Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken

Honey Soy Chicken is a family favorite you will make again and again!

This Honey Soy Chicken is seeping with flavor with hardly any effort – now that’s my kind of dinner!  The chicken cooks in a sticky sauce made of honey, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, hoisin, rice vinegar, garlic and onions.  It will have your taste buds skipping for joy and your family skipping the takeout!   This Honey Soy Chicken also reheats well and freezes beatifically for meal prep or make ahead dinners!  

up close of sticky honey soy chicken in the crockpot

About Honey Soy Chicken Recipe

I have been trying to pace myself and not overload you with slow cooker recipes lately, so sharing 4 in the last 2 weeks is me showing restraint, but with one taste of this Honey Soy Chicken, you’ll be begging for more – more honey soy chicken and more slow cooker recipes.

This Honey Soy Chicken recipe joins my Mongolian Chicken and my Sesame Chicken which both cook in the crockpot AKA no breading chicken (which means healthier Honey Soy Chicken!), no babysitting the chicken, simply  throwing the ingredients into the slow cooker to simmer, soak and slurp up flavor while the house fills with the tempting aromas of tender, juicy, fakeout takeout chicken all while  go about my my day.

So in other words, i think I could live of of this Honey Soy Chicken for the rest of my life.  I’d never get tired of “cooking” and I’d never get tired of the Asian inspired multidimensional layered flavor heaven.  So I suggest you make his Honey Soy Chicken recipe soon– so you too can taste layered flavor heaven.  Its a delicious place to be and so easy to get there.

In fact, whenever someone tells me my recipes look great but they don’t cook, I tell them to check out my Slow Cooker recipes (click HERE), because, anyone can throw ingredients into a slow cooker and fool everyone into thinking you are a chef!  And with one bite of this Honey Soy Chicken, you will fool them all.

up close of sticky honey soy chicken thighs in a bowl of rice.

Ingredients for Honey Soy Sauce

This Honey Soy Chicken is my go-to Asian Chicken.  Its classic Chinese flavors – savory, slightly sweet with hints of Asian sweet chili sauce, garlic, ginger and my secret ingredient – blackberry preserves.

I first paired blackberry preserves with Asian cuisine in my Blackberry Hoisin Ginger Pork Tenderloin and loved it so much I continue to use preserves in many of my recipes because they add an absolutely delectable sweet yet full bodied flavor instead of just plain sugar. Hopefully soon you can taste exactly what I mean with this Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken.

In addition to blackberry preserves, here is what you need to make this Honey Soy Chicken:

  • Honey. This adds a mild sweet flowery taste without having to use additional sugar.  You can use any honey  you have on hand. 
  • Soy sauce. The combination of honey and soy sauce is heavenly!  The soy sauce balances out the sweetness of the honey. Please use only reduced sodium soy sauce or your honey soy chicken will be too salty.  
  • Blackberry preserves. As previously discussed, it adds a sweet, complex richness. Please don’t skip it.  If you don’t have blackberry preserves, you can substitute with strawberry or apricot. 
  • Asian sweet chili sauce. I use this Asian condiment ALL the time.  It is sweet and spicy and packed with flavor.  I love using it instead of extra sugar because it is sweet but also packs a flavorful punch with a slight zing.    It can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store.
  • Hoisin sauce. Can be found in the Asian section of any grocery store.  It tastes like a sweet, salty and tangy, thick Asian BBQ Sauce.   Please use only quality hoisin sauce like Lee Kum Kee or Kikkoman as all hoisin sauces are not created equal.
honey soy chicken in a white bowl with chopsticks
  •  Rice vinegar.  Use unseasoned rice wine vinegar.  It adds a tangy acidic punch to balance the flavor profile.
  • Onion: use yellow onion for its more pungent flavor.  You can also substitute fresh onion with 1 ½ teaspoons onion powder.
  • Garlic.  use 4-6 minced garlic cloves depending on how pronounced you would like garlic flavor.  You can also substitute fresh garlic with 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Ginger.  adds a warm spicy, almost pepper taste that cuts through the sweetness.  You can substitute fresh garlic with 2 teaspoon garlic powder.
  • Chili Paste.  You will probably want to add some chili paste to cut through the sweetness and round out the flavor profile.  You can use sambal oelek or Sriracha to taste or add more to your individual serving to keep it family friendly.
  • Cornstarch.  Cornstarch is used at the end of cooking to thicken the sauce- you can’t have gorgeously thick, sticky Honey Soy Sauce without cornstarch!

What Chicken is best for Honey Soy Chicken? 

You have two options when it comes to what chicken you would like to use for this Honey Soy Chicken recipe:

  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs: are dark meat and therefore inherently juicier and more forgiving as far as cooking time.  It is hard to dry out chicken thighs.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts:  are leaner but still emerge wonderfully juicy from cooking the bath of flavor all day.  You will want to check your chicken breasts towards the earlier end of the cooking window to make sure they don’t become overcooked.

Can I use frozen chicken for crockpot chicken recipes?

  • Although it is tempting to add frozen chicken directly to your crockpot, this is  a big no-no.  The chicken spends to long in the “danger zone” at room temperature as it thaws and can grow bacteria.
  • Chicken – no matter what cut – needs to be thawed before it is added to the slow cooker.
  • It is best to thaw your chicken overnight in the refrigerator so it thaws evenly and completely.
  • If you are in a big hurry, and needed your thawed chicken yesterday, you can use the microwave.  Place chicken in a microwave safe dish and use the defrost setting, rotating the chicken occasionally.  Take care not to thaw to the point the chicken starts to cook.
up close of chopsticks picking up honey soy chicken breasts

How to Make Honey Soy Chicken

  1. Rub chicken with oil.  This protects the chicken from drying out in the slow cooker.
  2. Whisk Honey Soy Sauce together.  You will whisk the sauce together hen pour only HALF over the chicken.  The rest of the sauce will be used later to create the sticky sauce.
  3. Cook.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred.  The key to tender chicken is to cook it long enough.  If it’s not easily shredding, it simply needs more time to tenderize.
  4. Shred Chicken. Remove chicken to a cutting board to shred. For many recipes, I shred my chicken directly in the crockpot, but for this Honey Soy Chicken, we want to remove it so we can easily add the slow cooker liquid to a saucepan.
  5. Thicken Sauce. Strain any excess liquid from the slow cooker into a small saucepan. Whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch with reserved refrigerated Honey Soy Sauce and add to saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  6. Get Saucy! Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and toss with thickened sauce. Let the Honey Soy Chicken cook an additional 30 minutes on low.  You will be amazed at what this one step does for your chicken! It allows the shredded chicken to absorb the sauce in every nook and cranny, and to become flavorful through and through.

How to make Sticky Honey Soy Chicken

The only  way to may truly gorgeously thick sticky Honey Soy Chicken in the crockpot – is to NOT thicken the sauce in the crockpot.  Adding a cornstarch slurry to the crockpot will not simmer and reduce to create a sticky sauce.  It can work for thickening soups, but not for Asian Sauces.

Instead, for Sticky Honey Soy Chicken, thickening the sauce on the stove is essential the only way to go.  By thickening on the stove, you can also control the consistency. For a thicker sauce, simmer longer, for a thinner sauce, simmer for less time.

up close of sticky honey soy chicken in the crockpot

How to Serve Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken

To make this Honey Soy Chicken recipe a full meal, I like to serve it with rice and veggies!

  • Stir Fry Veggies. You can stir fry any veggies your heart desires from broccoli, to bell peppers, to mushrooms, to carrots, etc. You can add them directly to the chicken or serve them on the side.
  • Shortcut Veggies.  You an can purchase pre-chopped veggies perfect for stir fries or use a frozen stir-fry blend or  steam-in-the-bag microwavable frozen veggies.
  • Crockpot Veggies:  You can add vegetables directly to the crockpot to cook with your chicken.  Just be aware some veggies take longer to cook than others, for example broccoli takes longer to cook than bell peppers, so you would want to add bell peppers towards the end of cooking.
  • Rice: You can pile your Honey Soy Chicken on white rice (jasmine is m fav for this), brown rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa.
  • Appetizers.  For an Asian feast, Honey Soy Chicken is delicious with Wontons, Asian SaladPotstickers, Wonton Soup and  Chinese Chicken Egg Rolls.

Can I freeze Honey Soy Chicken?

This Honey Soy Chicken recipe freezes very well!  To freeze:

  1. Let chicken cool completely.
  2. Transfer chicken to either a large freezer size bag or divide into smaller size bags.  Alternatively, transfer to airtight container(s).
  3. Press air out of the freezer bag, seal, label and freeze for up to 3 months.
  4. When ready to eat, defrost Honey Soy Chicken in the refrigerator.
  5. Heat on the stove until warmed through.

Looking for More Asian Recipes?

crockpot honey soy chicken

Want to try this Honey Soy Chicken?

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

up close of sticky honey soy chicken thighs

Slow Cooker Honey Soy Chicken

Honey Soy Chicken is a new family favorite you will make again and again! This Honey Soy Chicken is seeping with flavor with hardly any effort – now that’s my kind of dinner!  The chicken cooks in a sticky sauce made of honey, soy sauce, sweet chili sauce, hoisin, rice vinegar, garlic and onions.  It will have your taste buds skipping for joy and your family skipping the takeout!   This Honey Soy Chicken also reheats well and freezes beatifically for meal prep or make ahead dinners!  
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pound chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs (thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • sriracha (optional)

Honey Soy Sauce

Instructions

  • Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and place in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • Whisk Honey Soy Sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl and pour HALF of the sauce over the chicken. Refrigerate the other half until later. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours or until chicken is tender enough to shred.
  • Remove chicken to a cutting board to shred. Meanwhile, strain any excess liquid from the slow cooker into a small saucepan. Whisk 2 tablespoons cornstarch with reserved refrigerated Honey Soy Sauce and add to saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  • Return shredded chicken to slow cooker and toss with thickened sauce. Cook an additional 20-30 minutes on LOW to allow the chicken to absorb even more flavor. When ready to serve, taste and add chili sauce to taste.

Notes

*You can find hoisin sauce in the Asian section of your grocery store.

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17 Comments

  1. Dorothy Dunton says

    Hi Jen! This looks and sounds wonderful! As far as I’m concerned, keep the slow cooker recipes coming – they are easy and delicious! Have a great weekend! 🙂

    • Jen says

      Will do Dorothy! I am happy you are enjoying them! I hope you have a great weekend too!

  2. Marisa Franca @ All Our Way says

    I have been busy pinning and sharing your delicious recipes but I’m very sad!! Yep!! We don’t have our slow cooker with us and now I have to wait two more months before I can try out your wonderful sounding recipes with the slow cooker 🙁 But on the bright side I’ll have plenty recipes to work on once we get back North. Have a wonderful weekend xxxooo

  3. Kristine | Kristine's Kitchen says

    This chicken looks so flavorful and delicious! I don’t think you can ever have too many slow cooker recipes! They are just so convenient, especially since evenings are so crazy in my house. 🙂

    • Jen says

      Hi Kristine, thank you so much! and I’m so happy to hear you love crockpot recipes as much as I do – they certainly help cut down on the crazy 🙂

  4. Chris says

    Your food pictures are always gorgeous.

    • Jen says

      You are too kind, thank you so much Chris!!

  5. Chris says

    Just made this for the family. It received the rare all thumbs up approval rating. I used blackberry fruit spread and consequently the dish has a few seeds. Not a big deal but I’ll look for a blackberry-without-seeds alternative next time.

    • Jen says

      Hi Chris, I am thrilled that the chicken received the coveted all thumbs up rating – wahoo! So happy to hear everyone loved it, thank you!

  6. Becky says

    This is our new go-to Asian chicken! So good easy and my whole family absolutely loves it!

    • Jen says

      YAY! There is nothing like having a favorite easy go-to Asian chicken recipe! I am so happy your whole family loves this one so much! Thank you Becky!

  7. Jodi says

    This dish was amazing
    I used halabeno raspberry jelly
    Chicken cooked in about 4 hours on low so I took it out , sliced and set aside (might be a few slices missing hehe yummy)
    There was a lot of liquid in the slow cooker so I threw in 1.5 cups of rice with most of the remaining sauce and put it on high for 2 more hours yea I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to wash another pot
    I put the chicken slices back in for the last 30 mins
    Served with stir fried veg using the last few TBSP of the sauce
    Oh so good
    Have bookmarked your site as there are so many other recipes I want to try
    Thank you for making me fall in love with my badly neglected slow cooker

    • Jen says

      I am so happy you loved it Jodi and I love your use of habanero raspberry jello – that sounds amazing! And i love that you cooked the rice in the extra liquid – yum! I hope you continue to have fun exploring my recipes and find many new uses for your slow cooker 🙂

  8. Nat says

    This was so easy, tasty and the kids loved it also. I used chicken thigh and cooked for 5 hrs on low. Great weeknight meal.

    • Jen says

      Awesome Nat, I’m so pleased the whole family loved it! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  9. Bridget says

    I made the honey soy chicken this weekend. It was absolutely excellent. I was slightly concerned it might be too sweet, but it was perfect – just the right amount of spicy and sweet. Loved it and thank you. I am wondering if the next time I make it I could add all the sauce to the chicken and cook it all at once. Does keeping half of the sauce out of the crockpot make for stronger flavor or make it easier to thicken later? I was wondering why you split the sauce in half. Thanks!

    • Jen says

      I’m so pleased you loved it Bridget! I split the sauce so the chicken isn’t drowning while cooking but the main reason is it makes it easier to thicken later.

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