Thai Crock Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe will show you how to cook chicken thighs in slow cooker until they are tender. Coated in delicious Thai sweet chili sauce, this chicken recipe goes so well with rice and simple salad.

Other family favorites include Thai chicken salad, Thai chicken curry and Thai chicken butternut squash soup.

Chicken thighs cooked in crockpot in sauce and garnished with red pepper flakes and scallions.

I love Thai sweet chili sauce. It’s sweet, tangy, spicy, and sticky. Perfect for using as a dipping sauce or today we are making delicious Thai crock pot chicken thighs with it.

First we sear the chicken until crispy skin appears. Then chicken thighs cook in slow cooker in flavorful Thai sauce until wonderfully tender and juicy. Perfect for serving up alongside rice or noodles.

Simple recipes like these slow cooker chicken thighs, Instant Pot Thai chicken soup, crockpot chicken and rice and crockpot butter chicken help to put quick and easy dinner on the table any day.

Ingredients and Notes

To make Thai chicken thighs in crock pot, you will need just a few simple ingredients. If you are really short on time, feel free to use store-bought sweet chili sauce.

Chicken thighs, maple syrup, red pepper flakes, salt, garlic, rice vinegar, cornstarch.
  • Chicken thighs: I use skin-on bone-in chicken thighs. If you would like to use boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts please see tips section below.
  • Thai sweet chili sauce: I used homemade sweet chili sauce recipe that is made with maple syrup, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes, garlic, salt and cornstarch. It is a bit healthier than store-bought option, however I have to say its ingredients have improved over the years and you can use one in a pinch.
  • Salt and pepper: To season chicken thighs when pan frying.
  • Garnish: Green onions make for a great garnish to this crock pot chicken thighs recipe but it’s an optional ingredient.

How to Make Thai Chicken Thighs in Crock Pot

Here is a quick overview how to make chicken thighs in crock pot in 4 simple steps. I used my beloved 7 quart Crockpot but you can use any small crockpot or medium size crockpot.

Step by step process how to make sweet chili sauce, then pan sear the chicken thighs and cook with sauce in slow cooker.
  • Make Thai sweet chili sauce: In a small pot, combine maple syrup, water, rice vinegar, cornstarch, garlic, red pepper flakes and salt. Whisk well, bring to a boil until sauce has thickened, just a few minutes. Set aside.
  • Pan sear the chicken: Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides. Then sear in batches with a bit of oil on medium-high heat until skin becomes crispy and meat browned a bit. No need to cook chicken through.
  • Slow cook chicken thighs in slow cooker: Transfer chicken thighs skin side up to the slow cooker and pour the sauce on top. No need for a single layer and you can stack them. Cover with a lid and cook crock pot chicken thighs on Low heat for 6 hours or on High heat for 3 hours.
  • Finish and garnish: Now your chicken is ready! You can also let the sauce thicken a bit by removing the lid and let chicken thighs cook in slow cooker for another 20 minutes on High heat. Then spoon some sauce on top of chicken and garnish with green onions.

How Long to Cook Chicken Thighs in a Crock Pot?

How long to cook chicken thighs in crock pot depends on two factors:

  • The age and size of your crock pot
  • And whether you use bone-in skin-on chicken thighs or boneless chicken thighs.

My Crockpot is brand new and it took 3 hours on High heat or 6 hours on Low heat to cook these chicken thighs until tender. You know your slow cooker best! If it has tendency to run not as hot, cook these crock pot chicken thighs for 3.5-4 hours on High or 7 hours on Low.

I use 7 quart crock pot, so it is quite large. Be aware that if you’re using a smaller crockpot, chicken thighs will be more tightly packed and it will take longer to cook through. So just keep an eye on it and keep a meat thermometer handy, if you have one.

Bone-in thighs takes longer time to cook through. For boneless thighs, you can reduce the slow cooking time to 5 hours on Low or 2 hours on High.

Slow cooker chicken thighs served with rice on a plate with golden fork.

Tips for Best Results

Here are my top tips for the best crock pot chicken thighs recipe in the world!

  • For boneless skinless chicken thighs: You can reduce the cook time to 5 hours on Low or 2 hours on High. Also be sure to add 1/2 cup water to the crockpot as they release less juice.
  • If using boneless skinless chicken breasts: Cook crock pot chicken breasts on Low heat for 3-4 hours or on High heat for 2 hours.
  • For a thicker sauce to serve over the chicken: You can create a slurry with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Then add it to the slow cooker and simmer on High for 20-30 minutes. I recommend to remove chicken prior to thickening the sauce.
  • For more crispy chicken results: First of all, don’t skip pan searing the chicken. Of course, skin on chicken thighs softens up during slow cooking. You can always place it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Variations

There are numerous ways to add fun flavors to your slow cooker chicken thighs and make it a one pot meal!

  • Add vegetables at the end: After the chicken thighs are ready, remove them from the slow cooker. Add in vegetables like shredded or sliced carrots, bell peppers, and onion. You could also include snow peas, snap peas, green beans or broccoli. Stir, cover and cook on high for 20-30 minutes,or until the vegetables are tender to your liking.
  • Pineapple: I recommend adding around 1 cup of chopped pineapple before cooking chicken thighs in crock pot.
  • Sesame seeds: Use raw or toasted sesame seeds as a garnish.
  • Fresh herbs: Fresh basil or fresh cilantro sprinkled over the Thai chicken will taste amazing!

What to Serve Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs With?

There are several ways that you can enjoy these crock pot chicken thighs:

  • Grains: Serve chicken thighs alongside a portion of brown rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice.
  • Noodles: Shred or slice chicken thighs and serve over your favorite noodles or spaghetti.
  • Veggies: One of the easiest ways to add veggies with your crockpot chicken thighs recipe is to serve baked veggies on a side like roasted asparagus recipe or roasted cauliflower.
  • Salad: Pair it with a simple salad!

Recipe 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 like wraps, salads and grain bowls!

How to Store and Reheat

Store: Store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  

Freeze: Allow slow cooker chicken thighs to cool completely. Then transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw chicken overnight in the fridge before enjoying cold or reheating.

Reheat: You can reheat chicken thighs in a small pot by simmering on the stovetop on low heat.

FAQs

Can I make it ahead?

Yes. Prepare sweet chili sauce and store it in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. It can become slightly thicker which is OK for this crock pot chicken thighs recipe. Then just pan sear the chicken and slow cook with sauce.

Should I brown chicken thighs before slow cooking?

Yes. Don’t skip this step as pan searing the chicken adds a lot of flavor to the dish.

Can I make this in an Instant Pot?

Yes. Just follow my instructions in this Instant Pot chicken thighs recipe.

Can you over cook chicken thighs in slow cooker?

Yes. If you cook chicken thighs for too long, they lose a lot of liquid and shrink. Plus the texture will be very unpleasant and soft. Please follow the recipe and use a timer if you are not home.

Can I cook frozen chicken thighs in slow cooker?

No. Allowing chicken to slowly defrost in slow cooker is not safe. According to USDA, it can result in foodborn illnesses.

More Chicken Thighs Recipes to Try

You might also enjoy browsing through my entire collection of healthy chicken recipes.

More Crock Pot Chicken Recipes

Thai chicken thighs in crock pot garnished with green onions.
Thai chicken thighs in crock pot garnished with green onions.

Thai Crock Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe

Thai Crock Pot Chicken Thighs Recipe will show you how to cook chicken thighs in slow cooker until tender. Then pair with rice and simple salad.
4.94 from 15 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 673
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Make Thai sweet chili sauce as per recipe.
  • Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and pan sear chicken until skin is crispy and meat is golden brown, working in batches. No need to cook it through.
  • Transfer chicken to the bottom of slow cooker and pour sweet chili sauce on top. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 3 hours.
  • After your chicken thighs are ready. If you would like to slightly thicken the sauce, cook with a lid open on High heat for 20-30 minutes.
  • Serve chicken thighs hot garnished with green onions, a side of rice or quinoa and a simple salad.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: In an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.
  • For boneless skinless chicken thighs: You can reduce the cook time to 5 hours on Low or 2 hours on High. Also be sure to add 1/2 cup water to the crockpot as they release less juice.
  • The slow cooker times: If you’re using a smaller crockpot, chicken will take longer to cook through. Also some slow cooker run lower, so add a bit more cook time.

Nutrition

Serving: 2 chicken thighs | Calories: 673kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 283mg | Sodium: 423mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 8g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Recipe looks great but the intrusive ads one must plow through makes it doubtful that I would want to follow your website

  2. 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!

  3. 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 🙂

  4. 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.:)

  5. 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!

  6. 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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