by Olena

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs

Olena's image
Olena Osipov
4.9 from 9 votes

This post contains affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy.

These Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs are tender and practically fall apart while loaded with a healthy, Thai sweet chili sauce. Plus, this recipe is almost entirely hands-off and can be made with chicken breast and whole chicken, too!

Prefer fish? Why not try this Thai broiled sweet chili salmon or cedar plank salmon (with sweet chili sauce). You can even use it to brush over grilled shrimp!

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs on plate with rice and garnish

Tender, Juicy Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs

I love Thai sweet chili sauce; it’s sweet, tangy, spicy, and sticky – perfect for serving over proteins, using as a dipping sauce, or in this case using to make delicious slow cooker Thai chicken thighs! With only 3 minutes of prep, crockpot Thai chicken results in wonderfully tender and juicy chicken – perfect for serving up alongside rice (or this Thai cauliflower rice), noodles, pad Thai ‘zoodles‘, or even a Thai salad!

At times when I’m extra busy, my Instant Pot and slow cooker become my best friends. Simple recipes like these slow cooker Thai chicken thighs, slow cooker whole chicken, porcupine meatballs, turkey meatloaf, and crockpot butter chicken help me keep my family fed (and myself sane!).

Why This Thai Chicken Recipe Works?

  • Only minutes of prep: 3 minutes and your slow cooker Thai chicken thighs recipe is ready for the crockpot!
  • Tender, juicy chicken: Slow cooker sweet chili chicken is completely hands-off once in the crockpot and results in fall of the bone chicken!
  • Less sodium and less sugar: Homemade Thai sweet chili sauce is healthier than store-bought.
  • Variety: Cook Thai chicken recipe as is or mix up this recipe with the addition of veggies (and/ or pineapple).
  • Versatile: Can be made with different cuts of chicken and cooking methods – all included below!
  • The chicken is still lightly crispy and browned: With a quick pre-sear of the chicken.
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs

Ingredients in Crockpot Thai Chicken Thighs

  • Chicken: I use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. However, you could also use boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts (read FAQ/recipe notes for more info).
  • Thai sweet chili sauce: I used homemade Thai sweet chili sauce, which is healthier and easier to tweak to personal preference. It also contains far less sodium than store-bought options too and just 5 ingredients!

Meal prep Thai sweet chili sauce ahead of time, it can be refrigerated for week or frozen for months!

  • Garnish: Green onions (scallions) make for a great garnish to this crockpot Thai chicken.

Keep reading below (after the recipe how-to) for more information on any add-ins and recipe variations!

slow cooker thai chicken ingredients

How to Make Thai Sweet Chili Chicken in Slow Cooker

  • Pan-sear the chicken: Preheat a large non-stick ceramic skillet over medium heat (no oil necessary). Then, add half the chicken, skin-side down. Cover lightly (to stop the fat spitting) and cook until the skin is crispy and browned (around 4-5 minutes). Then turn and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Then, drain the fat from the skillet and repeat the above steps with the remaining chicken.
  • Transfer to the slow cooker: Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker, skin-side up, in a single layer. Pour the Thai sweet chili sauce over the top, cover, and cook- either on low for between 5-6 hours or on high for 2.5-3 hours.
  • Garnish and serve: When ready, serve up the slow cooker Thai chicken thighs topped with finely sliced green onions (scallions) and the sides of your choice.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Vegetables: To make an Asian-style ‘sweet chili chicken’ stir-fry dish, you could add vegetables. The ‘classic’ options include shredded/peeled carrots, bell peppers, and onion. You could also include mange tout (snow peas)/other flat green beans, broccoli, etc. Read recipe notes for the method.   
  • Pineapple: This addition is more closely related to non-Thai style sweet chili. However, it is delicious. I recommend adding around 1 cup chopped pineapple – at the same time you’d add any vegetables (read recipe notes section).
  • Sesame seeds: You can use raw or lightly toasted sesame seeds as a garnish for this Thai chicken recipe.
  • Herbs: You could optionally add other herbs like dried lemongrass or cilantro – lightly sprinkled over the chicken.  

If your family loves Thai flavors, they might also like these Thai meatballs, Thai chicken salad, shrimp curry, chicken curry or Thai chicken soup!

Tips for Best Thai Chicken Thighs Results

  • For boneless skinless thighs: You can reduce the slow cooker time for around 5 hours on low or 2 hours on high. However, I’d also add ½ cup water to the crockpot Thai chicken.
  • To add vegetables: To prepare a kind of sweet chili chicken’ stir fry’ style meal is simple. After the chicken is ready, remove it from the slow cooker and use two forks to shred it (or slice it into smaller pieces). Then return the chicken to the slow cooker along with any juices from your work surface. At the same time, add in the sliced vegetables (i.e., onion, carrot, bell pepper, etc.). Stir and then cover and cook on high for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender to your liking. If you don’t mind the veggies being very tender, you can add them at the beginning.
  • The slow cooker times: Be aware that if you’re using a smaller crockpot (more tightly packed), it will take longer to cook through. So just keep an eye on it (and keep a meat thermometer handy if you have one).
  • For a thicker sauce to serve over the chicken: You can create a cornstarch slurry with 1tbsp of cornstarch and water mixed. Then, you can either add it to the slow cooker 30 minutes before serving, mix well and allow it to simmer and thicken. Alternatively, once the chicken is removed, add it, and cook on high for several minutes.
  • For the crispiest results: Don’t omit the pan-searing step! It’s the only way to get browned results when making crockpot Thai chicken.

FAQs

Can I bake Thai chicken thighs?

Yes – you can use this baked chicken thighs method, brushing the chicken with the sauce before baking.

Can I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs and will it still taste good?

Yes, it will still taste great, but with less fat. I recommend cooking it for around 5 hours on low or 2 hours on high. I would also add 1/2 cup water (since the fat will create less of a ‘sauce’ at the bottom of the pot).

Can I use chicken breasts?

You sure can – though the meat is leaner, so it won’t be quite as juicy. You’ll also need to reduce the time so you don’t overcook the chicken. I recommend reducing it by around an hour and possibly adding 1/2 cup water.

Can I cook sweet chili whole chicken?

Yes, you could use a small whole chicken in the slow cooker for this Thai sweet chili chicken. To do so, place the chicken in the slow cooker and then brush it with the sweet chili sauce. Then cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or 3-4 hours on high. To make sure it’s cooked, use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature has reached 170F/76.7C. You can cook the chicken with or without the skin.

Can I make this in an Instant Pot?

Yes, you should be able to. I recommend that you sauté the chicken lightly in the Instant Pot first to brown, then use this method, adding the sauce to the instant pot.

How to Serve Slow Cooker Sweet Chili Chicken Thighs?

There are several ways that you can enjoy this slow cooker Thai sweet chili chicken, including:

You can also use the leftovers (chilled) to toss into wraps, salads, and grain bowls!

Making This Recipe in Advance

Make ahead: You can prepare the Thai sweet chili sauce and store it in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. It can become thicker/slightly cloudy when chilled. To use for this, just reheat it lightly to bring it back to the correct consistency to pour over the chicken thighs.

Storing: Store any leftover Thai sweet chili chicken in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  

Freeze: Allow the crockpot Thai chicken thighs to cool, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Allow the chicken to thaw overnight in the fridge before enjoying cold/reheating.

Top Tip: Once cooked, I like to slice or shred any leftovers. That way, they’re easier to store and reheat- plus can be added to several types of dishes

Reheat: You can reheat the sweet chili chicken on the stovetop until piping hot.

More Chicken Thighs Recipes

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs {2 Ingredients!}

These Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs are tender and practically fall apart while loaded with a healthy, Thai sweet chili sauce. Plus, this recipe is almost entirely hands-off and can be made with chicken breast and whole chicken, too!
4.89 from 9 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Thai
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 48 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 530kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs chicken thighs bone in and skin on
  • 1/2 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
  • Green onions finely chopped (for garnish)

Instructions

  • Preheat nonstick ceramic skillet on medium heat and place half of the chicken skin side down. Cover (mostly to minimize fat splattering) and cook until skin is crispy brown, about 4-5 minutes. Turn, cook for another 3-4 minutes and transfer to skin side up in a layer. Drain fat from skillet and repeat this step with remaining chicken.
    Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs
  • Pour Thai sweet chili sauce on top, cover and cook on Low for 5-6 hours or on High for 2.5-3 hours.
    Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs
  • Serve hot garnished with green onions, a side of brown rice/quinoa and a salad of choice. That is it!
    Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs

Make ahead: You can prepare the Thai sweet chili sauce and store it in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. It can become thicker/slightly cloudy when chilled. To use for this, just reheat it lightly to bring it back to the correct consistency to pour over the chicken thighs.

    Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

      Notes

      • For boneless skinless thighs: Reduce the slow cooker time for around 5 hours on low or 2 hours on high. However, I’d also add ½ cup water to the crockpot Thai chicken.
      • To add vegetables: To prepare a kind of sweet chili chicken’ stir fry’ style meal is simple. After the chicken is ready, remove it from the slow cooker and use two forks to shred it (or slice it into smaller pieces). Then return the chicken to the slow cooker along with any juices from your work surface. At the same time, add in the sliced vegetables (i.e., onion, carrot, bell pepper, etc.). Stir and then cover and cook on high for 20-30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender to your liking. If you don’t mind the veggies being very tender, you can add them at the beginning.
      • The slow cooker times: Be aware that if you’re using a smaller crockpot (more tightly packed), it will take longer to cook through. So just keep an eye on it (and keep a meat thermometer handy if you have one).
      • For a thicker sauce to serve over the chicken: You can create a cornstarch slurry with 1tbsp of cornstarch and water mixed. Then, you can either add it to the slow cooker 30 minutes before serving, mix well and allow it to simmer and thicken. Alternatively, once the chicken is removed, add it, and cook on high for several minutes.
      • For the crispiest results: Don’t omit the pan-searing step! It’s the only way to get browned results when making crockpot Thai chicken.
      See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

      Nutrition

      Calories: 530kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 222mg | Sodium: 334mg | Potassium: 465mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 177IU | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 2mg
      Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

      Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes anywhere including social media, print and all world wide web. Nutritional info is provided for informational purposes only and to the best knowledge.

      The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. You assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

      This page may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure policy. ifoodreal.com is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep iFOODreal recipes free. Thanks for your support!