In my dreams, I’m a cool, flirty free spirit—the kind of woman who keeps men guessing, is adept at salsa dancing, and can pull off a hat. In reality, I’m much more Slow Cooker Thai Chicken.
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken is wholesome. It’s filled with bright, good-for-you veggies like butternut squash, green peas and bell peppers. As a former Girl Scout and current wearer of plaid flannel, I’m almost as wholesome as they come.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken is predictable. You set it to be ready 8 hours from now, and when the timer beeps, your fragrant, all-in-one meal is ready and waiting. I order the same truffle grilled cheese sandwich every Monday night at Ben and my favorite neighborhood bar, to the extent that I feel the server only asks me what I’d like for dinner for the sake of conversation.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken, however, is not to be underestimated. It is bursting with layers of flavor, lightly creamy, and healthy too. Despite my sub-5’4’’ height and pre-teen looks, whiskey is my liquor of choice, I’ll rock a leather jacket, and I flip a killer burger. Give Slow Cooker Thai Chicken and The Law Student’s Wife a chance: we’ll surprise you.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken. Easy, healthy, and family friendly! I’m a sucker for Thai food, because I love its freshness and complex layers of spice. At least once a month, I try a new twist on a slow cooker Thai dish, and every one up until now has disappointed me. Either there was too much sauce, or the chicken dried out, or worst of all, the dish totally lacked in flavor. As a woman whose husband married her for her Chicken Stir Fry with Thai Peanut Sauce, a lackluster Thai chicken slow cooker meal was unacceptable. Today’s recipe for Slow Cooker Thai Chicken is my slow cooker Thai redemption.

Light coconut milk, red curry paste, and a dollop of peanut butter form the base of our healthy, flavorful sauce. To this holy trinity, we add fish sauce, which (this is important) does NOT make our dish taste like fish. Rather, it gives the Slow Cooker Thai Chicken savoriness, depth, and for lack of a more eloquent explanation, makes it taste more Thai. Brown sugar, a heap of ginger, crushed red pepper, and a dash of lime arrive on scene, and we have a 3-minute sauce that bathes our chicken and veggies in thriller Thai flavor. (Looking for other Asian-inspired dishes? Check out Crock Pot Cashew Chicken!)
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken. Our favorite slow cooker dinner!Whether you are looking for fresh, healthy meals to better your diet in 2014, make-ahead dinner ideas, or just want to shovel your fork into a big plate of tasty goodness, Slow Cooker Thai Chicken is the dish for you. Fire up the crock pot friends!

Love Thai peanut flavor? Try my Chicken Stir Fry with Thai Peanut Sauce and Asian Noodle Salad. Both are reader favorites, and the stir fry is so tasty, Ben married me for it.

Looking for more healthy recipe ideas? Don’t miss these 10 Healthy Recipes for 2014.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken

5 from 6 votes
This slow cooker Thai chicken features moist, tender chicken breasts cooked in a Thai coconut curry sauce with butternut squash. Easy and flavorful!

Prep: 35 mins
Cook: 4 hrs
Total: 4 hrs 30 mins

Servings: 6 servings


  • 2 cans light coconut milk (14 ounce cans)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter creamy or crunchy
  • 3 tablespoons  red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons  fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 small butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large red bell peppers cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups frozen peas thawed
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • Prepared brown rice for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for serving


  • In a 6-quart or larger slow cooker, whisk together the coconut milk, peanut butter, curry paste, fish sauce, coconut sugar, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes until smooth. Add the chicken pieces, squash, red bell pepper, and onion in the slow cooker and stir gently to coat with sauce. The mixture will be very thick. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
  • Thirty minutes before you are ready to serve, add the peas. Immediately before serving, stir in lime juice. Serve over rice with a generous sprinkle of fresh with cilantro.

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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. I LOVE Thai Chicken and I LOVE my slow cooker! So nice to get home from work and dinner is ready! Genius idea to add the butternut squash girl! I can only imagine how extra creamy it makes this yummy meal. perfect!

    1. Totally agree about dinner being ready when you come home from work Taylor–it’s practically like having a personal chef! ;-)

  2. Ive been seeing fish sauce in a lot of other recipes, and like molasses I have yet to use it – but I am so intrigued by it.
    Speaking of intrigued – the colors in this dish are absolutely intriguing and flavors – good golly! Have some leftovers to share? :)

    1. Shashi, I wish! We devoured this entire dish in 48 hours. If you like Thai food, you absolutely need to try a tablespoon or two of fish sauce in your next stir fry. It’s got this “umami” factor that makes the dish extra complex and irresistible.

  3. Crockpots dishes are perfect this time of year! This looks like the perfect warm and hearty meal to come home to after a long day at school/work!

  4. Haha, alright, consider me surprised! No, really, this chicken is killer. Thai is a real treat in our house and this looks so so good! The colors and the flavors are amazing!

    1. Whooo hooo! Thanks Lisa. Writing is one of my favorite parts about blogging, so that really means a lot :) Thanks for sharing the recipe too!

  5. Aw girl, you’re so funny ;–) This chicken dish might be my new favorite thing. Thai flavors? Peanut? Chicken? Colorful? And healthy too? I’m sold.
    This needs to be my dinner asap ;–)

    1. Thanks so much Lori! Every time I use my slow cooker, I wonder why I don’t fire it up every night! It’s kind of like having a personal chef, right? :)

  6. Love this recipe! I use my slow cooker all the time! Glad you made it home safely! :) Should have stayed in Cali- much warmer there!

  7. Beautiful dish with lots of great flavors and colors. Nom nom nom!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  8. This is such a beautiful dish Erin! I love all the colors and love the fact that its a slow cooker recipe!

  9. What an awesome dish – it’s so bright and pretty! We are total suckers for Thai food too and I am super stoked that you made this in a slow cooker :) I love finding new slow cooker recipes. Thanks Erin – pinning and can’t wait to give this a try :)

  10. We are suckers for Thai food as well!! Definitely will be adding this to our weekly meal plan!

  11. Now you are talking! I love Thai and Indian cooking more than anything! You hit me right in the breadbowl. And…….love the comentary.

  12. Oh girl, this is my kind of meal! I love Thai food. We moved away from my favorite thai restaurant and I’ve been dying to find some new thai recipes to try at home!

  13. This looks so delicious- I love Thai flavours, so this looks right up my street. Lovely dinner recipe :)


  14. Wow!! I love all of the colors and flavors going on in this dish. And love that it’s a slow cooker meal. Sounds amazing!!

  15. Ooo I love thai chicken!
    Unfortunately I don’t own a slow cooker, so I will have to find an alternative way. Looks delicious!

    {Teffy’s Perks} X

    1. Teffy, I’ve never tried this, but I hear you can simulate a slow cooker by using a Dutch oven on your stove. I wouldn’t leave it unattended, but I think it could definitely work!

      1. Might have to give that a go then! I think I will have to buy a slow cooker at some point though… seems silly to not have one. X

  16. Hahhah! This post cracks me up. I will definitely give this Thai chicken a go but I am already in love with law student wife so I know I will love it!!

  17. As a big fan of Thai food, this really has my attention. I always love a good slow-cooker recipe too. : ) For some reason, I’ve never used light coconut milk and I need to give it a try. This looks sensational – thanks for sharing!

    1. You bet Monica! And lite coconut milk is fantastic for cooking. You can find it in the Asian food aisle, right beside the regular version. Hope you enjoy!

  18. Oh, my gosh! You are beyond-hilarious! And, I’m kinda scared we might be the same person: I was a Girl Scout, I adore Thai food but find it disappointing in most slow cooker recipes, I’m sub-5’4″ and generally lacking any curves that would suggest I spent any time in puberty, the waitress at our fave breakfast hole-in-the-wall knows exactly what I want for breakfast … and I’m sitting here with my coffee typing this in my PLAID pink FLANNEL pajama pants (which are super comfy, I must say)! I mean really, who needs salsa dancing when you’ve got comfy flannel!?!? Love this post and the promise of this fantastic recipe! :D

    1. We sound like absolute kindred spirits Shelley! You described me to a T. All I need is some pink plaid PJ pants (why do I not own these???) and we’ll be twins!

  19. “Despite my sub-5’4’’ height and pre-teen looks, whiskey is my liquor of choice” Oh my goodness…I just giggled out loud and I think my coworkers think I’m crazy! At 25…I got carded for a rated R movie. Last week. You only have to be 17 for those! Sheesh. A whiskey lemonade will keep them quiet thought ;) I looooveee Thai food but haven’t ever tried making it myself. I think this recipe is about to change that! Thanks for sharing! :)

    1. We sound like kindred spirits!!! I’ve been carded at R movies looooong into my 20s. I figure we’ll just look really good when we’re old, right? :)

  20. I had my eye on this for a few days now and finally got all the ingredients together and going in the crock. Hoping my family loves it too, I’ll let you know how it goes. I have a very picky hubby and a 4 year old who takes after her daddy’s taste buds.

    1. I’m excited that you are giving it a try! I hope you and your family truly enjoy the dish. It does have a definite Thai flavor, so I’ll be intrigued to hear if your husband and 4-year-old go for it. Bon appétit and thanks!

  21. Hi Erin! This is super good – i have made it a few times now. I am not a big chicken fan however so I have just added more carbs. Do you think if I brown some thinly sliced beef or stew meat it would end up cooking in the crock pot well with the curry? Thanks!

    1. Lauren, I’m so excited that you like this! I think stew meat or beef in this would work great. I’m not sure about the total cook time, so I’d just reference another crockpot recipe that uses a similar meat and use it as a guide. Thanks for letting me know you tried and enjoyed it. Makes my day!

    1. Thai food and I are BFF too! Let’s all hang out :) Seriously, thanks so much and I hope you love it!

  22. I love Thai, and doing this in a slow cooker is genius! I may be the only one on the planet, but I’m not crazy about squash. I’m going to sub some other veggies and give it a try!

  23. Hi Tricia, The peanut butter taste is present, but not overwhelming. You could definitely pump it up to add more if that is what you are looking for. I can tell you that it does not taste like Pad Thai. Pad Thai gets more of its flavor from tamarind/chili sauce/fish sauce, vs. this dish which is more about the coconut milk and red curry paste. Does that help at all? (Here are two recipes for Pad Thai if you want to compare/contrast: and

  24. This looks great! Do you have any substitution suggestions for the peanut butter? Our pediatrician doesn’t want my kids to eat peanuts until they’re 3 and I can’t eat it while I’m nursing so that’s most of our family right now. :)

    1. Great question Rebeka! Are other nut butters OK? If yes, either almond or cashew butter would be great substitutions. Otherwise, I’d say you can simply omit it and reduce the amount of coconut milk by a few tablespoons to keep the sauce from being too runny. I hope that helps!

  25. Have you ever doubled the recipe? …If so, have you doubled Everything or just some things? and how did you adjust the cooking time?

    1. Hi Andrea, I have not tried doubling the recipe. If you have a large enough slow cooker, I think it’s certainly worth trying. I would probably double the veggies and chicken, but just do 1 1/2 or 1 3/4 times the amount of the “sauce” ingredients. I imagine the cooking time will need to be adjusted too. It’s a really tasty dish, so I’m sure you will love having leftovers :) Sorry I can’t be of more specific help-I’ve just never tried it doubled before!

  26. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe! It gave me an excuse to finally cook with butternut squash (I had to YouTube the best way to go about it — would have never thought to microwave it for a few minutes prior to peeling and slicing, to soften it up). Anyway, my husband basically licked the bowl. I like my Thai food slightly more peanut-y, so i might double the peanut butter next time. I added a small bit of a water/corn starch mixture to the sauce at the very end to thicken it just a bit before serving.5 stars

    1. Amy, I’m so so sooo excited that you liked this dish! Also, I fully support your decision to double the PB. I might try it that way next time myself! Thanks so much for taking time to share your review here. It always makes my day to hear from those who enjoy my recipes!

  27. just saw this recipe going to try it. The only thing I don’t have is the red curry paste but I do have green curry. Would make a big difference if I use the green curry?

    1. Hi there! I’m so happy that you found this recipe, but I’m afraid green curry paste and red curry paste have pretty different flavor profiles, so it would definitely change the final flavor of the dish. That said, it could still taste quite good–I’ve just never tried it that way, so I can’t give you a clear answer on the final result. I wish I could tell you more!

  28. Oh my gosh, Erin… I’m drooling all over myself! I don’t know how you do it, but your slow cooker photos are simply gorgeous! Everything I make in my slow cooker tastes amazing, but looks like something the dog upchucked…lol

  29. I’d like to say I find I find your chai may also find it interesting and I’d like mall ideas on try cooking for my slow cooker and it should be healthy for me thank you very much for Mr. Jon boy

  30. I love being able to see lots of colours in my food. Not only for aesthetics but someone also told me a long while back about the different nutritional qualities of different coloured vegetables. I’ve been playing with the colour palette ever since! Love the fact that this is an Asian-inspired dish that can be made in a slow cooker. A delicious veggie fix that can be prepared ahead! Lovely post as always Erin xx

  31. I have a quick question about the chicken Thai recipe in a slow cooker. Why do you recommend light coconut milk? Is it because it has less fat? Wouldn’t the regular coconut milk be more flavorful and richer tasting? Thanks

    1. Hi Susan! I recommend the light because there are other rich flavors in the sauce (such as the peanut butter), so I thought it was a reasonable place to lighten up the dish. That said, if that isn’t a concern for your diet, then although I’ve never tried the recipe with full-fat coconut milk, I’m sure would be very creamy and rich tasting. Feel free to experiment, and I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  32. Hi Cheryl! Great question. Fish sauce is quite salty, but I think as long as you didn’t add a ton you should be OK. Salt is one of those ingredients that is partly a matter of personal taste also, so you might have wanted more in the end :) I hope that this turns out well for you and thanks for trying it!

  33. I would like to make this dish on Satuday for 6 people…3 of those people are males, will this be anough for 6 people? 3 big guys? also…one of the people i am serving in pregnant and she cant eat really spicy food, it can have a touch of spice but just wondering how spicy the thai sauce is? is there a substitute i can use if so?


    1. Hi Judi! For 3 big guys, I would suggest doing about 1 1/2 times the recipe, just to be safe. You should still be fine just using one full can of coconut milk, as there will be enough other liquid in the crockpot to keep it from drying out. This dish isn’t super spicy, but if you are concerned about spice, I would suggest omitting the red pepper flakes entirely, then letting guests sprinkle on their desired amount. You could also swap out one of the tablespoons of red curry paste for an extra tablespoon of peanut butter. The sauce is totally safe to taste before goes into the crockpot, so just give it a try before you add it, and that will be a good way for you to judge the spice level. I hope that helps and that you guys love the recipe. Thanks so much for trying it, and let me know if you have any other questions!

  34. I have a small slow cooker, 3 qt., I never used. Can I cut the ammount of all ingredients in half  and try making  this?

  35. I love this recipe! It’s my fiance’s favorite! He absolutely loves it. This recipe is so easy to put in before work . I have made it several times and always omitted the sugar. It’s been amazing every time! I buy the squash already cut up, which makes it even faster to make.5 stars

    1. Sara, I am so excited to hear this! Thanks so much for taking time to leave your review here too. I really appreciate knowing how it turned out for you. Enjoy and Happy New Year!

  36. I made this recipe last night and it turned out great. I have one question. What is the calories in the serving amounts for this dish?5 stars

    1. David, I’m so happy to hear you loved this! Although I calc the nutritional information for my new recipes, unfortunately, I am unable to go back and update all of the prior ones. The good news is, if you need the info, you can calculate it for free at I hope that helps!

    1. Patty, I’ve never tried cutting in in half, but I don’t see why you couldn’t. As far as the cooking time, I suspect it would be a bit less since the slow cooker will have less in it. I’m sorry I can’t give you an exact time—since I haven’t done it that way myself, I just can’t say for certain. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  37. Hi Erin! I’ve just found your website and there are loads of things i’d like to try. I love Thai food (I’m an Aussie living in London) but I don’t have a slow cooker/crockpot/dutch oven. Do you think I could just try a long slow cook on a low heat in a saucepan on the stove? Or would putting it in the oven be a better idea? Thank you!

    1. Louise, welcome! I am so happy to have you here. Honestly, I’ve never done this any other way besides the slow cooker, so it would be an experiment, and I would encourage you to use your best judgement. Between the stove top and the oven, I’d start with the stove. Be sure to use a large, very thick and sturdy pot (like a Dutch oven) that can hold up to the long cooking time. If you decide to try the recipe this way, I’d love to hear how it comes out!

  38. Love this recipe, so versatile, I have subbed out veggie s based on what I have in hand, or sweet potato for butternut squash when I forgot to pick it up one time and it always comes out great. I typically only use one can of the coconut milk (full fat) and sometimes add a little extra broth if I feel like it needs it and it is still super coconuty.. I have been using your blog a lot recently for recipes, particularly the slow cooker ones. Love it! Thanks!!5 stars

    1. Colleen, thank you so much for the sweet comment! I’m so glad you’ve been able to adapt the recipe based on what you have on hand and have been enjoying it. It makes me so happy to hear!

  39. Can you please clarify the amount of coconut milk? In one version it states 14 ounces in another version it states 2 – 14 oz cans. I’m very anxious to try this recipe. THANK YOU!!!!

    1. Hi Joanne, the ingredient list calls for 2 (14-ounce) cans, and that’s correct! I’m not finding the spot you mention that calls for only 14 ounces…I’ll definitely make the fix if I see it.

  40. Hi Renee, frozen butternut squash will definitely disintegrate faster than fresh, so that’s probably what happened! I’m glad to hear you enjoy the flavor of the dish regardless!

    1. Hi Christina, nutritional information is something I started adding to recipes in January 2016. Unfortunately, it’s a time-consuming process, so I’m unable to go back to all my past recipes to add it. The good news is that you can calculate the calories for free at My Fitness Pal (there are other similar sites too)! My Fitness Pal is what I use for my new recipes, so I hope that can be a helpful resource for you!

  41. I have always been disappointed in Thai in slow cooker but love the flavors in this,  could I just make this without using slow cooker method?  Have you experienced same issue with slow cookers and Thai food?

    1. Hi Lisa! I do think the flavors can get a little muted, which comes with the territory of slow cooking. I’ve never tried this not in the slow cooker, but if you wanted to experiment, you could try gently simmering it on your stove instead. You can also increase the amount of spices if you’d like more flavor. If you decide to play around, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  42. I made this on Sunday & the two meat-eaters in our 5-person household polished it off 3+ days later… So today, I made a double batch. I’d say you have a winner! Thank you so much for sharing! :) They LOVE it, & neither of them are super crazy about winter squash, so double-yay! :)5 stars

    1. Hi Naomi! Unfortunately, I’ve never tried this recipe in the Instant Pot, so I can’t say for sure. If you decide to experiment with it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  43. Hi Erin,
    I’m obsessed with your beautiful cookbook and have made many many recipes out of it that may family all Love! It’s my favorite go to cookbook- ❤️Thank you’ ! I came across this recipe on line and I’ve got to try it tonight! My only question is – when the chicken goes in the crockpot is it raw or already cooked? Just wanted to clarify.
    Please keep sharing your wonderful recipes! They NEVER disappoint!

    1. THANK YOU so much for your kind words, Tresa! The chicken should be raw when it goes into the crockpot. I hope you enjoy the recipe!