Less involved than the traditional French version but still full of all the amazing flavor, this slow cooker cassoulet recipe made with chicken and sausage is easy enough to make for busy weeknights, and special enough to serve to guests.
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This easy slow cooker cassoulet has been a staple in my house for many years because it's so easy to throw together, tastes amazing, and is full of protein for my meat-loving family.
And the fact that it cooks into this wonderfully flavored dish all on it's own throughout the day?
Well, you can see why it's on repeat on our menus.
Of course, this is a very streamlined cassoulet compared to the traditional French dish (which has more steps and even more meat, believe it or not, and takes three days between marinating, cooking, and "developing flavor").
Maybe I should call it "Harried American Cassoulet" since it's a way to have the flavor of cassoulet on busy weeknights when coming home to a cooked meal is the best.
This recipe is so good, though, that it's also a really nice meal for serving to guests.
Slow cookers are great for entertaining - while your meal is cooking away, you have time to prepare sides, dessert, and set the table.
To make it a bit more authentic - and a bit nicer for entertaining - you can transfer the cooked cassoulet to a shallow 13x9 baking pan, add a crumb topping like the French version (toss bread crumbs with melted butter or olive oil and mix before topping) and bake it for 20 to 30 minutes to brown the crumbs and thicken the liquid.
But for weeknights when you're just wanting to get everyone fed you can't beat the ease of the slow cooker. And this tastes wonderful any way you serve it.
Ingredients & Substitutions
This dish originated in the a village in France to use up what people had, so most of the ingredients are basic pantry and fridge items:
- Carrots - there's not really a substitute for carrots, although you could try parsnips as well.
- Onion - yellow, white, or red is fine.
- Garlic - fresh garlic is best here, since the dish will cook for a number of hours.
- White beans, cooked. The French dish calls for cannellini beans, but you can use navy beans or great northern as well.
- Salt and pepper
- Chicken broth - use any type you have, whether homemade frozen or store bought. If not using homemade, my favorite is this bullion that Cook's Illustrated listed as better than canned or boxed (and it's cheaper and more convenient!). You can also use water, but the flavor will suffer.
- Dry white wine (or more chicken broth) - this is just a little to give the dish the traditional flavor.
- Bone-in chicken, with skins removed. I've used all types of bone-in chicken over the years - a whole chicken cut up, 6 to 8 legs or thighs, or 3 to 4 chicken breasts, cut in half. Bone-in chicken produces more flavorful chicken, but you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs and cook for the same amount of time. If using boneless chicken breasts, though, you will need to check them at the 4-5 hour mark and cook them on low only to prevent them drying out.
- Fully cooked sausage - you can use a kielbasa type sausage (like I used in the photos) or any type of cooked sausage that you like. Do not substitute uncooked sausages, as they will turn out mealy after being slow cooked.
- Additional herbs - sometimes I like to add herbs like thyme or rosemary, but it's optional.
This dish is so easy, you really only need a few things:
- Chef's knife and cutting board to chop the vegetables.
- Slow cooker, 5-quart or above to fit all the ingredients. This is the slow cooker I use and recommend - it doesn't spit out hot water while cooking like some other's I've tried.
How to Make Slow Cooker Cassoulet
This is one of those wonderful dump-and-go slow cooker recipes! Detailed quantities and instructions are included in the full recipe box below, but here are a few extra tips to help with each step:
Step 1: First Layer. Chop a couple of carrots and an onion and add them to the slow cooker. Then add a couple cloves of minced garlic.
Step 2: Second Layer. Next, add a layer of cooked white beans (I used the beans I keep in the freezer, but canned beans work, too). TIP: Sometimes I use whatever beans I have, even red or cranberry if I don't have enough white beans in the freezer. C'est la vie.
Step 3: Third Layer. Add white wine, chicken broth (or water, or all broth), and seasonings. Top with skinned chicken pieces (slow-cooked chicken skin is rubbery and odd looking, if it doesn't bother you, feel free to leave it on).
Then place fully-cooked sausage, cut into 2 to 3-inch pieces, among the chicken and sprinkle the top with fresh parsley if you'd like.
Step 4: Cook the Cassoulet. Cover and cook on low about 7 hours (or high 4-5 hours) until chicken is tender and starting to fall off the bone.
Cook about 1/2-hour less if you plan to transfer it to the oven and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
Otherwise, serve from the slow cooker along with a crusty bread (like easy artisan bread) and a green salad.
What to Serve with Cassoulet
Here are some things I've served with this recipe to give you side dish ideas:
- Green salad: regular salad with whatever you have in the crisper and dressed with this vinaigrette, or Orange Almond Salad, or Caesar Salad.
- Bread to soak up the juices: Easy Artisan Bread, Simple French Baguettes, or Sourdough Artisan Bread.
- Easy desserts: Chocolate Lava Cakes, Chocolate Chip Cookie Cups with ice cream, or a plate of Apple Butter Bars.
I don't know about you, but this harried American just loves slow cooker meals like this cassoulet!
But don't take just my word for it - put this on your next menu and you will understand our family's love for this easy, flavorful cassoulet recipe, just like Kate did:
"Jami, I made this dish tonight and it was outstanding. My husband ate two large servings, and he doesn't even like chicken."
More Easy Slow Cooker Meals
- Slow Cooker Chicken Dinner with Vegetables
- 19 Healthy Soups, Stews & Slow Cooker Dishes
- Slow Cooker Chicken Chili Recipe (with Stovetop Option)
- Spiced Slow Cooker Whole Chicken (or Instant Pot)
Easy Slow Cooker Cassoulet Recipe with Chicken & Sausage
- 5 quart or larger slow cooker
- 1 cup chopped carrots, about 2 large
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups white beans, cooked (about 2 cans)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary, optional
- 1/2 cup chicken broth, or water
- 1/4 cup dry white wine, or more broth/water
- 2 to 3 pounds bone-in chicken pieces, skinned
- 1 to 2 pounds fully cooked sausage, cut into 2-inch pieces
- fresh parsley, chopped, optional
- Place the carrot, onion, and garlic in the bowl of the slow cooker.
- Top with the beans. Add the salt, pepper, (and herbs if using) and pour the wine and broth over all.
- Arrange the chicken in the beans, pushing some into the beans. Nestle the sausage amongst the chicken and sprinkle with some chopped parsley.
- Cover and cook on Low for 6-7 hours or on High for 4-5 hours, until the chicken is tender. (See note to make with optional crumb topping.)
- Garnish with more chopped parsley before serving.
- About 1/2 hour before end of slow-cooking, remove contents of cooker to a shallow 2-3-quart baking dish.
- Disperse chicken, sausage, and beans evenly in dish.
- Top with about 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs that have been moistened with a bit of olive oil.
- Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes, until the crumb topping is browned.
This recipe was originally published in 2010 and has been updated in 2016 and 2023.Disclosure: affiliate links in this article will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price. Click here to read our full disclaimer and advertising disclosure.