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This is tender and extra saucy honey teriyaki chicken, an extremely simple and versatile dish made in the slow cooker. For serving, garnish the sweet, salty, and savory pulled chicken with scallions and crunchy sesame seeds and enjoy with rice, steamed vegetables, or serve sandwich style on a hearty roll.

teriyaki chicken in a white bowl

Life is busy and you’re swamped trying to figure out dinner for tonight. What a familiar feeling! This honey teriyaki chicken recipe requires little effort, yet delivers so much flavor. We’re taking advantage of the slow cooker for this meal, as well as preparing a homemade honey teriyaki sauce. The whole process is fairly easy and the crockpot does most of the work.

And bonus! It’s consistently crowd-pleasing. One reader said:I made this recipe for dinner today! It was so delicious. Can’t wait to have the leftovers tomorrow! The spice level was just right and everything cooked perfectly.”


Tell Me About Slow Cooker Honey Teriyaki Chicken

  • Time: This recipe requires about 15-20 minutes of prep time which includes chopping an onion, making the quick sauce on the stove, and shredding the chicken which is a step later in the recipe. Plus, set aside a total of 4-6 hours for slow cooking.
  • Preparation & Texture Go Hand-in-Hand: Once the chicken has cooked in the honey teriyaki sauce for a few hours, it locks in all that massive flavor and becomes incredibly tender. Then it’s time to remove and shred the chicken. Since it’s so tender, it shreds very quickly and easily. Place the chicken back into the slow cooker so it can soak up even more of the juicy sauce. (Shredded chicken offers more surface area for the sauce to coat!)
  • Flavor: The chicken is infused with so much sweet-salty flavor from the bold and garlicky honey teriyaki sauce. Garnished with sesame seeds and scallions, this dish truly comes to life. I added onion for extra flavor, but you can leave it out if you’re not a fan.
teriyaki chicken in the slow cooker with a metal spoon

What about leftovers? We can’t say this about many meals, but reheated honey teriyaki chicken is SO GOOD. It’s even tastier and more flavorful on day 2 or 3 after the sauce has thickened in the refrigerator– it sticks right to the chicken.

pouring teriyaki sauce onto chicken breasts in a slow cooker

How to Make Honey Teriyaki Sauce

It’s certainly convenient to purchase a bottle of store-bought sauce, but we prefer making our own because you have total control of the ingredients and flavor. Plus, it tastes fresher and that makes a big difference in the final dish. You need cornstarch, brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and vinegar. We usually use rice wine vinegar, but apple cider vinegar works well too. 

  • Are you looking for a traditional Japanese-style teriyaki sauce? We’ve made and loved Nami’s homemade teriyaki sauce. It’s incredible over salmon.

Today’s honey teriyaki sauce recipe is similar to the teriyaki sauce we use for pineapple teriyaki chickenThough we use mostly honey in this version for a slightly different flavor, we still add a little brown sugar. Why both honey and brown sugar? Depth of flavor. We found the sauce lacking when we skipped the brown sugar completely.


No Slow Cooker? No Problem.

Follow the directions in the recipe note to make this teriyaki chicken recipe on the stove.

shredded chicken on a white cutting board with 2 forks

overhead image of teriyaki chicken in white bowls

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teriyaki chicken in a white bowl

Slow Cooker Honey Teriyaki Chicken

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4-6 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is tender and extra saucy honey teriyaki chicken, an extremely simple and versatile dish made in the slow cooker. For serving, garnish the sweet, salty, and savory pulled chicken with scallions and crunchy sesame seeds and enjoy with rice, steamed vegetables, or serve sandwich style on a hearty roll.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 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
  • 12 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1.52 lbs total)
  • optional for serving: sesame seeds and chopped scallion

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: Place cooled cooked chicken/sauce 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. You can also freeze this uncooked. Place everything in a freezer-friendly container or large zipped-top bag, freeze up to 3-4 months, thaw in the refrigerator, then add to the slow cooker and proceed with the recipe.
  2. Why Brown Sugar and Honey? Depth of flavor. We both preferred the flavor of this teriyaki sauce when both sweeteners were used.
  3. 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.

Keywords: honey teriyaki chicken

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I don’t have a slow cooker and did it as stated in the notes (frying bite-sized chicken pieces and then adding the teriyaki sauce). It was sooo good, loved it, will be definitely making it again.
    I used sesame oil instead of olive oil for the chicken for some additional flavor.

    1. Hi Kyra, It should still be delicious. I actually made it for the 1,000th time last night and didn’t have any fresh ginger so I used 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and it was still wonderful 🙂

  2. I’ve got a ton of chicken breast tenders from Costco I’d like to use for this. Should I shorten the cook time?

    1. Hi Sara, If the chicken pieces are much smaller than whole chicken breasts your cook time may be less, but I’m unsure exactly how long it would take.

  3. I haven’t tried the recipe yet but wondered if you can just leave the chicken and not shred it? Would the cooking time be longer? Thanks.

  4. Hi Sally! I made this recipe for dinner today! It was so delicious. Can’t wait to have the leftovers tomorrow! The spice level was just right and everything cooked perfectly. Thank you!

  5. Is it possible to sub in chicken thighs instead of breasts? It might even come out better with thighs.

  6. Very, very good! Followed the recipe as written! The chicken was so tender! Just my husband and me so we can enjoy the dish tomorrow!
    Thanks for sharing Sally! On a side note, I love so many of your cookie recipes!

  7. This recipe is a definite keeper! I’m on a recipe hunt for easy crockpot freezer meals and so often they turn out….less than stellar. That’s not the case here. The only change I made was to saute the onion and garlic before putting it in, and I added 1-2T of sesame oil. I didn’t bother with cooking the cornstarch mixture before hand, just placed it all in the crockpot, it turned out perfect! I went ahead and made 2 and stuck one in the freezer, uncooked. I’m glad I did!

    1. Hey Kayla! I love doing freezer meals too. When you were ready to use the freezer meal of this, did you thaw first before putting in the crockpot, or put it in the crockpot from frozen? Any changes in cook time when you did it this way? Thank! Hoping to have some of these made up for families in our church when mama’s have babies or someone is in the hospital and needs a meal. 🙂

  8. I’m making this tonight, but my chicken breast’s are frozen. Should I alter the cook time? I’m planning to cook on high

    1. Hi Becca, we suggest allowing the chicken breasts to thaw prior to cooking. Otherwise they will cook very unevenly.

  9. I
    I followed the recipe. It was not what I expected. Will not be making this again. Maybe it’s just my taste buds

    1. I made this as written, my family wasn’t a fan. We felt like the soy was overpowering, I think we were expecting a sweeter thicker teriyaki like sauce.
      We probably wouldn’t make this again.

    1. Hi Stella, we haven’t tried it in an instant pot, but let us know if you do any experimenting!

  10. If I want to make this but adding frozen peas and broccoli would I add them in the beginning or the end?

    1. Hi Sierra, we recommend steaming the vegetables separately and then adding them to the finished chicken at the end.

  11. I made just the sauce, and put it on crockpot meatballs – wow, so good. Flavor is amazing

  12. This was delicious! I added extra honey and did a blend of apple cider vinegar with rice vinegar, just because that’s what I had on hand.. I put some coconut oil in the slow cooker before placing the chicken in as well. Additionally I served it with rice noodles and shelled edamame. I will definitely make it again!

    1. That would be fine, but the cook time should be reduced over a stove. See recipe note for cooking on the stove (you can use the Dutch oven instead of a skillet).

  13. Hi Sally I am a Vegetarian could this sauce be cooked with vegetable’s instead of the chicken, if so could you recommend any vegetable’s to cook with it please.
    Just a thought

    1. Hi Neil, we can’t see why not! Although without the chicken, it would take considerably less time in the slow cooker, so we’d recommend using the stovetop directions in the recipe notes. Any of your favorite vegetables would work — carrots, broccoli, and bell peppers are just a few suggestions. Let us know what you try!

  14. Made as in with a few tweaks – added some lime zest & juice in last hour and tossed the broccoli and a green bell pepper in for last half-hour. I think it’s best to leave the veg out, but by no means was it bad. This is a super-easy re pie that needs no tinkering for delicious results! Will definitely make it again!

  15. Wow! This recipe is so good. I made it for dinner today! My husband went back for seconds and said that it is really, really good! I had doubts about the sauce while it was cooking because it smelled ‘dark, heavy’ but I was so wrong. It is delicious. My husband thought it was store bought and couldn’t believe it was from a recipe. I looked at the other variations and we both are looking forward to cooking it with pineapple. Thanks Sally! This recipe will be made many times in the future!

  16. Sally – Thank you for a DELICIOUS Chicken Teriyaki dish! I used Chicken tenders, and they were fully cook at 2 hours on high in my slow cooker. I served the shredded teriyaki chicken and sauce over Lundberg’s Wild RIce mix (which cooks very successfully in the Instant Pot). I added lightly sauted shredded carrot and chopped red pepper, along with steamed broccoli to the hot cooked rice. The dish was not only a feast for the taste buds, but beautifully colorful as well. Thank you for providing your inspiration to my evening meals!

  17. This was great!! I ended up figuring out how to convert to instant pot for anyone wondering (aka I forgot to get in the crock pot in time). I used thighs and browned them in the pot, then added the sauce (did not cook on stovetop first). 10mins high pressure and natural release. Took out chicken to shred, then turned the pot to saute and added the cornstarch slurry. Added in the shredded chicken. Family loved and will be saving!

  18. Sally this was so good, my husband said its a keeper. A few changes, I poached boneless chicken thighs since he’s not a white meat fan. I also don’t have a slow cooker. Once thighs were almost cooked I added your sauce (following exactly) to the pan and cooked for about 10 minutes allowing the chicken to cook through and sauce to get thick. I served it with rice and broccoli. It was delicious and came together quick.

  19. Jackpot! This recipe is simple and delicious! The sauce is so flavorful. Looking forward to the leftovers and will be making this again! Thank you, Sally!

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