Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chicken

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This Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chicken is the perfect at-home Asian dish with tender chicken thighs cooked in a slightly sweet, spicy sauce made with soy, garlic, ginger, and Asian chili paste.

249 CAL 14g CARBS 6g FAT 31g PROTEIN 6

Use this Sweet and Spicy Chicken recipe for your weekly meal prep or as the main course for dinner! It is incredibly versatile and healthy.

There are so many ways to enjoy it, and it's so tasty that you'll probably come with some new ones.

This is a seriously delicious chicken recipe. It has a touch of sweetness from the brown sugar and a little salty from the soy sauce, with just enough heat from the Asian chili garlic paste.

Serve it with some sesame sugar snap peas and steamed rice and you have a dinner everyone will go crazy for.

In fact, if you were in my kitchen last night, you would have witnessed us messily eating it right out of the slow cooker while we waited for the rice to finish up. It wasn't a pretty sight, but it was too good to wait!

The leftovers are also amazing so it's easy to get two meals out of this recipe.

Today, you would have seen me stuffing it into lettuce wraps with some mandarin oranges, shredded cabbage, and chopped cashews. It seriously makes delicious lettuce wraps!

This slow cooker chicken recipe is super easy to make and is really popular with various foods and meals.

Asian sweet and spicy chicken shredded in a bowl with garlic and ginger on the side.

Key Ingredients and Easy Swaps

There are lots of ways that you can customize this recipe for a different twist on the flavor each time.

Here's what I used:

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs: I decided to use boneless and skinless chicken thighs because I wanted to make sure the chicken stayed nice and moist. Chicken breast would also work, as would pork tenderloin or a lean, trimmed pork shoulder.
  • Soy Sauce: If you want to keep it gluten-free, you can use tamari or liquid aminos.
  • Brown Sugar: I love how the brown sugar caramelizes in this sauce. You could also replace it with honey or agave syrup.
  • Asian Garlic Chili Sauce: This adds some delightful heat to the dish! If you like things spicy, add a touch more.
  • Garlic Cloves: Whenever you cook things on the stove, use fresh garlic cloves instead of garlic powder or garlic salt. It will produce the best aroma and flavor for the dish.
  • Ginger: Just like with garlic, ginger has the most flavor when you mince fresh ginger root.

What To Serve With Sweet And Spicy Chicken

This is the best part about this recipe - you can serve it in so many ways!

It tastes fantastic on a bed of brown rice. You could also eat it on top of some cauliflower rice. It's also flavorful enough to eat on its own with some just steamed veggies or put it inside some lettuce wraps.

The options are pretty much endless!

This is the perfect slow cooker recipe to use for your meal prep the rest of the week. Just cook it, shred it, and then store it in your meal prep containers. It will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Recipe Tips And Ideas

Follow these tips to make sure that this chicken turns out juicy every single time!

  • Reduce the cooking liquid. This creates a fantastic sauce/drizzle for the chicken, and it's worth the extra 15 minutes.
  • Adjust the spices to your liking. If you taste it and want it spicier, add more chili sauce or a splash of hot sauce.
  • You can use dried ginger instead of fresh, but the taste will be milder, so use more.
  • This recipe also works great with lean pork, turkey breast, or chicken breast.
  • If you want to make this a more complete meal, then add some green beans, sugar snap peas, or broccoli during the last 30 minutes of cooking. The veggies will cook right in the sauce. Then just grab a bag of frozen or pre-cooked rice and dinner is done.

Shredded chicken in a sweet and spicy sauce in a bowl with sambal olek, garlic, and soy sauce.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers...

Yes, this tastes really delicious in the Instant Pot, too.

If you want to make it in a pressure cooker, I suggest adding 1/2 a cup of chicken broth to it first. Food in the Instant Pot needs liquid for it to work correctly. If you don't use enough liquid, it will cause the chicken to burn, and you might get a "BURN" warning on the Instant Pot.

Just add 1/2 a cup of chicken broth along with the rest of the ingredients to the Instant Pot and cook it on high pressure for 30 minutes and then do a quick release of the steam.

Then, it's ready to eat!

This sweet and spicy chicken recipe is the perfect make-ahead freezer meal.

Add all the ingredients (raw and uncooked) to a large freezer-safe resealable plastic bag. Then, lay the bag on a baking sheet and freeze it. When it is frozen solid, you can take out the baking sheet.

Doing this step basically prevents food from settling and freezing in strange or weird positions. When it freezes flat, you'll be able to store more bags on top of it.

Then, when you are ready to cook it, just let it thaw in the refrigerator the night before. Even if it is still slightly frozen the next day, you can dump all the ingredients in your slow cooker and let it cook.

If you want to use chicken breast, the instructions are the same. Nothing changes, and it will still be really juicy and fall apart.

The only thing I would change is that I'd keep an eye on the cooking time. Chicken breast (especially boneless and skinless) tends to cook a lot faster. If you don't like your chicken to be extra-soft, cook it for about 30 minutes less.

The only thing about this recipe that isn't keto-friendly is the sugar. So, I suggest using a brown sugar substitute like Swerve. Be sure to use a brown sugar sweetener so it will caramelize in the same way and have the same kind of texture.

Then, serve it on top of lettuce or some cauliflower rice. It's actually a really fantastic low-carb meal on its own!

The Recipe
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Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chicken

249 CAL 14g CARBS 6g FAT 31g PROTEIN 6
COOK TIME: 4 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 4 Hours, 10 Min
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  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce (GF if needed)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (or honey or agave)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, minced

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Stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, chili garlic paste, garlic, and ginger in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add the chicken and stir to coat the chicken completely.

Chicken thighs in a slow cooker with sweet and spicy Asian sauce.

Cook on low for 4 hours or until chicken is fully cooked. Shred using two forks.

Sweet and spicy chicken thighs in a bowl being shredded with a fork.

Optional but highly recommended: Add the liquid from the slow cooker into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and boil for 8-10 minutes until it reduces by half and thickens. Toss chicken in this sauce or drizzle on top.

Sweet and spicy Asian sauce simmering in a pot.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 249
Calories from Fat 6
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 132mg
Sodium 1138mg
Total Carbohydrate 14g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 10g
Protein 31g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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On Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Chicken
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November 26, 2022 - 17:04
How do you think this recipe would fair with using chuck roast?
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October 17, 2022 - 16:59
Are we really to use 1/4 cup garlic chili paste? That seems like a lot. I’m also confused because sometimes it’s referred to as sauce in the description. What exactly do you recommend and how much? Thanks!
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October 18, 2022 - 13:21
You can adjust the amount of garlic chili paste to suit your spice preferences, but we like it with a 1/4 cup and I find it isn't overwhelmingly spicy. I use sambal olek for the Asian garlic chili paste. Sriracha sauce could be swapped in as well, but it tends to be a bit spicier. Hope that helps!
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January 20, 2020 - 09:32
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SO GOOD!!! I prepped this as a freezer meal and cooked it in the Instant Pot for 30 minutes on high pressure. Shredded the chicken and wrapped it in low carb/calorie tortillas. My husband said we need to keep one of these in the freezer at all times!
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Amy Liz
August 1, 2019 - 10:08
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I have made these chicken thighs many many times now. I love them! Last time I didn't have fresh ginger so I used 1/4tsp ground ginger and it came out perfect! As a matter of fact i have a batch getting all happy in the crock pot right now! I can't wait!!!
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July 9, 2019 - 09:25
Can this be made with chicken breast,if yes how long to cook?thanks Ken
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Christine Yager
February 12, 2019 - 17:51
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This is so good!! I’m doing to free meal plan this week and I’ve already subscribed to your weekly plans. I’m so excited for all the delicious food to come!
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Cathy Cannon
March 23, 2018 - 06:20
Do we know how many carbs it would be if I use brown sugar substitute?
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Kelly Mergard
March 31, 2017 - 13:11
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LOVE this recipe. Tastes like bourbon chicken! Only thing is I'm having a problem with the portion sizing..with 6oz serving I only had 3 servings when all done. I had gotten 1.9lbs raw chicken thighs. Maybe I need to buy more than 2lbs to get 6 servings of 6oz portions?
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Murielle Boucher
March 2, 2017 - 14:42
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This is now a favorite in our home! Tasty, easy to make, low in calories, and leftovers are great for the lunchbox.
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Susan Amerikaner
March 4, 2016 - 19:06
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I made this and put leftovers in the freezer. We had some tonight (about a month later) and it was fantastic! I serve with cucumber salad and rice for my husband-- and for me II use Trader Joes' frozen Riced Cauliflower. With the delicious sauce from this chicken, the cauliflower tastes like rice! For those of you trying to skimp on rice, I highly recommend trying riced cauliflower with this dish. I am going to make this again soon! It freezes great!
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Briony Beckstrom
January 12, 2016 - 20:48
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This recipe was packed with flavor and super delicious. My husband and I are trying to eat more healthy and one of my husband's biggest complaints is how healthy food tastes like cardboard. Not this one! We were both licking the bowls clean. I think my only complaint is that there won't be enough liquid for tomorrow's leftovers.
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Kate Mills
January 11, 2016 - 18:34
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Made this last night and had leftovers today. Really easy and delicious!
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