Italian chicken cacciatore served with pasta

Budget Bites: 19 Ways to Make Dump Chicken

Dump dinners are my top strategy for conquering the “What’s for Dinner?” challenge. Picture this: having dinner on the table, even during hectic weeknights, with family-friendly, pre-prepped meals that are both scrumptious and wholesome. These freezer-friendly meals are not only more economical than fast food but also quicker than waiting in the drive-thru, and they offer a healthier, more nutritious alternative to typical fast-food fare.

Italian chicken cacciatore served with pasta

The meal prep method despite its dubious name, is genius. You dump chicken pieces and your choice of sauce ingredients into a 1-gallon freezer bag, seal it, label it, and stick it in the freezer.

When you’re ready to eat it, thaw overnight in the refrigerator, dump the entire contents of the bag into your slow cooker (or oven as an alternative), set it—and that’s it! Served over rice or alongside pasta, you’ve got a great meal.

Best of all, most dump recipes call for basic pantry staples. No complicated, expensive, or hard to find ingredients.

General Instructions

The following recipes are to be made with about two pounds of raw chicken—four to eight pieces bone-in or boneless, skin-on or skinless, even whole. Experiment to see what you prefer.

Simply mix the sauce ingredients and toss that into the ziplock freezer bag along with the raw chicken; seal and freeze. (Or toss all the ingredients straight into your slow cooker now for tonight’s dinner).

To cook the chicken, thaw the bag overnight in the refrigerator. Pour the contents of the bag into a slow cooker on “Low” for 4-6 hours. Your time may vary depending on your slow cooker.

NOTE: If you are adding a lot more or a lot less chicken, you may need to adjust the recipes accordingly, i.e. double or halve the ingredients.

Oven Alternative

If you do not have a slow cooker, a second option is to prepare these recipes in the oven. Dump ingredients into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan and bake at 350F until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165F. Chicken breasts take about 25 to 45 minutes depending on their thickness. Dark meat pieces may take a bit longer.


Chicken Cacciatore

  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (24 oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning


Basic BBQ Chicken

  • chicken
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dry onion soup mix


Caribbean Chicken

  • chicken
  • 1 (8-ounce) can pineapple chunks with juice
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup raisins


Lemon and Garlic Chicken

  • chicken
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


Honey Sriracha Chicken

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha (or other hot sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce


Russian Chicken

  • chicken
  • 2/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 16 ounces Russian salad dressing
  • 2 packages dry onion soup mix


Sticky Chicken

  • chicken
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup


Cantonese Chicken

  • chicken
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice

Chicken for Quesadillas

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup jalapenos, chopped (with or without seeds depending on level of heat desired)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or 4 1/2 tablespoons if you make it yourself)

Salsa Chicken

  • chicken breasts
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14 oz.)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 1 packet taco seasoning (or 4 1/2 tablespoons if you make it yourself)


Teriyaki Chicken

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger (optional)


Spiced Citrus Chicken

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt


Spicy Sweet Glazed Chicken

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco, or to taste


Garlic Dijon Chicken

  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (or lemon juice)


Honey Sesame Chicken

  • 1/2 cup chicken broth or water
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced


Pepper Lime Chicken

  • 1/2 teaspoon lime zest
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Chicken Tikka Masala

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts cut to bite-size pieces
  • 2 (15-oz) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream (1/2 pint)

Mediterranean Chicken

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (12-oz.) jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced
  • 1 (10.2 oz.) jar pitted kalamata olives, drained and chopped
  • 4 (oz.) Feta cheese crumbles
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Tuscan Chicken

  • boneless, skinless chicken
  • 1 (28-oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato sauce
  • 2 oz. fresh baby spinach
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes


First published: 5-30-13; Updated: 2-11-24


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12 replies
  1. Carol says:

    I really wanted to print these off as they look delicious and great to have on hand. However, it prints with all the comments and adds and I can’t seem to copy and paste theme in a concise manner. Is there someway I can just print the dump chicken recipes so it just takes a few sheets of paper. Thank You.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Yes. Make sure you are using either Firefox or Safari browser. Next scroll all the way to the bottom of the post until you get to the comments area. There you will see a big Orange PRINT button. Click on that. Now you will see the post in a different format. You can delete any sections you want, leaving only what you wish to print. When you have it the way you like, hit “Print” again.

      At this time this function is not compatible with Chrome.

    • Nancy says:

      In Chrome, highlight article and copy and paste as text only to Word document. Then you can edit however you want. Change the margins, size of text, spacing, etc.

  2. Jan says:

    These sound amazing! I can’t wait to try them. With the cost of meat, we’ve been eating lots of chicken – so more fun ways to make it can’t hurt!!

  3. Eileen says:

    Any reason why you couldn’t use boneless thighs or even whole thighs (cheaper and my family likes them) with these recipes.

  4. Sandra Marvin says:

    Remind everyone that once they seal the bag they need to turn the bag over several times (or shake it) to get all the seasoning and sauces on all the pieces of chicken.

    • I was wishing the same thing! I don’t even use my slow cooker anymore but I use the I start pot all the time. These would be great to try. says:

      I would love the times to make these in my instant pot!

      • Jennifer says:

        With frozen chicken: 15 minutes on high, quick release
        (When done, Use meat thermometer to double check)
        With thawed chicken 10 minutes on high, quick release
        (Again,when finished double check with meat thermometer)

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