Save the white styrofoam container for a more desperate time—today we’re making easy Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken. Its sweet, sticky sauce has all the allure of your favorite takeout but is made of healthy, natural ingredients. The recipe is only eight ingredients (nine if you are a stickler and count the rice), and if you cook Asian food regularly (meaning you own soy sauce), you have all of them in your pantry right now.

Healthy slow cooker honey garlic boneless skinless chicken thighs served on a plate with rice and broccoli

I regularly hear that you are constantly on the lookout for healthy, easy crockpot chicken recipes. As a fellow appreciator of keeping dinner simple (but delicious!) and healthy (but by no means “diet”), recipes like this slow cooker honey garlic chicken thighs are some of my absolute favorites to create.

The recipe index also suggests that when it comes to picking a slow cooker chicken recipe theme, I have a serious penchant for this entire “takeout/fake out” approach. (Although, I do have an extensive list of other Healthy Crock Pot Chicken Recipes.)

Current delivery-goes-healthy menu options include (though are not limited to): Pineapple Chicken, Crock Pot Cashew Chicken, Asian Lettuce Wraps, and Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken, with a side of Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli.

Easy slow cooker chicken in a crockpot with a wooden spoon

Does reading that recipe list make anyone else want to borrow a few extra slow cookers and create one of those restaurant-style combo plates? (I’ll have the #2 with slow cooker honey garlic chicken, the cashew chicken, and a side of Quinoa Fried Rice please!)

For today, however, this tasty slow cooker honey garlic chicken is exactly what I want at the center of my plate.

The breezy ingredient list only takes a few minutes to stir together, the honey sauce merits nothing short of universal praise, and the leftovers easily pack for lunch and reheat like a dream.

Healthy slow cooker chicken thighs served in a crock pot with a wooden spoon

About This Easy Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken Recipe

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. I opted to make this a juicy and flavorful boneless skinless chicken thighs slow cooker recipe, but you certainly can make this a honey garlic chicken chicken breast slow cooker recipe. Either will be tasty!
  • Honey and Garlic. This is a seriously under appreciated ingredient combination. The honey gives the sauce its signature sweetness and stickiness, without the need for any additional sugar.
  • Soy Sauce. The salty ying to balance the honey’s sweet yang.
  • Tomato Paste. Wait, don’t go. I know that tomato paste sounds odd in a takeout-type recipe, but it gives the sauce richness and a touch of acidity. Don’t skip it.
  • Chili Paste. (Also known as sambal oelek.) You can find it in the Asian or international food aisle of most major grocery stores (and even Target). If you don’t have it, swap red pepper flakes. This dish isn’t spicy, but you can always add more if you like a good kick.
  • Rice Vinegar. To make the sauce punchy and addictive.

The Directions

  1. Add your chicken to the slow cooker. In a mixing bowl, whisk your sauce ingredients together, and pour over the chicken. Cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or HIGH for 2 to 3 hours, until the chicken is done. The chicken will bathe the yummy sauce!
  2. Remove the chicken to a plate to cool. Whisk the cornstarch directly into the slow cooker and cook until your sauce thickens.
  3. Shred the chicken, and return it to the slow cooker. Stir and coat your chicken in the sauce. Serve as desired (I like to serve it over rice topped with green onions and sesame seeds), and ENJOY!

As noted above, after the chicken has cooked, I add cornstarch directly to the slow cooker to thicken the sauce further because we like our sauce nice and thick.

If you are in a hurry, you can 1) skip the cornstarch step entirely and live with a thin (but still flavorful) sauce or 2) speed things along by transferring the sauce to a small saucepan, adding the cornstarch, then it on the stove instead. See recipe instructions below for tips.

Shredded chicken in a sauce served on a plate with rice and broccoli

Recipe Adaptations

  • To Make Gluten Free. Use gluten-free tamari in place of the soy sauce, and swap the rice vinegar for apple cider vinegar.
  • To Make Paleo. Use arrowroot starch in place of the cornstarch.

Tips for Cooking Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Choosing Between Breasts and Thighs, Bone-In or Bone-Out

  • As far as which type of chicken to use for this crock pot chicken recipe, you have options. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are what I used in this recipe. Dark meat is more forgiving, so it won’t dry out as easily. If you like, you can certainly make this a slow cooker chicken breast recipe instead. Be sure to check the chicken early to ensure it doesn’t overcook.
  • To make slow cooker chicken thighs bone in, I suggest removing the skin first so that the sauce doesn’t become greasy. You will also need to extend the cook time. I’d estimate 4 to 6 hours on low, depending upon the size of your chicken. The same is true of slow cooker bone-in chicken breasts.

About Using Frozen Chicken for Slow Cooker Recipes

  • While it is safe to cook raw chicken in the slow cooker, the chicken must be thawed. Do not put frozen meat in a slow cooker. It will spend too long at room temperature and may not be safe to eat.
  • If you do have your heart set on cooking with frozen chicken—say dinner is around the corner and you just realized you forgot to pull the chicken thighs out of the freezer (not that this has ever happened to me before!)—I’d suggest my Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken, which can be made safely with frozen chicken thighs or chicken breasts.

shredded chicken thighs in a brown asian sauce served on a plate with rice and broccoli

How to Serve Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

Make this recipe more filling by adding a side dish, or turn it into slow cooker honey garlic chicken and veggies.

  • Veggies. Simply sauté or steam broccoli or mixed vegetables while the sauce finishes thickening in the slow cooker. I used a frozen stir-fry blend that I sautéed with olive oil, garlic, and a few shakes of soy sauce. Steam-in-the-bag microwavable frozen veggies are an easy option too.
    • Try your honey garlic chicken over the top of Sautéed Cabbage for a low-carb meal.
  • Rice. Pile the veggies over cooked brown rice (or cauliflower rice) with lots of the juicy chicken. Spoon the tasty honey garlic sauce generously over the top.
  • Salad. Tasty Asian-inspired, crowd-pleasing Ramen Salad would be delicious.

How to Store, Reheat, and Freeze

  • To Store. Store cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Reheat gently in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, with a splash of broth or water if needed to keep it from drying out. You can also rewarm this in the microwave until heated through.
  • To Freeze. Place cooked and cooled chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe

  • Programmable Slow Cooker. I like ones like this that switch to “keep warm” after the timer is up to help deter overcooking.

^^THAT SAID, every slow cooker model is different. I always recommend checking slow cooker recipes early to test for doneness.

  • Small Whisk. I use a 9-inch whisk 99.5% of the time over my large, standard whisk—so much so that I just ordered a second one, because my first one always seems to be dirty from recent use. It’s perfect for the slurry you’ll need for this sauce.
  • Instant Read Thermometer. The best, most accurate way to know when the chicken is cooked through.



Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken with Broccoli and Rice on a Plate

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

4.7 from 166 votes
Healthy Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken. Easy recipe with 8 simple ingredients! Juicy chicken thighs or breasts in a sticky honey garlic sauce.

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 30 mins

Servings: 4 servings


For the Chicken:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili paste sambal oelek, sriracha, or hot sauce of choice
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

For Serving:

  • Prepared brown rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Chopped green onion


  • Place the chicken in the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker. In a medium mixing bowl or very large measuring cup, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, tomato paste, chili paste, garlic, and rice vinegar. Pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours or HIGH for 2 to 3 hours, until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. If you are available, flip the chicken over once halfway through to coat both sides. (If not, don’t stress; it will still be tasty.)
  • Remove the chicken to a plate and let cool slightly. Whisk the cornstarch into the slow cooker cooking liquid. Cover and cook on HIGH for 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally. If you'd like the sauce particularly thick, you can cook it for a full 30 minutes in the slow cooker OR follow the stovetop method below.
  • For quicker sauce thickening, reduce the sauce on the stove: After whisking in the cornstarch, transfer the cooking liquid to a medium saucepan. Cook on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring often until the sauce thickens, 5 to 10 minutes. (If your slow cooker insert is stovetop safe, you can remove it from the slow cooker and place it directly on the burner, but do not do this unless you are POSITIVE your insert is stovetop safe or it may crack.)
  • With two forks (or your fingers if the chicken is cool enough), shred the chicken and place it in the slow cooker. If you reduced the sauce on the stove, add it back to the slow cooker now. Stir to coat the chicken with the sauce. Serve over rice, sprinkled with green onions and sesame seeds.


  • TO STORE: Store cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Reheat gently in a saucepan on the stovetop over medium-low heat, with a splash of broth or water if needed to keep it from drying out. You can also rewarm this in the microwave until heated through.
  • TO FREEZE: Place cooked and cooled chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.


Serving: 1of 4, about 1 cupCalories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 35gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 162mgPotassium: 572mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25gVitamin A: 163IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 27mgIron: 2mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. This was awesome! The recipe couldn’t have been easier to prep, just toss in the slow cooker and 5 hours later incredibly flavorful, tender chicken with an amazing sauce. I served it over brown rice and you really should top it with sesame seeds and spring onions. This is going into my regular rotation. Thanks so much!5 stars

  2. I LOVE this recipe! It’s one of our go-to’s and is SO easy. I love that I don’t have to pre-cook anything… you just make the sauce and dump it in. So tasty :)5 stars

  3. Really good! Moist and flavourful – even after I was late and left it 8 hours in the crockpot. Served with broccoli, egg noodles and fried tortilla strips which soaked up extra liquid. A keeper😊. Thank you!5 stars

  4. Um, this recipe is amazing. My husband and I call it crack chicken it is so good. We’ve made this recipe many many times, so easy and so yummy. Thank you for sharing this recipe!5 stars

    1. I loved that the chicken was so tender and easy to shred. I did not particularly like the sauce, but I’m pretty sure that is due to the honey. I have found that honeys have very distinct flavors, depending on their type. I usually keep only Tupelo honey, but didn’t have any since I recently moved to a new city. I would make this again with a different type of honey, and I would spice it up with some ginger and Szechuan peppers. I would also be interested to learn whether you have experimented with different varieties of honey.3 stars

      1. Hi Larry! So glad you enjoyed the chicken, sorry to hear about the sauce! I haven’t experimented with different varieties of honey before. Hope you are able to find one that would would enjoy with this dish!

    1. Hi Alyssa! I would not recommend that. In fact I have a whole section in the blog post about why using frozen chicken in a slow cooker is not a good idea.

    1. Hi Gillian! I’m sorry to hear that, but I know we all have different taste. Feel free to adjust the flavors to your liking.

  5. Wow! This was so easy and delicious. My husband’s response: “this really is so good. It can definitely go in the recipe book on repeat!”

    Last minute, I realized I was out of tomato paste, so I swapped with ketchup. And I also added a tablespoon of butter to the sauce for added richness. Delicious!

    To make things even easier, I served it with a microwave steamer bag of jasmine rice and microwave steamer bag of broccoli. Easy peasy! Thank you!!!5 stars

  6. I am trying this recipe right now in my slow cooker but I am wondering if there is a way that this could be made in the instant pot?

    1. Hi Shyan! It likely could be made in the instant pot, though it would need adjustment because the liquid level is probably not enough. I’ve only tested it in the slow cooker, so if you decide to experiment, I’d love to hear how it goes.

  7. Oh no! I added the arrowroot starch to the sauce BEFORE adding it all to the slow cooker. Is it ruined? I don’t have enough ingredients to do it all over. :(

  8. This is the 3rd slow cooker recipe I have made by Erin THIS WEEK. Just like the others, this as a total success. My husband and I loved this. I served it with jasmine rice and it was delicious. Better than take-out and so easy to make. Thank you!5 stars

    1. Hi Valerie! I’m sorry you feel that way and are having trouble. So you were not able to find the full recipe in the recipe card? I see it just fine on my end?? There is even a “Jump To Recipe” button at the top of the screen that takes you there quickly. Hopefully you will be able to find it next time.

  9. My 3qt slow cooker says you always ha e to put it at least a cup of liquid to cook. This is much less. Is that okay with so little liquid?

    1. Hi Poochie! I’m sorry I am not able to advise because I don’t have a 3qt slow cooker. I use a 6qt and it works well for me.

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