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This Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Thigh recipe is easy, tasty, freezer-friendly, and made in the crock pot. Shred up those tender chicken thighs and serve it over rice for a delicious, filling dinner. For a dump-and-go crock pot freezer meal, it doesn’t get much better!
Oh man, were these Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Thighs good. Yes, I do repeat. This is a GREAT SLOW COOKER RECIPE. I have tried one too many slow cooker recipes that have failed to impress me, but this one is a keeper.
The ingredients are simple. I bet you have most of them at home already! Here is what you’ll need…
- Onion, diced – We found that this needs to be sautéed in order to be done when the chicken is done. If not, you’ll have crunchy onions!
- Garlic cloves, minced – Shortcut: use pre-minced garlic
- Soy sauce – Gluten-Free Option: Use coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (This is where we get our favorite organic chicken.) – You can also use boneless, skinless thighs!
- Cornstarch – To thicken the sauce at the end.
How Long Do I Cook Chicken Thighs in the Slow Cooker?
There is a lot of misinformation out there about how long to cook chicken in the slow cooker. After testing hundreds and hundreds of slow cooker recipes for our cookbooks, we have nailed down the perfect cooking times for all the most common cuts of meat. In fact, we created a free, printable slow cooker cooking times chart. You can download it and print it off to have on hand for the future.
When it comes to chicken thighs, we have found it’s always best to cook them on Low and only for 3-4 hours at the very most. While chicken thighs can cook a bit longer than chicken breast, they will definitely start to dry out after that amount of time cooking.
If you’re looking for a baked chicken thigh recipe, try out our Italian Baked Chicken Thighs. They are easy & delicious!
It’s no secret we are big fans of freezer meals around here. In fact, we have 2 freezer meal cookbooks, 1 Hour Freezer Prep Sessions, and even a round-up with 70+ freezer meal recipes that you will love!
So yes, we have included freezing instructions on Chicken Teriyaki Thighs!
To Freeze For Later: Place the raw chicken thighs and all of the marinade ingredients (except for the cornstarch) into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.
To Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe methods and then cook as directed.
While you can for sure add vegetables to the recipe in the slow cooker, I’d recommend giving them a quick saute on the stove instead and then stirring them in at the very end. That way they stay fresh and crisp. When cooked in the slow cooker, vegetables can get a little soggy.
Yes! Instant Pot Instructions:
1) Place the sauce ingredients and chicken thighs (not the cornstarch) inside the Instant Pot, being mindful not to stack if possible.
2) Lock and seal the lid.
3) Using the manual function, cook at high pressure for 6 minutes if using boneless chicken thighs (15-20 for frozen) OR 12 minutes for bone-in chicken thighs (17-22 for frozen) and then quick release the pressure. (Check to make sure the chicken is done, which means no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.) Read How Long to Cook Chicken Thighs in the Instant Pot for more information.
You bet! Just use our cooking times chart to navigate how long to cook the chicken for in the slow cooker.
More Instant Pot Cooking Information
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- 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (Shortcut: 1–2 teaspoons pre-minced garlic)
- 1/2 cup soy sauce (Gluten-Free Option: Use coconut aminos or gluten-free Tamari Soy Sauce)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (This is where we get our favorite organic chicken.)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
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Make It Now:
- Heat the oil in a small saute pan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Saute the onions for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic and saute for another 30-60 seconds. (Shortcut: Place the onions and oil in a small microwaveable bowl and microwave for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Add in the garlic and microwave for another 30-60 seconds.) Add to the slow cooker.
- Add the soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and honey to the slow cooker and whisk until combined. Nestle the chicken into the bottom and make sure it’s coated in the sauce.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours, until internal temperature registers to 165°F.
- When chicken is done, remove it from the marinade to a serving platter*. Then, carefully pour the marinade into a medium sauce pan.
- In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together 3 tablespoons cold water and the cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved and no longer lumpy.
- Pour the cornstarch mixture into the teriyaki sauce mixture, and whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat, and let it cook for about 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat.
- Pour the sauce over the top of of the chicken until it is well coated. (This won’t take all of the marinade; you will have some remaining). Optional: Using two forks, shred the chicken and serve over rice.
Freeze For Later: Place the raw chicken thighs and all of the marinade ingredients (except for the cornstarch) into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.
Prepare From Frozen: Thaw using one of these safe methods and then cook as directed in Step 3.
*If you want the skin on the chicken to be crispy, transfer it to a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil the chicken under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, until crispy. Keep a close eye on it.
Instant Pot Instructions:
- Place the sauce ingredients and chicken thighs (not the cornstarch) inside the Instant Pot, being mindful not to stack if possible.
- Lock and seal the lid.
- Using the manual function, cook at high pressure for 6 minutes if using boneless chicken thighs (15-20 for frozen) OR 12 minutes for bone-in chicken thighs (17-22 for frozen) and then quick release the pressure. (Check to make sure the chicken is done, which means no more pink inside and/or registers 165°F internally.) Read How Long to Cook Chicken Thighs in the Instant Pot for more information.
- Optional: Preheat the broiler. Place the cooked thighs, skin side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil for a few minutes until the skin is crispy.
Where We Get Our Chicken: We get our chicken from ButcherBox. The chicken is organic and curated from trusted farms. We highly recommend this service to source healthy meat–like uncured bacon, grass-fed beef, and wild salmon–and have used it for years ourselves.
Want More Slow Cooker Freezer Meals?
We have an amazon collection of make ahead crock pot meals. Here is a great round up of 25+ Slow Cooker Recipes to get you started!