crockpot honey sesame chicken


Crockpot honey sesame chicken is easy to make and even more delicious!

Slow cooker honey sesame chicken is so easy to make! Skip that take-out!


“Bourbon chicken? Bourbon chicken? Sample?”

crockpot sesame chicken

You know those food court Chinese places that you pass in the mall that shove chicken on a toothpick in your face and practically force you try it even if it’s like 10am.

Update: 7/24/2012: Yes, you may use boneless, skinless, chicken breasts instead of thighs.

I won’t lie, it’s hard to refuse something like that. It just smells and tastes so good, even if it is early in the morning.

However, it’s not “real” Chinese food and I don’t like that they broadcast it like it is. Hey, I’m a tad bit bias.

Anyway, enough of my hating because we all know how obsessed I am with that stuff and as far from Chinese as it may be, I still get it whenever I go to Panda Express or am grabbing a quick bite at the food court. But now that there’s a way to make it in the crockpot (and believe me, it makes your entire house smell so fantastic), I don’t think I’ll be getting it anymore at a food court. It’s SO easy to make. It’s like 9 simple ingredients that you already have at home & you throw into a crockpot and wait 3 hours and you have food court style food at home.

Yields 4

crockpot honey sesame chicken

5 minPrep Time

4 hrCook Time

4 hr, 5 Total Time

Save Recipe


  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 5
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Cornstarch
  • Sesame seeds


  1. Place the chicken thighs in the crockpot insert and sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine well. Pour over the chicken in the crockpot.
  3. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or high for 1 1/2-2 1/2 hours.
  4. When done, remove chicken from stock pot and cut into chunks. Prior to putting the chicken back in the stockpot, combine some cornstarch in water and whisk it into the crockpot to thicken up the sauce a bit (if the sauce doesn't thicken, it's ok - the liquid probably isn't hot enough to thicken it to the right consistency. It's ok if the sauce is more on the liquid side.) Throw the chicken back in and stir around to recoat the chicken in the sauce.
  5. Serve hot over a bed of white rice (optional) and sprinkle some sesame seeds on top.
Recipe Type: Slow Cooker



Posted on February 21, 2012

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  1. Cindy Dominguez
    12/09/2013 at 10:21 pm

    This was fantastic! These recipes are easy, even for novices like myself. :)

    • 12/10/2013 at 9:43 pm

      I’m so happy you enjoyed this, Cindy!

  2. Judith
    12/26/2013 at 10:49 am

    Is this recipe gluten free?

    • Marguerite
      06/08/2015 at 6:47 pm

      As to gluten free – if you’re making it with gluten free ingredients, it is. If you’re using a wheat-based soy sauce such as Kikkoman, then obviously it’s not gluten free. But the recipe does not require any always-wheat-containing ingredients.

  3. Judith
    12/26/2013 at 11:42 am

    Can you serve this recipe to someone who is gluten sensitive?

    • 12/26/2013 at 9:11 pm

      Hi Judith, I’m not familiar with gluten-free ingredients, but I believe this dish is gluten-free due to my basic knowledge of gluten-free diets, although, I cannot be certain so I suggest you try to maybe Google some of the ingredients to make sure. Sorry I couldn’t help more.

    • Kathy
      05/29/2016 at 11:03 am

      This is not gluten free. Soy sauce is never GF. You can substitute GF Tamari sauce instead. This us what I will do. Also, make sure to buy GF cornstarch. If it doesn’t say GF, it’s likely cross contaminated.

  4. This is so delicious and versatile. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. jennifer
    04/03/2014 at 9:46 am

    I made this last night and for me it was too sweet and the honey was overpowering.

    • Julie
      04/03/2014 at 12:27 pm

      Hi Jennifer – sorry you didn’t like this! If you make it again, maybe use half the amount of honey and taste the sauce and adjust to your taste. Thanks for the feedback!

  6. 05/05/2014 at 8:22 pm

    omg!!! I am surely going to try this recipe. I can’t wait to try this with the family. Thanks a ton for posting this and many of your recipes. Keep up the good work!!

  7. Kathy
    06/08/2014 at 9:59 pm

    I cooked this today. It is great! Thank you.

  8. 06/12/2014 at 3:51 am

    I really love crockpot chicken recipes and I i will definitely try this out…….thanks

  9. Annie
    06/17/2014 at 10:51 am

    Can I cook this on low for six hours, or will that overdo it?

    • Julie
      06/18/2014 at 8:33 am

      I think you could but the chicken might be too dried out.

  10. Katie C.
    06/22/2014 at 7:58 pm

    I just made this over the weekend and it was PHENOMENAL! I mostly stuck to the recipe except I used tenders instead of thighs and eliminated the red pepper flakes (I’m not a fan). I also used a bit more chicken than what the recipe called for (about 1 1/2 lbs, or 9 tenders). I cooked it on high for about 2 hours. The chicken was melt-in-your-mouth tender and there was a ton of sauce, which was great for putting over rice. It was positively delicious. Because of the honey, the sauce is sweet and rich and was a big hit for the whole family. I’ll definitely be making this again. Thanks for such a great recipe!! :)

  11. Kim
    08/14/2014 at 2:55 pm

    Mine was just ok. It didn’t really have the sweetness/buttery-flavor of the kinds at the mall. Maybe I overcooked it – I did thighs for 4 hours. I think it was too much. Next time I’ll try less time.

  12. Angie
    09/04/2014 at 6:27 pm

    Just made this tonight and it was a BIG hit in our family!! Even my picky 10 yo loved it!! I did chicken breasts but followed your recipe except for the onions, just didn’t have any in the house. It came out very sweet with plenty of sauce which everyone liked with their rice. Will be making this again! Thx!!

    • Julie
      09/05/2014 at 7:32 am

      I’m glad your entire family enjoyed this!

  13. 09/18/2014 at 1:17 pm

    I know its been a couple years since the recipe was posted, but I made this last night and it was delicious. I’m so excited to have found your blog and am looking forward to trying more of your recipes. Thanks for your work!

    • Julie
      09/19/2014 at 7:24 am

      So happy you found my blog and enjoyed this recipe!

  14. Sam
    10/06/2014 at 4:52 pm

    I kind of wished the recipe had an idea of how much cornstarch. I dont ever really use use it and had no idea and ended up not having enough. Tasted good though. Watery but good. Guess ill have to experiment next time.

    • Julie
      10/06/2014 at 8:10 pm

      Sorry I didn’t give a cornstarch amount! Shoot me an email next time and I can help you out :) I’m glad you still enjoyed it!

      • Aaron
        02/14/2016 at 12:51 pm

        I am really excited for this! I just followed the recipe and it’s cooking as we speak! I just don’t know how much cornstarch to use!!! Help?

      • Julie
        02/14/2016 at 4:16 pm

        I usually do 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to 2 teaspoons of water and continue to do that until it’s thickened to the consistency I like. Enjoy!

  15. sarah Guenette
    10/07/2014 at 1:00 pm

    I am wondering if you have the nutritional info for this recipe i am on weight watchers and love this one but not sure if its weight watcher friendly!

    • Julie
      10/08/2014 at 8:35 am

      Hi Sarah, unfortunately, no I don’t. I’ve addressed this (and why) in the FAQs section of the site!

  16. Ashley
    10/29/2014 at 1:10 am

    Is there any way I can use drumsticks? I ask because thats all I have at the moment. But, I love the thigh idea, probably more!

    • Julie
      10/30/2014 at 7:40 am

      I want to say it could but I’m afraid it might be too dry and you’d probably have to cut down on cook time.

  17. Bethany
    11/05/2014 at 3:22 pm

    I don’t have enough honey on hand, so what would be a good partial substitute – agave nectar, maple syrup, Brown sugar, waiting until I get to the store so I don’t ruin it :)?

    • Julie
      11/06/2014 at 8:40 am

      I think agave nectar would work perfectly!

  18. TJ
    11/05/2014 at 6:17 pm

    The sauce never thickened up. I don’t know how to cook, that is why I get recipes off the internet. Everything in this recipe has precise measurements except the cornstarch. Why not? I added more cornstarch to see if that made it thick. It tastes awful…like powder.

    • Julie
      11/05/2014 at 7:55 pm

      Hi TJ, sorry it didn’t work out for you. There’s no precise measurement for the cornstarch because everyone’s slow cooker is different and everyone’s liquid amount leftover is going to be slightly different so cornstarch added will all differ. Typically, it will take 1 tsp. cornstarch to 1 tsp. water, however, sometimes more. If it doesn’t thicken to your likeness, it’s ok – you can totally have this with a more liquid consistency. I hope that helps and I hope you try to make it again!

  19. Kristen Minaldi
    11/10/2014 at 9:44 pm

    I made this recipe tonight with a few minor touches! I added some garlic powder, onion powder, and garlic salt (to cut the sweetness) + mushrooms and it is SO GOOD! Will be making this often now.

  20. carla
    01/22/2015 at 1:26 pm

    If using chicken breast, do I cut it up before putting in crock pot?

    • Julie
      01/23/2015 at 8:07 am

      Hi Carla, no, you would do the same as what the chicken thighs in the recipe calls for you to do.

  21. Nathalie
    02/05/2015 at 10:36 am

    Hi, I have a family pack of thighs to cook, so I was planning on tripling the recipe (think I have 18 pieces of chicken thighs). How long should I cook it? Thanks!

    • Julie
      02/06/2015 at 8:54 am

      I’ve honestly never tripled this before but I would think you would have to cook this at least 8 hours on low and 6 on high, but I can’t be positive since that’s so much chicken. You’ll probably also have to go in and change up the position of the chicken thighs every now and then so they all cook evenly.

  22. 02/07/2015 at 4:25 pm

    Just Found Your Wonderful Blog Clicking Away through Pinterest…I am just about to Jump onto the Crock Pot Bandwagon but have No Clue which to Purchase…Any Suggestions/Guidance would be Greatly Appreciated…Can’t Wait to Try Out Your Recipes!!!

    Thanks So Much!!!
    Cecily :)

    • Julie
      02/08/2015 at 7:56 am

      So glad you found my blog through Pinterest! Enjoy the recipes!

  23. Elyse S.
    03/04/2015 at 8:48 pm

    My family absolutely loves this recipe! I fix a big batch of stir fry vegetables and some rice and there are never any leftovers. <3

  24. Amy
    04/09/2015 at 5:50 am

    I’ve got your recipe simmering away right now in the crockpot and you’re right, the whole house smells amazing. I also added broccoli and red bell pepper for some color. Can’t wait to try it! :)

  25. Lecoultre
    06/01/2015 at 4:07 am

    Hi ! I’ve tried yesterday your “Take-out, Fake-Out: Beef & Brocoli (crockpot)” recipe. It was good, but as I don’t have a Crockpot, I’ve done it in the oven in a big pot. But I’m not sure it turned out like it should… because I didn’t know at which temperature I should cook the beef ! And I want to try once this chicken recipe… Is it actually possible to do those recipes in the oven ? At which temperature ?

    • Julie
      06/01/2015 at 7:13 am

      I’ve honestly never done them in the oven before. I would think maybe at a low temperature, like 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and maybe 2-3 hours?

  26. Kapi
    08/29/2015 at 5:28 pm

    Hello!! I came across your recipe while searching for chicken thigh recipes in the crock pot. This looks so yummy! I can’t wait to try it, 1 question though ( I did read over comments and didn’t notice this asked/answered) but if I did overlook it I apologize. What size Crock pot did you prepare this in? I only have a 4 qt and am hoping and wondering if it will fit. Thank you in advance!

    • Julie
      08/29/2015 at 8:39 pm

      It’ll definitely fit :) mine’s a 4 quart as well.

      • Kapi
        08/30/2015 at 5:14 pm

        Thank you for such a quick response! I made this tonight and it was soooo yummy! A definite hit! Hubby loved it and so did my super duper picky 18 month old son! Thank you for sharing 😀 I will be giving your beef with broccoli a try next because that has me drooling 👍

  27. Meg
    09/20/2015 at 5:20 pm

    I just made this for dinner and it was a huge hit!! I got my sauce to thicken up nicely, maybe a tad bit too thick because I was heavy on the cornstarch. lol It was absolutely delicious!! Both my husband and I loved it! Thank you for this recipe!!

  28. 10/15/2015 at 2:57 am

    Thanks for posting. It is very nice blog regarding this recipes. I love your recipes. Thanks again.

  29. Mackenzie
    10/19/2015 at 9:57 pm

    Have you or know anyone who has made this recipe with chicken breast rather than thighs?

    • Julie
      10/20/2015 at 9:56 pm

      No, but breasts will work…just keep in mind it may be a drier dish since chicken breasts aren’t as moist.

  30. Sarah
    11/22/2015 at 1:11 pm

    Hey I am a total novice crockpot cooker ( just taken out of the package from Amazon this morning.) This looks like the perfectly delicious first shot at the slow cook life! I was wondering how you might adapt your recipe for a two person crock pot, about 2-2.5 qt? Also, to clarify, you do put the chicken in raw, right? Thanks for putting this out there. I am very inspired by your blog!

    • Julie
      11/22/2015 at 7:31 pm

      You could divide the recipe in half. And yes, chicken goes in raw. Hope that helps!

  31. shawn
    01/01/2016 at 10:53 pm

    I made 3lbs of this dish for my family at Christmas, and although I couldn’t get the sauce to thicken right it was everyones favorite dish that was there.

    • Phyllis
      07/03/2016 at 6:49 pm

      Love this recipe. When I make it I put all of the sauce ingredients in a heavy sauce pan on the stove, bring it to a boil and then add the constarch/water mix, ( 1 tbsp cornstarch to 2 tbsp water), allow it to boil for 2 or three minutes stirring constantly. The sauce should be fairly thick. I pour the sauce over the chicken in the crockpot and cook for the time specified. When the chicken is done the sauce will be thinner, but not watery.

      • Phyllis
        07/03/2016 at 6:53 pm

        Forgot to mention, when mixing the constarch and water, whisk throughly so that there are no lumps.

  32. Michele
    01/28/2016 at 9:53 am

    A big hit with the family!

  33. Megan
    02/22/2016 at 2:06 pm

    I have thawed chicken thighs. Should I defrost them in the microwave before placing in crock pot or just add them to crock pot and adjust cooking time. If so, how much longer would you recommend cooking? Thanks!

    • Julie
      02/23/2016 at 7:24 am

      You can just add them to the pot and adjust cooking time. I would cook it an hour longer.

  34. 02/24/2016 at 11:38 am

    The crock pot sesame chicken was not only a lifesaver, but it was amazingly delicious! My husband is a huge fan of sesame chicken in general, and he just loved this! Thank you for saving the day!

  35. Christie
    03/02/2016 at 1:26 am

    Do you think this recipe would work with a whole chicken? Thanks!

    • Julie
      03/02/2016 at 2:40 pm

      I haven’t done this with a whole chicken but I imagine it’s possible. You would likely have to up the cook time and the sauce ingredients!

  36. 03/03/2016 at 9:34 pm

    Definitely trying this, it looks great and I can cut the honey in half to help cut down the sweetness and sugar. I was glad to see in the comments the amounts for the cornstarch as well. Will be using chicken breasts instead of thighs as well.
    Thanks for the recipe!

  37. Karen
    04/13/2016 at 3:32 pm

    Love this recipe! I add a 2 tbs of Hoisin sauce to help cut the sweetness and it’s delicious! It makes the sauce taste richer.

  38. Desiree
    06/04/2016 at 10:00 pm

    Just made this for dinner, super delish!

  39. Scott
    06/29/2016 at 9:33 pm

    I easily could have screwed it up, like TJ posted, I find recipes off the internet and use crockpots because my skills are so so. But not my favorite. Taste was a little intense and salty, even using low sodium (is there lower/no sodium types out there?) soy sauce. I used a little over 3/4 cup honey instead of a full cup but it was still plenty sweet, I wouldn’t have wanted more. I had no idea how to proportion the corn starch to do it right, so I’m pretty sure I added too much water/corn starch, and it didn’t thicken as the author mentioned it might not. The stuff from the food courts didn’t have nearly as much sauce as mine did. I did leave it in the crockpot for about 6 hours, a little longer, but it didn’t burn or evaporate or end up dry. Long story, but I had to eat it plain too. Probably would have been better over rice as recommended. Hope the rest of you have better luck.

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