Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

February 28, 2022

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Easy saucy Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs – boneless thighs are covered in a sweet and savory Asian inspired sauce and cooked low and slow until perfectly tender and infused with flavor.

Slow cooker chicken thighs with sauce shown served over white rice on a white oval platter. Platter is on a marble surface with a blue cloth and green onions to the side.

Crock Pot Chicken Thighs

Chicken gets a boost of flavor and a tasty balance of salty, sweet, tangy and spicy with the ingredients used here.

On busy weekdays you’ll really appreciate this recipe for its simplicity and hands off cooking.

And since the chicken thighs are cooked in the crock pot they have plenty of time to marinate and soak up the flavors of this simple sauce.

To keep simplicity going pair them with cooked white rice or brown rice and steamed broccoli, green beans or asparagus. It will make a comforting home cooked meal without much hassle.

If you are having a hard time finding boneless thighs these days you can buy bone-in thighs and remove the skin and bone from each quite easily (it will just take a bit more prep time). Here’s a helpful how-to.

Slow cooker chicken thighs coated in a sauce shown served with white rice and broccoli.

Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs Recipe Ingredients

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed (about 2.5 lbs)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water
  • Sliced green onions and sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs ingredients

How to Make Slow Cooker Thighs

  • Place chicken thighs in a slow cooker (5 to 7 quart).
  • Mix sauce ingredients: In a mixing bowl whisk together ketchup, honey, soy sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, garlic and ginger.
  • Pour mixture evenly over chicken thighs in slow cooker.

How Long to Cook Chicken Thighs in Crock Pot

  • Cover and cook boneless chicken thighs in crock pot on low heat until cooked through and tender, about 3 to 4 hours. Center of thighs should register 165°F.
  • Transfer chicken to a serving plate, cover with foil to keep warm.

Thickening the Sauce for Chicken Thighs

  • Pour juices from slow cooker into a medium saucepan (you should have 2 cups liquid), add vinegar. Heat over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  • Thicken with cornstarch slurry: Meanwhile in a small mixing bowl whisk together cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water until well blended. Pour mixture into sauce in skillet.
  • Simmer sauce, whisking constantly for 1 minute.
  • Pour thickened sauce over chicken (or baste over chicken) and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.

Eight images showing how to make slow cooker chicken thighs in sauce.

Helpful Tips and Variations

  • Using bone-In chicken thighs: This recipe can also be made using bone-in chicken thighs if that’s what you have and you don’t want to remove bones. You’ll still want to use 8 thighs. Just remove the skin before adding to slow cooker, and increase cook time by about 30 minutes.
  • Honey substitute: In a pinch if you are out of honey you can try brown sugar.
  • Make sauce tangier: For more sour tangy flavor you can add more vinegar to taste.
  • Make spicy or mild: The amount of sriracha can be adjusted to make them mild or more spicy.
  • Cook time: Note that every slow cooker brand/model cooks a bit different. Some cook lower and some cook quite hot. It should take about 3 to 4 hours on low heat but if your slow cooker cooks very low you may need to increase time slightly.
  • Be careful not to overcook too much or thighs will just fall apart and shred. But on the other hand cook at least to 165 °F in center for food safety.
  • Don’t skip thickening sauce: Yes it’s an extra step we all want to skip but simmering and thickening the sauce on the stovetop with cornstarch is a must. It wouldn’t thicken properly in the slow cooker.

Close up image of saucy chicken thighs with green onions and sesame seeds.

More Tasty Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes to Try

Slow cooker chicken thighs with sauce shown served over white rice on a white oval platter. Platter is on a marble surface with a blue cloth and green onions to the side.
5 from 6 votes

Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs

Boneless thighs are covered in a sweet and savory Asian inspired sauce and cooked low and slow until perfectly tender and infused with flavor.
Servings: 8
Prep10 minutes
Cook3 hours
Ready in: 3 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, trimmed (about 2.5 lbs)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sriracha (reduce for milder option)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water
  • Sliced green onions and sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  • Place chicken thighs in a slow cooker (5 to 7 quart).
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together ketchup, honey, soy sauce, sriracha, sesame oil, garlic and ginger. Pour mixture evenly over chicken thighs in slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on low heat until cooked through and tender, about 3 to 4 hours (should register 165 °F in center).
  • Transfer chicken to a serving plate, cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Pour juices from slow cooker into a medium saucepan (you should have 2 cups liquid), add vinegar. Heat over medium heat and bring to a simmer.
  • Meanwhile in a small mixing bowl whisk together cornstarch with 2 Tbsp water until well blended. Pour mixture into sauce in skillet.
  • Simmer sauce, whisking constantly for 1 minute.
  • Pour sauce over chicken (or baste over chicken) and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds if desired.
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 238 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 135mg45%
Sodium 666mg29%
Potassium 417mg12%
Carbohydrates 15g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 11g12%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 88IU2%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 20mg2%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Nutrition values are estimates only. See full disclaimer here.

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27 Comments

  • Brook

    Savory and delicious. I have a large crock pot, so I opened the thighs and laid then flat with the inside facing up. I committed on high for 2.5 hours adding small amounts of water at the beginning, so though we’re covered, and a could of times while cooking. I skipped the cornstarch and thickening. Came out great. Served with rice and with sauteed bok choy.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I don’t recommend it because it has added sweetener and not quite the same flavor.

  • Denise

    Thanks Jaclyn! I had one question – is the sesame oil the toasted kind or the cooking kind? It makes all the difference, as I just used the toasted kind (the flavor profile made me think it was correct). It smells amazing – and I used a bit of the rice vinegar in the slow cooker. I have a stovetop function on my slow cooker, so I seared the thighs first, added some onions and then the sauce ingredients. About an hour in I added the vinegar. I literally tried this recipe because of the ketchup. I mean, why not? Salt, sweet, acidic – so far I love it (sample taste), and I will follow up with any helpful comments. Thanks again!

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      Yes the sesame oil is toasted, sorry I forgot to add that (and yes there’s a huge difference in the flavor profile of the two like you say). It can get confusing because it’s often not labeled on the product we just have to go with the darker one :). Love your searing step you added!

      • Denise H

        I know what you mean! Sometimes it says ‘dark’ sesame oil instead. Thanks for the quick response. The final result was wonderful. After the sear, I left the chicken on low for about 3 hours. It was perfect, and also left a nice amount of sauce. I didn’t thicken it, but had added the acid in earlier. The sauce went perfectly with brown rice and broccoli.

  • Jen

    Why am I the only one who thought this was awful? I feel like it should’ve been cooked on high not low.
    After 4 hours it was raw in places.
    Should definitely be browned in a pan first. Without, the skin is rubbery and awful.

    • Jaclyn

      Jaclyn Bell

      I’m sorry to hear that! Which brand of slow cooker do you own? It sounds like it cooks quite low. I have an All Clad that I never use because it cooks so low, after 12 hours my roast wasn’t tender. I like to use Crock Pot for quicker cooking and more tender results.

  • Jeff

    This recipe is easy and pretty much perfect. I used bone-in thighs and removed the skin as the recipe mentioned. I was missing whole ginger and garlic and used a dash of ginger powder and garlic powder instead. Due to time constraints, I cooked it on high in the slow cooker, and the meat was just about falling off the bone at 2.5 hours. We loved this!