Crockpot Chicken Thighs
Delicious chicken thigh, cooked in a slow cooker and simmered in a savory sauce. These easy chicken thighs are such a crowd pleaser.
This is such a simple recipe with a semi-homemade sauce, that starts with your favorite BBQ sauce, and is amped up with extra spices and additions to take your chicken to a whole new level.
It is sure to be a favorite with its delicious bbq sauce that offers the perfect balance of savory and underlying sweet and goes great over rice.
If you are anything like me you probably bought a package of chicken thighs, and had no real plan for how you would use it, so you hit up Google or Pinterest for ideas.
Well let me tell you why you should make this easy Crockpot Chicken Thighs recipe:
- Offers a great universal flavor. Who doesn’t like BBQ chicken? This thigh recipe offers that barbecue flavor you love with some fun twists with the ginger and soy, giving it more depth, and keeping it super tasty.
- Requires very minimal effort on the cook. Dump your ingredients into your trusty crockpot and let this magical machine do the work, while you sit back and enjoy the mouth watering aromas, as they permeate through your home.
- Tender and delicious: The chicken thighs braise in a crockpot, creating tender pieces of meat that no one can resist.
- So Easy: No need to slave away in the kitchen. This is a set it and forget it meal, and you can broil the chicken at the end to get a crispy skin, but otherwise it is hands free cooking at its finest.
What You Need to Make Crockpot Chicken Thighs
I’m all about simple, yet delicious. If a dish doesn’t have these two components, then I’m out.
So, with that said, don’t let the list of ingredients for this recipe intimidate you. A large list of ingredients does not always mean the dish is time consuming, expensive, or hard.
A lot of these ingredients you probably already have on hand and there is nothing weird or obscure on the list. So rest assured, the list, while a tad longer, is still easy peasy.
What You Need:
- Chicken Thighs
- Soy Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Brown Sugar
- Salt and Pepper
- Garlic Cloves (minced)
- Dried Basil
- Dried Oregano
And there you have it. It is pretty simple, and easy to make these delicious Crock Pot Chicken Thighs.
How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
Cooking chicken in the slow cooker is really easy. I have always been a little hesitant to cook chicken in the slow cooker because it tends to dry it out. But one of the nice things about chicken thighs is they are generally moist.
If you are going to cook chicken in a slow cooker, chicken thighs are the way to go. They stay nice and moist and tender because they are dark meat, and they will stay especially tender if you leave the bone in.
For this recipe you just do a couple things:
- Place chicken in slow cooker
- Pour sauce over top and let cook.
- Broil to crisp the skin up.
It really is super easy peasy!
Tips For The Perfect Crockpot Chicken:
Okay you are well on your way to a fabulous dish with a recipe like this. Here are some tips to further help you out.
Trust me you are not going to want to skip this section.
Tip 1: How To Get Crispy Skin.
Tender chicken with a crispy outer coating is perfection. So let’s make sure that happens.
Hint: The slow cooker is magical, but it has its limits. Crispy is not its strength, but that’s okay. Don’t worry crockpot. We still love you.
After chicken is done slow cooking, just broil the chicken in the oven for about 3-7 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it.
- Chicken should be placed on a sheet pan. Make sure that it is lined with foil to prevent mess and sticking.
- In order to get the most effective broil, lightly cover chicken with olive oil.
- Make sure oven tray is set about 10 inches from the top heating unit.
- Broil 3-7 minutes until desired crispiness is reached, keep an eye on it to avoid burning
This extra and simple step is worth doing to add the perfect finish to your chicken.
Tip 2: Use Chicken Thighs, Bone In
Why is my slow cooker chicken tough?
Well what kind of chicken did you use? A chicken breast is lean, which is great, but due to having very little fat it is at risk for over cooking and becoming less tender when cooked in a slow cooker. Chicken breasts are better grilled or seared stove top at higher temperatures, rather than low and slow.
Benefits of Bone-In Chicken Thighs:
The ideal chicken for tenderness when cooked slow is bone-in chicken thighs. The bones don’t hold onto the heat, preventing the meat from drying out, unlike with lean chicken breasts.
Bone-in chicken will stay tender, unlike lean chicken breasts, which risk drying out, so opt for thighs with bone for slow cooker recipes like this one.
Tip 3: The Braising Cooking Method, Use It.
Get on board and braise that chicken. While you don’t really have to understand why this cooking method makes your chicken so good, it is worth it to understand so you can repeat the process if you want to change the sauce. Basically, by cooking your chicken in the sauce in the slow cooker you are effectively braising it.
Braising means you cook your meat for a long period of time, covered in a liquid of some sort. With the braising method, gelatin will start to form as a result of the chicken’s collagen in the connective tissue starting to deteriorate.
While you may be wondering why you care or want to hear this, let me tell you that this is a good thing. The gelatin substance gives flavor and great texture to the sauce.
The sauce is effectively your braising liquid! And this sauce is oh so good. It is almost like an Asian inspired barbecue sauce. I suggest tasting it and adjusting the flavors to your preference before pouring it over your chicken.
Chicken thighs are perfect for braising because of their great wealth of flavor and the higher fat content they possess compared to lean chicken breasts.
Note: If you love your slow cooker as much as I do, then you will want to check out these 30+ Easy Slow Cooker Recipes for more inspiration. They are tasty, ready to go meal plans.
Tip 4: Don’t Try and Cook From Frozen
Can You Cook From Frozen In The Slow Cooker? Umm, no.
Sorry to disappoint, but if you want to be absolutely safe, don’t do it. A lot of people cook their meat frozen in a slow cooker. A lot of recipes don’t specify to defrost first. But I want to tell you this is a bad idea.
While your meat should come out tender and delicious, it is not a safe way to prepare your meat.
Everyone knows you have to cook meat to a certain temperature before it is safe to eat. But did you know if it sits at an unsafe temperature for too long bacteria can form?
Your meat will reach that temperature in a slow cooker even if not defrosted first, but while it is working its way up that desired, safe temp, it will spend too much time defrosting in the slow cooker at an unsafe temperature where bacteria can form.
Many people do it and are fine, but to be extra safe and use best practices, I don’t advise it.
Simply defrost in the fridge first about a day or so ahead of time.
Now some may be thinking, Can You Put Raw Chicken In A Slow Cooker?
Yes of course. Do not worry. The whole point of the slow cooker is to cook. Slow cookers reach a high enough temperature to kill bad bacteria.
The problem with frozen food is that it sometimes takes too long to reach that safe temp.
Tip 5: Don’t Overcook Your Chicken.
This one seems obvious, but if ignored, it can really ruin your dish.
Can you overcook in a slow cooker?
You can. Follow this recipe and you should be fine as it has been tested over and over.
However, take into account when you follow a recipe whether you chose to adapt and use different size or amounts of meat, or if your slow cooker has hot spots, runs hot or cold.
How Do You Debone Chicken Thighs?
For this recipe I HIGHLY suggest bone-in chicken thighs. But if you would prefer to debone them before cooking them, you can. Just cook for a shorter period of time. Removing the bone greatly speeds up cooking time, so it is a great trick to use if you are in a hurry or haven’t left yourself much time.
How do you debone chicken thighs?
Objective: Get the bone out without looking like you have had a fight with your chicken and you have clearly won, leaving visible battle wounds.
- Flip chicken so it is skin side down.
- Locate the bone.
- Use a sharp knife or kitchen shears and carefully cut the meat along both sides of the center bone, being careful to not cut all the way through, rather just cutting through the cartilage, and around the center bone.
- Cut off the cartilage at the top and bottom of the bone. Then use shears or a sharp knife to gently cut underneath the bone, separating th e meat from the bone completely.
- Remove bone.
Now you have everything you need to make this easy, slow cooker chicken thighs recipe.
How Many Boneless Chicken Thighs Are In A Pound?
This recipe calls for 8 chicken thighs, which is approximately 2.5 pounds of chicken.
The number of thighs in a pound depends on the size of the chicken thighs, but typically about 3 per pound.
8 bone-in chicken thighs will serve about 4-8 people. Kids will probably eat one thigh and adults will probably want two thighs.
When buying thighs plan accordingly for the number of people you are serving.
Other Great Slow Cooker Recipes:
Minimize the stress of dinner and make this easy, delicious, tender, Crock Pot Chicken Thighs. Braised to perfection in your crockpot, creating the most perfect tender pieces of chicken you can imagine, this dish is one to save to your recipe card!
But if you are looking for other recipes that can be prepared in the slow cooker, consider the following:
How to Make Chicken Thighs in Crockpot Video Tutorial:
Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
- 8 chicken thighs with bones and skin
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 yellow onion small
- ½ cup soy sauce low sodium
- ½ cup BBQ sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup honey
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 ½ tsp cornstarch
- Lay chicken thighs into the bottom of a 4-6 quart slow cooker.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add onion to the pot
- Whisk soy sauce, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, honey, garlic, basil, oregano, ginger, and cornstarch together in a bowl; pour over the chicken.
- Cook on High for 2.5 hours or Low for 6 hours.
- Preheat broiler to high.
- Remove chicken from slow cooker and place on a baking tray, skin side up, and broil for 3-4 minutes to crisp skin up.
- Serve with sauce from slow cooker, over rice
Our recipe card software calculates these nutrition facts based on averages for the above ingredients, different brands, and quality of produce/meats may have different nutritional information, always calculate your own based on the specific products you use in order to achieve accurate macros for this recipe.
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