Now you can slay those busy weeknight dinners and please the entire family with these Slow Cooker Dijon-Thyme Chicken Legs!
This post was created in partnership with our friends at Tessemae’s.
The meal that everyone crushes at my house.
It’s not often that I put a meal on the table that everyone just devours without some type of modification (i.e. no sauce, sauce on the side, peas instead of greens, easy on the spice etc.), but these Slow Cooker Dijon-Thyme Chicken Legs do the trick every. single. time.
It’s a serious weeknight dinner winner for me in that it’s easy to make ahead, uses economical and easy-to-find ingredients and plates get licked clean. My kids love it because the chicken is fall-off-the-bone tender and the sauce that doubles as a gravy for the meat or mound of mashers is lightly sweet thanks to a few dates. It’s not spicy, but it’s flavorful thanks to the unusual combination of spices: cumin, smoked paprika, and thyme. Don’t worry, they all come together with the tangy Dijon mustard and broth to create the most lovely flavor.
Now, I can’t take credit for this combo of spices. This recipe is an adaptation of one I found in cookbook several years ago called “The Paleo Slow Cooker” by Arsy Vartanian. I made the recipe once as directed but found it entirely too sweet thanks to the honey. I’ve since modified it to be Whole30-friendly by using a Whole30-approved Dijon mustard, swapping out the copious amounts of honey for a couple dates and using smoked paprika in place of the sweet paprika called for in the original recipe. I also tinkered with amount of spices and mustard to create a more balanced flavor profile.
And you know what? My kids couldn’t tell the difference (aside from being less sweet and “more tasty” as my youngest daughter put it).
Wait, did I just say “Whole30-approved Dijon mustard?” Yes, I DID! For all of you Whole30 veterans (and newbs who’ve read the book cover-to-cover), you know that most Dijon mustard contains white wine as an ingredient rendering it a no-no for the Whole30 program. In addition to being Whole30-approved, Tessemae’s Dijon Mustard is also keto-friendly, dairy-free, sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, and organic and made with just five simple ingredients.
That’s why when our friends at Tessemae’s reached out to see what kind of magic we could create using their organic, Whole30-approved Dijon Mustard, I knew I HAD to share these Slow Cooker Dijon-Thyme Chicken Legs with you.
They’re just too good to keep in the family any longer.
Keeping it simple
Like you, I want weeknight dinners to be simple and easy to prepare. Bonus points if I can prepare some or all of it ahead of time. Though these make incredibly tasty leftovers, I highly suggest you make them the day you plan to eat them because is there anything better than plunking ingredients into your slow cooker, walking away and returning several hours later to a healthy real food meal? I think not.
I typically prep the sauce and brown the chicken up to 2 days in advance. If there’s room in the fridge and I’m planning to make them the following day, I’ll put everything into the slow cooker insert and slip the whole thing into the fridge. If it’s going to be a day or two, I’ll store the sauce in a covered container (such as a mason jar with a nifty plastic lid) and the browned chicken legs in another container, then toss them together in the slow cooker when it’s go-time.
Then the hardest part is waiting while glorious smells waft from your kitchen (not an issue when you’re not at home but dang, if you’re home all day – good luck resisting the urge to remove the slow cooker lid and stick your face in there).
The “gravy,” which is actually just the liquid/sauce leftover in the slow cooker after the chicken is removed, is optional but highly recommended. It takes just a few extra minutes to strain the bits of chicken, knuckles, fat, etc. then cook it down in a saucepan to reduce it slightly – but it’s 110% worth it.
The sauce can be served with the chicken for dipping or over mashed potatoes as we do. You could also serve the chicken and sauce with cauliflower rice or a side of roasted veggies. Totally your call.
If by chance you do have leftovers – we never do unless I double the recipe – just store them in a covered container (like these glass containers with leak-proof lids) in the fridge for up to three days. I usually remove the meat from the bones so it’s easy to pack for lunches the next day or toss onto a salad. But again, totally your call.
I don’t, however, save the bones to make bone broth since they’re already pretty soft from slow cooking and have left much of their collagen and gelatin behind as evidenced by the fact that the sauce will actually gel when cooled. << Which is pretty cool if you ask me – another great way to get collagen into my kids without them knowing.
Let’s get cooking!
Put these Slow Cooker Dijon-Thyme Chicken Legs on your meal plan this week to enjoy a healthy, hearty meal without all the fuss. And when you do make them, please consider sharing a photo of your dinner on Instagram and tagging us in the photo so we can see!
- In a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high, add 1/2 Tbsp. ghee or avocado oil. When the oil is hot, add chicken legs and cook 3-4 minutes on each side until lightly browned. Remove chicken and place in the bottom of the slow cooker. Repeat with remaining chicken.
- To make the sauce, add Dijon mustard through black pepper in a small bowl and whisk to combine. Alternatively, you can blend the sauce in a blender.
- Pour sauce over chicken in the slow cooker and toss chicken to coat each piece with sauce. Place lid on slow cooker and set to LOW heat. Cook 5 hours or until chicken is cooked through.
- Remove chicken to a plate to keep warm. Strain remaining sauce through a fine mesh strainer into a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Bring sauce to a boil and reduce heat slightly to produce an aggressive simmer/low boil for 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- You may further thicken the sauce with a bit of arrowroot starch mixed with cold water if desired (how much you need will depend on how much liquid you have).
- Serve chicken with sauce.
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- Serving Size: 2 legs + 3 Tbsp. sauce
- Calories: 304
- Sugar: 6g
- Sodium: 375mg
- Fat: 14g
- Carbohydrates: 8g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 30g
What’s your favorite slow cooker meal for busy weeknights? Share in the comments below – we’re always looking for something new and delicious to try!
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