Citrus Cinnamon Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Citrus Cinnamon Chicken | The Gluten-Free Homemaker

Slow cookers (AKA crock pots) are not what they used to be.  They used to actually cook slowly!  Today’s slow cookers cook hotter than they used to for food safety reasons.  I guess I should be glad about that, but I only find it frustrating when my old recipes turn out over done and dry.

The first “hot” slow cooker I bought was a 4 quart model and it has things boiling in no time.  Recently I bought a 7 quart model hoping the larger pot would not heat quite as quickly.  It doesn’t, but it is still hotter than my old ones were.

The problem with the 7 quart model is that I have to put a lot of food in it.  A crock pot should ideally be 1/2 to 3/4 full.  Even with three teenage boys in my family, that makes more than we eat in one meal, often more than we eat in two meals (depending on if it is only meat or meat and vegetables).

In this case, I used 6 pounds of chicken thighs (with bone) that I bought at BJ’s.  I like their chicken thighs, but it is a lot to use.  It was nice to cook it all at once, have meat for a couple of dinners, and some to put in the freezer.

The first night I served the chicken pieces whole with the sauce.  For the leftovers, I pulled out the chicken pieces, removed the bones, and shredded the meat, then added it back to the sauce.  It was great both ways.

This recipe is a modified version of a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Slow Cooker Recipes.  In case you are wondering, both the orange and cinnamon flavors are subtle in this, but my family likes subtle.  I hope you do too.

Citrus Cinnamon Chicken in the Slow Cooker
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup instant tapioca
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 6 pounds chicken thighs, bone-in, skin removed
  1. In a bowl, combine the ketchup, tapioca, and orange juice. Put about half in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place the cinnamon stick on top of the sauce.
  2. Put a single layer of chicken in the pot, spoon some sauce over each piece, add another layer of chicken and sauce. Repeat if necessary.
  3. Cook on low 6 – 8 hours, or high 3 - 4 hours or until chicken is done.

This post is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, and Delicious Dishes.

This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy for more information.


  1. Sophie says

    MMMMM,…The ingredients are indeed unusual but I love cinnamon with my chicken, from time to time!

    MMMMMMMM,…a lovely tasty chicken dish!

  2. Tasty Eats At Home says

    I agree on the HOT slow cooker thing. It's frustrating. This recipe sounds great – super-easy and I can imagine my kids would love it!

  3. Heidi Kelly says

    I'm with you too on the slow cookers, they get hot! I can't remember the last time I even used the high setting, have ruined too many recipes (or have MAJOR regrets when it comes to cleaning it!) Speaking of cleaning, I don't remember where I got this tip, but if you fill the crock with water and add a fabric softener dryer sheet to it then allow to soak for a bit… it cleans up much easier!!

    I have never added cinnamon to chicken before, this sounds like a fun recipe to try!

    • Bob Wley says

      Hi Heidi, When it is time to clean the liner I use PAM OLIVE OIL SPRAY.
      Spray the inside of the liner before putting in anything, sssooo easy to clean when time to clean and I don’t have a dish washer….Bob Wiley

  4. gfe--gluten free easily says

    I'm big on putting my meat in the crockpot either completely frozen or partially frozen. It works well. And, I also do the thing where I put the whole crock in the fridge and have it start out cold. I know they say that can cause them to break, but it hasn't happened to me yet (knock on wood!). This looks like a great dish, Linda. In some recipes, "subtle" is just right. :-)

    BTW, I've been working on my burger for tomorrow. 😉


  5. Alea says

    I make an orange chicken in the crockpot, but it doesn't include cinnamon in the recipe. I think I will add cinnamon next time I make it; sounds like a delicious combination!

  6. April@The 21st Century Housewife says

    I like the flavours you have used in this recipe. It looks delcious.

  7. Bob Wley says

    Heidi, forgot to add this, I use paper towels to first wipe the out the liner then hand wash the liner, less then 5 mins. Bob

  8. KayakGrandma says

    Interesting because I thought my (too hot) crockpot was defective and was going to purchase a new one. So now I know. Thank you!

  9. Jean says

    This sounds yummy and something my family would like. However, two of us are sensitive to tapioca and have to stay away from it. Is there something you’d recommend instead? I know how to swap out starches…but not this one.

    thx in advance.

    • says

      I would omit the tapioca and then about an hour before serving remove the chicken, add a little corn starch or arrowroot starch, and cook on high for another hour to thicken. Or put the sauce on the stove top to thicken more quickly. You could also leave out any starch and just have a thinner broth.

If you have a question about a recipe (especially substitutions and nutritional information), please read my FAQ page before asking the question in a comment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Rate this recipe: