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10 Minutes of Prep work is all you need to make this flavorful and moist slow cooker sesame chicken – it’s bound to become a family favorite!

The finished dish served over white rice topped with sesame seeds and sliced green onions.
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Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken

If your days are anything like mine, it can get hectic in no time. Instead of stressing over dinner details, I’ve found that my slow cooker is the perfect solution that lets me keep up with my active kids without feeling rushed.

Using a handful of ingredients that are probably already in your pantry, just toss them in the slow cooker, set it, and go on about your day!

Some of our go-tos are Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushrooms, Slow Cooker Lentil Chili, and Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Lentil Curry.

And when we are in the mood for Chinese takeout, this sesame chicken is one of the first dishes that I turn to.

Melt-in-your-mouth tender chicken in sweet and savory sauce that can be enjoyed over rice or noodles. Yes Please!

Hungry for more? Here are our favorite baby and toddler-friendly Asian recipes.

Ingredients

All prepped ingredients on a white countertop.

I am highlighting just the ones that need further explanation. The complete list is in the recipe card below.

  • Chicken – I prefer using skinless chicken thighs as they turn out more moist but you can use boneless skinless chicken breasts if you prefer.
  • Honey – a wonderful unrefined sweetener that also adds a nice glaze and caramelization.
  • Tomato Paste – it may not be a traditional ingredient in sesame chicken, but it helps round out the flavors while thickening the sauce.
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Toasted Sesame Oil – adds a rich and nutty flavor to the dish. If you love sesame flavor, feel free to add more!
  • Cornstarch – Adding this at the end acts as a thickening agent.

Step-by-Step Instructions

All the sauce ingredients added to a liquid cup.

Step 1: In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, tomato paste, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and garlic.

Uncooked chicken in crockpot with the sauce mixed in.

Step 2: Place the chicken pieces in the slow cooker and pour the sauce over them. Give it a good stir to coat the chicken evenly.

Chicken and sauce in the slow cooker after cooking.

Step 3: Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and tender and the temperature reads 165°F.

The sauce with cornstarch mixed in.

Step 4: In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with water to create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the slow cooker, making sure to distribute it well. Continue cooking for an additional 15-20 minutes on high until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken back in and stir.

Tips for Success

  • If using chicken breasts, you’ll need to cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 1.5-2.5 hours. This is because chicken breasts will dry out more quickly than the thighs if overcooked. But cooking times can vary depending on your slow cooker and the size/thickness of the chicken pieces so always check for doneness by using a using a meat thermometer; the internal temperature should reach 165°F (74°C).
  • Be sure to grab a super sharp knife when you’re tackling those chicken thighs, but here’s a pro tip: sharp kitchen shears do the trick just as nicely!
  • Adjust the cornstarch-water mixture according to your desired sauce consistency.  If you prefer a thicker sauce, use less water, and if you want it lighter, use more.
  • Prep ingredients the night before for a quick morning assembly.

Substitutions

  • No Cornstarch? Depending on dietary restrictions, arrowroot powder or tapioca starch can also be used for thickening.
  • Soy allergy? Coconut or liquid aminos can be used in place of low sodium soy sauce.
  • Don’t have rice vinegar? White Wine Vinegar is the best substitute. Apple Cider Vinegar can also be used but in a slightly smaller amount.
  • Swap out the honey for maple syrup or this homemade date syrup. Always consider the specific flavor profile of the substitute and adjust quantities based on your taste preferences.

Variations

  • Add heat to the dish by adding red pepper flakes and Sriracha sauce. Each family member can tailor the dish to their liking by adjusting the heat level according to their personal preferences.
  • Enhance the final dish with a garnish of sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onions for an extra burst of flavor and visual appeal.

Serving Suggestions

A deconstructed meal for a toddler on a blue plate.

To make a complete meal:

  • Serve over over white rice, brown rice or noodles
  • Add a side of cooked vegetables. I’m a fan of using frozen ones for a speedy side dish, especially frozen broccoli.
  • You can also pair it with a salad dressed with this tasty Asian salad dressing.

Storage

Transfer leftovers into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. You can also freeze in a freezer-safe container or freezer bags, making sure to remove as much air as possible. Enjoy within the next 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this sesame chicken on the stove?

Yes! This is a great option if you are short on time and want to get dinner on the table quickly. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to coat the bottom and add chicken to the skillet. Cook until browned on all sides and cooked through. Pour the sauce over it, stir well, then stir the slurry into the skillet, mixing it with the sauce and chicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens.

What is the best way to reheat sesame chicken?

You can reheat on the stovetop over medium heat, stirring occasionally until warmed, or transfer the desired portion to a microwave-safe dish and reheat in 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until heated through.

If the chicken appears dry after reheating, you can add a splash of chicken broth, water, or additional sauce to help moisten it.

More Easy Chicken Recipes

Did you make this recipe? Leave a rating below and let me know how you liked the recipe! Your feedback means so much to me!

5 from 3 votes

Slow Cooker Sesame Chicken

10 Minutes of Prep work is all you need to make this flavorful and moist slow cooker sesame chicken – it's bound to become a family favorite!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6
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Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs (or breasts), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3-4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3-4 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Instructions 

  • In a bowl, whisk together soy sauce, honey, tomato paste, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and garlic.
  • Place the chicken pieces in the slow cooker and pour the sauce over them. Give it a good stir to coat the chicken evenly.
  • Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and tender and the temperature reads 165°F.
  • In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with water to create a slurry. Stir the slurry into the slow cooker, making sure to distribute it well.
  • Continue cooking for an additional 15-20 minutes on high until the sauce thickens. Add the chicken back in and stir.
  • Serve the sesame chicken over cooked rice or noodles. Garnish with sesame seeds and chopped green onions.

Notes

  • Adjust the cornstarch-water mixture according to your desired sauce consistency.  If you prefer a thicker sauce, use less water, and if you want it lighter, use more.
  • Soy allergy? Coconut or liquid aminos can be used in place of low sodium soy sauce.
  • Add heat to the dish by adding red pepper flakes and Sriracha sauce. Each family member can tailor the dish to their liking by adjusting the heat level according to their personal preferences.
  • Serve over over white rice, brown rice or noodles.

Nutrition

Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 466mg | Potassium: 464mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 118IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 2mg
Like this recipe? Rate and comment below!

About Min

Thank you so much for stopping by! I am Min, a Registered Dietitian, a Christ follower, a wife, and a mom to our two miracle babies! Currently, I’m having a ton of fun feeding their tummies and sharing our baby led weaning journey! Follow me on Instagram if interested in seeing daily menu as well as tips and tricks.

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Recipe Rating




20 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe is simple yet so tasty! I’ve tried it twice and my kids love it. I packed the leftover for their lunch too with some vegetables. 🙂