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
    Love this dish. I usually use bone in skin on thighs, but today I’m going to try boneless skinless thighs. I always brown before placing in crock pot. I do like to add 1 – 2 tablespoons of siracha sauce for just a little kick! Yum!!!

  2. 5 stars
    It’s a pretty good recipe I used organic chicken thighs so I’m not sure why but I didn’t have to cook it but 4 hours maybe 5.
    Over a bed of rice and some vegetable medley on the side!

    1. Use regular flour with water . I use 1 Tbs of flour and 1/3 c of cold water , mix it well and pour it when the sauce is boiling hot.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this last night for dinner. It was sooooo good. Usually I wait until I make something a few times before I feel I should leave a review but this was amazing. I made exactly as written except I added a little fresh ginger I happened to have on hand. Oh, and I doubled the sauce and so glad I did! By the time I got my plate up there I may not have had any left. Lol
    I highly recommend this for an easy/quick/yummy smelling house meal! This is one of many recipes I’ve adopted to my rotation/go tos from Dinner at the Zoo. Thanks so much!

  4. When do i add the cornstarch & water? Right after i pour the sauce on the chicken or after it cooks 6hrs?

  5. 5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe!! I’ve added a few tweaks (lime, a little ginger, and mixed pepper strips) and have made it part of the regular rotation! How would you suggest adjusting the recipe if using breasts so as to keep it from drying out? Would you cook it beforehand (I generally don’t when using thighs)? Add oil ? Thanks!

  6. If I doubled the sauce & added sliced bell pepper and onions. How long do you think they would need to cook?

  7. I followed your recipe exact. Do you know what goes good with this? Would this chicken go good on top of plain white rice?

  8. Have you ever just cooked this in the oven? Seems like since it’s not a “set it and forget it” meal where you have the cornstarch step, that you could bake in the oven and be done in less than 1 hour.

      1. Made this in the oven myself tonight minus the oil as I didn’t have any……….. tasted amazing!!!

  9. 5 stars
    One of my favorite crook pot recipes. I do add a breast in for my husband. So nice to come home to the house smelling good and the meal done.