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.
(Oh, but if you need a quick and easy version, check out this 15-minute teriyaki chicken.)
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.
Slow cooker teriyaki chicken
This slow cooker teriyaki chicken is easy to make, healthy and has a deep, rich flavor. It's great for an easy dinner!
- 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup low-sodium soy sauce (or tamari for gluten free)
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup rice wine vinegar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger (or sub 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
- ¼ 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 ½ 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
Rachelle @ Beer Girl Cooks
Call this whatever you want, but it's totally going into my meal rotation! I really need to remember to use my slow cooker more often too, but I doubt I'll be able to plan meals a month in advance! I'm so not that organized, so maybe we'll have this tomorrow.... 🙂
Tomorrow is good 😉 Thanks Rachelle!
Dawn @ Girl Heart Food
Teriyaki chicken, whatever cooking method, is delicious and I do love that you used the slow cooker because it makes it soooo convenient to have delicious weeknight meals. Thanks for another great recipe, Kathryn. Hope you're week is going well 🙂
All about the easy dinners! And I'm with you on saying yes to teriyaki chicken, in whatever form 😉
Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine
You just made my dreams come true :O
Haha, happy to hear it Rebecca 😉
Ashlyn // Dollop Of Yum
Whenever I make Asian food, I seem to end up with way more dishes and work than I originally planned. I love how easy and simple this recipe is! It looks sooo delicious!
Thanks Ashlyn! It's definitely a super simple one - but with BIG flavor!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
Details... they are like rules, meant to be over looked. 😉 I love teriyaki anything, so the fact that you made teriyaki chicken super simple and in the slow cooker has me giving you virtual high fives! This chicken looks super flavorful and ultimately delicious! I can see why this is a family favorite!! I could certainly eat all the chicken in that slow cooker by myself. 😉 Cheers, Kathryn!
Thanks Cheyanne! It is definitely addictive!
April R - Uncookie Cutter
Kathryn, this chicken looks great and so yummy! I love anything that you can cook in the slow cooker and a healthy recipe at that. We'd love you to stop by and link up at our new party, where each host makes and features one recipe each week from those linked up! http://uncookiecutter.com/orange-bunt-cake-cajun-shrimp-dip-link-make-14/
Thanks April! I've been all about my slow cooker recently - such a help! And I will definitely stop by the party 🙂
Nancy | Plus Ate Six
It's 10am in the morning and my mouth is watering looking at the photos and thinking I want that in a wrap for lunch. Is that bad?! I need to just go and get a slow cooker don't I even for the summer months.
Haha, not bad at all! I find myself sneaking bites of this from the fridge at ALL hours of the day! 🙂
Kelly - Life Made Sweeter
Teriyaki chicken is one of our favorites! Love that you made it in the slow cooker - so perfect for busy weeknights!
Yes! Definitely so helpful for crazy days 🙂
This recipe is so awesome!!!! I love getting take-out Chinese food but it's so fattening. I can make this to satisfy my Chinese food carving PLUS it's super easy! Even easier than take-out 😉
Thanks Karrie 🙂 This is definitely a homemade, healthier version that is SO easy!! XO
It really looks delicious! Great combination. I love chicken, and this recipe enchanted me. I'm already hungry just looking at it lol, I'll make this recipe today.Thank you!!!
Thanks Maria! It's pretty addictive 🙂 Hope you do try it and let me know what you think!
Does this look like a comfort dish! Love the hint about reducing. Thanks for sharing with us at the Throwback Thursday Link party!
Thanks Mollie! The reducing does make a big difference!
This looks like some serious comfort food!! I can see this recipe being a hit at my house!
Thanks Andrea! I hope you give it a try!
Made this tonight. Came out way too salty and I could barely eat it. I used Bragg's Liquid Aminos instead of Soy Sauce, and maybe that is why. I may have to throw out the leftovers. Curious as to what brand soy sauce you use.
Hi Amber, I'm sorry to hear that! I use a low-sodium soy sauce, as noted above, which I think is definitely key. Mine is Kikkoman brand. If yours wasn't low sodium, that could be part of the problem. (There's no other salt added, so it shouldn't be salty from anything else.)
WAY TOO SALTY !!! I used kikkoman low sodium soy sauce and almost had to throw out this recipe ! I tried , hoping (?) I saved it by reboiling the sauce w some added water, and also added some honey for sweetness as well as some siracha. I did also have to rinse the chicken in a strainer afterwards. Please advise Katherine ! This is the first recipe I have made from your website, and want to make more !
I'm so surprised to hear that. The only sodium in the recipe is from the soy sauce - there's no salt added - and if you used the full amount of chicken (3 pounds), it shouldn't be so concentrated and salty.