Teriyaki chicken thighs on a grey plate garnished with sliced green onion.

Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Freezer Meal
  • Method: Slow cooker
  • Cuisine: Japanese


This fast, healthy chicken teriyaki dinner will thoroughly impress your family and friends. The best part – it’s made in the slow cooker, so you have very little work to do!


  • 1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced (Shortcut: 12 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

*affiliate link


Make It Now:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Cover and cook on LOW for 3-4 hours, until internal temperature registers to 165°F.
  4. When chicken is done, remove it from the marinade to a serving platter*. Then, carefully pour the marinade into a medium sauce pan.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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:

  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.
  4. 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.