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crockpot honey sesame chicken

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


“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.

crockpot honey sesame chicken
Recipe type: Slow Cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, about 5
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup of honey
  • ½ cup of low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ¼ 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 1½-2½ 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.


  1. Chris Wallace
    12/08/2012 at 11:50 am

    I made this and it was really good. My sauce didn’t thicken up but now I know I should have let it sit for about 30 minutes after adding. I got bone in chicken thighs and tried to remove the bone before cooking, should I have just put them in the crock pot and then removed the bone at the end of cooking?

    • 12/08/2012 at 1:20 pm

      It probably would’ve been easier to remove the bone at the end of cooking since they’d likely be “fall off the bone.” Glad you enjoyed!

  2. Roma
    12/29/2012 at 6:58 pm

    Okay, I’m spending way too much time on your site! Wonderful recipes and this looks incredible! Tomorrow will be a crock pot day.

  3. 12/30/2012 at 12:40 pm

    I just made this today, it was unbelievable! Such a perfect and brilliant recipe!
    Thank you for sharing!

  4. 01/03/2013 at 9:26 am

    This is awesome! Made it yesterday. The prep took all of 10 minutes and it tasted sooo good! The sauce thickend perfectly and it was so dark and rich looking! Love it! Event the kids thought it was great! Table for Two Blog, I’m hooked on you! Keep the slow cooker recipes coming!

  5. Jannette
    01/03/2013 at 10:43 pm

    I just had to stop by and let you know that I found your recipe on Pinterest and made it tonight. IT WAS A GREAT HIT AT OUR HOUSE!!!! Thank you!!!

  6. Julie
    01/04/2013 at 10:54 am

    Loved this!! Making it for my extended family now!

  7. Lynn T.
    01/05/2013 at 4:52 pm

    Good sesame chicken for crockpot cooking minus the crunch.

  8. Stephanie
    01/06/2013 at 8:39 pm

    Julie- I just made your honey sesame chicken for dinner tonight… my husband and I loved it! It will definitely stay in my arsenol of go- to recipes. I have shared it with several people already. Thank you so much for posting such a delicious recipe!

  9. Barb
    01/15/2013 at 8:07 am

    Delicious recipe! For those of rookie chefs … it’s 1 Tbsp cornstarch with 1 Tbsp water.

  10. Katie
    01/20/2013 at 4:27 pm

    The corn starch absolutely ruined this recipe. It made the sauce orange. It should definitely be excluded.

  11. sarah
    01/29/2013 at 10:10 pm

    I am not much of a chef, so sorry this is super basic. Tis recipe serves 4,h but I used breasts instead of thighs, so how much would you say a serving size is? Thanks :-)

    • 01/30/2013 at 7:35 am

      Probably about the same.

  12. nikki
    02/04/2013 at 9:16 pm

    HI, I pinned this a while ago, and it looks so good, I am finally wanting to try it now, my problem is that I leave to work early in the morning, and want something to be ready when I get back from work about 7 hours later,

    Any ideas on how to modify this recipe for longer cooking time?

    I am thinking of using an appliance timer to start it cooking a little closer to when I come home, or maybe putting in frozen cutlets.

    Any other ideas?

    • 02/04/2013 at 9:37 pm

      That’s what I do – I use an appliance timer since I’m at work, door to door, for 10 hours. Put in frozen cutlets and set the timer and let it cook while you’re gone. Honestly, longer cooking time would only dry out the chicken, so since you’re putting in frozen cutlets, I would say start the slow cooker a few hours before you get home since frozen cutlets will thaw out and it won’t go bad since they’re still “cold.”

  13. Betsy
    02/06/2013 at 8:26 pm

    If you double the recipe do you need to leave in crockpot longer?

    • 02/06/2013 at 8:29 pm

      Probably only by a little bit. I’d add an additional hour to whichever heat you’re cooking on (high or low).

  14. Nicole
    02/08/2013 at 9:44 am

    I am so excited to see this, I have been looking for a Bourbon Chicken recipe without the Bourbon, my husband is a pastor, so even if I’m just using it for cooking I can’t just saunter into the liquor store and pick up a bottle, and WalMart would be even worse! This is going into my crockpot on Monday, in a double batch so I can also enjoy it Tuesday!

  15. Jessie
    02/17/2013 at 8:41 am

    LOVE this recipe, but I can’t get the sauce to thicken correctly. It always ends up tasting like cornstarch. BUT, we still love the recipe…and I make it all the time…just don’t thicken the sauce.

  16. 02/19/2013 at 4:11 pm

    I am making this for dinner tonight however I only have chicken thigh strips how would I adjust the cooking time on that?

    • 02/19/2013 at 8:25 pm

      Hi Kristi, this is probably too late of a response now. Sorry I couldn’t get to it sooner. I would say cut cooking time down an hour if they’re strips but I’m not positive as I’ve never done this myself. Hopefully you figured it out though!

  17. Deb
    02/22/2013 at 4:10 am

    God Bless you, Julie, with your patience in this comment section. As someone said earlier, I, too, would have quit responding long ago.

  18. 02/27/2013 at 7:08 pm

    I made this recipe for dinner tonight, and my kids loved it! My six-year-old asked me to make it everyday.

  19. Jessica
    03/20/2013 at 12:17 pm

    Absolutely delish! This is on our menu at least once a week! So easy and so yummy!

  20. 03/30/2013 at 9:44 pm

    I love the Bourbon Chicken at the mall! I also love my crockpot because it makes me look like a rockstar. I can’t wait to try this:)

  21. 04/07/2013 at 8:23 pm

    Just made this tonight and my family loved it! I put some sesame oil in while cooking the chicken and some sesame seeds in as well! Came out perfect!!

  22. Nashay
    04/11/2013 at 3:42 pm

    So I never cook and am very excited to cook this! I am just wondering about mixing the corn starch with water to thicken the sauce: how much of each do I mix? I have no idea. Very excited to eat this tonight!

    • 09/11/2013 at 7:54 pm

      So sorry I never got back to you. It got lost with all the other comments and I just now came to this post and saw this. :( I’m sure you’ve already made this but for future reference, I usually use 1 tbsp. of cornstarch to 1/8 cup of water.

  23. Kristin
    04/16/2013 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks for an awesome recipe. I made it last night with great success! I halved the recipe since I was only feeding two. I put my frozen chicken breasts in the crockpot with the sauce early in the morning and then just left it out until I was ready to start cooking it (I gave it about three hours as mine were still slightly frozen) .I did have a problem getting my sauce to thicken in the crockpot but I just dumped it in a saucepan and brought it to a boil and it thickener nicely!! This was so delicious!! Thank you!!

  24. Missd
    05/15/2013 at 2:57 pm

    This is a wonderful recipe and yes you can double or triple the recipe for a crowd…3 hours on high. I cut the chicken into chunky strips before putting in crockpot..and have used both things and breasts….both are great..thighs are a little more moist…serve with rice and broccoli…..mmmmmmmm

  25. Tiffany Overall
    06/02/2013 at 6:39 pm

    I do NOT eat chinese food. AT ALL! EVER! I have made this twice now. AMAZING! You HAVE GOT TO TRY THIS! LOVE LOVE LOVE. (i put a little extra red pepper in mine as the old man loves spice) Went a little overboard one time with it, it was good still, just couldnt let the kiddo eat any. (more for us, haha)

  26. Katharine
    07/19/2013 at 7:07 pm

    This is one of the best recipes I have made in an extremely long time! I ended up using 2 lbs boneless breasts instead, and doubled the recipe. I still kept the crockpot on low for 4 hours and it came out better than I could have ever expected!

    • 07/19/2013 at 10:21 pm

      So happy you enjoyed this!! Thanks for the feedback!

  27. Kat
    08/18/2013 at 10:42 am

    This is SO good. I tried doubling the recipe, but it makes so much sauce that next time I might just try doubling the chicken and following the rest of the recipe as is and seeing how that turns out.

    • 08/18/2013 at 4:00 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it and are trying it a different way next time to suit your needs!

  28. Molly
    10/10/2013 at 5:13 pm

    This is the best recipe, I have made it MANY many times since I found it. It is super easy and always taste delicious! I use the chicken thighs because I like the texture better after they cook. I also omit the onions. Yummmm :)

    • 10/11/2013 at 8:24 am

      Thanks, Molly! So glad you’ve enjoyed it so many times :)

  29. Sarah
    10/16/2013 at 8:30 am

    Do you think this would still work if cooked on low for 11+ hours? I leave for work at 6:15am and don’t get home till about 5:45pm. So finding crockpot recipes that can cook that long is a challenge. With the long day and a 1 year old, my limited time in the evening with her is precious so the less time I can spend in the kitchen, the better. Your site is great and all your recipes look delicious! Thanks for the help.

    • 10/16/2013 at 3:45 pm

      Hi Sarah! I think it’d work if you used chicken thighs as they tend to not dry out as much as chicken breasts would. However, I can’t really say for certain because I don’t think I’ve ever kept anything in the crockpot for that long. Do you maybe have the option of buying a timer and starting it when you leave the house and then have the timer turn off the crockpot after it’s done cooking? I know it might not be a great solution if you are afraid of keeping the food at room temperature, but that’s the only thing I can think of right now. Sorry this isn’t much help!

  30. 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!

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

    Is this recipe gluten free?

  32. 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.

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

  34. 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!

  35. 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!!

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

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

  37. 06/12/2014 at 3:51 am

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

  38. 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.

  39. 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!! :)

  40. 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.

  41. 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!

  42. 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!

  43. 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!

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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!

  47. 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!

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

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