Why you’ll love this recipe:
When life feels like a crazy whirlwind of kids’ sports and homework, crockpot teriyaki chicken is my dinner of choice. It’s faster to prep it than to pick up a takeout AND it’s better too! It’s a classic dump-and-go meal with umami-rich results. Just throw some chicken in the slow cooker, pour the teriyaki sauce on top, and enjoy it three hours later. It’s that easy!
The chicken slowly cooks until it’s tender and shreddable, while the sauce thickens into a glaze-like consistency. Fresh ginger and garlic create a complex flavor that complements the sweet sauce. My family loves this simple meal!
I like to serve this dish with white rice and steamed broccoli, but it goes with nearly any veg! For a quick shortcut, you can buy a bag of microwaveable rice and call it a night.
Key Ingredient Notes:
- Chicken breasts – Chicken breasts or thighs work great for this slow-cooker chicken teriyaki. If you use chicken thighs, it’s best to trim some of the excess fat. Dark meat tends to be moister, but the chicken breasts come out tender and shreddable!
- Soy sauce – I prefer to get reduced sodium since soy sauce is high in sodium. If you can’t tolerate gluten, swap soy sauce with Tamari. Tamari is the Japanese version of soy sauce and it doesn’t contain wheat.
- Mirin – Mirin is a rice wine made from glutinous rice. It has a subtly sweet, umami flavor. You can typically find it in the international aisle, along with soy sauce. If you can’t find it, rice wine vinegar can be used in its place.
- Cornstarch – Thickens the sauce into a glaze!
- Garlic & ginger – Fresh garlic and ginger add a boost of flavor. After you peel the ginger, you can grate it on a microplane.
How to make this recipe:
- Make the teriyaki sauce: In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, white sugar, mirin, cornstarch, water, garlic, and ginger. Set it aside.
- Combine: In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, add the chicken breast. Pour the teriyaki sauce over top.
- Cook: Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours. The chicken will be tender and easy to shred with a fork. Try not to overcook the chicken or it will dry out.
- Shred: Carefully transfer the chicken breasts to a large bowl. It’s easier to shred in a bowl than the slow cooker. Shred with two forks, then transfer the shredded chicken back into the crockpot. Stir to coat with sauce.
Serve: Serve the chicken over rice, topped with green onion and sesame seeds.
- Don’t overcook the chicken. Low and slow gives you fall-apart and tender chicken that’s easy to shred. But you can overcook it! Overcooked chicken tastes dry, so try to stick to 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
- If you love dark meat, use chicken thighs. Just be sure to buy boneless skinless chicken thighs for easy shredding and less mess.
- Shred the chicken in a separate bowl. If you do it right in the slow cooker, you have to fish around to try and find all the chicken chunks to shred. It’s much easier in a bowl!
- You can combine the teriyaki sauce and refrigerate until ready to start the slow cooker. Then all you have to do is dump it in and turn it on!
- If you have a large crockpot, you can double this recipe and freeze half of it for later. Two meals in one! Simply transfer the shredded chicken in teriyaki sauce into a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To store: Transfer leftover teriyaki chicken to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- To freeze: Chicken teriyaki is freezer-friendly! Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
- To reheat: Let the chicken thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat individual portions on a heat-safe plate in the microwave until hot throughout. Or reheat a large batch in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat.
Yes! Slow cookers are designed to cook raw meat safely without the risk of foodborne illness or bacteria. A slow cooker reaches about 200 degrees Fahrenheit on low and thus safely brings chicken to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
If possible, it’s best to cook chicken breasts on low in the slow cooker. This will give you the best results! When you cook the chicken breasts on high, they come out slightly drier. If you have to cook them on high, they will still taste delicious coated in homemade teriyaki sauce!
White rice is a classic side that sops up the sweet glaze! For a healthier option, you could serve it with brown rice. It also tastes great with soba or buckwheat noodles, roasted or steamed broccoli, fried rice, stir fried veggies like snow peas, carrots, green beans, zucchini, and mushrooms.
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken
- slow cooker
- 3 pounds chicken breast Note 1
- ¾ cup soy sauce Note 2
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ⅓ cup mirin Note 3
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- sliced green onion for garnish
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, brown sugar, white sugar, mirin, cornstarch, water, garlic and ginger. Set aside.
- To a 4 quart or larger slow cooker, add the chicken breast and pour over the soy sauce mixture.
- Cook on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours or until the chicken is tender and shreddable.
- Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and shred using two forks. Add the chicken back into the slow cooker with the teriyaki sauce and stir.
- Serve the chicken over rice and garnish with the sesame seeds and green onion. Enjoy!
– To store: Transfer leftover teriyaki chicken to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
– To freeze: Chicken teriyaki is freezer-friendly! Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months.
– To reheat: Let the chicken thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Reheat individual portions on a heat-safe plate in the microwave until hot throughout. Or reheat a large batch in a pot on the stovetop over medium heat.
* Disclaimer: All nutrition information are estimates only. Read full nutrition disclosure.
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