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Applewood Cider Slow Cooker Chicken

Applewood Cider Slow Cooker Chicken is a tasty choice for busy day meals. Made with a flavorful dry rub, it’s slow cooked in apple cider until it’s tender and succulent. Crisp the skin under the broiler if you like, or serve it straight from the slow cooker for a feast on a busy day.
Applewood Cider Slow Cooker Chicken

Easy Applewood Cider Slow Cooker Chicken Recipe

Lazy days are just as much a part of life as busy days. Slow cooking is a perfect choice for a lazy day in the kitchen. When I’ve got lots of irons in the fire and I’m juggling everyone’s schedule, that usually means I don’t get to spend quite as much time putting together our meal as I would like. I almost always make my own dry rubs and in fact, I prefer to concoct my own creations. However, like most home cooks some days I find myself too busy and I turn to a prepared rub to simplify my life. You know, on those “don’t sweat the small stuff” kind of days.

Crockpot chicken

How to Make the Best Applewood Cider slow Cooker Chicken Recipe

The rub I used for this slow cooker chicken was a seasoning blend with smoky undertones. It includes paprika, garlic, granulated onion and a hint of Applewood flavoring, along with other spices for added flavor. We love garlic, so I added a couple of cloves of fresh minced garlic to the seasoned butter to give it more flavor. The simple brine really infuses the chicken with moisture, and the subtle apple flavor that we love. Slow cooking the chicken makes it fall off the bone tender.
  • Ingredients you’ll need to make Applewood Cider Chicken in a slow cooker:  One whole chicken, apple cider or apple juice, salt, Applewood seasoning i.e. McCormick, softened butter and garlic.
  • Slow cooking is a moist cooking environment, so the skin won’t become crispy as it would when you roast a chicken in a conventional oven.
  • To get the golden brown color broil for a few minutes in the oven just before serving to crisp the skin and then drizzle with the pan juices just before serving.
  • You can easily adapt this recipe using apple juice in place of the cider.
  • Store leftover Applewood chicken in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy cold or gently reheat in the microwave being careful not to dry out the chicken.
  • You can also remove the chicken from the bone and use it as an ingredient in another recipe.

Applewood Cider Slow Cooker Chicken

More Southern Style Slow Cooker Recipes to Make

While I do love my Instant Pot for quick pressure cooking, my slow cooker is still my favorite kitchen appliance for making dump and go meals. More slow cooker recipes you may like to try:


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Applewood Cider Slow Cooker Chicken
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5 from 1 vote

Applewood Cider Slow Cooker Chicken

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Resting time10 minutes
Course: Chicken, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: applewood-cider-slow-cooker-chicken, crockpot-chicken-recipes, easy-chicken-recipes
Servings: 8 pieces
Calories: 370kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1 6 lb whole chicken
  • 5 cups apple cider divided
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 Tbsp Applewood rub plus add'l for sprinkling [i.e. Grill Mates]
  • 4 Tbsp softened butter
  • 2 cloves garlic minced


  • The night before: Mix together 4 cups of apple cider or apple juice with 1/4 cup of salt. Stir until the salt dissolves.
  • Wash the chicken, removing the giblets, then pour the brine over the chicken and refrigerate. Turn occasionally.
  • To prepare: Spray the inside of a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray and set on low. Remove the chicken from the brine, and pat dry.
  • Mix together 2 tablespoons of applewood rub, two cloves of minced garlic and 4 tablespoons of butter. Rub all over the chicken. Loosen the skin around the breast and leg portions and tuck some of the mixture under the skin, too.
  • Sprinkle the top with additional seasoning and center in your slow cooker.
  • Pour 1 cup of apple cider or apple juice around the chicken and place the lid firmly on top.
  • Cook on low for 6 hours then check for doneness. Depending on how your slow cooker cooks, and the size of the chicken, it may take a little longer likewise if smaller less cooking time.
  • To crisp the skin, carefully move to a baking pan. Broil, in the oven for 3-5 minutes until the skin is crispy and golden.
  • Allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving Drizzle with the pan juices just before serving.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 3689mg | Potassium: 380mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 278IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!


    1. 5 stars
      Made this for dinner tonight and oh my goodness how DELICIOUS!!! My 7 year old devoured it!! Only change I made was I brined the chicken for 2 days. How tender and juicy the chicken is is amazing! Thank you for this amazing recipe!

  1. Melissa, the recipe sounds amazing. No one in our house eats bone-in chicken however. Could it be done with chicken breasts and just cut back the cooking time dramatically? Thank you so very much!

    1. Hi Stacy, oh sure, no problem at all. Assuming you’re referring to boneless, skinless chicken breasts, yes, check it around 3 hours and adjust from there.

      1. That depends on the size of your slow cooker and how many pieces you can fit on the bottom of the crock. Boneless chicken cooks quicker so you may need to adjust the cooking time as well.

  2. This sounds wonderful. Would you change anything if using cut-up chicken? I have a bunch in the freezer to use up.

  3. Just finished dinner. Unbelievable! This was the best chicken we can remember eating in a long time. The 3 of us devoured it. Took some of the sauce and thickened it with a cornstarch slurry and served it with stuffing. Thx and keep ’em coming.

    1. Wonderful Sue, what a fabulous idea to thicken the sauce!! Thanks so much for letting me know.

  4. Looks amazing. I’m always on the lookout for new crock pot chicken recipes. Do you think this would work with bone in chicken breasts

    1. HI Donna, what a great question! I haven’t but, believe it could be adapted using chicken breasts. I’m a white meat fan myself, so let me know if you try it.

  5. I am trying this recipe tomorrow! I like the oven idea after finishing up in the slow cooker…at what temp and for how long would someone recommend for the oven? Thanks!

  6. Do you think you could transfer to the oven at the end to brown up/carmelize the skin a bit with the juices? Thanks!

  7. Brining a whole chicken? We’ve not done that and I’m now wondering why not! We brine turkeys during the holidays and LOVE the result. I’m going to try this with my next chicken! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

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