Slow cooker soy and honey chicken

Slow cooker soy and honey chicken

Juicy chicken with a soy and honey glaze is an incredibly easy weeknight dish. The slow cooker helps us achieve a perfect result every time, and although the chicken takes a few hours to cook, only a few minutes of work is required to make perfect soy and honey chicken thighs. The slow cooker keeps the meat fall off the bone tender, while the skin is crispy and slightly sweet from the glaze.

If you have never had chicken with a honey glaze, you have definitely missed out. Honey is an excellent natural sweetener. During the cooking process, the sugars in the honey will turn into a caramel consistency. This makes the chicken skin crispy without using a grill or a broiler. Pretty neat!

juicy chicken

Oh, and just to clarify – the chicken might look black and burned, but I promise it’s not. It’s just some coloring from the soy sauce, and it tastes great!

Always make perfect honey chicken in the slow cooker

You might have noticed that I love to cook chicken in my slow cooker. And so do you! My Easy slow cooker apricot chicken with thyme and Slow cooker lemon chicken are among my most popular recipes on the blog. And with good reason. As you can tell from this recipe, it’s incredible easy. 5 minutes of prep work, throw it in a slow cooker and leave it for a few hours. You can’t really mess it up. With this recipe you don’t risk burning the chicken, and it won’t suddenly be ruined because you left it for 10 minutes too long. It’s just too easy!

How to get crispy chicken skin in slow cooker

You would think that you need an oven to get crispy chicken skin. But nope! The slow cooker sorts that out for you as well. The trick is to make sure that the chicken is placed with the skin side up, and that you don’t stack any chicken pieces on top of each other. I also find that browning the chicken beforehand increases the chances for crispy skin in certain recipes. Pour something sweet, like honey, or apricot jam, over the top of the chicken. The sugars almost caramelize on the skin. The result is tender chicken with crispy skin – every single time.

chicken with mango

How to make honey chicken in a slow cooker

When I cook chicken thighs in my slow cooker, I always like to cook them slightly in a pan first over high heat on both sides until they brown. When they have a nice color, I transfer them to the slow cooker, where I allow them to finish cooking in a steamy environment. This process is called braising. It’s an extra step, but I highly suggest doing it. It adds a new level of flavor to the dish, and although you can successfully make this recipe by simply throwing raw chicken in the slow cooker, it’s completely worth it in my opinion.

  1. Heat some oil in a large skillet on high heat
  2. Add raw chicken thighs. Cook for a few minutes on both sides until the skin is golden. Remove from the heat and add to a slow cooker. For best results, avoid placing the chicken pieces on top of each other. If you manage to place the chicken out in one layer, you’ll have more success with getting crispy chicken skin.
  3. In a bowl, combine 3 tbsp honey and 3 tbsp soy sauce. Pour the glaze over the chicken. It will be quite runny, and most of it will sink to the bottom of the slow cooker. This is fine, as the sauce will still give the chicken tons of flavor.
  4. Put the lid on, and cook on low setting for about 5-6 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours. Please note that slow cookers do cook on different temperatures, so the exact cooking time might vary. Chicken is safe to eat when it has reached 75°C or 165°F. If in doubt, use a kitchen thermometer.

Cook the chicken fillets slightly golden, and make the soy and honey glaze in a separate bowl. Either add the chicken straight to the slow cooker, and pour the glaze over, or you can add it to a smaller bowl to marinate for a while if you’re not quite ready to cook it yet.

soy and honey chicken

Cook for 3-4 hours on high, or 5-6 hours on low. Leave the lid on as much as possible, there is not need to stir the chicken or add more liquid. Don’t worry – it won’t burn! When it’s finished, it looks something like this. The glaze has created a black, sweet, sticky, crispy skin, and the meat inside is super tender.

Make slow cooker soy and honey chicken with other types of chicken

You can use this method with any type of chicken. I usually prefer to use bone-in chicken in the slow cooker, as chicken breasts tend to dry out quickly. The main difference will be the cooking time. Keep in mind that the exact cooking time will vary between slow cooker models. To be safe, always use a thermometer to check that the temperature is 75°C or 165°F in the middle of the meat, as this is the recommended safe temperature for cooked chicken. Here are the cooking times I usually use for any slow cooker chicken recipe:

  • Chicken breast fillets: 1-2 hours on high, 3 hours on low
  • Chicken thighs: 3-4 hours on high, 5-6 hours on low
  • Chicken wings: 1-2 hours on high, 3-4 hours on low
  • Chicken drumsticks:  3-4 hours on high, 5-6 hours on low

soy sauce chicken with honey

Make soy and honey chicken in the oven

If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can absolutely make awesome soy and honey chicken in the oven as well. Use the same method, only add the chicken to an oven proof dish. Cook at 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/Gas mark 6. The cooking time will vary based on which type of chicken you use, so keep an eye on it. Unlike with a slow cooker, meat can burn or dry out really fast in an oven. Chicken breasts cook in as little as 10 minutes, while chicken thighs might need up to an hour.

Tips and substitutions

  • As mentioned above, you can make this recipe either in the oven or in a slow cooker with great success. The soy and honey glaze is great on any cut of chicken, so pick your favorite! I love using bone-in chicken thighs with skin for the slow cooker. The meat is just so tender, and the crispy skin is a family favorite.
  • If you want to add some spice, you can add some hot paprika, chili powder or sriracha in the glaze before pouring over the chicken. Yum!
  • Depending on my schedule, some days I brown the chicken in a skillet, place it in a bowl with the glaze, and put it in the fridge for a few hours. Then, later on, I can just chuck it straight into the slow cooker and finish it off. This works great too and the chicken will have a bit more time to absorb more flavor. I often do this when I want to prepare the chicken in the morning, and have someone else chuck it in the slow cooker around midday so dinner’s ready for when I get home!
  • Remember that raw chicken can be very dangerous. Be careful to wash any utensils that comes in contact with the chicken, and wash your hands after touching the meat. Chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 75°C or 165°F. When following any recipe you find online, make sure to keep in mind that your cooking time might be different. Use a meat thermometer if you’re in doubt if the chicken is cooked or not.
  • Although browning the chicken in a skillet before adding to the slow cooker is an optional step, I highly recommend you do it. It adds so much flavor.
  • When browning the chicken, make sure not to overcrowd the skillet. If you leave a small space between the chicken thighs, they will brown better, which means crispier skin!

Soy and honey chicken - pin

Which side dishes go with soy and honey chicken?

Side dishes are my favorite! Any chicken is great when served with noodles, rice, fries or potato wedges. I like to add at least some form of veg with my chicken, and I often make a simple salad. To compliment soy and honey chicken, Mediterranean chickpea salad is a great high protein alternative. I also like a good mango salad, or a simple salad with tomatoes and cucumbers. For a super filling salad, try this sweet potato, chickpea and kale salad.

Freezing and storage

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two days. You can store the chicken thighs whole, or you can remove the bones and skin. The chicken meat is excellent when added to salads or sandwiches!

It is perfectly safe to freeze cooked chicken. Allow it to cool completely and add to a freezer bag. When you’re ready to eat, defrost and reheat thoroughly. Please note that the consistency will change when the chicken defrosts. Reheated cooked chicken will likely be a bit dry, and the chicken skin will no longer be crispy. I recommend removing the skin and bones before freezing. The leftover frozen chicken can be used in a stew, soup or stir fry.

Soy and honey chicken

Easy and delicious tender chicken with crispy skin. The slow cooker helps us achieve perfect results every time, with crispy, sweet skin and tender, juicy meat.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 30 mins
5 from 4 votes
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: International
Keyword: chicken, dairy free, glaze, gluten free, honey, soy sauce
Servings: 5 chicken thighs
Calories: 180kcal
Cost: Cheap

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 5-6 chicken thigh fillets
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp honey

Instructions

  • Heat some oil, butter or cooking spray in a skillet. Make sure to use high heat, and that the pan is properly hot.
  • Add chicken thigh fillets to the skillet. Cook them for a few minutes on either side, until they get a slightly golden color. If your pan is small, you might have to do this in batches.
  • In a bowl, combine soy sauce and honey.
  • Place the chicken thighs in a slow cooker, skin side up. Pour the soy and honey mixture over the chicken. It will be quite liquid, and won't quite stick to the chicken - don't worry, this is expected.
  • Cook on high setting for 3-4 hours, or on low for 5-6 hours. Leave it be and avoid opening the lid as this will let steam escape and increase cooking time.
  • Serve with your favorite side dishes. I pair mine with mango, avocado and cherry tomatoes.

Notes

  • As mentioned above, you can make this recipe either in the oven or in a slow cooker with great success. The soy and honey glaze is also great on other cuts of chicken, so pick your favorite! I love using bone-in chicken thighs with skin for the slow cooker. The meat is just so tender, and the crispy skin is awesome.
  • If you want to add some spice, you can add some hot paprika, chili powder or sriracha in the glaze before pouring over the chicken. Yum!
  • Depending on my schedule, some days I brown the chicken in a skillet, place it in a bowl with the glaze, and put it in the fridge for a few hours. Then, later on, I can just chuck it straight into the slow cooker and finish it off. This works great too and the chicken will have a bit more time to absorb more flavor. I often do this when I want to prepare the chicken in the morning, and have someone else chuck it in the slow cooker around midday so dinner's ready for when I get home!
  • Remember that raw chicken can be very dangerous. Be careful to wash any utensils that comes in contact with the chicken, and wash your hands after touching the meat. Chicken is safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 75°C or 165°F. When following any recipe you find online, make sure to keep in mind that your cooking time might be different. Use a meat thermometer if you're in doubt if the chicken is cooked or not.
  • Although browning the chicken in a skillet before adding to the slow cooker is an optional step, I highly recommend you do it. It adds so much flavor.
  • When browning the chicken, make sure not to overcrowd the skillet. If you leave a small space between the chicken thighs, they will brown better, which means crispier skin!
  • Allow 2 chicken thighs per person if serving as a main dish. Use approximately 1/2 tbsp of soy sauce and 1/2 tbsp honey per chicken thigh.

Storage

Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to two days. You can store the chicken thighs whole, or you can remove the bones and skin. The chicken meat is excellent when added to salads or sandwiches!
It is perfectly safe to freeze cooked chicken. Allow it to cool completely and add to a freezer bag. When you're ready to eat, defrost and reheat thoroughly. Please note that the consistency will change when the chicken defrosts. Reheated cooked chicken will likely be a bit dry, and the chicken skin will no longer be crispy. I recommend removing the skin and bones before freezing. The leftover frozen chicken can be used in a stew, soup or stir fry.
Print Recipe
12 Comments
  • Irina Karulina
    Posted at 17:01h, 15 September Reply

    5 stars
    Made it! If you ask me what I loved about this chicken dish, my answer would be a soy and honey glaze. It caramelizes with cooking which is so delicious!!!

    • Tonje
      Posted at 17:03h, 15 September Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I love the glaze as well, the combination of sweet and salty is perfect to me 🙂

  • Ilona
    Posted at 17:15h, 15 September Reply

    This can be my weeknight dinner idea. I don’t use slow cooker a lot, but I should:)

    • Tonje
      Posted at 17:16h, 15 September Reply

      It’s definitely an easy recipe for getting more into using the slow cooker. I’ve been using mine a lot lately, it makes cooking so easy! 🙂

  • Pam Greer
    Posted at 18:31h, 15 September Reply

    5 stars
    I never knew you could get such gorgeous results on a chicken out of a slow cooker! Your tips are great and so is this recipe!

    • Tonje
      Posted at 18:34h, 15 September Reply

      Thank you! Making chicken in the slow cooker is incredibly easy, I love the results I get every single time!

  • Andrea Metlika
    Posted at 19:59h, 15 September Reply

    5 stars
    I’m in awe that you were able to get such color and crispiness using a slow cooker. I’m totally trying this.

    • Tonje
      Posted at 20:03h, 15 September Reply

      It’s a lot easier than you’d think! Hope you like it 🙂

  • Bintu | Recipes From A Pantry
    Posted at 21:12h, 15 September Reply

    5 stars
    That chicken has certainly got my mouth watering! It looks so crispy and delicious and I love the sound of the soy and honey!

    • Tonje
      Posted at 05:35h, 16 September Reply

      Thank you! I hope you like it 🙂

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 18:35h, 19 September Reply

    I am going to try this over the weekend, sounds delicious!

    • Tonje
      Posted at 19:29h, 19 September Reply

      I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

Post A Comment