Slow-cooker Christmas Chicken in Milk with Orange, Cinnamon and Savoury //

Slow-Cooker Christmas Chicken in Milk with Orange, Cinnamon & Savory

This is going to be short; we’re all busy, and that is kind of the whole point of this recipe.

Have you ever noticed that no matter how many hours you log in the kitchen baking holiday treats or how big lunch was, there are still children/spouses/partners who expect dinner? And not just peanut butter toast, either, but a roast or something equally as impressive.

Sometime they can just like it or lump it, and be thankful for a sandwich, or you can take fifteen minutes out of your day and braise this Slow-Cooker Christmas Chicken in Milk. I can promise you, it’s the best chicken dinner in town.

This chicken is infused with festive orange zest, simmered with whole cinnamon and a dash of savory, a spice prominent in stuffing. If you serve it with a side of cranberry sauce, it tastes like Christmas dinner- except without any of the stress and a tenth of the work.

Slow-cooker Christmas Chicken in Milk with Orange, Cinnamon and Savoury //

This everyday recipe is inspired by and closely adapted from Jamie Olivers’ famous Chicken in Milk, but I like it even better. At The Kitchn’s prompting, I recently roasted Jamie’s version in my new range and the thing splattered grease all – and I mean ALL – over my oven. Yes, hot fat dripping into a liquid causes one heck of a sizzle.

I can assure you, there is no mess with this slow-cooker recipe and the end result is twice as tender as the original.

So, the answer is yes, you CAN finish your shopping and get dinner on the table. That’s all I have to say about that.

Slow-Cooker Christmas Chicken in Milk with Orange, Cinnamon & Savory
5.0 from 3 reviews
Recipe type: Dinner
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 6
A milk-braised chicken infused with Christmas spices makes for a fragrant and tender dinner on a cold winter night.
  • 1 whole chicken, about 4-5 lbs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp ground savoury or 1 tbsp dried leaves
  • two oranges, scrubbed
  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Pat the chicken dry with paper towel and season all over with salt and pepper.
  2. Melt the butter and the oil together in the pan, and when it is bubbling, add the chicken. Increase heat to medium high and sear the chicken all over, turning with a pair of sturdy tongs. This will take at least 10 minutes.
  3. Turn off heat and transfer the whole chicken to a slow cooker, placing it breast-side down. Drain most of the oil from the skillet, then place pan back over the heat and toss in the peeled garlic and cinnamon. Cook the aromatics for a minute or so, then add them to the slow cooker.
  4. Pour milk into the slow cooker and add the savory. Zest two oranges over the chicken and down into the milk. Cover with a lid, and place on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours.
  5. Serve with mashed potatoes or a baked brown rice pilaf.


What is your go-to, get-the-gang-fed dinner during the holidays?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. I adore Jamie Oliver’s Chicken with milk! Cooking in the slow cooker? Even better! Definitely putting this onto my menu plan for tomorrow when I won’t be back home until after 5 from gymnastics and have to get out again by 7 for basketball :)

  2. Looks like a great recipe.. I don’t have a slow cooker – do you think I could cook this in sturdy pot at a low temperature on the stove or in the oven?

  3. Do you think it would be okay to substitute almond milk in the place of cow’s milk?

    • I’m sure you could, Jenny! As long as it was unsweetened. I also bet that coconut milk (unsweetened) would be amazing… it’d impart a coconut flavor though… so you’d have to be a coconut fan to enjoy it 100% 😉 I’m trying to decide myself whether to try this with almond milk or with unsweetened Soy…

    • I think it would, but I have not tried it. The flavours certainly would complement each other. Let us know how it turns out!

  4. I just took a little chicken out to thaw so it is great timing to try something new. I’ve been reading a lot about Jamie’s chicken in milk recipe.

  5. This looks absolutely delicious! I love how simple this recipe is, too! Gives me more time to decorate cookies. 😉

  6. I have never heard of this, but I am completely intrigued!

  7. Can this be done with chicken breasts? I need to feed 8 adults and one chicken won’t do it!

  8. I’ve been DYING to try roast chicken in milk in a slow cooker. This looks simply delicious, Aimee!

  9. Aimee, what a brilliant idea. It sounds lovely and so easy for Christmas!

  10. That looks good! I have not tried cooking a whole chicken in a slow cooker yet! Now I need to !

  11. This looks SO YUMMY! I’ve been relying on the slowcooker lately :-) Can’t wait to try it out.

  12. Oh Aimee, this is perfect! This dish will be the answer to my busy week and the beginning of our Christmas house guests. I am going to go out and hopefully find some chickens on sale today! Will be trying it with goat milk so that my daughter can eat it…hopefully the spices and orange will mask any of the “goatiness” that I sometimes taste in our milk.

  13. Ooooo, loving this group of flavors! Anxious to try it!!

  14. Thanks Aimee! This looks delicious. I just bought a cut up chicken (bone-in, skin-on). Do you think I could use it instead of the whole chicken? Do you decrease the cook time at all?

  15. I have never braised meat in milk. How does that affect the flavor compared to broth? Looks delicious!

  16. This looks amazing! So happy I found this recipe! I’ve seen Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but I always get nervous cooking chickens in the oven-mine never come out very good. But I know I can do the crock pot! I am really excited to try this, now I just need to get some milk!

  17. What do you do with the leftover milk? Can it be added to the mashed potatoes? Or do you use it to make a gravy? Or do you just throw it out?

    • I think adding it to mashed potatoes is genius. We dribbled it over our rice (I have a thing for chicken and rice) but now I’m going to have to try it with the mash.

  18. I think you just solved the question of what we’ll be eating on Christmas day. Sounds like a winner! Now to decide whether to have mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes or rice with it…

  19. How did you know I so very often tell Dan to shut up and make himself a peanut butter sandwich? (Especially now, in the heat of party prep season.) :) I love the earlier idea in the comments about doing this chicken with coconut milk – I think I have a few lime leaves left in the freezer I can throw in too!

  20. I’ve never cooked chicken in milk ~ but it looks soooo good!

  21. We’ve recently discovered the beauty of cooking chicken thighs in the slow cooker (Rick Bayless has a couple genius recipes we’ve been using). I’m excited to try these flavors from the other end of the spectrum. And a whole chicken in the crock pot… love, love, love!

  22. Looks really gorgeous)

  23. This sounds like an interesting recipe, I’ve never cooked chicken in milk but I might just have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

  24. Do you think there’s any way to adapt this to involve the crock pot only? As in – no searing of the chicken or frying of the spices?

    We’re living in a temporary apartment right now and don’t have a stove or oven. We have crock pots, microwave, and some other electric appliances.

    Any ideas? Thanks :)

  25. Oh wow I really need to give this recipe a try :) looks delicious!

  26. its looking delicious.This christmas i definitely cook this …
    happy christmas.

  27. Aimee,
    Making this today and I forgot to buy savory! Any recommendation for something to use instead. I would hate to have to run to the store just for the one thing.

  28. Frederique says:

    Hi Aimee!

    Id love to give this a try, but both times I tried making crock pot chicken, it came out being soft, watery and flavorless. I have only tried making it with water at the bottom, and all the fat which makes chicken so yummy runs to the bottom. My fiancé loves his chicken in the oven, but i find it WAYY too long for a week-night. Does the milk in this recipe make the meat more moist (without being watery) ? do you think that searing the chicken also helps retain the fat that makes roasted chicken so good? Id love to make a whole chicken in a crock pot again, but im terrified that my fiancé won’t approve.

  29. Monica says:

    I am having trouble finding savory in the stores near my home. Can you recommend another spice to use and how much?

  30. Monica says:

    I am having trouble finding savory in the stores near my home. Can you recommend another spice to use and how much?

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