Slow Cooker Honey Teriyaki Chicken
Let’s talk dinner.
The slow cooker was my saving grace during the last month of my pregnancy, aka the penguin waddle month. (Speaking of– I’ll be introducing our daughter on my blog this Monday! We’ve been on cloud 9 the past two weeks with her.) Not only did the slow cooker help me prepare a ton of freezer meals, it kept Kevin and I fed for lunch and dinner when my energy was zapped during my waddle weeks.
Also next week! Sharing a blog post all about freezer meals. Stay tuned!
One of my favorite meals was this slow cooker honey teriyaki chicken. Massively flavorful and satisfying, this healthy dinner is versatile and simple. I ate it on top of a bed of rice or quinoa, but loved it with a big side of steamed broccoli and baked sweet potatoes too. Kevin liked it with rice or sandwich style on hearty kaiser rolls. Basically anything to soak up all the homemade teriyaki sauce.
I can’t say this about many meals, but this slow cooker teriyaki chicken is SERIOUSLY SO GOOD reheated as leftovers. Even better after a day or 2 because the sauce thickens in the fridge and the chicken seeps it all up– it’s completely drenched with it. Loaded with fresh flavors like garlic and ginger, sweetened with honey and a touch of brown sugar, this is the meal that keeps on giving.
Let me tell you how I made it.
The slow cooker does most of the work for you, but this recipe does require 10 minutes of prep and another 5-6 minutes to shred the chicken.
- Make homemade teriyaki sauce on the stove
- Pour over chicken and diced onions
- Shred chicken and cook for another hour.
You likely have all of the ingredients for the homemade teriyaki sauce in your kitchen now. There’s no reason to use store-bought sauce! In fact, the two shouldn’t even share the same name. Store-bought teriyaki sauce has NOTHING on this homemade version. Allow it to thicken on the stove, then pour over a few chicken breasts. I added onion for extra flavor, but you can leave it out if you’re not a fan.
As the chicken simmers and cooks in the teriyaki sauce, it locks in all that massive flavor. It’s incredibly tender after a few hours and shreds like a dream. Hardly any work to shred this chicken. If you’d rather eat the breasts whole, be my guest! But the shredded chicken really seeps up all the sauce. I highly recommend it.
The sauce recipe is similar to the teriyaki sauce I use for my baked pineapple teriyaki chicken and 30 minute teriyaki shrimp, though I use mostly all honey in today’s version for a slightly different flavor. I still add a little brown sugar. Why both honey and brown sugar? Depth of flavor. I found the sauce lacking when I left out the brown sugar completely.
I can’t get enough of this comfort food meal! And I love that there are so many ways to serve/eat it. You’ll never get bored.
I made a couple more batches and threw them in the freezer for these first few weeks with our baby girl– when cooking just ISN’T happening. Freezing instructions included below!
Slow Cooker Honey Teriyaki Chicken
- 1 tablespoon (7g) cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon (15ml) room temperature water
- 3 Tablespoons (50g) brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (85g) honey
- 1/2 cup (120ml) soy sauce
- 1/4 cup (60ml) vinegar (either rice wine or apple cider is great)
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 - 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 1/2 medium onion, chopped
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- optional for serving: sesame seeds and chopped scallion
- Stir the cornstarch and water together in a small bowl until combined, then pour into a medium saucepan over low-medium heat. Add the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and ginger. Allow to simmer while whisking occasionally. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat.
- Place chopped onion and chicken into a 4 quart or larger slow cooker. (Here's one I own and love!) Pour teriyaki sauce on top. Cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5 hours.
- Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and, using 2 forks, shred into smaller pieces. Place back into the slow cooker and stir to combine. Cook for 1 more hour on low, stirring occasionally.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and scallion, if desired, and serve on top of cooked rice or quinoa or alongside steamed vegetables. Or pile onto rolls and enjoy sandwich style. Keep leftovers in a large tupperware in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat in the microwave.
Freezing: Place into a freezer-friendly container or large zipped-top bag and freeze up to 3-4 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place the container/bag in the sink filled with warm water. Once thawed, cook in a large pot on medium heat for 10 minutes. Or reheat in the microwave until warmed throughout.
Why both brown sugar and honey? Depth of flavor. We both preferred the flavor of this teriyaki sauce when both sweeteners were used.
No slow cooker? No problem! Follow recipe through step 1. Set sauce aside. Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onion and chicken and cook, stirring often, until the chicken is browned on both sides. Pour the teriyaki sauce on top. Turn the stove down to low heat and allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce for a few minutes before serving.
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Another meal to love:
Easy sweet chili chicken (super simple + flavorful meal)