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Recipe for slow cooker Middle Eastern garlic chicken

Slow cooker Middle Eastern garlic chicken, from The Perfect Pantry.

Shish taouk -- Middle Eastern garlic chicken on skewers -- launched my food writing career more than twenty years ago, and it's still one of my all-time favorite dishes to cook on the grill. Except this summer, when it's been so hot and humid, I haven't wanted to stand outside next to a blazing hot grill, not even for the sake of chicken. Once again, the slow cooker has come to the rescue, producing this very good adaptation of garlic chicken in a shredded form suitable for stuffing into pitas, tortillas or lavash wraps. The kitchen stays cool, and my husband Ted and I can get our garlic chicken fix even in the warmest weather. I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts; chicken thighs will work equally well. Serve with chopped lettuce and tomato, add some cucumber if you like, and top it all, as we do, with your favorite buttermilk ranch dressing.

Middle Eastern garlic chicken.

Slow cooker Middle Eastern garlic chicken

From the pantry, you'll need: chicken breasts, garlic, kosher salt, ground allspice, lemon, olive oil.

Serves 6-8.


6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (2-1/2 lbs)
4 cloves garlic, sliced, plus 4 cloves mashed (or garlic paste from a jar)
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbsp olive oil


Trim the chicken breasts, and pat dry with paper towels. Place in a bowl with remaining ingredients, and mix well. Marinate, covered or in a zip-loc bag, in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours, or overnight.

Place chicken and all of the marinade in a 3- or 4-quart slow cooker.

Cook on HIGH for 2-1/2 hours (or on LOW for 5 hours), until the chicken breaks apart easily. (If you're home, stir the chicken once or twice during the cooking time.) Remove the chicken from the cooker; use two forks to shred it, and return the shredded chicken to the cooker. Stir to combine with the liquid. Cover, and continue cooking on HIGH for 15 minutes.

Turn the cooker off and let the chicken sit, covered, for 15 minutes, stirring once or twice; it will continue to absorb any excess liquid in the cooker.

Pour the chicken and any liquid into a container. Cover and cool at room temperature. Serve the chicken with pita bread, chopped lettuce and tomato, and your favorite buttermilk ranch-style salad dressing.

Refrigerate leftover chicken for several days, or freeze.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Garlic chicken on skewers
Slow cooker chicken vindaloo
Slow cooker pomegranate chicken salad
Slow cooker Filipino chicken adobo
Slow cooker hoisin chicken and slaw sandwiches

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Chicken souvlaki, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Lemon garlic chicken wings, from Cooking by the seat of our pants
Baked chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, lemon, and rosemary, from Wandering Chopsticks
Pepper-roasted garlic and lemon chicken, from Almost Bourdain
Roasted chicken and potatoes with yogurt, lemon and garlic, from TasteFood

Slow cooker garlic chicken, rolled in a pita. ThePerfectPantry.com

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


This looks fantastic . . . I cannot wait to try it this weekend!

This middle eastern garlic chicken recipe looks very delicious. I guess it's time again to take out my slow cooker. Thanks for the recipe.

I will be thawing out some chicken so we can enjoy this recipe right away, Lydia! And I'm with you on the grill and this summer's heat. Ours has not gotten used at all at home. We've had no problem using the one at our mountain property, but it's always cooler and less humid there and one doesn't exactly have a slow cooker option. ;-)


This really is the way we love to eat all summer long! And this recipe may just be the thing that gets me to finally buy a slow cooker!

Zach, I hope you do try it!

Jeff, I've had my slow cooker going all summer, and I'm having lots of fun adapting some of my favorite oven and grill recipes to the slow cooker, to keep my kitchen cool.

Shirley, my own grill hasn't gotten as much use this summer as it usually does, but the slow cooker has been in constant use.

Jamie, here in the US slow cookers can be very inexpensive (also some can be very costly!). You could use one in your new kitchen even before the kitchen renovation is complete, and I promise you will love the garlic that permeates this chicken dish.

wow I wish I could have this EVERYDAY! Love your ranch styled salad dressing.

Angie, you can! Make a full batch, or even a double batch, and pack in smaller containers in the freezer. Defrost whenever you're in the mood for garlic chicken -- which, in my house, is almost any time.

Can't wait to give this a try. Anything that can be done in the slow-cooker gets two thumbs up from me. (Also, anything with garlic & lemon!)
My daughter-in-law shared a trick with me; anytime a slow-cooker recipe calls for the meat to be shredded, just leave it in the cooker and use a potato masher to "shred" it. Works beautifully.

that just sounds so good.
looking through the list of ingredients, this is so easy and doable.
you are the queen of creative slow cooker recipes

Pattypro, bring on the potato masher! What a great tip.

Vanillasugar, very easy and very garlicky. Thanks for your kind words. I consider myself a neophyte when it comes to the slow cooker, but we seem to be developing a crush on each other (especially my smaller sized cookers) this summer.

What a fantastic idea. I love everything about this. And I agree, you're a slow cooker expert!

Kalyn, your Slow Cooker from Scratch blog has really inspired me.

Lydia, I enjoyed reading how you got into food writing - thanks for sharing. As for this garlic chicken recipe, I have to try this - my kids love garlic (as do I)!

this looks fantastic! big fan of the slow cooker on hot days...and anything on a flat piece of bread any day.

Jeanette, I never set out to be a food writer, but I'm so glad it happened.

Hima, same here, love my slow cookers even more in summer than I do in the winter.

A great idea! I need to experiment more with my slow cooker!

Anh, this summer I've committed to using my slow cookers more. They're energy-efficient and keep the kitchen cool, plus I love the challenge of converting some of my stove top and oven recipes. Try this chicken recipe -- you'll love it.

I'm going to invest in a slow cooker, I think. Energy efficient and cool resonate with me, as does your recipe.


Mimi, add inexpensive to that list. The slow cooker I used for this dish cost me less than $20.

Lydia, I used pork loin I had available... this is wonderful, served with brown rice and salad. Thanks for a keeper recipe; next I'm trying your caramelized onions!

Cheri, thanks so much. I'm not a pork person, so I'm really glad to know the recipe works just as well with pork loin. (And you are going to love the caramelized onions!)

(you have inspired me to use my slow cooker in the summer more - just the other day I was too hot/lazy to cook, but did a pork roast in the cooker with a jar of my favorite fruity salsa and a can of black beans- an easy dish to serve on rolls, over rice etc)

I made this today for dinner and it was incredible! My 13 year old rated it a 9 out of 10 on the food scale! I changed it up a bit because I don't plan ahead enough to marinate sometimes. I just put everything in the slow cooker and cooked it on high for just under four hours. I can't wait to cook this again very soon!

Ali, so glad you liked it!

This recipe looks great. I love just about anything in/on a pita. Instead of the ranch dressing, though, I think I'll try it with a Tzatziki sauce.
Glad I found this site, by accident. Some very tasty looking recipes here.

I made your Middle Eastern Garlic Chicken last night and it was simply amazing!! My husband and I fought over the leftovers, he won, so he gets to take them for lunch today. I will be making this all the time now. So flavorful and delicious!!!

Hey! I have this in the slow cooker right now and just have a query - you mention 'liquid', I have zero liquid... have i done something wrong? Really hoping it works?!

Kirsty, don't worry! It will make enough liquid from the marinade. Really!

Thanks! It worked and husband LOVED it! Made enough to put two containers of left overs in the freezer as well :)

Kirsty, I'm so glad you liked it.

Just changed my dinner plans!

Just a quick tip: If you have a stand mixer you can placed the cooked chicken in it on high with a paddle attachment to shred the chicken quickly.

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