For the media

Slow cooker chicken vaca frita (recipe)

By The Health News Team | January 11, 2018
Slow cooker chicken vaca frita (recipe)

Vaca frita is a protein-rich Cuban dish, traditionally made with beef and taking more than two days to prepare. With a few modifications, it can be a healthy addition to your New Year’s resolution meal plan.

Swap out the beef with chicken and replace some hard-to-digest seasonings and this dish becomes a Whole30, gluten-free, paleo and low-FODMAP dish that even the fussiest eaters will love.

Slow Cooker Chicken Vaca Frita
Serve over cauliflower rice, lettuce or with plantain chips.

Slow cooker chicken vaca frita (recipe)


  • 4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 cup bone broth

  • 1/4 cup tallow or bacon fat (divided)

  • 3 large sweet onions, sliced

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 lemons, juiced

  • 3 teaspoons pink Himalayan salt

  • 1 cup cilantro, minced



Step 1

On low heat, place chicken and bone broth in a slow cooker for 4 hours. While the chicken cooks, prepare the onions, garlic, lemon and cilantro. Once the chicken is fork-tender, remove the breasts and shred with two forks. Set aside.


Step 2

In a large skillet over medium, heat 2 tablespoons of cooking fat. Add half of the onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 to 15 minutes until the onions are very soft and translucent.


Step 3

Remove the onion from the pan and increase to high heat. Add 1 more tablespoon of cooking fat and half of the shredded chicken; sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 to 8 minutes until chicken becomes crispy. Add half of the lemon juice and a handful of cilantro. Stir well and remove from saute pan.


Step 4

Repeat with remaining cooking fat, onions, garlic, chicken, salt, lemon and cilantro (reserving some cilantro to use as garnish later). Once both batches have been cooked, mix well and let sit for 5 minutes. Garnish with remaining cilantro and serve.


Step 5

For an even faster meal, try cooking the chicken and broth in a pressure cooker for just 20 minutes on high heat.

Recipe adapted from

You might also like:

Get the best of Sharp Health News in your inbox

Our weekly email brings you the latest health tips, recipes and stories.