This Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken is a super flavorful crock pot chicken dish that only takes 10 minutes of prep!
My friend Nicole hates to cook; it’s a complete chore to her. I think she’d rather pick up poop from her pet sitting business or scrub her bathroom floors than make dinner.
But I love Nicole.
So I’ve made it my mission in life to find delicious crock pot meals that she can easily throw together. Are you reading Nicole? I AM SO THERE FOR YOU.
Problem is, most crock pot meals are just. not. good. IMHO. Granted, they don’t usually reach this extreme of awful, but after much trial and error and many crock pot recipes gracing my table over the past several years, it’s my firm opinion that a lot of combined ingredients are really not meant to slow cook together over an 8-hour period of time.
But I keep trying. Because eventually I’m going to have some winners.
And guess what? I do. I made two recipes this past week that were fantastic. This Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken is one of them.
For starters, you don’t need to saute the chicken before transferring it to the slow cooker. (Which frees up 5 minutes that
you I can waste on Facebook and Pinterest. Score.)
The red pepper flakes and sesame seeds, along with chopped scallions that I added, balanced out some of the sweetness. I also opted not to combine the cooked chicken back with the sauce – there was a lot of sauce – instead, I decided to put the chicken on the rice and then pour some sauce on top, to taste.
This was so good, and not at all one dimensional like I was expecting.
Really excited about this. For Nicole. And me!
other slow cooker recipes we love
Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Beef Tacos
Slow Cooker Cinnamon Apple Sauce
Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup honey
- 1/2 cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 cup diced sweet onion
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 3 scallions , diced
- cooked white rice , for serving
- Lightly season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper; transfer to the slow cooker.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, oil, garlic and pepper flakes. Pour over chicken.
- Cook on low for 4 hours.
- Remove chicken from the slow cooker, but leave the sauce.
- Dissolve 4 teaspoons of cornstarch in 6 tablespoons of water and pour into the slow cooker. Stir to combine with the sauce.
- Replace lid and cook sauce on high for ten more minutes or until slightly thickened.
- Leave chicken pieces whole or shred into bite size pieces.
- Then in individual bowls, place chicken pieces over cooked rice and spoon some sauce on top. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped scallions.
adapted from Six Sisters Stuff
Reader Questions and Reviews
I made this and it was a big hit with all my family. Love your recipes.
Yay! That makes me so happy.
Very nice, I need to make this.
This sounds so good, Do you think it can be made with scallops or dried bean curd? Thank you :)
Hi Tina – gosh, I have no idea, but I can’t imagine slow cooking scallops for 4 hours would be appetizing :/
This recipe is awesome! I used chicken breasts and used just over half the reccomended amount of honey and it turned out great! Thanks for the recipe:-)
So happy to hear it!
make sure to print this, dottie
I just made this for a pot luck dinner, with huge success. Since I don’t have a crock pot, I used a roasting pan and cooked in the oven at 250 deg. for 4 hrs. The sauce called for in the recipe was enough for the
5 lbs. of bone-in chicken thighs. I removed the bones after cooking and served over 1 1/2 cups of white rice. The plate was wiped clean!
Here is a great recipe to make on a weekend in a crockpot and then eat during the week reheated.
what if i don’t have a crock pot?
Hi Renee – go buy one! Lol. Just kidding. Uuuummm…I guess you could try and simply slow cook it on the stove in a regular pot. But I don’t know at what range or for how long, so I can’t vouch for the results. Sorry :(
Made exactly as written, after cooking 3 hours on low, my chicken was very done, any more would of been super dry. Also, mine came out way too sweet. Good base recipe but needs tweaking.
khris, did you use chicken breasts or thighs like the recipe calls for? seems like the reviews that said it was dry used breasts. also, of course it’s sweet – that’s what you get from honey and ketchup! I agree with the vast number of people who loved it. this was a big winner with my family and I wouldn’t change a thing!
Thank you for a wonderful recipe! My husband and two girls ate huge bowls of this dish! I used boneless thighs and boneless breast, and after I shred the chicken I placed it back into the slightly thickened sauce to stay warm until we were ready to eat. We spooned it over jasmine rice that we made in the rice cooker! It was wonderful!!!
We used chix tenders and it came out too dry. I’m not sure if it was the soy sauce or the honey, but we could barely stand the smell while cooking. Needless-to-say, the end result was not a big hit. I think maybe cutting down on soy and honey and maybe adding brown sugar might be good. Plus pineapple on top might also be good. There were only 3 of us so I’m going to try to doctor it up for chix salad later in the week…we shall see. We put ours on broccoli and had to add the Thai sauce that comes prepared in order to get it down. :) Still happy to try new recipes. Thanks for sharing!
If you were to add broccoli, when would you add it to have it tender?
Hi Kelley – I’ve never added broccoli, although I’m sure that would be good. A few people said they added it in at the end…but I don’t know if that means they added it in the slow cooker, or if they boiled it on the stove top and then mixed it in. Broccoli usually steams in what, 6 minutes? Since a slow cooker cooks sloooowly, maybe add it in the last 15? 20? I really don’t know.
If you were to add broccoli, when would you add it?
Thank you for sharing this recipe!!! This was an excellent accommodation to our dinner meal. I too used chicken breast, and decided to add a few pineapples. Thanks a million!!!
I’ve made this twice now for my family of six, they all love it!! I used chicken breast, instead of the thighs, as that is what I always have on hand, but it still turns out great. I just cut the chicken up into strips and then added all of the sauce.
Made 12/17/12. I left mine in the crock pot for 6 hours on low and it was definitely too long. I’d stick to the 4 hour recommendation… maybe you could push it to 5 hours if you keep an eye on it. I also used 3 large chicken breasts instead of thighs. Despite leaving it in the crock pot too long it was still wonderful and will definitely make it into the rotation frequently!
O M G. This recipe is definitely going into my rotation. I usually don’t finish my own homemade dinners because they just aren’t that tasty as when someone else cooks for me, lol. BUT THIS WAS AWESOME! AND SO EASY! The bad reviewers…they either unknowingly used bad quality/old ingredients and or thought they followed it exactly, but didn’t. There is no way this could not be enjoyed and devoured completely.
Right? That’s exactly how I feel about this dish! Based on all the comments, we’re in the majority, so it’s ok. Thanks, Gina!
My family and I are enjoying this right now, and it is a HUGE hit! Sadly, I decided to skip the scallions and sesame seeds, which I will NOT do the next time. I actually used breasts and figured, what the heck, I’ll cook it all day. So mine cooked for about 8 hours. I can tell you that there will be NONE left. Thanks A TON for posting this!
did the breasts dry out?
I loved this – already made it once.
I agree the flavor is strong – but we (kids included) all loved it the way it was made. I skipped the seasoning of the chicken breasts as well.
Making it again – I want to add pineapple chunks to it – should I decrease the amount of honey then??
Hi Tracie – so glad you liked it. I love the idea of adding pineapple. I don’t know about the amount of honey. Maybe cut back a little? I suppose it depends how sweet you like your food.
I added the pineapple and decreased the honey a little bit but not much.
It was delicious. Family ASKS for it now. I am getting ready to make it again for tonight :)
Awesome! I’m going to try it with pineapple next time :D
I’m so glad there are others that agree with me. I thought this was the worst chicken recipe I’ve ever eaten. I followed the recipe to a T. The soy sauce was overpowering and the chicken dry. The honey taste was also overpowering. Sorry, but did not like.
I made this with frozen chicken quarters and it came out perfectly. I think that breast don’t have enough moisture in them for the long cooking time. A whole chicken would work too. I was initially worried about the bones, but the 79 cent price on the quarters convinced me to give it a try. Since I didn’t see my honey I used agave nectar in lieu, and I didn’t have crushed red pepper so I used a teaspoon of cayenne. Also I put it in for 5 hours. There was plenty of moisture when I came home at 4 hours, but I did swap the top and bottom quarters to make sure they all got some marinating. My thermometer made it to 180 on all of the chicken quarters.
Making this tonight!
Loved it! Added broccoli at the end…..will also add waterchestnuts at the end next time! Thanks!
I have now made this twice. My husband loves it and says “this is becoming one of my favorite meals”!
i made this dish tonight. I agree with the other Kate that the smell was not appetizing. Also, the chicken came out dry and leathery on the edges. I do like the sauce flavor though. I plan to try it again cooked in a regular pot rather than a crock pot.
I made this tonight, and we really enjoyed it. I don’t have a crock pot so I baked for four hours at 300 degrees in the oven. I couldn’t sleep, so I started preparing at 4 am. It was done by 8:30 and finished off the toppings just before serving. You know it must be good if your father enjoyed a chicken dish!
Wow, no kidding. I knew this one would be a long shot for Dad, and also didn’t know if it would be too sweet for both of you. So happy it worked out (and in the oven!) I’ve made this several times…chicken can be a hard sell for the kids, too, but they love this one.
Made this tonight for dinner-double recipe because my family are big eaters-and it turned out a unanimous 5 out of 5 (kids and adults alike)! I too didn’t add salt & added a squirt of Sriracha. The fresh chopped scallions and sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds, IMHO, are a must. Definitely adding this to my permanent recipe file. Thanks so much! Looking forward to trying the Mongolian Beef recipe the end of this week.
I’m so glad! We love it, too. Hope the Mongolian Beef works out for you…it’s a completely different kind of tasty. Thanks for stopping by Erin :D
Amy – I’ve now shared your recipe & website with my family, friends, & everyone at work. Looking forward to making it on a regular basis. Please, please create some more recipes for us followers! =0)
How wonderful, thank you Erin! I’m constantly trying new dishes and aim to please. I know everyone is always on the lookout for good crock recipes, but most are utterly disappointing. So if I post one, be sure it’s delicious!
Made this for dinner tonight and as leftovers for tomorrow since it’s just me. I’m sorry, but I followed the recipe exactly and did not care for the result. I LOVE sesame chicken, but the smell of soy sauce cooking in my crock pot all afternoon smelled gross (to me) and though it was definitely edible for dinner, I don’t think it’d ever make it out of the fridge if I kept more for leftovers. Maybe the problem was that I used chicken breasts instead of thighs or maybe my taste buds are funny, but this wasn’t sweet enough, wasn’t spicy enough, and just kind of tasted flat and slightly burnt. Sorry!
It’s not the thighs (though they don’t help). I made this with thighs using the same recipe (though from another blog) and have been sick all day from the smell. I actually looked up the name of this dish with “gross” to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind.
No offense to the blogger. It seems some people don’t mind the smell and the dish turns out wonderfully, but if you’re sensitive to certain smells, skip this one!
Well…I just realized I read it wrong. HEHE. I thought it said cook on high 4 hours, which is why I thought I could sub high for 8 hours. OOPS. =)
Oh, bummer :( Try it again on low for 4 hours as instructed… you’ll love it!
I tried making this but figured that I could cook it on low for 8 hours. I was so wrong! It smelled burned in the house when I came home from work. I guess that is too long to cook? I feel like it would have been an awesome meal too.
Wow! This is so delicious! The only change I made was I didn’t add salt and pepper to the chicken. I thought the soy sauce added enough sodium. Next time I will double the recipe. Good! Good! Good!
This was AWESOME!!!!!! You know it’s good when my husband who was hung over all day cleared his bowl!!!! hehehe
Been wanting to make this for awhile…turned out great! Even I couldn’t ruin this dish…It’s a keeper. I used chicken thighs with the bones in–couldn’t find the boneless variety. Cooked easily in 3 hours and made the whole house smell terrific. I can almost pass as a cook now :)
I’m excited to give this a try this week! I just popped it onto my menu planner! Thanks for sharing!!
I made this tonight. Unfortunatly it wasn’t what I expected. Maybe I should have not cooked the chicken with the Soy Sauce? The smell was awful and it tasted the same. I’m not giving up hope on finding a crock pot meal I like. Luck Luck for next time!
I was in a hurry, didn’t have boneless, skinless thighs, but had hind quarters. Pulled off the skin, threw it in the crock pot, bone-in. Only had 3 hours so I put it on high. When I got home, I deboned it and it came out wonderfully! This is one of my go-to recipes now.
This was absolute torture smelling this cook all afternoon long. The aroma was amazing. Of course a chef should always taste their food, I will admit to sneaking a bit of chicken while thickening the sauce. I served it in bowls over Jasmine rice. The flavor was sweet but it was not overbearing. Definitely has earned a position in my recipe rotation. Thanks for sharing!
Oh yay! So glad you enjoyed it, Jeff…and thanks for poppin’ over to let us know :D If you’re a red meat eater, you should check out the Crock Pot Mongolian Beef – also a winner. Cheers! – Amy
Good recipe! I was wondering if you can prep this recipe and freeze it to be cooked on a later day? Have you by any chance tried to do that?
Hi KW. That’s a really good question. In my experience, these type of ingredients freeze well, as opposed to say cream based meals. However, I haven’t tried it, so I can’t honestly say, sorry :(
I’m curious about the cooking time. I’ve done other chicken recipes on low for 7-8 hours and they’ve been fine. If I’m using the same amount of chicken, could the cooking time be the same? Or does it depend on the sauce? I’m relatively new to slow cooker usage so please forgive me if this is a silly question! :-)
Not a silly question at all! I understand your concern. However, I couldn’t say because I don’t know what your other recipes entailed…chicken breasts instead of thighs? Other hard ingredients included like carrots and potatoes? This recipe is simply thighs, liquid, and spices, so that might make the difference in the short cooking time. I do know that I’ve made it several times now and it is always done at 4 hours…a few people have even commented theirs was done at 3! If you cook it too long, the chicken could become tough and dry.
I just posted about this recipe in my blog. It was awesome even though I didn’t make it in a crock pot. Thanks for posting :-)
I tried this tonight and it is one the BEST THINGS I’ve EVER made! I LOVE it!!! I cannot wait to make it again! So easy :) Thank you – going to check out some of your other recipes now.
Happy to hear it, Rhonda! Thanks for stopping by :D
My uber picky husband had 3 pieces of this at dinner tonight! Thank you for posting!
My recipe was ready at 3 hours, so I do suggest that you check it at that cook time. I have an older crockpot that was given to me as a wedding gift 20 years ago — finally decided to start trying recipes, after two failures this one was a huge hit.
I meant what size crockpot!
Hi there Mary – I have a 5 quart round crock. Can’t imagine that an extra quart would matter, but I don’t know enough about different crocks and their varying sizes and how that makes a difference. ?
What size crochet was used for this recipe? Is a 6 quart one too big?
This looks amazing!!!!
I am a huge fan of my crockpot so this recipe will definitely be a keeper.
I added it to my recipe roundup on my blog so others could love it too!
amelia from hks
I used 4 TBSP of cornstarch instead of tsp. (bcus i quickly glanced) wow what a mess. thank goodness I took the chicken out before i thickened the sauce! Great recipe, thanks!
Funny, just recently I’ve posted something with chicken, honey, soy and sesame seeds (AND garnished it with chopped scallions!) myself but it went in a completely different direction.
Too bad I don’t own a slow cooker as I would love to try this recipe.
My mom doesn’t have one either and said she was going to try and slow cook it in the oven at 250 degrees. Maybe try that? I’m curious to see how it turns out.
LOVE this! It looks absolutely delish! Did the chicken stay moist?
Yes! One gal wrote in and said hers was done after 3 hours, so maybe check it at that point? Every crock pot is different, I suppose…
This looks so good! I will be making this for tomorrow’s supper!! Thanks for the great post :)
I am so with you on finding good stuff for the crock pot. Soup or some sort of pulled pork type dish is the only crock pot meal that I have made successfully. This chicken looks pretty awesome and I really think the whole fam will like it!!! I have a pack of chicken thighs in the freezer too. I’m really trying to incorporate a meal or two in the slow cooker every week. Can’t wait to try this!
poop! there’s that word again. It’s all over the food blogs this week. GREG
Except for the chicken thighs, I have everything on hand. Sweet! I think Nicole will love you for this one.
We made this tonight and it was a hit! My daughter thinks that everything that comes from a crockpot is deadly poison, and she actually ate two servings!
We served it over rice with steamed broccoli on the side. Perfecto!
Wow. I got a little exclamation pointy there. Sorry. I was just really excited. :)
HEE. That’s quite alright! I like to have excited people over here! <<< See, I did it too ;-)
Tried this out today and it was lovely. My crock pot cooked a bit faster than yours, so was done in only three hours – since I wasn’t sure I caught them before they overcooked. Husband loved it, thank you for the idea!
Next time he says, more honey :)
I cooked this up tonight, using rice from my rice cooker and my very picky husband not only went back for seconds, he said “This is better than any Sesame Chicken and white rice that I have ever had…and that includes the Chinese Restaurants!” Thanks so much for sharing!! It was Delish!! Can’t wait to see your next crockpot recipie!
YAY! Glad to hear it, Christy :D Hopefully the next one will be winner for you guys, too. Stay tuned…
I’m going to have to pass this on to my daughter. This is one of her favorite dishes. Sounds and looks yummy! May even have to try this one, myself!! Thanks for sharing, Amy!!!
My college student daughter will LOVE this (and so will I!) What could be easier than to throw this together before classes, then have a fab meal when she gets back to her apt, plus leftovers for the freezer! Thanks!
I have to pass these recipes to my husband, as he is enamored with our slow cooker (kids are not, because his dishes are pretty bland and tasteless, so obviously he needs a lot of help). I am compiling a list of tasty slow-cooker recipes and this one is a great addition, especially if the meat does not need to be browned before-hand:)
What a lovely, wholesome recipe! I love CrockPot recipes this time of year, too. It’s funny how even people who don’t like to cook can be inspired with the CrockPot, too! Thanks for sharing.
Thank heavens I can finally agree with someone about crockpot meals. Most people tend to think I’m a little insane for not liking them. I have always found them to be completely dreadful. This looks quite yummy though. :)
Just sent this recipe to myself to make asap!
I hate crockpot recipes mostly for their lack of photogenicity. But this one is purrty. It’s all those Asian flavors. They shine.
I really want to get more use of my crock pot. I should try this recipe- sounds like something I would like. Thanks for sharing. Waiting for the other crockpot recipe as well!
Thank you for posting this! Today was my mom’s birthday and I was looking for something easy to make for dinner for her! This was absolutely perfect and it tasted wonderful:)
Oh wow! You got right after it…that’s awesome! So thrilled you enjoyed it :D
This looks really good but I’m not a fan of chicken thighs. Do you think I could use boneless chicken breasts instead?
Absolutely! The original recipe called for 4 chicken breasts. I just prefer thighs.
Thank you…will definitely be trying this. It looks delicious!
This sounds unbelievably good! I’m definitely putting it on my “must-make” list!
Amy, this looks soooo yummy!! Since I am a sauce girl I would definitely use more sauce. I am always amazed at the recipes you post and as much or more the pics of them!! They seem to just “pop” off the page! I will surely be trying this one. I am however a little concerned about leaving a crock pot, or anything else electrical, plugged in all day long when I’m not home. I’m sure it would be fine, just paranoid!
Ah, thanks Tomi! My mom is the same way with a crock pot and electrical items…which is why she has never owned one. I’ve never heard of someone coming home to a burned-down house due to a crock pot malfunction, but anything is possible!
I’m so making this. I’m with you – just never have been into the crockpot thing b/c the usual texture of the final dish and for 10 more minutes of prep, you usually can finish cooking the meal on the stove or throw it in the oven anyway. But I’m gonna give this one a try based on your photo and honest post. Thanks for sharing!
Alright. You’re hired.
This looks delicious. And your friend is lucky indeed.
Now, I need you to find me crockpot-able recipes that cook for AT LEAST 8 hours so that they can bubble away while I’m at work. Cuz taking a crockpot to work with me… not so convenient :)
Oh, I don’t know. Your co-workers would be forever indebted to you from the smell, alone. Hm. Don’t suppose your crock pot as a “keep warm” feature on it? Alright, my search continues…
I feel so famous being named in your blog. I will just think of myself as your “muse” for this recipe. All of what you said is so true. I hate to cook!!! In fact I am now paying my friend Terri to cook two meals for me a week. That leaves 5 left. Bruce always cooks on Sunday night, Friday and Saturday don’t count so I only need to come up with two dinners to cook for the week. I am definitely going to try this one and I am so happy I don’t have to “cook” it first and then put it in the crockpot. Keep em coming ;)
When Terri’s done cooking for you, can she come and clean up after me? *mwah*
my oldest kid is obsessed with sesame chicken..i’m gonna have to try this!
I love that you said poop.
THIS LOOKS SO GOOD.
Looks like a variation of sweet and sour without the sour! I don’t have a crock pot, but will make this on top of the stove on a low simmer. I’ll let you know the results.
I am always looking for something to make besides soup in my crock pot!
I think I will actually make this! It looks super yummy. …OR, you can make this when I babysit the kids later this month. :oD Did I mention how I LOVE that we live so close. Hee hee.
THANK YOU for this Amy! I printed this out immediately upon viewing. Other than pork shoulder, meat in the slow cooker just turn bleh, so I am super stoked to try this. Can’t wait! Thanks kitten!!! xxxooo
I too have been disappointed by most crock pot recipes, so I’m excited to try this one that you’re vouching for!
And PS: Gorgeous photo!
Thanks Kristy!! <3
Agreed! Definitely a fantastic photo.
I know this would be a hit at my house!
I’m in complete agreement that most crockpot meals are mediocre at best. Excited to try this one!
I’m so making this. I don’t have great luck with my crock pot meals either. Thanks for doing the leg work for me (and Nicole!). You rock the crock pot sista (please imagine me looking totally cool when I typed that).
Alright. I’m giving this a try. I am notoriously fickle about slow-cooker recipes in that I think most of them are simply awful. I have a couple of them that I like, but they require a heckuva lot more work than the usual can o whatever ones. I like the looks of the ingredients here, so I’m super excited to see if it tastes as good as it looks, and since you’re recommending it, I’m sure it will. Thank you, Amy!
I feel the same way, obviously. You’ll like this. And if you don’t, we might need to have a therapy session to work it out.