This super easy (and healthy) slow cooker teriyaki chicken has a silky smooth sauce with a deep, rich flavor. It makes for a really delicious dinner any night of the week!
So let’s get a minor technicality out of the way right up front.
Strictly speaking, teriyaki is a cooking method that involves grilling or broiling. So this is not teriyaki at all. Nor are most of the recipes you see that call for pan-frying the chicken.
Minor detail, right?
But this slow cooker teriyaki chicken is a healthy version of the dish that has all the flavors we are familiar with.
And it’s made simpler in the slow cooker for a hands-off meal that is ready and waiting at the end of a long day. You be technical if you want. I’m calling this teriyaki chicken. 😉
I made it a goal at the beginning of the year to use my slow cooker more, and not just in the winter time. Slow cooker to the rescue, no matter the season!
As part of this plan, I regularly schedule a slow cooker night into my monthly meal plans. (Yes, I plan out our meals by the month. Yes, I know this is a bit crazy but it works for me. I’ve got all the details in my official guide to meal planning, which will help you get started planning at all, going for a weekly menu or going crazy with me and doing it by the month.)
This slow cooker teriyaki chicken is one of our faves. It’s super simple but has an amazingly complex flavor – the sweetness from the brown sugar, a background of mild garlic flavor, a slight spice from the ginger and the unmistakable umami flavor of the soy sauce.
The sauce that it cooks in is finished quickly on the stove and becomes so silky smooth and thick. It lovingly coats every strand of the chicken and is completely addictive.
Notes on crock pot teriyaki chicken:
- You really do need to boil the liquid mixture at the end. I tried whisking the cornstarch into the slow cooker (cause I’m lazy and wanted to see if I could skip that step) and the sauce just doesn’t get as thick or achieve the same depth of flavor. It takes less than 5 minutes and one little pot. Totally worth it.
- If you want a bit more of a spicy kick, add a drizzle of sriracha sauce when you plate this up. #chachacha
- This recipe makes a lot but the chicken freezes great! Just defrost and reheat in a small pan on the stove for a super quick dinner another night.
I also have been known to eat the leftovers cold from the fridge. I’m not even embarrassed; it’s frickin’ delicious.
Leftovers are also good in a wrap. I recommend you layer some lettuce down first so the liquid doesn’t get the wrap all soggy then add the teriyaki chicken and top it with some chopped red onion and pineapple. Oh yeah baby!
And here’s your game plan for getting this on the table quickly when you get home and are ready to eat:
- Start cooking your rice and prep your veggie side. (We usually do steamed broccoli with this but a quick steam or stir fry of veggies – even one of those freezer stir fry blends – would be great.)
- Remove the chicken breasts from the slow cooker and shred.
- Put the remaining liquid from the slow cooker into a pan over the stove, adding the cornstarch to thicken it up, and stir in the chicken. Let it sit over low until your rice is done and your veggies are ready.
Voila, dinner is served! You totally got this.
- 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or sub 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- For serving: Steamed brown rice, sesame seeds, sliced green onions
- Place the chicken breasts in your slow cooker.
- Whisk the soy sauce, water, rice wine vinegar, brown sugar, garlic and ginger together in a small bowl to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over the chicken breasts in the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3 1/2 to 4 hours.
- Remove the chicken and shred with two forks.
- Pour the sauce from the slow cooker into a large pot over medium heat.
- Whisk in the cornstarch and bring to a boil. Cook for about 30 seconds. It will thicken very quickly.
- Add the shredded chicken to the pot and mix to get it well coated. Reduce the heat to low and let it sit for a few minutes so the chicken can absorb the juices.
- Serve teriyaki chicken over brown rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds and green onions.
You really do need to boil the liquid mixture at the end. I tried whisking the cornstarch into the slow cooker and the sauce just doesn’t get as thick or achieve the same depth of flavor. It takes less than 5 minutes and one little pot. Totally worth it.
If you want a bit more of a spicy kick, add a drizzle of sriracha sauce when you plate this up.
This recipe makes a lot but the extra freezes great! Just defrost and reheat in a small pan on the stove for a super quick dinner another night.
You can also use leftovers for lunch another day over rice again or for a wrap. I recommend you layer some lettuce down first so the liquid doesn’t get the wrap all soggy then add the teriyaki chicken and top it with some chopped red onion and pineapple.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 374Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 145mgSodium: 1277mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 57g