Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

from 19 votes

This Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken stars tender, shredded chicken tossed in a sweet and sticky sauce made with plenty of onion, garlic, hoisin sauce and a surprising not-so-secret ingredient. Serve it over steamed white rice or noodles for the ultimate takeout-inspired meal. 

Shredded honey garlic chicken over brown rice in a bowl and garnished with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.

We all have those days when we’re craving something so rich and satisfying that we turn to the takeout menus (orange chicken and broccoli or Mongolian beef, anyone?). We want something, anything that’s warm, comforting and, while it may come with excessive amounts of sauce, doesn’t come with any judgment.

But now you can skip the takeout menus and slow cook your way to tender shredded chicken breasts tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce made with honey, garlic and soy sauce. 

It’s just like getting takeout from the local Chinese restaurant, except healthier and rather than waiting on the delivery guy, your dinner is waiting on you. I believe Ina Garten said it best, “How easy is that?”

Why You’ll Love It

  • Stars the best sticky honey garlic sauce. Say goodbye to bland chicken dinners! 
  • No fuss, no stress. The slow cooker does all the heavy lifting for you. It takes minutes to toss into the slow cooker and results in juicy pulled chicken.
  • Whether it’s over rice, sandwiched between bread or paired with your favorite greens, this honey garlic chicken is a versatile superstar. Even the leftovers (if there are any!) make for a delicious lunch the next day.
  • Perfect for busy days. Life can be hectic, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice a delicious home-cooked meal. Let the slow cooker be your culinary ally, turning your busy day into a flavorful evening with minimal effort.
  • Great for meal prep. Simplify your week with this meal-prep and freezer-friendly dinner recipe – your future self will thank you.

Ingredients Needed

Various sizes of glass bowls containing the ingredients needed to make honey garlic chicken, including cornstarch, blackberry jam, diced white onion, olive oil, minced garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, hoisin sauce, honey, chicken breasts and soy sauce.
  • Bone-in skinless chicken breasts: Using bone-in chicken breasts, rather than boneless chicken breasts, is really what makes it stay extra-moist. That was a little trick my mom taught me years ago.
  • Honey: The sauce achieves its signature sweetness and stickiness from the honey – no extra sugar needed!
  • Low-sodium soy sauce: Just like my easy chicken lo mein recipe, I recommend using low-sodium soy sauce to control the saltiness of the dish. You can always adjust the salt later if needed, but starting with low sodium allows for better control over the overall seasoning.
  • Blackberry jam: My secret ingredient! I know the blackberry jam is unexpected but it adds the most wonderful depth of flavor. 
  • Hoisin sauce: A thick, fragrant sauce commonly used in Asian cuisine that adds umami flavor. I use it in everything from General Tso’s Chicken to Caramelized Pork and Broccoli.
  • Olive oil: Use extra virgin olive oil for its robust flavor or swap in vegetable oil for a more neutral flavor.
  • Garlic and onion: ​​These flavor powerhouses work together to infuse your dish with aromatic goodness.
  • Cornstarch: This will help to thicken your sauce to that perfect syrupy consistency.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and Substitutions

  • If you don’t have blackberry jam, grape jam, raspberry jam or orange marmalade would be great alternatives.
  • If you can’t find bone-in chicken breasts, you can still use boneless chicken breasts.
  • I’ve never tried this recipe with chicken thighs, but I know others have and had total success in doing so.
  • If you like your honey garlic chicken on the spicy side, add crushed red pepper flakes. Adjust the quantity based on your spice preference, keeping in mind that the slow cooking process will mellow out the spiciness.

How to Make Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

  1. Arrange the chicken breasts in the slow cooker so that they are not overlapping. It’s fine if they overlap a little but you don’t want them overlapping too much or the chicken won’t cook evenly. 
Three raw chicken breasts in a slow cooker.
  1. Make the sauce. In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, blackberry jam, hoisin, olive oil, garlic and onion, and then pour the sauce over the chicken.  It’s important that the chicken be covered with liquid so that it doesn’t dry out. 
A glass bowl containing honey, soy sauce, blackberry jam, hoisin sauce, minced garlic and diced onion.
  1. Cook on low for 4 to 5 hours. Avoid opening the slow cooker frequently during cooking. This helps maintain a consistent temperature, ensuring the chicken cooks evenly.
  2. Remove the chicken and shred. Reserve the liquids as this is what will form the base of the sauce. 

Kelly’s Note: Shred chicken easily by using two forks or a stand mixer. The slow-cooked chicken should be tender enough to shred effortlessly.

Two forks next to a pile of shredded chicken on a cutting board.
  1. Make a cornstarch slurry. Gradually whisk in the cornstarch to the cold water to prevent lumps. This ensures a smooth and evenly thickened sauce.
  2. Transfer the reserved liquids from the slow cooker into a small saucepan and whisk in the slurry. 
  3. Boil and reduce the sauce. The sauce must come to a boil, otherwise the cornstarch won’t properly thicken the consistency of the sauce. The sauce should be the consistency of syrup, or slightly thinner.
  4. Pour the sauce over the shredded chicken, tossing to combine, and serve.
Honey garlic marinade being poured over pulled chicken in a glass bowl.

Choosing Between Breasts and Thighs, Bone-In or Bone-Out

When it comes to the chicken for your slow cooker honey garlic masterpiece, let’s talk choices:

  • Chicken breasts: If you opt for boneless, skinless chicken breasts, dial back the time to around 4 hours as they’ll cook through faster. 
  • Chicken thighs: I am a huge fan of chicken thighs. They’re cost-effective, full of flavor and pretty darn hard to mess up when it comes to achieving a fall-off-the-bone feast. Transform this into a crockpot chicken thighs recipe, and you won’t be disappointed.

Once you decide if you’re using chicken breasts or chicken thighs, it’s time to decide if you want to go with bone-in or boneless cuts:

  • Bone-in cuts: Bones add richness and act as a natural insulator that keeps the meat juicy. I opt for bone-in cuts 99% of the time when I’m cooking. 
  • Boneless cuts: If you opt for a boneless chicken breast or thigh, I recommend checking the chicken early to make sure it doesn’t overcook.

How to Use Frozen Chicken in Slow Cooker Recipes

If you find yourself reaching for the frozen chicken for your slow cooker recipe, it’s crucial to fully thaw it before placing it in your crockpot. Thawing minimizes the risk of bacterial growth associated with keeping the chicken at room temperature for an extended period. 

The best (and safest!) way to thaw frozen chicken is to place it in the refrigerator a day or two before you plan to cook.

If you’re short on time, I suggest using the cold water thawing method. Submerge the sealed chicken in a bowl of cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Keep it in its packaging to prevent water absorption.

Pulled honey garlic chicken in a glass bowl.

What to Serve with Honey Garlic Chicken

I usually serve it over brown rice, but any variety of rice noodles would also be delicious since there’s plenty of honey garlic sauce to coat the noodles. It would also be delicious served with:

  • Steamed coconut rice or cauliflower fried rice
  • Veggies – steamed broccoli (microwavable veggies are an easy and healthy option, too!), Chinese garlic green beans or garlic bok choy would all be amazing served alongside this Chinese-inspired chicken
  • Noodles – egg noodles or rice noodles work wonderfully with the saucy chicken, or use your favorite noodle!
  • Mashed potatoes – whenever I’m craving a hearty and comforting meal, I pile this shredded chicken atop my go-to creamy mashed potatoes 
  • Salad – for a lighter meal, I swap out the rotisserie chicken in my Chinese chicken salad recipe with the pulled honey garlic chicken

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

This makes the best leftovers! I’ll often fill a flour tortilla with leftover shredded honey garlic chicken and crisp lettuce for a quick lunch the next day. Here’s how to store your leftovers so they taste great for days: 

  1. Refrigeration: Once your leftovers have cooled to room temperature, transfer them to an airtight container. Your honey garlic chicken will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
  2. Freezing: Allow the chicken to cool completely before freezing. Transfer it to a freezer-safe container or sealable bag, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. It will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  3. Reheat: Let the frozen chicken thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of water to retain moisture.

Recommend Equipment to Make this Recipe

  • Programmable slow cooker – I like this one because it has a temperature probe and a removable, dishwasher-safe vessel and lid.
  • Whisk – this will come in handy for whisking the ingredients together to make the sauce.
  • Tongs – I use tongs in the kitchen for so many things! And they make taking the chicken out of the crockpot a breeze. 
  • Instant read meat thermometer – this is essential for ensuring your slow-cooked chicken reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F.

Common Questions

Can I make slow cooker honey garlic chicken ahead of time?

Sure! Prepare the ingredients the night before, refrigerate them, and start the slow cooker in the morning for a convenient dinner.

Is it possible to overcook the chicken in the slow cooker?

Yes, overcooking can happen if you let the chicken hang out in the pot for too long. Be mindful of cooking times and adjust based on the type of chicken you’re using. Check for doneness after the recommended time to ensure a tender and moist result.

How can I thicken the sauce?

Cornstarch must come to a rolling boil in order to work as a thickener in the sauce. If your sauce is too thin, continue boiling it until it reaches a syrupy consistency. Keep in mind that the sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

Can I make this without a slow cooker?

Absolutely! You can make this recipe in the oven by combining the ingredients that go in the slow cooker in a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven (with a tight-fitting lid). Place the Dutch oven in a 325°F oven until the chicken is fully cooked, 20 to 30 minutes. Continue with the recipe as directed.

Shredded honey garlic chicken garnished with sesame seeds and sliced scallions over brown rice in a white bowl.

More Slow Cooker Recipes

Main Course

Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken

This tried and tested recipe for Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken stars super-tender pulled chicken doused in a sweet, tangy, garlicky soy sauce.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.85 from 19 votes
Shredded honey garlic chicken over brown rice in a bowl and garnished with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 3 large bone-in, skinless chicken breasts (2 ½ to 3 lbs total)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup blackberry jam
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • Sliced scallions, for garnish
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish


  • slow cooker


  • Arrange the chicken breasts in the slow cooker so that they are not overlapping.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, soy sauce, blackberry jam, hoisin, olive oil, garlic, onion and crushed red pepper flakes, and then pour the sauce over the chicken. Cover the slow cooker and cook the chicken on LOW for 4 to 5 hours until the chicken is fully cooked.
  • Using tongs, remove the chicken from the slow cooker (reserving the liquids) and place it on a cutting board. Remove the bones then use two forks to shred the chicken into smaller pieces. Place the shredded chicken in a large bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water to make a slurry.
  • Transfer the liquids from the slow cooker into a small saucepan set over medium-high heat and whisk in the slurry. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook it until it reduces and has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken, tossing to combine. Serve the chicken topped with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.

Kelly’s Notes

  • To make this dish kid-friendly, simply leave out the crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Using bone-in chicken breasts, rather than boneless chicken breasts, is key to guaranteeing moist, tender shredded chicken.
  • Depending on your preferences, you may want to pour only a portion of the sauce over the shredded chicken. Any leftover sauce can be served with other proteins or veggies.
  • Storage: Once your leftovers have cooled to room temperature, transfer them to an airtight container. Your honey garlic chicken will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To reheat, let the frozen chicken thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat gently on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of water to retain moisture.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 420kcal, Carbohydrates: 64g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 54mg, Sodium: 1450mg, Potassium: 468mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 51g, Vitamin A: 65IU, Vitamin C: 5.3mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 1.4mg


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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

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  1. Any bright ideas about how to adapt this to an Instant Pot? I see it can be made in the oven and doesn’t take very long, but the IP just works so much magic with dishes like this…

    1. Absolutely, Brooke! I haven’t tested the exact times/temps but I’ll let you know when I give it a shot.

  2. 5 stars
    So easy to make, minimal washing up, delicious tasting and I am grateful for the information on storage instructions as I couldn’t get through that quantity on my own. Freezing is a great option as I have a very tasty go to dish when in need of something very tasty.
    Thank you Kelly
    Adele Morton

    so easy to make

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