Slow Cooker Sesame Garlic Chicken

When you’re busy, there is absolutely nothing better than a slow cooker for a great meal with minimal work.  This week, we have been all about easy – this fit that bill perfectly.


I’ll readily admit that I enjoy getting Chinese takeout every so often, and we often get general tso’s or sesame chicken.  I had that sort of craving, but I didn’t want something that would weigh me down for the rest of the night, since I’ve had to study quite a bit this week.  After doing some major Pinterest searching, I decided to make a variation off of these two recipes.  No deep fried chicken here!


I served this up with some steamed broccoli and quinoa to make for a nice, healthier dinner.  The sauce does have a decent bit of sugar in it, but it’s sweetened with honey, so I’m totally okay with it.  It all balances out, I think!


This chicken was so, so good.  So moist, and full of sweet, spicy, and garlicky flavor.  This one’s fantastic for a busy day when you don’t have time to stand in front of the stove for a while cooking.  Throw it all in the crock pot, and let it go for about 4 hours, and you’ve got the perfect meal.
What is your favorite takeout food?  Do you ever try to recreate them at home?


Slow Cooker Sesame Garlic Chicken

serves 4-6

Slow Cooker Sesame Garlic Chicken

  • 3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 3/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • sesame seeds, for garnish
  • cooked quinoa or rice, for serving
  • steamed broccoli, for serving

In a medium bowl, stir the honey, soy sauce, ketchup, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, onion, and red pepper flakes together. Place the chicken in the bottom of your slow cooker so that they do not overlap, and pour the sauce over top. Place the lid on the slow cooker, and cook on low for 4-5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

Once done cooking, remove the chicken to a plate and cut into pieces (or shred with two forks – you decide). Transfer to a large serving bowl.

Stir the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water together. Transfer the liquid from the crock pot to a medium saucepan, and whisk in the cornstarch liquid. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat, cooking until it thickens.

Pour the thickened sauce over the chicken, stirring to coat evenly (or you can choose to pour the sauce over each dish individually to control the amount of sauce). Garnish with sesame seeds.

Serve with cooked quinoa or rice and steamed broccoli (or any other veggie). Enjoy!
  • Nathan Napper

    This recipe looks lovely. Instead of using a slow cooker, could I just make it like a curry or a stir fry and cut the chicken beforehand, brown and cook in the sauce? Or do you really recommend the slow cooker?

    • melinda @cookingalamel

      You definitely could do that; the meat just might not be as tender. I love using the slow cooker because it can make a chicken breast fall-apart tender, when they can be dry and tough in some other ways of cooking them. Either way will definitely work – all up to you! :)

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    Sesame chicken is definitely one of my favorite take-out dishes. I love that you served this on a bed of quinoa – definitely need to do that next time!

  • Emily

    I use Chia seeds to thicken sauce in savory recipees like this because we can’t eat corn :) Works great and adds a LOT of nutrition to the dish! you don’t cook the chia though so reduce a really runny liquid by boiling off a little first, then remove from heat and add a teaspoon or two of chia seeds, checking the consistancy after 5 minutes to see if it is thick enough to your liking. Chia seeds, for those that don’t know, turn into a clear thick gel when they get wet. So thats why they work as a soup, sauce, or gravy thickener.

    • Michelle

      That is brilliant Emily! Thank you! I need to make this gluten free and was wondering how to thicken. Thanks!

  • Opie

    Mel – do you think the recipe would work out using the chicken-flavored seitan (so the dish would be vegan)? If so, I suspect it might be best to not use a slow cooker, since the seitan comes already cooked, but I can’t say for sure, as I have never tried cooking seitan in a slow cooker.

    • melinda @cookingalamel

      I’m sure the sauce would be great with it, but yeah, I’m not sure about cooking the seitan! I’ve never used it before. You could just combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan to make the sauce, cook the seitan how you usually would, and then top the seitan with the sauce! Let me know how it works out for you!

  • Dennis M.

    Just made this tonight for dinner, and it is excellent. I couldn’t stop “taste testing” the chicken while I was shredding it! I followed your recipe exactly, wouldn’t change a thing. Might try the leftovers on lo mein noodles instead of rice. Thanks, Mel.

    • melinda @cookingalamel

      So glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure it would be fantastic with lo mein noodles – yum! :)

  • Lyn

    Hi there!
    My slow cooker isn’t large enough to lay the chicken breasts so that they are not overlapping, unfortunately I realize that after I had made the sauce and side out my chicken. I went ahead and laid a first layer of chicken down, covered it with sauce, laid my two remaining breasts on top of the first layer, and covered with the remaining sauce. Would it ruin everything if at two hours I quickly moved all of the breasts around and cook for another two hours?? I hate to think I did all of that work for nothing and waste all of that beautiful sauce and chicken.
    I’m so happy I stumbled on to your site and I can’t wait to explore more of your recipes!
    Thank you for any suggestions or advice you might be able to offer me.

    • melinda @cookingalamel

      I also have a pretty small slow cooker, and as long as you move it around, they’ll still cook! You might need a little longer time, but you can definitely still cook them even if they’re overlapped. I’m sorry for my late response, and I hope it worked out for you!

  • Traci

    This recipe was delicious!!! One of the best I have tried. Thank you!!!

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