Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken is a Crock Pot recipe that’s easy to make, cheaper than takeout and tastes better too! It’s a family friendly recipe that will become a favorite.

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken Recipe

For some reason, when I think about using my Crock Pot, I think about it in the cold months filled with soups, stews and pot roast. But I’ve come to realize that using a slow cooker in the summer makes a lot of sense! First of all, I don’t have to turn my oven on and heat up the house. On a day like today, when the high was 90 degrees and the humidity was 75, the air conditioner is working hard enough. I could always go fire up the grill, but I really am enjoying the cool air inside the house. Another great reason is that summer is such a busy time. I spend my days running errands, bringing my kids here and there, meeting friends at the park and trying to prepare blog posts in between. So, I love it when I remember to put dinner in the Crock Pot and voilait is ready when we want to eat! Last week, I made honey sesame chicken in my slow cooker and loved it.

Crock Pot Chicken Recipe

This slow cooker honey sesame chicken recipe was super easy to make. Cut the chicken into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes. Mix together honey, low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic, onion, barbecue sauce and crushed red peppers in a small bowl. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and stir to coat. Cook on low for 2 to 4 hours.

Honey Sesame Chicken Sauce

Remove the chicken from the crock pot while reserving the sauce. Pour the sauce into a saucepan. Mix together cold water and cornstarch and stir into the sauce. Cook sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. This only takes a couple of minutes. Turn the heat down to low, add chicken to sauce and break any large pieces into smaller chunks. I used the end of my wooden spatula. Stir to coat while simmering. Remove from heat and sauce will thicken more as it cools. Serve over rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and green onions.

Honey Sesame Chicken Crock Pot Recipe

Three of us were home to eat it and we had enough left over to share with my sister and her husband who just had a baby. We dropped it off at their house before heading to my in-laws for the evening.

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6 servings
  • 2½ lbs chicken thighs (or chicken breasts but they tend to dry out faster)
  • 1 cup honey
  • ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp minced onion (I used the dried kind)
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • ¼ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • Sesame seeds
  • Green onions, sliced
  1. Cut chicken into 1 to 1½ inch cubes and put into Crock Pot.
  2. Mix together honey, low-sodium soy sauce, sesame oil, olive oil, garlic, onion, barbecue sauce and crushed red peppers in a small bowl.
  3. Pour the sauce mixture over the chicken and stir to coat.
  4. Cook on low for 2 to 4 hours, depending on your slow cooker.
  5. Remove the chicken from the Crock Pot while reserving the sauce.
  6. Pour the sauce into a saucepan over medium heat.
  7. Mix together the cold water and cornstarch and stir into the sauce.
  8. Cook sauce over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. This only takes a couple of minutes.
  9. Turn the heat down to low, add chicken to sauce and break any large pieces into smaller chunks. I used the end of my wooden spatula. Stir to coat while simmering.
  10. Remove from heat and sauce will thicken more as it cools.
  11. Serve over rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.
Recipe adapted from Six Sisters Stuff

Bonus Tips:

  1. Choose chicken thighs over chicken breasts for this recipe. I’ve tried it with both but the chicken thighs are dark meat and have more fat. This will help keep the chicken moist, if that has been an issue for you.
  2. Get to know your slow cooker. Every brand and every price point varies significantly. Check the chicken after two hours to see if it is done.
  3. I updated the water to cornstarch ratio in the recipe. If it still isn’t thick enough, continue adding water and cornstarch in a 1:1 ratio (for example, dissolving 1 tbsp of cornstarch in 1 tbsp cold water)

Also, be sure to check out these dinner recipes:


Slow Cooker Chicken Pot Pie Soup | Orange Chicken Skillet Recipe | Baked Spaghetti

Follow The Gunny Sack’s board Dinner on Pinterest.

Disclaimer: Please note that some of the links in this post are affiliate links. There is no additional cost to you, but I will earn a small commission if you purchase through those links.
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  1. Clare says

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious. I have a very picky eater and he loved it. I made it with boneless/skinless chicken breast. The sauce was very tasty. Served over rice with steamed broccoli and carrots. It was very easy to make and plan to make again and again.

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. says

    Everyone who wrote a poor review for this recipe either butchered the meal on their own accord…..or they are simply missing their tastebuds. The chicken was juicy and soft with only 2 hours of cooking on low. I made broccoli as a side dish instead of rice, but there was a little bit of extra sauce so if you don’t mind the extra calories I would definitely recommend making this with rice. SOOOOOO GOOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!!!! Printing out the recipe and will no doubt be making again!

  3. Kristin says

    Followed the directions except for the thickening of the sauce at the end, and the flavor was decent, but my chicken was super dry. The first time I’ve ever cooked chicken in the crock pot and it came out dry. I can see in the comments quite a few people had that issue too.. I don’t know what it could be. I cooked the chicken on low for 4 hours, my guess is that was way too much time? Disappointed.

  4. Cindy says

    Just made this tonight for my family. Everyone loved it! Great recipe! I have now added it to my favorites! Thank you!

  5. Maddy says

    I made this and it was delicious. I added tapioca (NOT large pearls) and cut out the added cornstarch thickening process. Made it simpler for me. BTW I used standard 1-1/2 tsp tapioca per 1 cup liquid ratio. Thank you for an interesting and very tasty dinner choice.

      • says

        We loved this! Made it today for my husband and I. I was out of barbecue sauce, so I added Thai Sweet chili sauce and a small can of pineapple tidbits. Cooked it for 2.5 hours. followed the rest of the instructions for making the sauce, added to the chicken and then added the pineapple. This one will be cooked again!

  6. Michelle says

    was just ok. Did not impress me but I didn’t hate it. Sauce does not thicken as much as I would like. Chicken was cooked for 3 hrs and was kinda dry tasting. I give 2 stars!

    • LynAnne says

      Tried this recipe using pork chunks as a family member has allergies to chicken. The meat was an absolute fail (tough, grainy and tasteless). The sauce, was ok over rice. I’m wondering if the meat had been floured and quick fried first if it wouldn’t have been better. Any thoughts?

      • Tonia says

        I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t turn out using pork. I don’t have a lot of experience cooking with pork although I would love to learn to make tender, moist pork!

      • Shannon says

        I am deathly allergic to chicken and turkey too!!!

        I would cut the cooking time down to 2 hours and I bet that would make it better. Pork takes less time to cook.

  7. gabby says

    I made this using my Ninja 4 in 1, and it was amazing! We only had to cook it for about 2 hours, though I left it in for about 2.5 while the rice was cooking. It wasn’t dry at all and the flavor was amazing. The sauce didn’t thicken as much as I thought, but I’ve always been a sauce person. So, having the extra was perfect for me! Thanks for this recipe! 5/5

  8. Summeya says

    Hi. I loved the look of this recipe but unfortunately when I made it mine was very light in colour not a lovely brown like yours . Do you think it’s the honey or soy sauce I’m using?

  9. Angie P. says

    Followed the recipe to the T. Mine turned out very dry and soupy with very little flavor. 🙁

  10. joanna says

    Can you use arrowroot powder to thicken instead of cornstarch?? Thoughts on how much to add? Same as cornstarch? Thanks!

    • Tonia says

      Hi Joanna,
      I’ve never used arrowroot powder so I’m not sure. Maybe another reader has some tips!

  11. Allison says

    This is probably a stupid question, but I’m assuming you’re supposed to throw the chicken into the crockpot raw?

    • esph says

      yup i tried it last night and the chicken was really dry and the sauce was pretty pungent. my thoughts for next time: use dark meat and definitely low-sodium (i used regular soy sauce, oops).

  12. Tammy says

    Made this tonight and it was a huge it. My chicken breast were butterfly cut so it cooked in 3 hours on low. I added broccoli and it was a perfect meal on this cold night!

  13. says

    Thanks for this recipe! We had a dinner party at the weekend and I made this, and everyone loved it. My sauce didn’t thicken at all and was really runny but the flavours were amazing.

  14. Leila says

    Really good meal! Not as thick as take-out sesame chicken, but still delicious. I added raw broccoli into my slow cooker about 20 minutes before serving to add some extra nutrients and flavors.

  15. Carol says

    Can you use regular soy sauce or does it work better with low sodium? What alterations to the recipe do you suggest if I use regular soy sauce?

    • Tonia says

      Hi Carol,
      I’ve never tried it with regular soy sauce, but I think it would work the same. I would suggest using 1/3 cup instead of 1/2 cup to keep the sodium content lower. Best of luck!

  16. mandy says

    I only have 4 sets on my crockpot 4 or 6 on HIGH and 8-10 on low. Unfortunately, I didn’t take this into consideration when preparing this dish. I set it on 4 hours and will check on it in about 2. This is literally the first dish I’m trying out with my new crockpot. Is the time still the same for the settings I named or will checking on it in 2 hours be okay? I don’t want to dry out the chicken.

    • Tonia says

      Hi Mandy,
      I’m sorry but I’ve never worked with those settings. Yes, it will probably be done cooking after 2 hours on high. If not, you can always put it back in the crockpot or finish cooking it in a skillet.

  17. Alexandra says

    Hi! I’m making the Honey Sesame Chicken for dinner tonight but I wanted to check, do i have to thicken it with the water and cornstarch since I am serving it over rice?

    • Tonia says

      You don’t have to thicken it but I did. Another reader said she didn’t have time to thicken the sauce and was still good!

  18. Amber says

    I made this for supper and it was a a big hit with everyone. I noticed a few people from the comments above had mentioned that the chicken was over cooked and dry, I put mine in the crockpot at 1230 a and remembered to plug it in at 1 (cause I’m just that awesome!), due to some last minute craziness, it ended up cooking for about 5.5hrs. It was super yummy and not at all dried out. I used my big trusty crockpot that seems to be fairly bang on for temps. Also, due to the last minute craziness and the fact that we all eat at way different times, I didn’t thicken it with the cornstarch. Yes it was runny, but served over rice, it was still good. Thanks for another great recipe to add to my list!

  19. Kristin says

    Wholly guacamole this was a HUGE hit. I can’t thank you enough for the Honey Chicken clue in! I haven’t seen my family inhale dinner like that in a long time. Usually one or two of them will be happy but to have all four of us fighting for the last bite was great! Thank you a million times.

    Oh the power of the meal plan!!!! This is going into my rotation!

      • Natasha says

        Hi Tonia! I tried this but had some trouble making the coating thick at the end. Any suggestions? More cornstarch? thanks!

        • Tonia says

          Hi Natasha,
          My sauce at the end wasn’t really that thick, but it is hard to tell in pictures! If you want to thicken it, yes, cornstarch and heat should do it. Dissolve the cornstarch in cold water before adding it to the hot sauce or it will clump together.

  20. Kathy says

    I’m so excited to try this! I put soy sauce on my list. I have everything but that. I mixed all of the ingredients for the sauce up except for the soy sauce and threw it in a freezer bag with the cut up chicken. I will add the soy sauce when I make it next week! The reviews look awesome and it sounds DELICIOUS!!! I hope my 4 year old likes it like Kerri’s kids did! I think I will serve it with rice and broccoli. 🙂

  21. Kerri says

    I made this tonight and it was amazing! I didn’t have to tell my kids to sit down and eat, not once! They are 6, 4 and 2 and cleaned their plates!! New favorite! Thanks!!

  22. Deborah says

    I made this tonight and it is very tasty. I cooked the chicken on high for about 2 hours and then followed the sauce direction. Then returned it all into the crockpot to cook a little more until dinner time.

    • Tonia says

      Hi Jessey,
      I have not, but I’m sure they would work. You would just have to adjust the cook time and cut the chicken into pieces after they cook. Let me know how it turns out!

  23. Lindse Mowery says

    I can’t wait to try this!!!!……one question do you think that you could sub like a pork tenderloin in for the chicken if you want red meat instead? Thanks!!

    • Tonia says

      Thanks Lindse! I’ve never tried it with pork tenderloin, but I’ve seen people make it with steak. I think it would delicious that way and I would love to hear how it turns out.

  24. Jessica Young says

    Hello… I just made this for dinner tonight, and it was AH-mazing!!! A total hit with the hubby, and we are putting it on the list of favorites to make on a regular basis. My chicken came out super juicy and the sauce was perfection! The only thing I did different from your recipe was leaving the sauce in the crock pot after removing the chicken, I added in flour and wisked it to get it ever-so slightly thickened. I cooked it for 4 hours on low and it was awesome!

    Thanks so much for adding to my crock pot arsenal 🙂

    PS… I use Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce too 😉

  25. Melissa says

    I made this for dinner tonight and followed the recipe exactly and the chicken was crazy dry!!!! First thing I’ve made in years that my husband did not like! So disappointed because it LOOKED like it would have been delicious!

    • Tonia says

      What a disappointment! It’s so hard when a meal doesn’t turn out the way you were expecting, especially when those you are serving it to don’t like it. I’ve made it twice and my family loved it both times. I’m trying to figure out why it didn’t work for you. Would you mind telling me what size and brand slow cooker you used? And did you cook the chicken on high or low?

        • Tonia says

          Thanks for the information! I’m using my Crock-Pot from the 1990’s since my new one cracked. Once I buy a new Crock Pot, I’ll try making this again to see if I get the same results or if there is a difference in how the two cook.

  26. Dominique says

    I made this tonight for dinner and it was DELICIOUS! I will definitely be making it again for my family and I. The only thing I had a problem with was the sauce thickening. I even added extra cornstarch and even after us eating and being off the heat for 20+ minutes it still wasn’t thick. It really didn’t make a difference because it was still so good. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  27. Vicky says

    Hi Tonia,

    This looks amazing! I’m definitely going to try this. I was just wondering if you think I could freeze the leftovers. Would you leave out the cornstarch step and do it after defrosting?


    • Tonia says

      Hi Vicky,
      I don’t have a lot of experience with freezing food because I have a tiny freezer and we usually eat our leftovers from the fridge. When I do freeze leftovers, I often forget about them in the freezer. 🙂 But I think that it would work better to freeze it with the sauce to keep the chicken moist in the freezer. Best of luck!

  28. Heidi says

    So found this recipe online last night and decided to make this tonight for dinner. I went strictly by the recipe and it the chicken is so dry, I’m having to make a Chinese dinner run for dinner. My husband came to the conclusion it was the BBQ sauce. What BBQ sauce did you use for the recipe? I used what we had in the fridge, which is probably not the same as what you used. My suggestion would be adding the brand names to the items you used. By version came out looking NOTHING like what yours looks like in the picture. My first meal disaster, ever.

    • Tonia says

      Hi Heidi, I’m so sorry that it didn’t turn out for you like it did for us! I used Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce and I changed the cooking time in the recipe for now. I have a really old Crock Pot (because my new one cracked) so I wonder if that has anything to do with it? I will try making it again this week to double check my recipe and report back.

      • Heidi says

        That’s interesting, we used the same brand. So it probably is the difference in crock pots. I probably should’ve let cook for less time. I will be trying this again!!! Feel free to let me know if you figure out the timing!

        • Tonia says

          Alrighty, I made this chicken again and I think there are two reasons for the overcooked chicken. The first is the cooking time. It was ready in 4 hours. (The first time I made it, I cooked it for 6 hours, but that is overkill and probably has to do with my antique Crock Pot.) It only needs 3 1/2 – 4 hours on low (depending on your Crock Pot) so keep an eye on it. The second is the size of the chicken pieces. The smaller you cut them, the faster it will cook. Mine were 1 – 1 1/2 inch cubes when I put them in the Crock Pot. The pieces that were still big after being cooked, I cut into smaller pieces when I added them to the thickened sauce in the saucepan. Thanks for letting me know about the issue, Heidi, and I hope it turns out for you the next time!

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