Cayenne Pepper Gives Slow-Cooked Chicken A Satisfying Spiciness

slow cooker chicken with red sauce
slow cooker chicken with red sauce - from my point of view/Shutterstock

Chicken can be good any which way (to prove it, we even compiled 70 chicken recipes so good you'll want to make them every day), but there's just something about chicken prepared in the slow cooker that seems to hit it out of the park every time. Because slow cookers work to simmer food at a low temperature for a longer period of time, anything you toss in there turns into tender, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. But if you're really looking to take your slow cooker chicken to the next level, you're going to need a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

Different from chili powder, which is a spice blend that contains red chiles (sometimes including cayenne pepper) along with paprika, oregano, cumin, and garlic, cayenne pepper is just concentrated, dried, and ground cayenne pepper. As such, it is significantly spicier than chili powder or even jalapeños, clocking in between 30,000 and 50,000 units on the Scoville scale.

That said, whether you're using it to bring a little heat and dimension to your slow cooker BBQ chicken or to punch up your favorite slow cooker enchiladas, a little bit goes a long way. Be sure to start slowly, adding a little bit of cayenne pepper and taste test before proceeding. Although it has a touch of sweetness, cayenne pepper does little to alter the taste of food other than by bringing the heat. Using it is an easy way to increase the spice level without having to compromise on flavor.

Read more: Ranking Grocery Store Rotisserie Chickens From Worst To Best

Slow Cooker Chicken Is Healthier With The Help Of Cayenne Pepper

slow cooker chicken tacos
slow cooker chicken tacos - istetiana/Shutterstock

Belonging to the capsicum annuum family, cayenne peppers are loaded with a chemical compound called capsaicin. Not only does capsaicin have loads of health benefits — including the ability to reduce pain and inflammation and stimulate metabolism — it also causes the burning sensation often associated with chili peppers. Because slow cooker cooking is perfect for cold days, a pinch of cayenne pepper in your slow cooker chicken tacos can do wonders to help warm you up.

Because cayenne pepper has origins in Central and South America, it is a common ingredient in Mexican cooking (much like chicken, making them a natural pairing). But you don't just have to reserve the cayenne for your slow cooker chicken fajitas. It is also an excellent addition to Asian-inspired dishes, like a slow cooker coconut curry cashew chicken, as it brings the perfect amount of heat to the freshly flavored dish.

Read the original article on Mashed