Let the slow cooker do the hard work for you, and come home to a hearty and family-friendly dinner the whole family will love! Teriyaki chicken is incredibly easy to make at home.
This is one of my Chicken recipes I know you’ll want to keep on hand!
I love using my slow cooker to help me get delicious dinners on the table, even on a busy weeknight! And now that school is back in session, there are a lot of busy weeknights.
This recipe does have an additional step, to reduce the cooking liquid down into a thick teriyaki sauce. But I promise, it’s 10000% worth it!
The sauce is a great blend of sweet, spicy, and savory, with a thick and rich texture that perfectly smothers the juicy chicken.
We love to serve this over some fragrant garlic ginger rice, but it’s great alongside even plain white rice or jasmine rice, or used in fried rice, egg rolls, wontons, or even non-traditional fusion dishes like a teriyaki chicken quesadilla!
How to make slow cooker teriyaki chicken:
This is just an overview; the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card toward the bottom of this post.
- Add chicken and sauce to slow cooker. It may seem like a lot of liquid, but we’ll be cooking it down later.
- Cook. This recipe is designed to cook low and slow all day.
- Shred. I like to use tongs to transfer the chicken to a cutting board, then use two forks to shred it.
- Transfer sauce. Skim the fat if there’s a lot.
- Make slurry. This is just combining the cornstarch and water until smooth.
- Reduce sauce. Stir in the slurry, and simmer until thickened.
- Combine. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and combine with the thickened sauce.
While it might seem like a pain to transfer the cooking liquid to a saucepan and cook it down, it’s the only way to get that classic thick and rich teriyaki sauce.
Variations of this recipe
- Chicken – if you’d like, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, with no other changes needed.
- Other protein – this sauce would also be delicious on pork!
- Ginger and garlic – I haven’t tested this recipe using dried ginger and garlic powder, so while I’m sure it can be done, I can’t speak to the amounts needed (in general you want to use 2-3x less when swapping fresh for dried). I do often use the garlic and ginger squeeze tubes (Gourmet Garden is the brand I love) when I don’t have fresh on hand.
- Chili garlic sauce – the brand we love is Huy Fong (it has a bright green lid), but Lee Kum Kee is another good brand. You could also substitute sriracha, or sambal oelek.
I haven’t tested it, but I think this could absolutely be cooked in an Instant Pot. I would add the chicken and teriyaki sauce and cook on high pressure for about 12 minutes. Then let the pot naturally depressurize (by doing nothing) for 5-10 minutes, then hit the valve to release any remaining pressure. Remove and shred chicken as directed. Reduce sauce by using the saute feature, and make and whisk in the slurry as directed.
We love to serve it over a bed of garlic ginger rice, or plain jasmine/white rice, garnished with plenty of green onions and sesame seeds. But this shredded chicken is also great in homemade egg rolls, wontons, potstickers, Asian-style burritos/tacos, etc!
Making teriyaki chicken ahead of time
If you’d like to, you can make this recipe ahead.
Just let it cool completely and refrigerate in an airtight container. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the slow cooker on low until hot throughout. You may want to add a splash of water or chicken broth as it reheats to loosen it up a bit.
You can also prep ahead by making the cooking liquid mixture ahead of time and keeping it refrigerated until ready to use.
What I love so much about shredded chicken is that it freezes perfectly!
Just make sure it’s completely cooled, then transfer to freezer-safe containers and freeze for up to 3-6 months.
I haven’t tested it, but I think you could even add the chicken and the cooking liquid (soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, honey, ginger, garlic, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper) to a freezer-safe bag or container.
Freeze for up to 3-6 months, then thaw in the refrigerator and cook as directed.
Leftover chicken should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and enjoyed within 4-5 days.
I had this crockpot for a while now, and I really love how it cooks. The locking lid feature is amazing for taking foods to potlucks or other gatherings!
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
- 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts about 2 lbs.
- 3/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
- 1 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 3 Tbsp cold water
- 3 Tbsp cornstarch
- sliced green onions
- sesame seeds
- If needed, trim chicken breasts of excess fat. Place chicken breasts in the bottom of a slow cooker insert.
- In a small mixing bowl, add soy sauce, light brown sugar, rice vinegar, honey, fresh ginger, garlic, chili garlic sauce, sesame oil, and black pepper. Whisk to combine well.
Cook and shred
- Pour over chicken and cook on LOW for 6-7 hours.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board and shred.
- Skim excess fat from the cooking liquid, then transfer the liquid to a saucepan. Heat over MED heat.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the slurry ingredients (water and cornstarch) until smooth, then stir into saucepan. Continue heating and stirring over MED heat for a few minutes, until sauce has thickened a bit.
- Add shredded chicken back to the slow cooker. Pour sauce over chicken and toss to coat.
- Serve hot, over rice, sprinkled with green onions and sesame seeds.
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- I’ve estimated this recipe serves approximately 6 people, however feel free to divide it up into as many servings as you’d like.
- It’s important to mix the cornstarch and cold water as directed, rather than just adding plain cornstarch to the hot liquid. Add plain cornstarch, without whisking it into a cold liquid first, will cause it to clump up into a bunch of tiny pieces that won’t taste good. Mixing it with water allows it to incorporate into the sauce and thicken it as it cooks, with no clumping.
The Chunky Chef is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.