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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