Slow cooker Teriyaki Chicken is utterly delicious and stunningly easy to make. You’ll love the shredded chicken coated in a savory, honey-sweetened sauce flavored with garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. Pair with rice, steamed veggies, or both for a satisfying and flavorful meal.

Bowl full of slow cooker teriyaki chicken served over rice with green onions and sesame seeds.

Since agreeing last fall to an aggressive sports schedule for my son, I have been looking for all the make-ahead meals that I can find. At least two nights of the week, and often more, we are out of the house for most of the window between the end of school and dinner time.

Now, you don’t have to enlist the slow cooker to get dinner done ahead of time, but it is definitely one of the go-to options. There’s just something so darn appealing about tossing everything in early in the day and knowing that it’s there bubbling away, low and slow, for you to enjoy later. Even if you’re operating in a state of perpetual overwhelm, it makes you feel like you have this part of your life together. 🙂

This honey teriyaki chicken takes very little effort — about 10 minutes to prep — but delivers incredible flavor. The sauce is a dreamy blend of sweet and savory, while the chicken is nice and fall-apart tender thanks to cooking at a low temperature. I like using chicken thighs, which are more flavorful and less prone to drying out during long cooking times, but you can use chicken breasts, too.

Ingredients & Common Substitutions

Labeled photo with raw chicken thighs, honey, apple cider vinegar, cornstarch, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds, and chopped green onions arranged in prep bowls.

Here are a few notes and shopping tips about the ingredients you’ll need to make this, as well as possible substitutions. 

  • Chicken: Chicken thighs are well-suited to slow cooking, because they retain more moisture and are less susceptible to drying out. Chicken breasts work well, too, but try to cook chicken breasts on the “low” setting and check them more frequently. Either way, you want boneless, skinless chicken for this recipe.
  • Sauce ingredients: Low-sodium soy sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar (or rice wine vinegar), brown sugar (can use light or dark), garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame oil. Toasted sesame oil is a wonderful plus-up for your pantry. A bottle lasts forever, because you usually use just 1-2 teaspoons at a time, but it adds tremendous flavor to dishes like teriyaki chicken and stir fries. Fresh ginger is terrific, but to make this pantry-friendly, I most often use frozen ginger cubes, which I also find excellent, and they literally cannot be more convenient.
  • Cornstarch: The perfect easy way to thicken the sauce, made into a slurry with a bit of cold water.
  • Garnishes: Sesame seeds and green onions are the perfect finishing touches.

How to make homemade teriyaki sauce

Ditch the bottled sauce: you don’t need it! This is an Americanized version of the Japanese classic, to be sure, but I promise it’s quite delicious and appealingly accessible for the average home cook. You’ll start with a slurry of cornstarch and water, then add soy sauce, honey, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and toasted sesame oil. You can substitute rice wine vinegar, but I like the tang of apple cider, and find it’s more common across pantries.

  • Why sweeten the sauce with both honey and brown sugar? This adds subtle complexity and yields the perfect syrupy texture.

Need a new crockpot? I use this 6 quart model — it’s inexpensive, without many bells or whistles, but works perfectly for my everyday needs and family of 4.

How To Make Teriyaki Chicken in the Crockpot

This literally takes 10 minutes of prep. It’s worth the extra couple of minutes to simmer the sauce on the stovetop; without this step, it stays watery and the flavors never quite meld as well. Here’s what to do:

  1. Make the sauce by whisking 2 Tablespoons of cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons cold water in a small saucepan. Set the pan over medium-low heat, then add remaining sauce ingredients. Bring it to a boil and let bubble for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  2. Place chicken in slow cooker, pour sauce on top, and then use kitchen tongs or a fork to turn each piece of chicken and be sure it is fully coated.
  3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours. The chicken should be very tender and reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
  4. Shred chicken with two forks. I find this pretty easy to do right in the slow cooker, but you can remove it and do this on a cutting board, or even in your stand mixer if you like.
  5. Thicken the sauce more by adding another cornstarch slurry. Stir this together with the sauce and the shredded chicken, and leave the slow cooker on the warm or low setting for 30-60 minutes, stirring occasionally.

No slow cooker? No worries! You can try my quick and easy stovetop honey teriyaki chicken, or follow the recipe note below for an adaptation.

Can you just put raw chicken in a slow cooker?

Yes, your Crockpot or slow cooker is specifically designed to safely cook raw meat! The direct heat and steam inside of the tightly-covered pot destroys bacteria, making the food just as safe as if it were cooked more quickly at a higher temperature. You should still adhere to USDA guidelines for the final internal temperature of your meat prior to eating. Chicken, dark meat or white meat, should reach 165 degrees F in the thickest part.

Can you put frozen chicken in a slow cooker?

This is a gray area: many recipes suggest it, and the Crock-Pot brand itself has claimed it is perfectly safe, though it will certainly require a longer cooking time. The USDA, however, has noted that because frozen chicken will spend a longer amount of time in the “danger zone” — the temperature range in which dangerous bacteria can grow — it is risky to cook in a slow cooker without thawing first. Bottom line? Thaw it out first if you can.

How to quickly thaw chicken?

Not to worry, there are lots of methods to thaw chicken, some which work very quickly! The easiest, of course, is to simply place chicken in the refrigerator overnight. After 18-24 hours, it will be evenly thawed throughout and ready to cook. In a hurry? The Kitchn has tested several methods for rapid thawing, and found the best way is to submerge frozen chicken, still in its packaging, in a bowl of cold water. Change out the water every 30 minutes so it stays very cold. The chicken should thaw in about one hour.

Need it even faster? The microwave defrost function is there for you, but watch closely and turn frequently to minimize uneven thawing or premature cooking on the edges.

Can you overcook chicken in a slow cooker?

Yes, it is technically possible to overcook chicken using a slow cooker. If left to cook far longer than the necessary cooking time, the meat can begin to dry out. Cooking the chicken directly in a sauce, as in this recipe, can help to reduce this risk, but it’s still best to stay in the ballpark of the stated cooking times: 6-7 hours on low, and 3-4 hours on high.

Two bowls of slow cooker teriyaki chicken ready to eat with forks.

Serving Suggestions

Honey teriyaki chicken goes perfectly with bowls of steamed rice — white, brown, or cauliflower rice all are perfect — and steamed veggies as you like. Broccoli is a classic choice. Our family favorite combination is the chicken, white rice for the kids, brown rice for me, and shelled edamame and quick-sautéed snow peas on the side.

Storage & Freezing

This recipe keeps so well, either in the fridge or the freezer, that I highly recommend doubling the recipe if you can. Cook once, eat twice! It makes a great meal prep, too.

  • Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat as much as you need at a time in the microwave or in a small saucepan.
  • Freezing: Shredded Teriyaki chicken freezes very well. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, or defrost quickly in the microwave on 50% power, stirring frequently.
Close up of teriyaki chicken in a bowl with rice, sesame seeds, and green onions.

More Asian-Inspired Weeknight Dinners

Enjoy this teriyaki flavor? Try my ultra-quick skillet honey teriyaki chicken or teriyaki ground beef.

You’ll also love this simple Korean ground beef, a chicken and asparagus or chicken and bell pepper stir fry, or easy bourbon chicken.

More Easy Crockpot Chicken Recipes

The slow cooker is a fantastic way to make homemade dinner possible on nights when you’re booked with activities. Our other favorite recipes? Slow cooker shredded chicken tacos are always a big winner, as is Crockpot butter chicken, slow cooker BBQ chicken, Crockpot pineapple chicken, and creamy slow cooker chicken gnocchi soup.

I hope you love this Crockpot teriyaki chicken recipe as much as we do! Add it to your menu the next time you expect to be overwhelmed and have no time to make dinner.

If you try making this Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki or any other recipe on the blog, please rate it and leave a comment below. I love hearing from you, and other readers will benefit from your experience!

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5 from 3 votes

Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken

Utterly delicious and stunningly easy to make. You’ll love the shredded chicken coated in a savory, honey-sweetened sauce with garlic, ginger, and sesame oil. Pair with rice, steamed veggies, or both for a satisfying and flavorful meal.


  • 1/4 cup cornstarch divided
  • 1/4 cup cool water divided
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 3 Tablespoons brown sugar light or dark
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger I like to use frozen cubes
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3-5 cloves garlic minced
  • 2.5-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • sesame seeds and green onions for optional garnish


  • Add 2 Tablespoons cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons water to a small saucepan and whisk together until smooth. Set the sauce pan over medium-low heat, then add the soy sauce, honey, vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, sesame oil, and garlic. Whisk until smooth, then increase heat to medium. Once the sauce boils, let it bubble for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat.
  • Place chicken thighs in a slow cooker and pour sauce on top. Use kitchen tongs or a fork to turn each piece of chicken so it is fully coated in sauce. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 6-7 hours. The chicken should reach 165 degrees F.
  • Using two forks, gently pull each piece of chicken apart into shreds. (It should be very tender and fall apart easily; if it doesn’t, it may need to cook longer. I usually do this right in the slow cooker, but you can remove the chicken to a cutting board, too.)
  • Stir remaining 2 Tablespoons cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons cool water together in a small bowl. Pour that into the slow cooker together with the sauce and shredded chicken. Stir well. Leave slow cooker on the warm or low setting for 30-60 minutes to let the sauce thicken slightly, stirring occasionally.
  • Serve chicken and sauce over cooked rice or vegetables, with a sprinkling of chopped green onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Enjoy!


  • Chicken: You can use either boneless skinless chicken thighs or boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe; breasts may cook slightly faster, and can be more prone to drying out, so if possible cook them on the “low” setting and check them more frequently. Once they hit 165 degrees F, shred them and leave on the “warm” setting to avoid overcooking.
  • To Make on the Stovetop: Try this quick and easy honey teriyaki chicken recipe. Or, follow this recipe through step 1, and set the sauce aside. Chop raw chicken into bite-sized pieces and sear them in a slick of olive oil over medium-high heat. Pour the sauce over the chicken, reduce heat to low, and simmer chicken in sauce until the meat is cooked through and the sauce is thickened to your liking.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 334 kcal, Carbohydrates: 24 g, Protein: 38 g, Fat: 9 g, Saturated Fat: 2 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3 g, Trans Fat: 0.03 g, Cholesterol: 180 mg, Sodium: 937 mg, Potassium: 569 mg, Fiber: 0.3 g, Sugar: 18 g, Vitamin A: 45 IU, Vitamin C: 1 mg, Calcium: 33 mg, Iron: 2 mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!