With roasted red peppers, smoked paprika and a pinch of saffron, this slow cooker Spanish chicken stew is a cozy yet exotic! Works great for a weeknight dinner, or for meal prep.
I love a warming bowl of stew in the cooler months. Slow cooker Tuscan chicken stew is a family favorite, as is slow cooker Mexican chicken stew. When we are craving cozy + something a little adventurous, this Spanish chicken stew hits the spot!
With traditional stew ingredients like chicken, carrots, celery and potatoes, this stew gets a flavor upgrade thanks to roasted red peppers, saffron and smoked paprika. A splash of balsamic vinegar brings all the flavors together at the end of the cook time!
Reasons to ♡ slow cooker Spanish chicken stew
- it's got traditional stew ingredients with some unusual flavor upgrades
- it's healthy, nourishing, and will fill you up
- it works great for meal prep as a crockpot freezer meal or as a reheat meal
Wondering how exactly this stew comes together? Watch this 1-minute video to see how easy it is to prep! You can find more recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
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When creating this recipe, I was going through an obsession with one of Spain's most popular recipes: paella. Paella involves cooking rice in a mixture of broth, and spices (including saffron), and is traditionally topped with rabbit or chicken (1). The version that I cooked also included smoked paprika, peas, roasted red peppers, tomatoes and seafood (2).
Taking inspiration from the flavors I loved in paella, as well as spices traditionally found in Spanish kitchens (3), I came up with this stew; it is not meant in any way to be authentic. For an authentic recipe, check out this Spanish chicken and chorizo stew!
- chicken- we are using boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. If you swap for chicken breasts, you'll need to reduce the cook time to 4 hours on low (make sure the potatoes are cooked through!)
- potatoes- ruby, yellow or even purple baby potatoes work great in this recipe: cut them in half if you are cooking fresh, leave them whole if you are assembling as a crockpot freezer meal
- roasted red peppers- usually near olives in the condiment aisle. You could also check the canned vegetable section. Drain and chop them up.
- smoked paprika- a spice often used in Spanish cuisine, it has a much more potent flavor than sweet paprika. It adds a subtle smokiness to this stew. Find it with the spices, or purchase on Amazon.
- saffron threads- saffron is the world’s most expensive spice, but don’t let that deter you from cooking with it; a little goes a long way! Adding a pinch of saffron threads to this stew is sufficient to infuse the whole pot with delicious flavor. Purchase a good brand (one that you know), as you get what you pay for.
- balsamic vinegar- adding acid to the stew after a long cook time helps brighten and revive the flavors.
Low and slow
When using the slow cooker, I like to use the low setting whenever possible. The reason for this is that some slow cookers cook quite hot, and on high, they can vigorously boil and overcook the protein. For this slow cooker Spanish chicken stew, we are cooking on low for 5 hours. At this point, the chicken should be fall-apart-tender, and the potatoes should also be cooked through.
Remember not to peek at your stew while it simmers, as this can add up to an hour onto your cook time!
Last minute add-ins
Just before serving your stew, stir in 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, and 1 cup of frozen peas. We add the vinegar to help brighten the flavors back up after the long cook time, and we add the peas because they will overcook if added at the start.
To thicken or not to thicken
Unlike the Tuscan chicken stew on this website, this stew recipe is not thickened. If you really love a thickened stew, then you can add in a mixture of 2 tablespoons cornstarch + ¼ cup water to the slow cooker 30 minutes before serving. Turn the slow cooker to high, and simmer until thickened.
Serve it up!
After cooking the stew through, sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley, and serve it up! With a source of protein, vegetables and carbohydrates, we consider this to be a complete meal, however it is great served with a rustic loaf of sourdough bread for dunking.
Serving size + equipment
This recipe should be cooked in a larger slow cooker- 5 or 6 quarts. If you are looking to cut the recipe in half, you'll need to cook in a 2.5 or smaller slow cooker.
- my favorite 6 quart slow cooker
- cook a half batch in this 2.5 quart slow cooker
- you can also cook it in a 6 quart Instant Pot or an 8 quart Instant Pot- cook on high pressure for 10 minutes with a 10 minute natural pressure release
Storage + Meal Prep
Slow cooker Spanish chicken stew works really well for meal prep. Here are two ways you can do it:
Crockpot freezer meal
A crock pot freezer meal is assembled ahead and frozen before cooking. This way, when it's time to cook, you simply dump the ingredients into the slow cooker and skip any measuring. This is a great recipe to prepare for someone who is expecting a baby.
- Assemble all stew ingredients except for the balsamic vinegar and peas in a sturdy gallon-sized freezer bag or large meal prep container (*make sure you leave the potatoes whole!). You can leave out the stock as well if the bag/container is too full.
- Squeeze out as much air as you can and freeze it flat.
- Freeze for up to 3 months; thaw completely, then cook as directed in the recipe card below.
*if potatoes are cut in half, they can turn brown and get a weird texture
Check out my favorite freezer containers.
More slow cooker recipes
- Slow Cooker Ethiopian Chicken & Lentil Stew
- Slow Cooker Black Bean, Sweet Potato and Quinoa Stew
- Smoky Slow Cooker Turkey Chili
- Crockpot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Crockpot White Chicken Chili
- Crockpot Taco Soup
- 1 lb baby potatoes halved (roughly 3.5 cups); see note 1
- 8 small chicken thighs 600g/1.3 lbs; see note 2
- 2 carrots sliced
- 2 celery stalks sliced
- 300 mL jar of roasted red peppers drained and rinsed, cut into small pieces (about 1.5 cups)
- ½ red onion diced
- 19 oz can of diced tomatoes including liquids, or sub 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 pinch saffron threads
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup frozen peas
- In the base of a slow cooker combine all ingredients except the balsamic vinegar and peas.
- Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar and peas, cover and cook for 5 minutes before serving.
- Refrigerate for up to 4 days
- Freeze for up to 3 months
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