Slow Cooker Honey Teriyaki Chicken

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.

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.
teriyaki chicken in the slow cooker with a metal spoon

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
  • 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

  • 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

89 Comments

  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.

  2. Will it taste bad without ginger we can’t find any

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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 🙂

  3. 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. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      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.

  4. 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.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You can, yes. Cook time should be the same.

  5. 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!

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

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Keith, Definitely! Use 1.5 – 2 lbs total.

  7. This was amazing!

  8. 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!

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