Crockpot Cajun Chicken

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This simple Crockpot Cajun Chicken is chock full of succulent shredded chicken, a flavor-loaded broth, and plenty of tender veggies. Spoon it all over rice for a hearty and filling meal!

Pair Crockpot Cajun Chicken with a quick and crunchy salad like this cucumber salad or this panzanella salad.

 

Overhead image of Crockpot Cajun Chicken in a bowl with a fork in it.

Crockpot Cajun Chicken

This dish is a little bit of everything — the actual slow-cooked portion is part soup, part stew. And then everything from the slow cooker gets spooned over a bed of cooked rice, making it a thoroughly filling, hearty and warming meal. This dish is pure comfort food, but a meal that you’ll feel good after eating (thanks to all the veggies).

The inspiration for this dish began after a bowl of very nontraditional gumbo my boys and I shared at a local restaurant. The gumbo wasn’t authentic by any means, but it was so delicious. When creating this dish, I kept the ingredients similar — chicken, stewed tomatoes, and lots of veggies in a rich (but not overly heavy) sauce.

After mimicking the overall ingredients, I then simplified the prep to make this meal a simple “dump it and forget about it” process. Thank you, slow cooker!

Crockpot Cajun Chicken couldn’t be easier to assemble. There’s a bit of work involved after everything has slow-cooked, but overall, it’s a fairly simple meal and the perfect kind of cold-weather comfort food.

Process shots-- images of all the ingredients being added into the slow cooker and being stirred together.

Crockpot Cajun Chicken ingredients

Add the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook until tender — no other initial preparation is needed! Below I have a few ingredient notes to help you get the best possible flavor and texture.

  • Celery. Slice into 1/4th-inch thick slices.
  • Yellow onion. To avoid chunks of under-cooked or crunchy onions, be sure to dice the onion into small, even pieces. To save prep time. you can buy pre-diced onions in the produce section of the grocery store.
  • Green bell pepper. Dice into 1/4th-inch pieces.
  • Minced garlic. While jarred garlic works, you will get more flavor from fresh. Use a garlic press for ease and quicker prep.
  • Stewed tomatoes. This is arguably the ingredient that makes the biggest difference in this Crockpot Cajun Chicken meal! Get the best-quality tomatoes you can afford; the tomato is really the base of this meal. I like to get stewed tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano already added in which adds loads of flavor (without needing additional seasonings).
  • Chicken. While chicken breasts will work, I highly recommend boneless skinless chicken thighs. The thigh meat becomes exceptionally tender in the slow cooker and shreds quickly and easily.
  • Chicken stock or broth. Good chicken stock will add so much flavor; use homemade if you have it! My personal favorite brand to use in this recipe is Swanson’s® chicken stock (not sponsored).
  • Cajun seasoning. This seasoning can vary a lot from brand to brand. We personally use McCormick’s® Perfect Pinch Cajun or Tony Chachere’s® Original Creole Seasoning (neither sponsored).  You can also make your own Cajun seasoning mix if you’d prefer. (If making your own, only add 1/2 to 1 tablespoon to this dish, not all of the blend you create).
  • Cayenne pepper. A little of this seasoning goes a long way! If you’re worried about spice, I’d recommend either leaving out the cayenne or very gradually adding it in.
  • Bay leaf. Dried bay leaves work great in Crockpot Cajun Chicken; you can find them among other spices and seasonings in the grocery store.

Once everything has cooked to perfection, there’s a bit of prep required before eating. The chicken needs to be shredded, the rice needs to be cooked, and a quick roux gets whipped together and then poured into the slow cooker to thicken everything up and add flavor. I discuss these finishing elements of this dish in the next few paragraphs.

Process shots-- images of the chicken being removed from the slow cooker and shredded; the cream sauce being made and whisked into the cooker; the chicken being added back in.

Let’s talk roux

Once the slow cooker has finished cooking everything, we add a roux to the mix. The roux is essentially just a thickened sauce of melted butter and flour. 

There’s not a whole lot of it, but it gives the meal a nice creaminess, thickness, and overall enhanced flavor.

Here’s a great step-by-step guide to making the roux. That guide includes pictures, so you can choose how dark and flavorful you’d like the roux to be. A traditional gumbo recipe will use a dark roux, whereas we like to keep it on the lighter side for this particular meal. 

QUICK TIP

Once the roux is finished, you can pour it into the slow cooker and then use the same pot to make the rice if you’re looking to save on dirty dishes–and aren’t we all?

The rice

Despite my best efforts to get the rice to cook alongside everything else in the slow cooker, I never did have success. The rice did not cook evenly (some rice grains bloated while other grains remained hard). Overall, the texture wasn’t ideal, so I do recommend cooking the rice separately from the slow cooker.

While rice can sometimes take upwards of 20-25 minutes to make, I have a short-cut method for foolproof delicious rice every time (the one catch is you’ll need to use basmati rice); here’s how:

  • Measure the basmati rice and rinse it in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear.
  • Place that rice in a bowl and cover it with water to soak for about 5-10 minutes (just until the water is boiling).
  • While the rice is soaking, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • Once the water is at a rolling boil, drain the rice and add it to the pot.
  • Cook without reducing the heat, for 5 minutes (taste and test to make sure it is tender, if not add another 1-2 minutes) and then drain and fluff with a fork.

You’ll love the texture of this rice and how easy it is to whip together!

Up-close overhead image of the Crockpot Cajun Chicken, ready to be eaten.

Crockpot Cajun Chicken Storage

Crockpot Cajun Chicken stores beautifully for 4-5 days in an airtight container in the fridge. We prefer to store the chicken mixture separate from the rice and combine the two right before eating.

Warm the chicken gently over low to medium-low heat to avoid the sauce breaking. Because of the added roux, this dish doesn’t stand up well to freezing and thawing; the sauce tends to break upon being thawed.

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Crockpot Cajun Chicken

5 from 2 votes
This simple Crockpot Cajun Chicken is full of succulent shredded chicken, a flavor-loaded broth, and plenty of tender veggies. Spoon it all over rice for a hearty and filling meal!
Print Recipe

Crockpot Cajun Chicken

5 from 2 votes
This simple Crockpot Cajun Chicken is full of succulent shredded chicken, a flavor-loaded broth, and plenty of tender veggies. Spoon it all over rice for a hearty and filling meal!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword crockpot cajun chicken
Prep Time 25 minutes
5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 25 minutes
Servings 6 -8 servings
Calories 409kcal
Cost $6.92

Ingredients

Crockpot

  • 1/2 cup (35g) thinly sliced celery (~2-3 stalks)
  • 1 cup (144g) finely diced yellow onion (~1 onion)
  • 1 cup (138g) green bell pepper (~1 pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (~4 cloves)
  • 2 cans (14.5 oz., 411g EACH) stewed tomatoes (I use stewed tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano.)
  • 1 pound (472g) boneless skinless chicken thighs (breasts will also work, but we prefer thighs)
  • 2 cups (490g) chicken stock or broth
  • 1/2 to 1 full tablespoon Cajun seasoning (See Note 1)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper

Add later

  • 1 cup (174g) white basmati rice (See Note 2)
  • 4 tablespoons (56.8g) unsalted butter
  • 5 tablespoons (42g) white, all-purpose flour
  • Green onions optional

Instructions

  • PREP: Prepare the veggies (or buy pre-chopped veggies for an even quicker prep). Slice the celery into 1/4th-inch thick pieces. Very finely dice the onion. Cut the bell pepper into 1/4th-inch pieces. Finely mince the garlic. Trim excess fat from the chicken thighs.
  • CROCKPOT: Add everything to the slow cooker: the trimmed chicken thighs, sliced celery, diced onion, diced pepper, minced garlic, both cans of undrained stewed tomatoes, chicken stock, Cajun seasoning, ground cayenne pepper, and bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and pepper (I typically add 1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Stir everything together.
  • COOK: Cook on low for 5-8 hours or on high for 3-5 hours, until the chicken easily shreds. Every slow cooker cooks a bit differently so watch yours carefully! Avoid opening the slow cooker more than needed, as it takes a while for everything to return to temperature.
  • CHICKEN: Once everything is cooked, use tongs to remove the chicken thighs to a bowl. Use two forks to shred.
  • ROUX: About 30 minutes before serving, place a pot on the stovetop and heat the pot to medium-high heat. Add the butter and whisk until completely melted and frothy. Briskly whisk in the flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, adding slowly. Whisk until smooth in between each flour addition.
  • ROUX CONT.: Whisk constantly until a creamy mixture forms (if it clumps you'll need to start again). Lower the heat and allow to slightly thicken and then remove from heat. Carefully pour it into the slow cooker (it sizzles when added, so be careful!) Gently stir the roux into the chicken-veggie mixture.
  • FINISHING CROCKPOT: Add the chicken back into the slow cooker. Stir, taste and adjust the dish to personal preference, adding more salt and pepper as needed and/or additional Cajun seasoning. Remove the bay leaf and discard.
  • RICE: (you can use the same pot here as the roux to save on dishes!) Cook rice according to package directions or follow my foolproof method for cooking rice in a fraction of the time! See Note 2.
  • SERVING: Divide rice evenly among bowls. Spoon the slow cooker mixture on top and stir the two together. If desired, add some chopped green onions to each bowl. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: I use McCormick  Cajun seasoning, which is a little milder than others I've used, but add slowly and to taste preference. We like to add a full tablespoon, but you may like less or more. Always start with less and add more at the end! If you're worried about spice, leave out the cayenne pepper and start with 1-2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning.
Note 2: Here's a short-cut method for foolproof delicious rice every time (the one catch is you'll need to use basmati rice).
  • Measure the basmati rice and rinse it in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear.
  • Place that rice in a bowl and cover it with water to soak for about 5-10 minutes (just until the water is boiling).
  • While the rice is soaking, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • Once the water is at a rolling boil, drain the rice and add it to the pot.
  • Cook without reducing the heat, for 5 minutes (taste and test to make sure it is tender, if not add another 1-2 minutes) and then drain and fluff with a fork.

Nutrition Facts

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 409kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 95mg | Sodium: 203mg | Potassium: 518mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 831IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg

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A very simple crockpot cajun chicken and vegetable dish. Serve it over rice for a delicious meal!
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10 Comments

    1. Hey Robin! I’ve never tried it without the roux so I’m not really sure how exactly it will turn out/taste, but you can definitely try leaving it out.

    2. You can use a cold water/corn starch mix instead of the roux to thicken it up. You use equivalent parts of cold water mixed with corn starch. Then slowly pour it into the soup/stew, stirring it as you pour. The heat of the soup will thicken the cornstarch/water. This method is used A LOT when making Chinese sauces. The cornstarch method leaves out the flour/carbs. You’ll definitely want to thicken it up. Its well worth it.

  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious. Really good. I added some Old Bay to the mix (because, unfortunately, I didn’t add any actual seafood – but wanted that seafood flavor that crab and/or shrimp would add). I then added some Okra too. This was really good. I will be making this again … very soon.

    1. So happy to hear that! Thank you so much for the comment and review Sean 🙂 And the Old Bay + Okra addition sounds delicious!!

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