Slow Cooker Spicy Saffron Chicken with Apricots

This slow cooker recipe is sure to please the whole family. With 8 different herbs and spices, this fragrant Indian dish has a vibrant and complex flavour, with just enough heat to keep it interesting. Optional instructions to make it as a slow cooker freezer bag meal.
Warm and Spicy Saffron Chicken with Apricots

If you’re looking for a delicious recipe to throw in your slow cooker or Instant Pot to cook itself while you’re sleeping during the daytime, look no further! This fragrant Indian dish has a vibrant and complex flavour, with just enough heat to keep it interesting. Don’t be afraid of the ingredient list… most of the things listed are herbs and spices!

Add in apricots, honey, onions and garlic and things get pretty exciting. And that’s before you top it off with a sprinkling of freshly minced parsley and the crunch of toasted slivered almonds!

This recipes comes from my Freezer Bag Slow Cooker Complete Guide + Recipes e-book. The whole idea behind these meals is that you can prep a whole bunch of them on your day off, and then throw them in your slow cooker (or hello! Instant Pot!) when you get home from a long shift. Then they cook themselves while you snooze and when you wake up… presto! Dinner! You can check out the book here – it has tons of step-by-step photos, slow cooking advice, and 12 make ahead clean eating recipes.

Warm and Spicy Saffron Chicken with Apricots

If you prefer to skip the make-ahead freezer bag step and just put this dish together in the slow cooker the same day you plan to eat it- that works great too! Either way, you can count on a hearty, tasty dish that will keep you fuelled all night long.

I can hardly wait to make it again for myself. I loooove the tantalizing smell as it cooks in the slow cooker.

Warm and Spicy Saffron Chicken with Apricots

[recipe recipe title=”Warm and Spicy Saffron Chicken with Apricots” servings=”4-6″ time=”4-5hr” difficulty=”easy”]

2 medium yellow onions, sliced
1 1/2 cups dried apricots, cut in half
2 tbsp honey
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste (156 mL or 5.5 fl oz)
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp saffron threads
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, halved or 8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1-28 oz can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted


To make the freezer bag meal, combine onions, apricots, honey, garlic, tomato paste, bay leaves, cinnamon stick, paprika, ginger, cumin, coriander, turmeric, salt, pepper, saffron and chicken pieces in an extra-large freezer bag. Double bag if desired. Lay flat and freeze.

Thaw the night before you plan to cook.

Empty freezer bag contents into slow cooker and add diced tomatoes. Stir. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours.

Discard bay leaves and cinnamon stick before serving.

Garnish with parsley and sliced almonds. Bon appétit!

NOTES: If you are opting to skip the freezer bag meal and enjoy this the same day you assemble it, then just go ahead and add all the ingredients (except the garnishes of parsley and slivered almonds) to your slow cooker. Cook as directed above. [/recipe]

Share This Post

45 Responses

    1. Thanks Leah! I’m sort of obsessed with freezer bag slow cooker meals right now. Mega time saver. Also, I will be adding “yummers” to my daily vocabulary.

    2. I’ve just cooked this dish, but didn’t have dried apricots, so I used pitted dates instead. I also added a tiny amount of chopped up preserved lemon (which I make myself). a tablespoon of grapefruit marmalade (also made by me), a tablespoon of sun-dried tomatoes (preserved by me) and a teaspoon of crushed dried chilli (from the summer crop) because I like it hot, It was absolutely delicious. Tasted very southern indian, but without the coconut miilk.

      1. Sounds delicious, Annette! And wow- you are certainly busy in the kitchen with all of those preserves! Thanks for sharing your tweaks- I always love to hear how other cooks spin off recipes to their liking. 🙂

      1. I finally got all the ingredients to make this and had it for dinner tonight. I can’t believe it was so easy and flavorful. I love the way the sweetness of the apricots balances out the spices. YUM! Thanks for the recipe!

        1. Hey Jen! I’m SO glad to hear that you enjoyed this recipe. Thanks for taking the time to come back and leave me your lovely comment. 🙂

          I’m curious- did you make it right in the crock pot the same day or did you make it ahead as a freezer bag meal and then thaw it?

      2. I made it in the crock pot the same day. The prep work took so little time that with the way my fridge (doesn’t) thaw things it was quicker to make this the day of than doing a freezer bag ahead of time.

  1. If I want to use fresh apricots instead of dried, how many would you suggest? Could nectarines or peaches be used instead? Thanks! This looks delicious!!

    1. Hey Ali! Thanks for the questions. I edited the recipe to give the measurement for the tomato paste- 156 mL or 5.5 fl oz can.

      As far as the fresh apricots… I’m not really sure! If you try it, I would remove the skin first as it will get steamed off during the cooking otherwise. I might just cut the fresh apricots. If you try it- please tell me how it worked. 😉

      1. Thanks! I am also wondering if the saffron is really necessary. I don’t know if I have ever actually tasted saffron, and am interested in trying it but it’s SO expensive! Would this recipe still be good without it?

  2. Good catch, Colleen! Thanks for pointing that out. The tomato paste is added to the freezer bag with the other ingredients. I edited the recipe instructions to reflect that. Happy cooking!

  3. Just wondering if you are supposed to drain the diced tomatoes? First time making this and wasn’t sure if it would be too soupy if you don’t drain. Thanks!🙂

    1. Hey Beverly! No, I wouldn’t drain the cans of tomatoes…I find that the other ingredients soak up the tomato juice and it keeps it from drying out.

    1. Hey there! I’m so glad that you tried it and liked it. 🙂 I don’t see any problem with stacking the chicken thighs. The slow cooking works by using hot steam to cook the food so the temperature is even throughout the slow cooker. Hope that helps… I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  4. Making this for the first time tonight and can’t wait to try it. I’ve wanted to experiment more with Indian spices more than just curry. YUM. Curious about your book? I don’t eat beef and wondering how many of the 12 recipes in your book include beef. Thanks!

    1. No stupid questions. I like it with basmati rice and green beans. Or, for anyone looking for a paleo option it would be great with cauliflower “rice.” Bon appetit, Bridget!

  5. Hi, it’s sounds delicious. Is it hot or spicy? I’d like to prepare it but my husband doesn’t like hot meals (something that makes you cry or burn your tongue ) if you know what I mean. Thanks!

    1. Hi Caro! I would say it is more warm spicy than hot spicy. It has lots of warming spices (like turmeric, paprika, and ginger) but no burning hot spices (like cayenne or chili powder). Personally, I don’t find it the kind of hot that burns or makes me cry. 😉 Let me know if you make it!

Leave a Reply to Tanya Cancel reply

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


Erin Abraham: Shifting Mood Through Food

Erin Abraham, a holistic nutritionist shares nutritional advice customized to shift workers – from the importance of meal planning to why protein energy bites are a shift worker’s secret weapon.


Meg Harrell: Blogging and Tiny Living on Night Shift

Meg Harrell, a night nurse and lifestyle blogger, lives in a tiny house with her family of four in North Carolina. Here, she shares her preferred work schedule, her tricks to fall asleep after a busy shift, and why screen time can be the enemy of daytime sleep.

Download my latest ebook.

Shift Work Sleep: Sleep Smarter for Night Shift Energy