time is done, until you get home. If not, I'd suggest pre-preparing and refrigerating it and then cooking it on high for 3-4 hours. I think it might sit too long with a delayed timer, which might not be safe from a food safety perspective.
I made this recipe for dinner tonight. It smelled and looked amazing, but unfortunately it was really sour from all the lemon juice. I am going to try to make it again with just half a lemon and see if it improves.
Oh I'm sorry to hear it ended up sour, Maria. Even with a juicy lemon, I've never had an issue with that - it usually just helps balance out the sweetness from the apricots. That's a good idea though to start with just a half of a lemon and see how it goes. You can always add an extra squeeze of lemon juice when serving if you want to add some extra.
The mix of apricots and chicken tastes delicious, and this recipe is very unusual. Thanks for sharing it!
I would love to try this as it sounds delish but I really hate mustard. Do you think it would be ok to use a couple of tsp instead so the mustard taste won’t be too strong?
Hi Veronica! Yes, I think you could reduce the amount of Dijon mustard in this recipe and/or substitute a few splashes of white wine vinegar as the acidity. I hope that helps and would love to hear how it turns out if you try it!
grits are golden
I have been cooking for a very long time and can almost tell by ingredients whether a recipe will be tasty or not. This sounds good and we will have it tonight. I have two comments: 1) when you post the printable recipe could you just post the ingredients and instructions in small basic type? I had to dig up a 3-ring binder to put these in, takes up more room than I have to spare. I know this sounds picky, but I really like recipe card files, they are convenient, small and organized. 2) When you post a rating it is very miss-leading. There were only 6 posts from people who actually made this recipe, One hated it and one thought it had way too much lemon in it and the other four did some considerable tweaks on it. I always follow the recipe to the "T" the first time I make it then after that I know where to start tweaking.
I really admire your patience, and have enjoyed several of your recipes. And most of them I don't tweak.
Hi, I hope you enjoyed this apricot chicken! It's one of my favorites. As for the recipe cards, those are auto-generated by the plugin I use to format my recipes. Unfortunately, I cannot alter them. However, you could always copy and paste the text and format it how you like; or write down the recipe on a recipe card if that's easier. Also, I cannot control how other people leave ratings - that's up to the people who visit my site. Sorry if it's misleading though. So happy you're here and have been enjoying the recipes! 😊
grits are golden
I made the recipe. It was good. Lemons, lately, have been small and seedy so I added an extra tablespoon of lemon juice but otherwise followed the recipe.In the future I will add one half to one cup of apricot preserves, 2 lemons and the whole can of chicken broth or a pint jar of homemade broth. We like sauce. Sometimes dried apricots have a slightly bitter aftertaste, almost undetectable. That combined with the lemons of late and maybe getting more pith than zest could have contributed to the woman's dish that was too sour. WE are having Slow Cooker Honey-Garlic Chicken tonight.
I'm all about some extra sauce - love those ideas! And that's a great point - my dried apricots are usually nice and plump and sweet and juicy. Other kinds may add a more sour flavor. Hope you love the honey garlic chicken - I just made that again last week! 😊
This was so delicious! My husband must have commented at least three times about how good it was!
I had to borrow some apricots out of a bag of trail mix, and a few almonds accidentally found their way into the slow cooker. Why a nice surprise! Next time I will intentionally add a half a cup of almonds. Thanks for a delicious recipe!
Yay, I'm so happy to hear you enjoyed it! Love the sound of the almonds too - yum! 😊
Do you have any tips for converting this into a pressure cooker recipe? It looks delicious!
Hi Irene! I haven't made this in the Instant Pot, but I do think that would work. I'd saute the onion and sear the chicken thighs on the Saute mode first, then add everything else to the pot. There should be enough liquid with the cup of broth. Then you can seal it and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes to get the chicken cooked through. (That's based on my Instant Pot lemon chicken: https://www.familyfoodonthetable.com/instant-pot-lemon-chicken/) I'd love to hear if you try it!
This is the most delicious meal to ever come out of a crock pot!!! Thank you so much for the recipe!
Oh I'm so happy to hear you loved it Lorrie! Thank you for sharing! 😊
Made exactly as directed, flavor profile is unpleasant. Do not recommend.
Is it ok to freeze this dish after cooking?
Hi Richard, yes, you can freeze the leftovers! Once the chicken has cooled down, transfer it along with some of the onions, apricots and sauce to a freezer-safe container or bag. Label and date it and freeze for up to 4-6 months. Hope that helps!
This is a great list! The thing I started making from scratch was chocolate syrup. Best chocolate milk ever!
This recipe sounds incredible. And the picture of the chicken and rice is making me hungry right now. I realize the recipe is for the slow cooker. But I'm wondering if, aside from the time to cook, whether there would be any changes needed to bake it in the oven.
The reason I'm asking-my slow cooker (Crock Pot brand)-cooks so hot. I just made a different apricot chicken recipe last night. The recipe said 3 to 4 hours on high. I stopped mine at around 3 hours 10 minutes. It was almost overly done. I'm thinking 2 hours and 45 minutes might have worked. With that in mind, the slow cooker doesn't really save me a lot. If I try something on low-it still gets done long before I get home from work. And cooking on high for such a short time period, is not much different from mixing the ingredients and putting in a baking dish in the oven. Plus with baking in the oven, I probably wouldn't need to brown the thighs first as the high oven heat usually caramelizes the skin anyway.
Hey Mark! Sorry to hear your slow cooker runs so hot... that would definitely affect your meals! I know some can cook chicken in 4 hours on low or 2 hours on high, so you might try that at some point. I have not tried to adapt this recipe for an oven. However, I think I would still sear the chicken on the stove, using an oven-proof skillet, and maybe add the onions to saute as well so they get cooking. Then add the apricots and and broth mixture and simmer to finish it stove-top or transfer to the oven to finish cooking until the chicken is cooked through. You likely won't need as much broth either; would definitely require a little fiddling. Let me know if you try it!