This recipe for slow cooker chicken thighs cooks perfectly in a healthy, flavorful, and super easy BBQ-style sauce – ideal for busy weeknights! Budget-friendly and a favorite for the whole family, serve as-is with a side of creamy coleslaw, or shred it for chicken sandwiches on homemade dinner rolls.
I love the convenience of my slow cooker, and as much as I love Slow Cooker Chicken Shawarma, Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken, and even Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef Pot Roast, sometimes I want WHOLE pieces of chicken instead of shredded meat.
Know what I mean?
Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
These Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs have been making it to our menu rotation pretty regularly for this exact reason. They’re whole pieces of chicken (which my husband LOVES) but it’s made in the slow cooker – perfect for busy weeknights!
Plus this particular recipe is SO FLAVORFUL… the ingredients turn into a homemade BBQ sauce of sort, and I always have everything in the pantry!
Ingredients for Crock Pot Chicken Thighs
The ingredient list for Crock Pot Chicken Thighs is pretty simple and straight-forward:
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- Low-sodium soy sauce (I substitute coconut aminos)
- Mustard (any variety will do, but spicy brown was delicious!)
- Spices: garlic, onion, thyme, parsley
How to Make Chicken Thigh Recipes for Crock Pot
Step 1: Place the raw chicken thighs in a single layer in the slow cooker. It’s okay if the pieces of meat touch, but you don’t want them stacked on top of each other. This recipe calls for 8 chicken thighs, and they fit perfectly in my 6 quart slow cooker.
Step 2: Mix the sauce ingredients together in a large measuring cup. I recommend a 2-cup glass Pyrex measuring cup like this one. You can easily measure and mix what you need and clean just one dish, rather than using several measuring cups and a bowl to mix the sauce in.
Step 3: Pour the sauce over the chicken and cook. The cook time will depend on whether you choose to cook the chicken on HIGH or on LOW. Both cook times are below in the recipe card.
Step 4: Serve the chicken with the sauce. I like to spoon the sauce over the chicken at the table, but the extra sauce is optional.
Do you need to sear the chicken first?
No! I’ve tested this recipe both with searing and without, and it makes such a minimal difference that it’s easier and less mess to skip the searing.
If you WANT to sear, you can do that in a cast iron skillet with about 1 Tbsp of healthy cooking fat (coconut oil, lard, avocado oil, etc.) before placing the chicken in the slow cooker.
Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs Recipe Tips
If you can’t find bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, or if you simply prefer meat without bones, you can substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs. Boneless meat cooks a bit faster than bone-in, so reduce the cook time to 4 hours on LOW, or 2 hours on HIGH if you make this substitution.
This recipe is incredibly forgiving if you don’t have a certain ingredient in the pantry. Substitute BBQ sauce for ketchup, dry mustard for prepared mustard, hoisin sauce for soy sauce, even maple syrup for honey. Each variation will change the flavor just a bit, creating a unique-to-you meal!
Leftover chicken stores well in a container with a lid in the refrigerator for at least 3-4 days. We’re liberal in our house with leftovers (7-day rule), so always use the smell test before consuming.
FAQs for Chicken Thighs Crock Pot Recipes
Yes! You can put any raw meat in a slow cooker.
For this recipe, the chicken should cook for 3 hours on high, or 5 hours on low.
This recipe calls for chicken thighs, which take longer to cook than chicken breasts. I’m also using bone-in chicken thighs, which adds a bit longer to the cook time than if you were to use boneless.
This recipe calls for a cook time of 5 hours on low, but you can reduce that to 4 hours if you use boneless chicken thighs.
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What to Serve with This Chicken Thigh Slow Cooker Recipe
Enjoy these easy and delicious sides with healthy slow cooker chicken thighs:
- Oven Roasted Potatoes
- Pan-Roasted Broccoli
- Kale Caesar Salad
- Creamy Coleslaw
- Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread
Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
This recipe for slow cooker chicken thighs cooks in a healthy, flavorful, and super easy BBQ-style sauce – ideal for busy weeknights! Budget-friendly and a favorite for the whole family, serve as-is with a side of creamy coleslaw, or shred it for chicken sandwiches on homemade dinner rolls.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 to 5 hours
- Total Time: 3 hours and 10 minutes – 5 hours and 10 minutes
- Yield: Serves 4–6 1x
- Category: Main Meals
- Method: Slow Cooker / Crock Pot
- Cuisine: American
- 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce (I use coconut aminos)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 Tbsp mustard (any variety)
- 3 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- Place chicken skin-side up in a 6 qt or larger slow cooker. It’s okay if the chicken pieces are touching.
- In a large measuring cup, stir together the remaining ingredients. Pour the sauce evenly over the chicken.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 3 hours, or on LOW for 5 hours, or until the chicken reads 160F (?) with a meat thermometer.
- Serve warm with the sauce from the slow cooker if desired.
If you can’t find bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, or if you simply prefer meat without bones, you can substitute boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Boneless meat cooks a bit faster than bone-in, so reduce the cook time to 4 hours on LOW, or 2 hours on HIGH if you make this substitution.
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 125
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