These slow cooker chicken thighs are coated in an easy honey garlic sauce, then cooked in a crock pot until tender. Serve your chicken thighs over steamed rice for a complete meal that the whole family will love!

When I know I’m going to have a really busy day, I put dinner in the slow cooker in the morning to make life a little easier. Some of our favorite crock pot recipes include BBQ ribs, sweet and sour meatballs and these Asian style chicken thighs.

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Slow cooker chicken thighs garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.

The slow cooker is one of my favorite kitchen devices – it’s just so easy and convenient to have dinner waiting for you when you come home after a long day! These slow cooker chicken thighs are tender, juicy and coated in the most delicious sauce.

How do you make slow cooker chicken thighs?

First, cook your chicken thighs in a pan with oil until golden to unlock the flavor. Whip up some honey garlic sauce which features garlic, honey and soy sauce. Place the thighs in the slow cooker slathered in the honey garlic sauce. After a few hours, you’ll want to add a little cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Once the chicken is cooked, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and it is ready to serve.

Seared chicken thighs in a crock pot.

Tips for slow cooker chicken thighs

  • Instead of using boneless chicken thighs, you can use bone-in chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts. Feel free to use whichever cut of chicken you prefer or have available.
  • I like to brown the chicken thighs before placing them in the slow cooker to bring out the flavor of the chicken and to give the meat some texture. If you don’t have time to brown the chicken, you can skip that step and simply place the raw thighs in the crock pot with the sauce.
  • The honey garlic sauce can be made up to 3 days in advance.
  • This chicken stays fresh in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can enjoy these thighs as leftovers and they are a great candidate for meal prep.

Chicken thighs coated in honey garlic sauce.

Slow cooker chicken thigh variations

This honey garlic sauce is one of my personal favorites and it garners me a lot of compliments. You can add some other flavors to this great sauce for a little variety.

  • Honey Ginger: Use 2 teaspoons of fresh minced ginger instead of the garlic.
  • Honey Lime: Add 1 tablespoon of lime juice to the sauce.
  • Sweet and Spicy: Add sriracha to the sauce to taste.
  • Orange Chicken: Add 2 tablespoons of orange juice and 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest to the sauce.

A spoon serving up a portion of honey garlic chicken.

Can you put frozen chicken in a slow cooker?

I don’t recommend putting frozen chicken in a slow cooker. You should always thaw chicken before slow cooking it. Frozen chicken in the slow cooker can cause problems. The main problem is the risk of bacterial growth. Frozen chicken takes longer to heat up in a slow cooker than thawed chicken meaning the frozen chicken may allow bacteria to grow while it slowly heats. Another problem can occur with frozen chicken in a slow cooker if there is not enough liquid. The frozen chicken touching the cooker may get overcooked before the interior of the chicken has finished cooking because the frozen interior takes longer to cook. You will be safer and you may get better tasting food if you thaw your chicken before placing it in a slow cooker.

Can you overcook chicken in a slow cooker?

You can overcook chicken in a slow cooker. Overcooked chicken will be dry and may be tough. Take care to watch the time on your slow cooker chicken to make sure it stays tender and juicy. If you are worried about overcooking chicken, use a chicken thigh recipe (like this one) instead of a chicken breast recipe. The extra fat in chicken thighs helps protect them from drying out.

Slow cooker chicken thighs served with rice and broccoli.

This slow cooker recipe uses one of my best sauces to make extraordinary chicken thighs. This sweet and tangy sauce over tender chicken dish will become one of your favorites.

More slow cooker recipes you’ll love

5 from 75 votes

Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

AuthorSara Welch
Slow cooker chicken thighs garnished with sesame seeds and green onions.
These slow cooker chicken thighs are coated in an easy honey garlic sauce, then cooked in a crock pot until tender. Serve your chicken thighs over steamed rice for a complete meal that the whole family will love!
Time
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time7 hours
Total Time7 hours 15 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Serves 6

Ingredients 

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds and chopped cilantro for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons green onions sliced

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a pan over high heat. Season the chicken thighs generously with salt and pepper on both sides. 
  • Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side until deep golden brown. 
  • Add the chicken to the slow cooker.
  • NOTE: you can skip the browning process if you prefer and simply season the thighs with salt and pepper then add them to the slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, ketchup, soy sauce, honey and sesame oil. Pour the sauce over the chicken thighs.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours.
  • In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup cold water. Add the cornstarch mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Cook for 1 more hour or until sauce has just thickened. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions, then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 708mg | Potassium: 518mg | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 105IU | Vitamin C: 0.8mg | Calcium: 14mg | Iron: 1mg

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Such an easy recipe, thank you. To cut carbs I substituted sugar free brown sugar and low sugar ketchup and skipped the cornstarch. I added 2 Tbs of orange juice concentrate (we love orange chicken). The sauce looks amazing. It’s in the crock pot now. This recipe is a keeper.

  2. 5 stars
    This is the BEST crockpot chicken ever!!! I doubled the recipe but used only about 2 T of honey since ketchup has so much sugar already. Forgot to add the cornstarch, but the sauce was fine without it. I also added some fried yellow peppers and onions to the chicken about an hour before it was done cooking. Delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    Very tender and delicious! I didn’t have any low sodium soy sauce and so substituted regular soy sauce, it was much too salty. Next time, I’ll definitely use the low sodium variety. Definitely will make again!

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious! My husband couldn’t stop raving about how awesome it tasted. He’s already requested that we have it again – soon! Going to have the leftovers tomorrow night.
    The only change I made was that I substituted Lowrey’s Teriyaki meat marinade for the “sauce” recipe. I also did not brown the thighs. Thanks for a great recipe idea!

  5. All the sauce is on the bottom of slow cooker and is not covering the chicken thighs. Is this how it is supposed to be? Am I supposed to add more liquid or keep pouring the sauce on top of chicken from time to time? I’m worried that chicken parts that are not immersed into liquid will be either dry or not all the way cooked. Appreciate your prompt response as i have the cooking process going.

    1. The chicken will cook through even if it’s not covered. Once you add the cornstarch the sauce will thicken and will cling to the chicken and cover it.

  6. 5 stars
    just made this tonight… added sweet chili sauce to my sauce. It is so so good….
    Oh, and I also added snow peas in my rice. I would post a picture, but I just ate it all… hehe.. headed for a second helping! so delish!

  7. 5 stars
    Since it is SO HOT out, we used this as sandwich meat (I cooked bone in thighs, and the meat literally slid off the bones…perfect!). Added pickles and sauerkraut on a toasted hoagie bun and it was heavenly! I’m eating day 2 and havent even reheated… still delish.

  8. 5 stars
    Absolutely delish! Can you suggest the best way to reheat without making the chicken dry out or become tough? That is always hard for me! Thank you!!

    1. I find this to be a sure way to reheat almost any meat leftover.
      Place meat in a glass micro wave container tightly closed with a TLBS or two of water. cook at 80% power for 2 minutes. Check it and add 30 seconds if needed.
      easy peasy

  9. This was really delicious! If I wanted to use skinless boneless thighs, how would I adjust the cooking time?

      1. I thought the recipe already called for boneless skinless thighs? Should we be reducing the time?

        1. It is boneless skinless thighs, you are correct. I’m not sure what happened here with the previous comment. No change to the cook time!

  10. I don’t have sesame oil. Is it okay to leave out? Or is there something to replace it with? Also my package has 8 thighs in it should I add more of everything or will it be okay? Excited to try this. Thank you!!

    1. I would omit the sesame oil. You can adjust the ingredient amounts by changing the serving size to 8, everything will automatically recalculate!