Slow cooker honey garlic chicken packs bold flavors such as soy sauce, hoisin, garlic, ginger, and honey into tender pieces of meat. Crispy bone-in chicken thighs simmer in a sweet and savory Asian sauce for hours. The pieces of chicken turn molasses in color and sticky to the touch, it’s a meal that my family always fights over for second servings.
On busy days, a delicious homemade meal may seem impossible, but wait until you try this slow cooker honey garlic chicken recipe. The Crock-Pot makes a flavorful Asian-style entree with ease. Honey hoisin sauce absorbs into the meat as the poultry slowly cooks adding a savory, sweet and pungent flavor. If you’re a fan of teriyaki then get excited, the sauce created in this recipe I think is even tastier!
I’m thrilled to share this honey garlic chicken recipe featured in my cookbook Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking. You can find the recipe in a chapter dedicated exclusively to slow cooking. If you’re a Crock-Pot fan there are a variety of savory meal ideas to get you inspired. This recipe is a popular reader favorite, and I know you’ll love it too. It’s incredibly easy to make, just a simple saute step to get the skin crisp and golden brown, then let the vessel do it’s magic!
Use bone-in chicken thighs
Bone-in chicken thighs are used in this recipe because dark meat contains more fat and connective tissue. This part of the chicken provides a nice flavor to the dish and is easier to tenderize during the long, moist cooking environment. For maximum taste, I like to crisp the skin in a pan before being added to the slow cooker. Keeping the skin on the chicken adds additional texture and extra protection to avoid the meat from becoming dry as it cooks.
How to make honey garlic chicken in the slow cooker
- Saute the chicken first to create a crispy golden skin, while rendering off the excess fat that could make the sauce too greasy.
- Place the chicken skin side down in the slow cooker, flipping halfway through simmering to ensure the sauce coasts both sides.
- You can re-crisp the skin under the broiler for a few minutes before serving.
Sticky, sweet, salty, and finger-licking good! After hours of gently cooking, the syrupy sauce adheres to the meat and onto your fingertips. Serve the chicken over a plate or bowl of rice and pour any extra sauce on top. The rice will absorb some of that delicious umami flavor making the dish complete.
More Asian recipes
How to substitute chicken breasts for thighs
Bone-in or boneless skinless chicken breasts may be substituted for this recipe. The cooking time will need to be reduced for chicken breasts to ensure that the chicken does not dry out quickly. Skip the sautéing step and check at the 2-hour mark for the high setting, and the 4-hour mark at the low setting. Use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature for doneness, between 160 and 165°F (71 and 74°C).
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Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
- 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs, bone-in, skin on, 4 large pieces
- kosher salt, for seasoning
- black pepper , for seasoning
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup hoisin sauce
- ⅓ cup honey
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- sesame seeds, as needed for garnish
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Add the vegetable oil, and once hot carefully add the chicken skin-side down. Sauté until golden brown, 5 to 6 minutes.
- Flip the chicken and cook 2 more minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker.
- In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, honey, soy sauce, hot water, ginger, and garlic. Add to the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook the chicken skin-side down on high for 3 to 4 hours, or 5 to 6 hours on low.
- If possible, flip the chicken halfway through cooking so the sauce infuses the surface of both sides.
- If desired, transfer chicken to a foil-lined sheet pan skin-side up and broil 10-inches from the top of the oven until skin is crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Glaze the chicken with the sauce. Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.
- Sauteing the chicken before adding to the slow cooker adds more flavor and color to the skin, and renders extra fat from the chicken to prevent the sauce from becoming too greasy. You can skip this step, however, make sure to trim excess skin and fat from the chicken before adding to the slow cooker.
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