Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs


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This easy-to-follow recipe for Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs promises a burst of zesty flavors, perfectly seasoned with the classic combination of lemon and pepper. Let your slow cooker do all the work as it transforms regular chicken thighs into a flavorful and juicy meal. Whether you’re a busy home chef or simply craving a delicious meal without the fuss, this dish is sure to become a whole family favorite.

Pick up a few extra packs of chicken thighs and turn them into Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken and Red Potatoes or Slow Cooker Autumn Chicken Dinner.

scooping out some lemon pepper chicken thighs from a crockpot with a wooden spoon.

Why You’ll Love These Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

When I make lemon pepper chicken, I often do so several times a week. Yes, they are THAT amazing! In the past when I have made chicken thighs, either on the barbecue or in the oven, they don’t get as tender as I want them before they start browning. So I created this slow cooker lemon pepper chicken thigh recipe.

Chicken recipes like this are loved by all because they’re super easy, call for just a few ingredients, and yield a delicious dinner option that’s super versatile. Pair them with potatoes, veggies, or any side of your choice. If you want a boneless version try my slow cooker lemon chicken recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

ingredients for slow cooker lemon pepper chicken thighs on a table.
  • Lemon Juice: The tang in this recipe comes from using freshly squeezed lemons. Do not use bottled lemon juice.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This is the highest quality and least processed form of olive oil and is better tasting in recipes like this (in my opinion).
  • Seasonings: You’ll need one garlic clove (minced), dried oregano, sea salt (or kosher salt), and black pepper for the perfect combination of finishing flavors.
  • Chicken Thighs: You only need just enough thighs to cover the bottom of the slow cooker (about 2 pounds or 5 pieces will do).

Step-by-Step Directions

two images showing how to make lemon pepper chicken thighs in a crockpot.

Step One – Add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper to a 5-quart or larger slow cooker and stir. (You can also whip this up in a small mixing bowl and then pour it into the slow cooker).

Step Two – Add the chicken thighs into the lemon pepper seasoning sauce one at a time skin side down and swish around in the sauce.

six images showing how to make lemon pepper chicken thighs in a slow cooker.

Step Three – After rubbing the skin on chicken thighs in the mixture, flip the thigh skin up.

Step Four – Do this with all the thighs. (There will be just enough sauce to coat the chicken)

Step Five – Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours.

Step Six – After cooking time is done, preheat the oven to broil (500 degrees). Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Using tongs remove the chicken thighs from the slow cooker onto the baking sheet.

Step Seven – Place the chicken into the oven on the top rack. Broil the chicken thighs for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Keep an eye on them, so they won’t burn.

Step Eight – Return the roasted lemon pepper chicken thighs to your crock pot and add lemon slices (optional). Serve and enjoy!

lemon pepper chicken thighs in a crockpot with a wooden spoon in it.

How to Serve

  • As a classic main course, serve these delicious thighs with sides like roasted vegetables or garlic-infused mashed potatoes for a well-balanced and flavorful dinner. Slow cooker mac and cheese or slow cooker red cabbage are always great side choices.
  • Slow cooked chicken thighs can be arranged on a bed of fresh mixed greens, creating a vibrant and zesty lemon pepper chicken salad. Use some fresh lemon and lemon zest for a quick dressing with a similar flavor.
  • I enjoy the chicken thighs over rice and serve with lemon pepper sauce for drizzling. You can also add more seasonings such as Italian seasoning, onion powder, and/or garlic powder. Simply sprinkle it right on top.
serving of slow cooker lemon pepper chicken thighs on stack of white plates.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use frozen chicken thighs in the slow cooker for this recipe?

It is not recommended to use frozen chicken directly in the slow cooker. Thaw the chicken thighs thoroughly before placing them in the slow cooker to ensure even cooking. You can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts.

How do I store leftover lemon pepper chicken thighs?

To store leftover Lemon Pepper Chicken, allow it to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, consider freezing the chicken in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag for up to 2-3 months, ensuring optimal taste and quality upon thawing.

How long does it take to cook Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs on LOW in the slow cooker?

Cooking times may vary, but on average, set your slow cooker’s cook mode to low for 6. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature to ensure the chicken is done thoroughly.

Can I add vegetables to the slow cooker with the chicken thighs?

Yes, you can enhance the dish by adding vegetables like carrots, potatoes, or bell peppers to the slow cooker. Be mindful of the vegetables’ cooking times, adding them accordingly to ensure they are tender but not overcooked.

overhead of serving of crockpot lemon pepper chicken thighs on a white plate.

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lemon pepper chicken thighs in a crockpot with a wooden spoon in it.

Slow Cooker Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Tender and Juicy Lemon Pepper Chicken thighs made in the slow cooker.

Ingredients 
 

  • ¼ cup lemon juice, about 1 very large lemon (Do not use bottled lemon juice)
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 2 ½ lbs. chicken thighs, bone-in, skin left on- just enough thighs to cover the bottom of the slow cooker.

Instructions 

  • Add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, oregano, salt and pepper to a 5-quart or larger slow cooker and stir. Add the chicken thighs into the sauce one at a time skin down and swish around in the sauce, then flip the thigh skin up, do this with all the thighs. (There will be just enough sauce to coat the chicken)
  • Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours.
  • After cooking time is done, preheat the oven to broil (500 degrees).
  • Cover a baking sheet with foil. Using tongs remove the chicken thighs from the slow cooker onto the baking sheet.
  • Place the chicken into the oven on top rack (My top rack was 2 levels down). Broil the chicken thighs for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Keep an eye on them, so they won’t burn.
  • If you want to use the sauce from the slow cooker (it’s fantastic!) Blot the sauce with a paper towel to remove the grease.
  • Serve and enjoy!

Video

Notes

  • To store leftover Lemon Pepper Chicken, allow it to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3-4 days. For longer storage, consider freezing the chicken in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag for up to 2-3 months, ensuring optimal taste and quality upon thawing.
  • Do not use bottle lemon juice for it has a very strange flavor, especially in large quantities. 
  • You can enhance the dish by adding vegetables like carrots, potatoes, mushrooms or bell peppers to the slow cooker.

Nutrition

Calories: 483kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 185mg | Sodium: 305mg | Potassium: 397mg | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 4.1mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1.5mg

Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.

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