These sticky honey garlic chicken thighs are delicious and easy. Crispy skinned chicken thighs slow cooked in a homemade honey garlic sauce will make you want to skip takeout forever. Serve over rice for the perfect chicken dinner recipe.
Usually crispy skin isn't much of an option in a slow cooker because it uses a moist heat cooking method. But we're giving these sticky honey garlic chicken thighs a couple of minutes under the grill/ broiler to get that skin crispy.
What you end up with is a tender savoury chicken thigh with golden crispy skin drizzled with a sticky gingery honey garlic soy sauce!
Why this recipe works
- It's easy and budget friendly!
- A slow cooker recipe so you have a low effort dinner.
- The honey garlic soy sauce infuses the chicken while it cooks meaning it is so full of flavour.
- You can still get a crispy skin on this chicken even though it's a slow cooker gem!
- The sauce can be used as a marinade overnight for the chicken to get an even fuller flavour.
- fresh ginger
- fresh garlic
- clear runny honey- go for a cheap one here. Don't use any fancy stuff.
- dark soy sauce- you can use light soy sauce too, your sauce will just have a milder flavour
- cider vinegar- any kind of acid will work here. Lemon juice, white wine vinegar or just plain distilled vinegar.
- Sriracha- for some heat to balance the sweetness of the honey
- vegetable stock from a stock cube- you can use water or chicken stock for this part. I just wanted a little bit more flavour than water but not as much saltiness from using chicken stock.
- chicken thighs- bone in, skin on. These are the cheapest, so this recipe makes the most of them, rather than boning and skinning them.
See the recipe card for quantities.
Step By Step Instructions
Step 1 & 2
- Start with a little bit of vegetable oil- about 1 tablespoon maybe a little bit more over medium heat in a medium sauce pan.
- Once the oil is hot, it will shimmer, gently fry the garlic and ginger until they are just starting to turn golden and fragrant.
- This should only take about 3-5 minutes.
Step 3 & 4
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for about 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened but is still pourable.
Top Tip- be sure to not over reduce the sauce. It will be gently bubbling away in the slow cooker for a few hours. Although there won't be any evaporation because the lid will be on the crock pot, the sugar and honey will thicken as they heat up.
Step 5 & 6
- Sear the chicken in a non stick or cast iron skillet to get the skin golden and crispy. We're not looking to cook the chicken at all, so this process shouldn't take more than 10 minutes.
- Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in your skillet and once it's hot, add the chicken thighs skin side down and sear for about 7-10 minutes until the skin is golden.
- Place the chicken thighs in the bowl of your slow cooker and pour the honey garlic sauce over them. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours.
Top Tip- When making the sauce, skip the salt because the soy sauce and vegetable stock will add enough seasoning. If you find you'd like some extra seasoning add it at the end of the cooking process, right before serving.
Step 7 & 8
Once the chicken is cooked place the thighs on a foil lined baking tray and place them under the grill/ broiler for about 5 minutes to crisp up the skin. *The honey will burn easily so be sure to watch closely that they don't burn.
This honey garlic chicken is begging to be paired with some green vegetables and some fluffy white rice. For greens I've use pak choi, but steamed green beans or broccoli also make a natural pairing.
You absolutely can! If you want to make this in the oven follow the chicken searing process from step 5 and once your chicken is golden, simply pour your homemade honey garlic sauce over the thighs in the skillet and bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes.
*A special note on this one- the oven is a dry heat cooking process so you will have evaporation from your sauce. So be sure to not over reduce.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Cooked chicken thighs can also be frozen in the sauce for up to 3 months.
Substitutions & Variations
There isn't much to substitute in this recipe but there are a couple of variations that you can try out.
- Spicy- turn up the heat with extra Sriracha and crushed chilli flakes in the sauce
- Noodles - serve this saucy Asian chicken over noodles- use gluten free noodles if you need to
- Toppings - I've topped this chicken with simple chopped coriander/ cilantro but you can add some chopped roasted peanuts, sliced green onions and extra chilli flakes
This honey chilli chicken is a similar recipe but uses chicken breast instead.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. You don't need a lot of equipment. For a professional chef I have a surprisingly minimalist kitchen.
Here are the kitchen items I recommend to help you make sure this recipe turns out perfect.
Need help with meal planning? You can find our (Aldi ingredients only) weekly meal plans here! Sign up to receive them free every week or take our quick meal planning course and grab the blank meal planner and use all these recipes to create your own meal plans. Follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook.
Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken
For the sauce
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) vegetable oil
- 6 cloves (6 cloves) garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) fresh ginger, minced
- 25 g (⅛ cups) dark brown sugar
- 150 g (⅖ cups) honey* see notes
- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) dark soy sauce *see notes
- 2 tablespoons (2 tablespoons) cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon) Sriracha
- 600 ml (2 ⅖ cups) vegetable stock
For the chicken
- 1 tablespoon (1 tablespoon) vegetable oil
- 6-8 (6-8) chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
- ½ (½) bunch fresh coriander
- Pak choi or steamed broccoli
- Cooked basmati or long-grain white rice
- Chopped coriander
- Heat the teaspoon of oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, it will shimmer. Add the garlic and ginger to the oil and gently fry for 3-5 minutes until they’re golden and fragrant.
- Add the brown sugar, honey, soy sauce, cider vinegar, vegetable stock, and Sriracha. Bring the sauce to a boil and turn it down. Continue to simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Heat the oil in a nonstick or cast-iron skillet. Once the oil is hot it will shimmer. Place the chicken skin-side down and sear over medium heat until the chicken skin is golden and crispy.
- Remove the chicken from the skillet, place the thighs in the bowl of your slow cooker and pour the honey garlic sauce over them.
- Cook on low heat for 6 hours or high for 4 hours.
- Serve with fluffy rice and green veggies. Scatter with chopped coriander and cashews.
- To get crispy skin- line a baking tray with foil and place the chicken thighs on the tray skin side up. Place the chicken under the grill (broiler) for about 5 minutes until the skin is crispy.
- Be sure to keep a watch on the chicken while it’s under the grill. The skin will brown very quickly because of the honey and brown sugar.
- Use the cheapest honey that you can find. This is not the place to use the fancy stuff.
- This sauce is bold and punchy with dark soy sauce. You can use light soy sauce here, but the sauce will have a milder flavor.