Chicken | main dish | Recipes | slow cooker

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

Asian-inspired dishes are always a hit with my family and this Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken is no exception! It’s so good that your cravings for takeout will soon be a thing of the past. 

Slow Cooker teriyaki chicken

The slow cooker does all the heavy lifting of cooking your teriyaki chicken thighs, leaving you only with the small task of thickening the flavorful sauce on the stovetop and cooking the rice.

I love the fact that I don’t have to slave away in the kitchen on busy days or when something or someone needs my attention – this easy teriyaki chicken recipe is even requested by the pickiest of eaters in my house!

Serve this crock pot teriyaki chicken over cooked rice, noodles, quinoa or even veggies. The teriyaki chicken thighs can be shredded to make a sticky-sweet filling for sandwiches, tacos or a protein-packed teriyaki buddha bowl. 

Regardless of how you choose to serve it, I know you’ll love this teriyaki chicken recipe and I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a frequent dish on your weekly menu!

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Ingredients for this Teriyaki Chicken Recipe + Notes

Want to give this slow cooker chicken recipe a try? These are the ingredients to add to your list. 

(Ingredients at a glance, find the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.)

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs | You could use chicken breasts, but you will definitely get a different result. (Chicken will not be as moist and flavorful)
  • Apple cider vinegar | Rice vinegar would work too.
  • Sugar | White granulated sugar is what I used, but brown sugar would work well too.
  • Ground ginger | For best results, always make sure your spices are fresh.
  • Minced garlic
  • Cornstarch | For thickening the Teriyaki sauce.
  • For serving: cooked rice (whatever type you like, I used brown rice) veggies, noodles.

Can I Use Frozen Chicken For this Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken?

If you forgot to thaw out your chicken, you may be tempted to use frozen chicken for this slow cooker teriyaki chicken. Many people do cook frozen chicken in the slow cooker, however I always caution people against doing so as I am a stickler for food safety.

Hear me out on this frozen chicken in the slow cooker subject

Slow cookers don’t reliably cook frozen meat to a safe temperature (above 140°F) evenly or fast enough which means that your meat will sit for too long in the danger zone of 40°F – 140°F, creating an opportunity for bacteria to flourish.

So I advise to be on the safe side, and avoid using frozen chicken in the slow cooker. (A pressure cooker is a different story though – read below.) –

Can this Recipe Be Made in a Pressure Cooker?

Yes, you can cook the teriyaki chicken recipe in the pressure cooker! You will cook this recipe almost exactly the same way (even using frozen chicken- just make sure the chicken is not frozen in one big lump of chicken.)

The only change would be to add 1/2 cup chicken broth to the liquid at the bottom of the pressure cooker and pressure cook on high for 14 minutes, using a natural release. 

How Should I Serve This Teriyaki Chicken?

This slow cooker teriyaki chicken is great for serving over rice but for those looking for some alternative options, here are a few yummy ones to try:

  • Serve your Teriyaki Chicken over quinoa instead of rice.
  • Create a delicious noodle dish by serving your chicken over rice noodles, or our fave, Udon noodles with some shredded carrots and chopped green onions. 
  • Serve your chicken alongside or atop a green salad with spinach or kale, Brussels sprouts…the options are endless!
  • Shred your chicken thighs into the sauce and pile it into a teriyaki chicken bowl, tacos or make some chicken hoagie buns with all the other usual ingredients of a classic hoagie! 
  • You can even make the teriyaki chicken low carb by switching out the sugar for a substitute, use less cornstarch and serving it over cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.

Is this Teriyaki Chicken Recipe Healthy?

I would consider this recipe on the “healthier side”, but not necessarily healthy, due to the amount of sugar used and the soy sauce. The good news is you can switch out the soy sauce for an MSG free, low sodium soy sauce. You could health-ify the Teriyaki Chicken recipe even more by using chicken breasts to reduce the fat and replace the sugar with a sugar substitute.

Can I Add Vegetables to this Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chichen?

Yes, definitely! If you love veggies, by all means, add them to this Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken.

Any type of stir fry vegetable is great with teriyaki chicken. For me, I often will defrost (and warm up) a bag of stir fry veggies in the microwave and mix the veggies into the chicken before adding the sauce over the top. 

Other recommended veggie additions are:

  • broccoli
  • asparagus
  • diced carrots
  • snap or snow peas
  • red bell pepper strips

Any raw veggies should only be added to the slow cooker later in the cooking process (30 minutes before the end of the cooking time) to prevent them from overcooking and becoming mushy. 

Additional Recipe Tips:

  • One of the reasons this recipe is so good, is the use of chicken thighs over breasts. The only downside is the amount of fat in the thighs compared to chicken breasts and you will need to spoon off some of that extra fat before making the teriyaki sauce. You can use a spoon to do this, but a good fat separator really helps.
  • 4 lbs of raw chicken will produce about 3 lbs cooked chicken. This recipe serves 4, but you could definitely stretch it out to 5 by adding a generous serving of rice and veggies.
  • You can use any kind of sugar that you have on hand for this easy teriyaki chicken.
  • Easily swap chicken thighs for chicken breasts in this recipe. You can even shred your cooked chicken and use it as a filling for sandwiches or tacos. 

More Delicious Slow-Cooker Recipes You’ll Love

If you make this recipe, be sure to come back and let us know what you think!

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Crock Pot Chicken Teriyaki

  • Author: Jamie Sanders
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: slow cooker

Description

Forget the takeout, this slow cooker Chicken Teriyaki Recipe can’t be beat!!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 to 4 lbs of boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 6 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you like a kick of spice)
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • Cooked rice (Whatever type you like, I used brown rice.)

Instructions

  1. Place chicken in the slow cooker.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper.
  3. Pour over chicken.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is tender.
  5. Remove chicken from the slow cooker.
  6. Skim fat from cooking liquid. (Wow, who knew there is so much fat in chicken thighs!  Now I know why they taste so good.  This is another reason I need a fat separator, I just used a spoon to skim the fat…)
  7. Place liquid in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  8. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth, then gradually stir into liquid and stir until sauce is thickened.
  9. To serve, top rice with chicken and cover with the Teriyaki Sauce.

 

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Recipe rating

58 Comments

  1. How long does it normally take to thicken the sauce?! I think I stood there for 15 minutes and it never thickened.

    1. You may have needed more cornstarch? Let it come to a full boil and then reduce the heat it should thicken aftera few minutes, if not add more cornstarch.

  2. Maybe I missed it but how many does this serve? I’m feeding 5 adults. Thanks!!

    1. It depends on how big you make your servings. 4 lbs of raw chicken will produce about 3ish lbs cooked. (plan for a 25% shrinkage rate.) This recipe serves 4, but with a generous amount of rice and veggies, you could stretch it.

  3. I will be putting it on low for 10 hours, I hope it won’t dry out. Have you ever put it on for that long?

    1. I don’t usually put anything in the crock pot that long, only because I am always home when I use it. If you use thighs and maybe add a bit more liquid, I’m sure it will be ok.

  4. I tried this recipe and it is amazing! So great! I’m making it again tonight! Thanks so much for sharing❣️

  5. Fun fact: I made this in my electric pressure cooker and it was great! I tried to scale back the sugar a little, but that was the only change I really made (aaand I’ll probably scale it back up the next time I make it). I cooked it for six minutes on high pressure and let it naturally release (and I cooked a bowl of rice in there for fun), then took the chicken out and thickened the sauce. I love this recipe.

  6. Can I use frozen chicken. And what kind of sugar white or brown

    1. Use whatever type of sugar you have on hand. I suppose you could use frozen chicken, if you choose, but I do not recommend using frozen chicken in the slow cooker for this reason: slow cookers don’t reliably get frozen meat up to a safe temperature (above 140°F) evenly enough or quickly enough. Your meat will likely spend too much time hovering in the danger zone (from 40°F – 140°F), which opens the door for bacteria to flourish. (I’m a stickler for food safety.)

  7. Awesome! We’ve been looking for a good crock pot chicken teriyaki recipe!

    Ironically, even though other commenters have reported bad luck in getting the sauce to thicken in the crock pot, when I turn mine on high it will start to boil and I can get cornstarch to thicken a sauce that way. It’s how I thicken up the gravy on my crock pot pot roast.

    I know there is a HUGE difference between crock pots, though, because if you go searching for the numerous crock pot candy recipes that are out there they warn you not to try the recipe if you have a high heat crock pot. You will end up with burnt sugar instead of delicious candy. :

  8. I’ve had this multiple times now, love it! Way better then the store bought sauce ?

  9. ALEASHA F says:

    Second time making this one. Its delicious and not greasy like the takeout we used to get. The kids love it and its easy to throw together for me, especially since I usually have the ingredients at home anyway. I use boneless thighs and serve over white minute rice and steamed broccoli on the side:)

  10. I made this the other night and it was awesome!! Thanks ?

  11. I am usually a bit doubtful whenever I try a new recipe – it rarely turns out exactly as it says. However, I was very pleasantly surprised with this one! I doubled the recipe since my family includes a teen with an insatiable appetite. It turned out exactly as described and the cornstarch “slurry” did its job perfectly. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thank you!

  12. I made this with chicken breasts to cut down on the fat. I did it on high for 2.5 hours in my West Bend Slow Cooker. It came o

  13. Just made this tonight – it was REALLY GOOD! My 2 yr old and 4 yr old both asked for seconds. Thanks for
    Posting!!!

  14. Made this for dinner tonight and I loved it. It’s definitely on my list of make again. Thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe.

  15. I made this tonight. DELICIOUS! I was too lazy to thicken the sauce (and also didn’t want another dish to wash) so I added the cornstarch mixture straight to the crock pot after removing the chicken. I shredded the chicken and put it back in and let it all heat up. The mixture didn’t thicken, but the rice soaked it up and it was sooooo good.

  16. Second time making this one. Its delicious and not greasy like the takeout we used to get. The kids love it and its easy to throw together for me, especially since I usually have the ingredients at home anyway. I use boneless thighs and serve over white minute rice and steamed broccoli on the side:)

  17. Made this for dinner tonight and I loved it. It's definitely on my list of make again. Thanks for sharing the wonderful recipe.

  18. This looks so yummy! Always looking for new crock pot recipes and my kids will love this one.

  19. I made this with chicken breasts to cut down on the fat. I did it on high for 2.5 hours in my West Bend Slow Cooker. It came out well and my boys ate it up! I served it with a side of shrimp fried rice.

  20. SUZYHOMEMAKER says:

    I love that you actually made a sauce. I see so many of these types of “recipes” where someone literally pours a bottle of store bought sauce over chicken and thinks they discovered something new. And with only a few ingredients, it would not take someone very long to make it from scratch.

  21. Awesome! We've been looking for a good crock pot chicken teriyaki recipe!

    Ironically, even though other commenters have reported bad luck in getting the sauce to thicken in the crock pot, when I turn mine on high it will start to boil and I can get cornstarch to thicken a sauce that way. It's how I thicken up the gravy on my crock pot pot roast.

    I know there is a HUGE difference between crock pots, though, because if you go searching for the numerous crock pot candy recipes that are out there they warn you not to try the recipe if you have a high heat crock pot. You will end up with burnt sugar instead of delicious candy. :

  22. We tried this tonight. Must have goofed with cooking it on high instead of low. Despite adding more and more cornstarch, the sauce never thickened. We sampled a few bites and are now waiting on pizza.

    1. You have to put the sauce in a separate sauce pan. I wont thicken in the crock pot.

  23. Fun fact: I made this in my electric pressure cooker and it was great! I tried to scale back the sugar a little, but that was the only change I really made (aaand I’ll probably scale it back up the next time I make it). I cooked it for six minutes on high pressure and let it naturally release (and I cooked a bowl of rice in there for fun), then took the chicken out and thickened the sauce. I love this recipe.

  24. I am usually a bit doubtful whenever I try a new recipe – it rarely turns out exactly as it says. However, I was very pleasantly surprised with this one! I doubled the recipe since my family includes a teen with an insatiable appetite. It turned out exactly as described and the cornstarch "slurry" did its job perfectly. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thank you!

  25. I put in a can of crushed pineapple w/ the juice and left out the sugar. It wasn't sweet enough but the pineapple was a nice addition. Will definitely try this again. Quick and easy.

  26. I tried this recipe and it is amazing! So great! I’m making it again tonight! Thanks so much for sharing❣️

  27. Just made this tonight – it was REALLY GOOD! My 2 yr old and 4 yr old both asked for seconds. Thanks for
    Posting!!!

  28. I made this tonight. DELICIOUS! I was too lazy to thicken the sauce (and also didn't want another dish to wash) so I added the cornstarch mixture straight to the crock pot after removing the chicken. I shredded the chicken and put it back in and let it all heat up. The mixture didn't thicken, but the rice soaked it up and it was sooooo good.

  29. Great recipe and I love that it's made in the slow cooker. I'm always on the lookout for slow cooker recipes. I hope you post more.

  30. This looks so yummy, I may have to make it for dinner tonight. Pinning right now!

    Found you over at The 36th Avenue and would love for you to link up to my party.

  31. This looks fabulous! I might be adding this to my menu for next week. Do you think that veggies could be added in crock pot while the chicken cooked?

    1. I am afraid the veggies might get really mushy if you add them too soon. Maybe just in the last 30 minutes? If I were to add veggies, I might just microwave them and just add them when mixing everything together. If you try it, let us know what works…
      ~Jamie

  32. This really does sound good. And…I live in Barranquilla, Colombia with no oven and love new crock pot ideas!

  33. I love that you actually made a sauce. I see so many of these types of "recipes" where someone literally pours a bottle of store bought sauce over chicken and thinks they discovered something new. And with only a few ingredients, it would not take someone very long to make it from scratch.

  34. Ohhh, this sounds great! Your picture makes it look exactly like something we would eat. Thanks!

  35. Fantastic recipe! I love that you use a slow cooker. It makes it really great not only for convenience, but also for the summer (heat). Can't wait to try this – thank you for sharing!