Slow Cooker Pulled Ranch Chicken
Lately, I’ve been getting sick of sandwiches. I pretty much choose the same deli meats over and over and just swap out the toppings and condiments. In looking for something a little different, I decided that I wanted to incorporate my slow cooker into my cooking a little bit more. One of the things that deters me a lot from cooking, is the amount of work that can go into making a meal. I don’t always feel well or have the energy, so I am constantly looking for ways to make things simpler. As it turns out, pulled chicken is really easy to make in a slow cooker. And, you can flavor it a lot of different ways for some variety. This slow cooker pulled ranch chicken only uses three ingredients: chicken, ranch dressing, and broth. That’s it! The result is a moist and flaky chicken, packing a lot of ranch flavor. Perfect for topping salads or for use on a sandwich or in a wrap. This recipe is very simple, so I have omitted the process shots for brevity.
Before we get to the recipe, I wanted to share a little trick. Something that I’ve started doing recently, is to make my own broth. I use the Better Than Bouillon seasoned vegetable base (they also make a chicken and beef one) to mix up my own, when a recipe calls for less than a quart of broth. The reason being, that I have wasted so much broth in the past. I don’t have a huge freezer to freeze my leftovers in, so it just went to waste. Making my own not only prevents waste, but also saves me A LOT of money. I paid $4.39 for a jar, which makes 38 cups or 9.5 quarts of broth. If I had purchased the same volume in the organic broth that I always bought, that would cost me $35. A savings of $31, which is quite a bit. And that’s not including the broth that I wasted, so that $35 is actually higher. So yea, if you haven’t already, it might be time to make the switch! The only time where it would make sense for me to buy a quart of broth, is if the entire thing is going to be used in a recipe. Or if I had allocated the leftover broth for use in other recipes that same week.
The term slow cooker refers to the type of appliance, whereas crockpot is a specific brand of a slow cooker. Slow cookers have come a long way since I started using them. Many now have a warming feature in addition to low and high. Some of them come with timers, and some even have stove-top safe inserts that can be used to brown meat on the stove before cooking it in a slow cooker meal. The one I use is very basic and has just three settings: keep warm, low, and high.
Slow Cooker Pulled Ranch Chicken
- 1-1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing
- To a 6 qt slow cooker, add the chicken, broth, and enough water to cover the breasts completely. Cover with the lid, and cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until the center of the chicken breast reaches 165F. If you are using breast cutlets which are a lot thinner, they will cook in less time (around 2-3 hours).
- Once the chicken is cooked thoroughly, transfer to a plate. Drain the liquid from the slow cooker. Using two forks, pull the chicken. To do this, I hold the breast in place with one fork, and with the other fork, I gently start to scrape the chicken near the other fork until it starts to shred. It doesn't matter which direction you go in, with or against the grain. Click here to watch a quick video on how to shred chicken with two forks.
- Return pulled chicken to the slow cooker and add the ranch dressing. Mix until combined. I liked to turn the slow cooker on the warming setting for a few minutes to make sure it's heated through. Once heated through, serve over a salad or on a sandwich, and enjoy!
- Instead of using a combination of broth and water, you can also use either all broth or all water. It’s up to you!
- For the broth, you can either use store-bought or, I like to use the Better Than Bouillon seasoned vegetable base to make what I need so that I am not wasting any food. This way is also significantly cheaper.
- You can also shred chicken with an electric mixer. Click here to watch a video on how to shred chicken with an electric mixer.
- You can also use chicken straight from the freezer, but it will take a little extra longer to cook through all the way.