Please do yourself and your taste buds a service; ditch the takeout and make this Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken recipe instead!
Along with General Tso’s Tofu, teriyaki chicken was my high school fast-food favorite.
Whenever I was out running errands with my mom, I’d beg her to stop at Japan Express so that I could order their jumbo-sized bowl of teriyaki chicken with sticky rice.
While it was absolutely a step up from the mall food court, that chicken, though tasty, never left me feeling particularly stellar afterward.
I’d often experience a serious afternoon slump, which I now recognize as a sugar crash.
I’m pleased to report that today’s homemade slow cooker honey teriyaki chicken recipe has the same takeout flavor I remember but is made with real, more wholesome ingredients you can feel good about enjoying any night of the week.
You don’t even need bottled teriyaki sauce to make this teriyaki chicken.
- The homemade teriyaki sauce recipe is only six ingredients, most of which I bet you have in your pantry right now: soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, brown sugar, and garlic and ginger. (If you’re a fan of teriyaki sauce, you’ll love this Teriyaki Salmon recipe too.)
- Simply stir the sauce ingredients together, place the chicken in your crock pot, then pour the teriyaki sauce over the top. Bye-bye bottle.
What is Teriayki Chicken?
Teriyaki chicken is pieces of tender cooked boneless chicken breasts or thighs in a teriyaki chicken marinade. It’s tossed in a teriyaki sauce sauce that is sweet, sticky, and savory. It is typically served over rice.
Teriyaki chicken sauce is made of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, vinegar, and sugar (I used a combination of brown sugar and honey for this recipe).
While Teriyaki chicken is actually Japanese, what we order at takeout restaurants in America is typically a much sweeter version of a classic Japanese teriyaki chicken recipe.
5 Star Review
“A hit! This was so easy to make, and my hard-to-please eaters really enjoyed it!”— Jenni —
How to Make Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken
With easy prep and an even easier ingredients list, this crock pot teriyaki chicken recipe is one you’ll want to make on repeat.
It’s family-friendly and tastes amazing leftover.
- Chicken Thighs. For max tenderness, I opted for slow cooker teriyaki chicken thighs. Even though I usually prefer white meat, by the time the chicken thighs are bathed in that wonderful homemade honey teriyaki sauce, the dark meat is undetectable.
- Soy. The main flavor maker in our homemade teriyaki sauce. It adds delightful umami goodness. I used low-sodium soy sauce to keep the sauce from becoming too salty.
- Rice Vinegar. Acidity with a hint of sweetness.
- Honey + Brown Sugar. Teriyaki sauce needs some sweetness, so I chose to use a combination of honey and brown sugar. Both ingredients also help make the sauce thick and sticky.
- Garlic + Ginger. The classic duo that creates exceptional, can’t-be-missed flavor.
- Cornstarch. A teriyaki chicken cornstarch slurry helps thicken the sauce.
- Add the chicken to a slow cooker.
- Whisk the sauce ingredients together, then pour it over the chicken.
- Cook on HIGH for 2 hours or on LOW for 4 hours. Shred the chicken. Strain the sauce into a saucepan.
- Whisk the cornstarch slurry into the saucepan, cooking over medium-high heat until thickened. Remove it from the heat.
- Stir the chicken into the sauce. Serve with rice or quinoa, sesame seeds, and green onions. DIG IN!
- To Store. Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze teriyaki chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Up to 1 day in advance, whisk the sauce ingredients together. Cover and refrigerate it until you’re ready to finish the recipe.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Slow Cooker. Perfect for making slow cooker teriyaki chicken and vegetables.
- Instant Read Thermometer. A foolproof way to tell when your chicken is done.
- Measuring Spoons. Double-sided measuring spoons means less dishes to wash.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can overcook pulled chicken in a slow cooker. 2 hours on HIGH or 4 hours on LOW is how long chicken cooks in a crockpot. To ensure you don’t overcook the chicken, follow the cook times listed in the recipe instructions. For ease, you can also use an instant read thermometer to check for doneness.
Generally, takeout teriyaki chicken is not good for you because of its high levels of sugar and sodium. This crock pot teriyaki chicken, however, uses less sugar than most restaurant-style teriyaki chicken dishes. To keep the sodium level low, I also made this as a low-sodium Kikkoman teriyaki chicken slow cooker recipe.
While it is safe to slow cook chicken in a crock pot, you cannot put frozen chicken in a crockpot. The chicken may spend too long at room temperature and become unsafe to eat.
To boost the recipe’s nutrition content and add flavor, you could make this into a crock pot teriyaki chicken with pineapple (add diced pineapple a the end) or a crock pot teriyaki chicken and broccoli (serve it with my Grilled Broccoli or Air Fryer Broccoli, or stir in broccoli florets during the last hour or so of cooking).
Crock Pot Teriyaki Chicken
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 2/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- Toasted sesame seeds for serving
- Chopped green onions for serving
- Prepared brown rice quinoa, or other whole grain, for serving
- Place the chicken thighs in the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl or large measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, brown sugar, garlic, and ginger. Pour over the chicken thighs.
- Cover and cook on high for 2 hours or low for 4 hours, until the chicken is tender and cooked through. Remove the chicken to a plate and shred with two forks. Strain the cooking liquid through a mesh sieve and into a medium saucepan.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water until smooth. Add to the strained cooking liquid, whisk to incorporate, then heat the saucepan over medium high, stirring constantly until the sauce bubbles. Continue cooking and stirring until glossy and thickened, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add the chicken to the sauce. Toss to coat. Serve warm with rice or quinoa, garnished with sesame seeds and green onions as desired.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Rewarm leftovers in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze teriyaki chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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