Crock Pot Chicken a la Criolla

Criolla (literally creole) is a Spanish word widely used to describe Caribbean or Hispanic cuisine. In this simple yet flavorful dish, boneless skinless chicken thighs are stewed in the slow cooker with bell peppers, onions, garlic, tomatoes, olives, cilantro and spices. Served over rice, this is one tasty and inexpensive meal for 10 Smart Points.

As promised, I played around with my crock pot last night making this easy yet flavorful dish which requires no pre-cooking on the stove. In most cases, I think it’s always best to brown the chicken, onions and garlic in a skillet before adding it to a slow cooker because it adds a depth of flavor you just don’t get when you skip that step. That being said, for this dish I didn’t think it was necessary because it has so many aromatics, herbs and spices that flavor is not lacking.

Because slow cookers tend to mute the flavors from the long cooking times on low heat, you should always taste it at the end and adjust the spices and salt if needed. Also, adding extra fresh herbs at the end is always a must in my opinion.

This dish was loved by all in my house, including my two year old. Enjoy!!

Crock Pot Chicken a la Criolla
Servings: 5 • Size: 2 thighs + sauce • Points +: 5 pts*  • Smart Points: 5
Calories: 211 • Fat: 6.2 g • Protein: 28.8 g • Carb: 9.9 g • Fiber: 1.9 g • Sugar: 2.1 g
Sodium: 447 mg (without salt)  


  • 10 (2 lbs) skinless boneless chicken thighs, fat trimmed
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped or sliced
  • 4 plum tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp alcaparrado or pitted spanish olives
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (plus 2 tbsp more for serving)


Place chicken, onion, garlic, pepper and tomatoes in the crock pot. Season with salt, cumin and oregano. Mix well so everything is seasoned.

Add tomato sauce, alcaparrado (or olives) along with 1 tbsp of the brine, 1/2 cup water, bay leaf and cilantro. Mix well and set crock pot to HIGH 4 hours or LOW for 6 hours. When done, taste for salt and seasoning and adjust spices as needed. Add 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro and serve over rice.

*Serve over 3/4 cup white or brown cooked rice for a satisfying 10 Smart Points meal.