The Easiest Slow Cooker Chicken Thigh Teriyaki


If you’re looking for a meal that’s full of flavor yet requires very little hands-on prep time, look no further than slow cooker chicken thigh teriyaki.

This classic Japanese-inspired dish takes humble chicken thighs and transforms them into a sweet-and-savory delicacy with a simple teriyaki sauce.

The best part? Your slow cooker does all the heavy lifting for you.

Here is my favorite slow cooker chicken thigh teriyaki recipe that I’m certain you will love.

Slow Cooker Chicken Thigh Teriyaki

chicken teriytaki on a plate
Photo Credit: Koala
Yield: 4 Servings

The Easiest Slow Cooker Chicken Thigh Teriyaki

Teriyaki Chicken Thighs
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 15 minutes


  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish (optional)
  • Cooked rice or vegetables for serving


    #1. In a mixing bowl, combine soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, minced garlic, grated ginger (if using), rice vinegar, and sesame oil. Whisk until well combined.

    #2. Place the chicken thighs in the slow cooker. You can trim excess fat if desired.

    #3. Add the prepared teriyaki sauce and pour it over the chicken thighs, ensuring they are well coated.

    #4. Cover and cook on low heat for 4-5 hours or on high heat for 2-3 hours. Cooking times may vary depending on your slow cooker, so check for doneness towards the end. The chicken should be tender and cooked through.

    #5. If you prefer a thicker sauce, mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl to create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the slow cooker during the last 30 minutes of cooking to thicken the sauce.

    #6. Once the chicken is cooked through, serve hot over cooked rice or with your favorite vegetables. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions if desired.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 12gCarbohydrates: 325gFiber: 3gSugar: 17gProtein: 22g

Customizing Your Stir-Fry

Customizing a slow cooker chicken thigh teriyaki meal allows you to tailor it to your taste preferences and dietary needs.

For a spicy kick, add red pepper flakes or sriracha to the teriyaki sauce mixture.

Another tip for the sauce, adjust the sweetness and tanginess by varying the amounts of honey, rice vinegar, or soy sauce, catering to your desired flavor profile.

For a vegetarian or vegan option, substitute chicken thighs with tofu or tempeh and use a plant-based alternative for oyster sauce.

Another great option is to experiment with different vegetables such as bell peppers, snow peas, or baby corn to create unique flavor combinations and add color to the dish.

Finally, serve the teriyaki chicken over your choice of cooked grains like quinoa or cauliflower rice for a nutritious twist.

Tips for Success

Here are a few tips to help you make a tasty meal, whether it’s your first time or not.

Trim Excess Fat

Chicken thighs tend to have a good amount of fat. Some people cut the fat from the chicken thighs before placing them in the slow cooker to prevent greasiness.

Marinate Chicken Ahead of Time

For enhanced flavor, consider marinating the chicken thighs in the teriyaki sauce mixture for a few hours or overnight before adding them to the slow cooker.

Make a Sweeter Sauce

Adjust the sweetness of the teriyaki sauce by varying the amount of honey or maple syrup according to your taste preferences.

Thicker Sauce Option

If you prefer a thicker sauce, mix a slurry of cornstarch and water and add it to the slow cooker during the last hour of cooking.

Pay Attention to Cook Time

Avoid overcooking the chicken thighs to ensure they remain tender and juicy. Check for doneness with a meat thermometer, aiming for an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Experiment with the Sauce

Try different variations of the teriyaki sauce by adding ingredients like ginger, garlic, or chili flakes to customize the flavor to your liking.

How to Make Vegetable Stir Fry and Save Money

The goal with the recipes I list are all about stretching your dollars as far as possible.

Here are some tips to help you make this dish on a budget.

#1. Buy Chicken Thighs in Bulk

Purchase chicken thighs in larger quantities when they’re on sale and freeze them for later use. Buying in bulk often comes with a lower per-pound cost.

#2. Use Frozen Vegetables

Opt for frozen vegetables instead of fresh ones to save money without sacrificing nutrition. Frozen veggies are typically more affordable and have a longer shelf life.

#3. Make Homemade Teriyaki Sauce

Instead of buying pre-made teriyaki sauce, make your own using basic pantry ingredients like soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic, and ginger. Homemade sauce can be more cost-effective and allows you to control the ingredients.

#4. Substitute with Affordable Vegetables

Choose budget-friendly vegetables like cabbage, carrots, onions, and frozen mixed vegetables to keep costs down while still adding variety and nutrition to your meal. Doing this also allows you to use less chicken, saving you money.

#5. Stretch with Rice or Noodles

Serve the slow cooker chicken thigh teriyaki over a bed of inexpensive rice or noodles to make the dish more filling and economical.

#6. Use Store-Brand Ingredients

Choose store-brand or generic ingredients instead of name brands to save money without compromising on taste or quality.

#7. Buy in Bulk from Ethnic Markets

Visit ethnic markets or bulk food stores for staples like rice, soy sauce, and spices, which are often available at lower prices compared to traditional grocery stores.

#8. Meal Prep and Leftovers

Cook a larger batch of slow cooker chicken thigh teriyaki and portion out leftovers for future meals. This reduces the need for frequent cooking and helps minimize food waste.

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