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This EASY Crockpot Chicken Marinara is a great weeknight meal! Chicken breasts cooked in Great Value Organic pasta sauce served with penne – even the picky eaters like this pasta recipe.

chicken marinara mixed quirk pasta in a brown bowl with cheese sprinkles on top.

Why You’ll Love Chicken Marinara

The day I made this dinner I was texting with a friend about how frustrating it is to make dinner. She joked that in the morning she has all the intention to make a nice meal and by the time 4:00 rolls around it’s cereal again because the chicken is usually still frozen or she’s too tired to cook. I totally agreed with her; making dinner is exhausting.

That’s why, about this time of year, I break out my crockpot and just leave it on the counter. After a long day of work the last thing I want to do is cook dinner. If the slow cooker is out it will remind me to set it and forget it and dinner is ready when we are!

The key to making a delicious chicken recipe in the slow cooker is adding a lot of flavor. I love to do this by adding sauce to my crockpot instead of just cooking the chicken plain or with herbs. One, the sauce lends flavor into the chicken and two, it keeps it nice and moist.

ingredients to make Crockpot chicken marinara

5 Ingredient Chicken Marinara

The main ingredients are a jar of marinara sauce and boneless skinless chicken breasts. Since we’re starting with a jarred sauce, I like to doctor it up a little, so I added spices: red pepper flakes, Italian Seasoning, and Garlic Salt.

This chicken marinara recipe is made even easier because it’s semi-homemade, but with good ingredients. That’s the key when you’re starting with prepared food: make sure it’s good quality. The better the products are, the better the end result will be.

Using Frozen Chicken

I’m not going to lie: I forget all the time. While it’s not recommended to cook frozen chicken breasts in a slow cooker, it can be done but you have to make sure it’s fully cooked. Frozen breasts (that aren’t stuck together) will take at least 4 hours (or more) on high. Do NOT stop cooking until the chicken is no longer pink and the temperature should be 165°F if you’re checking with an instant read thermometer.

chicken marinara in a black crockpot with a wooden spoon stirring the dinner.

How to make Chicken Marinara

  • Stir together the sauce and spices. Pour the sauce in a slow cooker (I like using a slow cooker liner for easy cleanup).
  • Just add the chicken and cook on high until it’s done.
  • Shred the chicken with two forks and serve with penne or spaghetti, rice, or a vegetable like broccoli or asparagus. Top with mozzarella cheese or parmesan and some fresh basil or fresh herbs.

How long to cook chicken in the crock pot

Thawed and boneless chicken breasts take about 2-4 hours on HIGH in a crockpot. I always check the chicken after about 2 1/2 hours to see if it’s cooked through. Chicken cooked too long gets dry, so be sure not to overcook.

How do I make my crockpot chicken stay moist?

That’s what this recipe is great for: Crockpot Chicken Marinara is super flavorful because the chicken absorbs all the flavor of the marinara as it cooks. This is the perfect chicken to serve over pasta!

chicken marinara mixed quirk pasta in a brown bowl with cheese sprinkles on top.

Quick tips for making my Crockpot Chicken Marinara:

  • I like using a slow cooker liner for easy clean-up, but it’s not required. If you’re not using a liner, spray your crockpot insert with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Check your chicken after 2 1/2 hours. Chicken cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the breasts.
  • Serve with pasta or even just a salad and some garlic bread.
  • Leftovers keep well in the fridge and are perfect eaten within 3 days.
chicken marinara mixed quirk pasta in a brown bowl with cheese sprinkles on top.

Crockpot Chicken Marinara

4.91 from 33 votes
This EASY Crockpot Chicken Marinara is a great weeknight meal! Chicken breasts cooked in organic pasta sauce served with penne – even the picky eaters likes this pasta recipe.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 1 jar (24 ounces) Pasta Sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Great Value Organic Italian Seasoning
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Salt
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (thawed)
  • 1 package (17.6 ounces) pasta (cooked)
  • Parmesan cheese and basil, for garnish
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  • Line your crockpot with a slow cooker liner or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place pasta sauce in the bottom of a crockpot. Add red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and garlic salt and stir.
  • Place the chicken breasts on top the sauce. Turn a few times to coat. Cover and cook on HIGH 2 1/2-4 hours, or until chicken is cooked through (internal temperature reaches 165°F).
  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain.
  • When chicken is cooked, slice or shred using two forks. Return to crockpot with sauce until pasta is ready.
  • Serve pasta with chicken marinara and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Video

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 48mg | Sodium: 686mg | Potassium: 840mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 515IU | Vitamin C: 8.8mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2.5mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Main Course
Cuisine American

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Dorothy Kern

Welcome to Crazy for Crust, where I share recipes that are sometimes crazy, often with a crust, and always served with a slice of life.

4.91 from 33 votes (27 ratings without comment)

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    1. While I can’t recommend cooking frozen chicken in the crockpot officially (wink wink) I have done it. Just make sure your chicken breasts are not all in a clump (frozen separately). And make sure the chicken gets up to the proper temp – it just may take a bit longer to cook.