by Olena

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs

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Olena Osipov

These Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs are tender, juicy, and practically fall apart while loaded with a healthy, homemade Thai sweet chili sauce (ready in just minutes!). 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! Not only does this recipe take practically minutes to prep, but it’s then completely hands-off until you’re ready to serve the tender, juicy, flavorful Thai sweet chili chicken with your sides of choice!

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!).

This time, though, we’re making a Thai chicken recipe, or more specifically, slow cooker sweet chili chicken. Plus, by using homemade sweet chili sauce, this recipe is still far healthier than many versions- while also packed with flavor! When cooked in a slow cooker, the results are wonderfully tender and juicy too – perfect for serving up alongside rice (or this Thai cauliflower rice), noodles, pad Thai ‘zoodles‘, or even a Thai salad!

Did I mention that this Thai chicken recipe is also super versatile? You can mix up the type of chicken used, add veggies to the sauce, change the cooking process (including baked and Instant Pot). No matter what, you’ll be scarfing down Thai sweet chili chicken as soon as possible!

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

Why This Thai Chicken Recipe Works?

  • This slow cooker Thai chicken thighs recipe requires just minutes of prep!
  • Slow cooker sweet chili chicken is completely hands-off once in the crockpot, cooking slowly throughout the day for tender, juicy chicken!
  • The homemade Thai sweet chili sauce is healthier than store-bought, with less sodium, sugar, and easy to adjust!
  • You can cook this Thai chicken recipe as is or mix up this recipe with the addition of veggies (and/ or pineapple).
  • This Thai chicken recipe can be made with different cuts of chicken and cooking methods – all included below!
  • The chicken is still lightly crispy and browned (even though slow cookers steam/soften food!)– 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!
  • 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.  

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!

How to Make Ahead and Store?

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

You might also enjoy browsing through my entire collection of healthy chicken 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, juicy, and practically fall apart while loaded with a healthy, homemade Thai sweet chili sauce (ready in just minutes!). Plus, this recipe is almost entirely hands-off and can be made with chicken breast and whole chicken, too!
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 a large slow cooker 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

      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
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      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

      24 comments on “Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Thighs

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      1. 5 stars
        This was a great recipe. Our girls (8&11) asked for seconds. Rare! You vaguely reference removing soy sauce from the recipe. Can you provide the original? We’d like to try it with the soy sauce too. Thanks!

      2. Question: I don’t have a slow cooker but I have an instant pot. Do you think it would work using the slow cooker option on my IP?
        TIA

      3. 5 stars
        Great chicken! Super easy, including making the Thai chili sauce. Added some rice snd sn Asian chopped salad et voila – a delicious dinner!

      4. 5 stars
        Recipe looks great but the intrusive ads one must plow through makes it doubtful that I would want to follow your website

      5. 5 stars
        I have a couple of quick questions…could you also use chicken breasts if you’re not a big fan of dark meat? Yes, I know that the thighs are juicier and have more flavor! And on the side salad, is that a feta or goat cheese? Thanks!

      6. 5 stars
        Pairs perfectly with your Thai Cauliflower Rice! Delish!

        The sauce was great to flavor and cook the chicken with. The meat was juicy and tender and came right off the bone. I will make this again. Thank you for the recipe 🙂

      7. If I use boneless and skinless chicken thighs, how long would it need to cook for and would it not be as flavorful?

        1. Hi Jillian. Well, not that many because there are bones and skin. I would say 8-10 average American size chicken thighs, they shrink too. You could always freeze the leftovers.:)

      8. 5 stars
        I made this for dinner last night. It came out so good!! Just the right amount of sweetness and spice. And it is comforting to know I am using all real ingredients. Great recipe Olena ?

        1. Wohoo, Amanda! I agree. I used soy sauce the first test and chicken was too salty. This recipe also pushed me to make Thai sauce and keep it on hand. Very handy for those lazy dinners when you have no idea what to cook. Glad you liked it!

      9. Thanks for this simple recipe AND the great reminder about stepping back and simply enjoying our lives while we can. It’s something I see my own families forgetting to do and it drives me more than a little crazy! They sure don’t want my advice either.

        I’ve been really curious about the ceramic skillets for a long time and now I know, thank you the recommendation! Looks like I’ll be doing a little self gifting this Christmas! Husband and I don’t usually buy each other gifts at Christmas time, we treat each other with surprises throughout the year.

        Two ingredients is a great recipe for most anyone this busy time of year, but me, without little ones to shuttle around, or lots of parties to worry about, it just looks simple and delicious and often recipes that are simple are the best! Plus I gotta say, your Thai sweet chili sauce is the best!

        I vote for both recipes next week! Sorry, sometimes choosing is hard to do. If I have to choose, I’ll choose the rum balls. They are a Christmas tradition here that my family always looks forward to. Yet I have to find a good recipe that’s not full of sugar with store bought cookies that sugar in them, and corn syrup. Would love to replace my unhealthy one!

        1. Hey Laurel. Are you talking about your kids? Your daughters-in-law? Haha. I’m sure looking forward to that stage in my life when I have no say and we all know women run the house and I have boys. Sigh. It will all work out. By that time I probably will care less and will be sipping white wine on a beach in Mexico during the holidays.
          I have 2 skillets: cast iron and ceramic. Do not buy an expensive ceramic skillet because it lasts 6 months the most. Things start sticking to it and you have to replace it.
          Me and Alex spend money on travel and do not buy gifts either. We have everything we can possibly want to have.
          Rum balls coming next.:) Have a great weekend and take it easy. Remember, experience comes with years. I sure didn’t listen to my mom’s advice much when I was 20 or even 30. I listen a bit now haha.

          1. Oh boy, sadly, Olena, I am talking about my EX-daughter-in law! She definitely feels that collecting things and climbing that corporate ladder is more important than experiencing life as a family outdoors and doing things together. It has been hard, but somehow, after 5 years they’ve finally learned to put their anger aside and are working together at putting their two kids, now 10 and almost 14, in front of their anger and my sons hurt.(he was completely blindsided) My other daughter in law is as sweet as can be! They may or may not have children, it we think of her as another daughter. Our son in law…lets just say we are his mom and dad too and love him like our own! He is always asking for advice. Then not taking it! Lol! It’s a crazy mixed up family family where variety abounds! Our youngest is 30 and is evaluating his life and situation. He is motivated to earn an education and now in school causing some differences with his relationship. So we will see. He knows there will no be no children in his future.

            Me and Dick are so very content and grateful to have happiness and overlook kids and grandkids that we feel Christmas is more fun to just sit back and cook, gift the grandchildren with a few small items they request and watch them have fun teasing, laughing, and joking with us, one another and their anunts and uncles. As you said, it’s the memories. I hardly even get my camera out anymore because I used to miss the fun trying to ‘capture’ everything, you know? I’d rather be part of the moment and just remember that now!

            Thanks for leaning in my direction with the rum balls, and for the pan information. I am going to try one.

            1. Sounds like a well rounded family, Laurel. A normal family haha.
              I don’t want to think about what if my boys’ personal lives do not work out. N point. I will deal with ti if problem arises. Bu ta thought of one of them marrying someone we don’t get along scares me sometimes. One day at a time.
              I stopped taking a million of pictures, deleted my personal social media accounts and chose to live in the moment for my own memories. Good for you! Very few people do that nowadays. Everything seems to be a show… for who?! In a way, technology is stealing real life from us.

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