Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan has all the flavors of the traditional version with much less work. The secret is in a crispy crunchy topping that’s added at the end.

Did you know that you shouldn’t take the lid off of your slow cooker when it’s cooking? Every time you lift up the lid to check on things, you need to add 20 to 30 minutes of time onto the total cooking time.

This is because slow cookers work by running at a low temperature. The heat accumulates because it is trapped inside by the lid and by the food and liquid inside. When you take the lid off you let out a lot of that heat and it takes time for the slow cooker to build it back up.

If you’re someone who really needs to keep tabs on what’s happening in the slow cooker, you might want to think about getting one that has a probe. The probe goes into the food inside of the slow cooker and lets you see the internal temperature from outside without lifting the lid. This is especially useful for larger pieces of meat.

Delicious and so easy! Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan
I have to say though that even with my probe slow cooker I am often tempted to peek inside. Especially when making this Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan. When it’s cooking, the house smells so good. I want to not only lift the lid but dip a spoon in there to taste the cheesy tomatoey sauce. But I don’t!

To make this Chicken Parmesan you put a bit of tomato sauce in the bottom of the slow cooker and top it with boneless skinless chicken thighs. Add some cheese and then more tomato sauce. Let it cook. Add a bit more cheese for the last few minutes before serving. Toast Panko breadcrumbs under the broiler for a few minutes.

To serve, scoop the cheesy tomatoey chicken onto plates and sprinkle with the crunchy breadcrumbs and some grated parmesan cheese.

It has all the flavors of Chicken Parmesan with very little actual work. And I think the house smells even better with the slow cooker version then with the regular one, especially if you ignore my advice and lift the lid!

If you like the Italian flavors in this recipe, I think you’d also enjoy this Italian Roasted Cauliflower. I’ve been told that even people who don’t like cauliflower gobble it up.

Italian Roasted Cauliflower


Let’s get back to that Chicken Parm…

 Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan
If you love easy Italian dinner recipes, be sure to also check out my 15-Minute Italian Wedding Soup!

Here’s my Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan recipe.



Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings


Chicken Parmesan done in the slow cooker has all the flavors of a traditional version with much less work. The secret is a crunchy Panko breadcrumb topping that you add before serving.


  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 3 Tbsp. water
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar tomato sauce
  • 1.75 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 68 thighs)
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 oz. part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (divided)
  • 2 oz. parmesan cheese, grated (divided)
  • ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil


  1. In a medium bowl combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Add tomato sauce and stir to combine.
  2. Add enough of the sauce to just cover the bottom of the slow cooker.Keeping the chicken rolled up just as it is in its package, arrange it in the slow cooker over the tomato sauce in a single layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Top with half of the mozzarella cheese and half of the parmesan cheese.
  3. Drizzle with remaining tomato sauce and cook until chicken is cook through, 3-4 hours on high, 6-8 hours on low.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, preheat the broiler (you’re going to use it to quickly toast breadcrumbs to make a crunchy topping for your slow cooker chicken).Remove the lid from the slow cooker. Spoon off any fat that has accumulated at the top of the sauce. Discard. Sprinkle contents of slow cooker with remaining mozzarella. Put lid back on and cook just until cheese has melted.
  5. On a baking sheet combine the panko breadcrumbs, olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Put under the broiler just until browned a bit, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Serve the chicken and sauce topped with the breadcrumbs and with the remaining parmesan cheese.

23 responses to “Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan”

  1. MB says:

    Would I be able to use chicken legs (drumsticks) instead of thighs?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Yes, they will cook just fine in the amount of time given. However, this makes a recipe that is a bit messy with cheese and sauce. The drumsticks will therefore be best eaten with knife and fork, and not handheld as drumsticks often are.

  2. Kristin says:

    Can I use frozen thighs?

  3. Jessica Huckins says:

    This is seriously one delicious recipe. A favorite in our household. I serve over linguine and have French bread. SO GOOD, so easy. THANK YOU

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Jessica, You’re welcome. I’m glad you like it so much. Thank you for letting me know!

  4. […] I have a real thing for Chicken Parmesan. I make it the usual way- breaded in a frying pan – sometimes. More often I do it in the slow cooker like this recipe: […]

  5. […] Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan | Cook the Story […]

  6. […] in the winter I came up with a really cozy version of Chicken Parmesan. That one was done in the slow cooker. The obstacle to doing it in the slow cooker was that there was no crunchy crust. Everything […]

  7. […] and if you love slow cooker recipes, be sure to also check out my recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan. It’s so […]

  8. […] this Chicken Parmesan recipe, it’s one of my favorites. As an added bonus, it’s done in the slow cooker. The […]

  9. Eric Lund says:

    I have been throwing mushrooms and italian diced tomatoes in with this recipe when I make it and it has turned out really well.

  10. […] Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan. Such a quick, easy and delicious twist on the […]

  11. Shelley says:

    this looks like a very good receipe, but could chicken tenders be used instead?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Hi Shelley, I’m doubtful about using chicken tenders here. I find that white chicken meat gets pretty shreddy, tough and dry when cooked for a long time. If you have cooked chicken tenders in the slow cooker before and had results that you like, then you could give it at try since it would be similar. I’ll also tell you that what I’ve done when I’ve wanted to make this with chicken breasts is to do it in the oven. I put the chicken breasts (you would use the tenders) in a single layer in a large casserole dish or 13×9-inch cake pan. Season with salt and pepper and top with tomato sauce. Bake at 350F until chicken is cooked through (I’m thinking it would take longer than if you just had the chicken meat on a pan without sauce so around 25 minutes for the tenders, 35 for full boneless skinless breasts, 45 for bone-in breasts). Meanwhile get your bread crumb mixture ready. Put on the broiler. Add cheese on top of the chicken and tomato sauce and then top the cheese with the bread crumb mixture. Broil until crumbs are toasted and cheese has melted. If you try it, let me know how it turns out! Have a great day :)

  12. […] we’ve loved lately: Dark Chocolate Banana Cakies, Ranch Cauliflower Bites, and this awesome slow cooker Chicken Parmesan (without bread crumbs–seriously, it doesn’t need […]

  13. I love chicken crockpot recipes. This one is sounds delicious and simple, which is perfect for me!! I’m pinning this so I can try soon. Thanks!

  14. Most of my family will eat only white meat of chicken. If I use boneless breasts instead of thighs, do I need to adjust the recipe?

    • Christine Pittman says:

      Great question. The basic recipe will be the same. You’ll just want to really keep an eye on the cooking time. White chicken meat can get stringy and dry-seeming when over-cooked. I would probably do it on high for 1.5 – 2 hours (just until cooked through) rather than going the longer slower route.

      The other thing you could do is to do this as a casserole in the oven. A single layer of chicken breasts in sauce and cheese as described but with the final cheese layer included and with the seasoned (untoasted) breadcrumbs mixed with olive oil on top. Bake at 350F until chicken is cooked through and topping is browned, probably about 30-40 minutes.

  15. b. h. long says:

    Would love to see nutritional information for all recipes! Thanks – this looks very tasty.

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