Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs are made with boneless thighs and a simple, 5-ingredient sauce. Chicken thighs are already so incredibly flavorful and juicy, cooking them in the crock pot is an easy dinner win!
Slow cooker recipes are a lifesaver when it comes to getting dinner on the table on a busy night. Just add the ingredients to the crockpot and let it do all the work. You truly can’t beat a set it and forget it meal like this slow cooker chicken thighs recipe! Be sure to check out my favorite slow cooker!
I love using chicken thighs in crock pot recipes because they stay so moist and don’t dry out. Try serving Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs with white rice for an easy dinner or this Egg Fried Rice. The slightly sweet chicken also pairs well with simple veggies like steamed or air fryer broccoli. For a complete meal, you can even add these Cream Cheese Wontons to the table.
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
- Olive Oil
- Chicken Thighs – This recipe is written using boneless skinless chicken thighs, but you can swap in bone-in chicken thighs as well. See the recipe tips below for how to do this.
- Soy Sauce – Opt for a low-sodium soy sauce to control the salt level.
- Honey – Brown sugar works too.
- Ketchup – Use regular ketchup or low-sugar ketchup since there is already honey in the sauce. I try to buy a brand with no corn syrup or no sugar, like Heinz.
- Toasted sesame seeds – toast these in the oven or in a skillet. Optional.
- Salt and Pepper
How to Slow Cook Chicken Thighs
This recipe couldn’t be easier. Just a quick sear, easy sauce, and let the slow cooker do its job!
Sear the Chicken. Searing the chicken first adds so much flavor! Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and add to the skillet. Brown on both sides. The chicken does not need to be cooked through, just browned. If you have a cast iron skillet, use it for the best sear.
Add to Slow Cooker. Transfer the seared chicken to the crock pot. Mix up the sauce in a small bowl – honey, soy sauce, ketchup, and half of the sesame seeds. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
Cook. Cover the slow cooker and cook the chicken on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 4-6 hours. Chicken thighs are cooked when the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F.
Serve – Serve the chicken with rice and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds.
Storage and Freezing Tips
Storage – Chicken thighs in the slow cooker are a great option for meal prep! Store the cooked chicken in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can even pack the chicken in meal prep containers with cooked rice for easy lunches or dinners throughout the week.
Freezing – Cooked chicken thighs can also be frozen. Allow to fully cool, then freeze in a freezer bag with the extra air pressed out for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Expert Tips and FAQs
- Add Red Pepper Flakes for a Kick – This Asian-style sauce is sweet, yet flavorful. If you have spice lovers in your house, you can add a pinch of red pepper flakes to give the sauce a slight kick.
- Using chicken breasts instead of thighs: You can swap in chicken breasts, but be careful not to overcook them. Chicken breasts are cooked when the internal temperature reads 165 degrees F. Unlike thighs, breasts don’t stay quite as moist.
Yes, you can swap in bone-in chicken thighs. Make sure you don’t skip the step of searing the chicken thighs first. It’s important to sear and get the chicken skin crispy before transferring to the slow cooker. Bone-in thighs also take longer to cook, so you may need to increase the cook time. I’d also recommend broiling for a few minutes just before serving to get the skin nice and crispy.
If you have frozen chicken thighs, you need to defrost them first. Cooking frozen meat in the crockpot runs the risk of the meat being in the ‘danger zone’ for too long and can be unsafe to eat.
While you can cook on either low or high, high heat is preferred when cooking chicken.
Chicken Thigh Recipes You’ll Love
- Crispy & Juicy BBQ Baked Chicken Thighs
- Baked Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Air Fryer Chicken Thighs
- Fried Chicken Thighs
- Crispy Broiled Chicken Thighs
Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
- Slow Cooker
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat.
- Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and brown them in the heated skillet on both sides.
- Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, honey, ketchup and 1 Tablespoon of the sesame seeds.
- Pour the sauce over the chicken.
- Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 4-6 hours.
- Serve over rice with remaining 1 Tablespoon of sesame seeds on top.