Healthy Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Recipe - My Natural Family (2024)

Rebecca Baron 26 Comments

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This healthy slow cooker teriyaki chicken recipe with a garlic teriyaki sauce is an easy, one-pot meal that can be versatile so you can change the ingredients to your liking.

Here where we live in Utah we have had a lot of snow recently, including southern and central where there typically isn't a ton of snow. Also, there were huge storms on the East Coast. My friend who lives in Arizona got snow. This is a big winter and you know what this weather makes me want?

Yummy, warm food.

There is nothing like being by a fireplace or warm home with a bowl of delicious chicken and rice.I love this recipe because it has your meat, veggies, and sauce all in one pot and it ends up with a sweet and tangy flavor and is so easy but doesn't have all the questionable ingredients that similar recipes have.

Healthy Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Recipe - My Natural Family (1)

You can also change up the ingredients and try other things you like, such as green beans, sweet or white potatoes, snap peas, butternut squash, etc. - really almost any vegetable will work and you can change up the flavor just by experimenting with the vegetables.

My inspiration for this slow cooker chicken recipe doesn't make a ton of sense. My family was at a HUGE church party with over a thousand people a few summers ago. They had a luau theme and served rice with teriyaki chicken over it and I think maybe peppers and onions with it.

It's been so long I can't remember for sure. I had never heard of a teriyaki bowl before, but now I keep seeing them all over the place. Apparently, I've been living under a rock . . . I really liked the dish, but I knew it could be way better with some tweaks and a homemade sauce.

This sauce doesn't exactly taste like teriyaki, but I like it better. I don't really like normal teriyaki sauce though, so you may feel differently. I almost always think homemade is better, if not better tasting, I always feel better after a homemade meal as compared to a meal with bottled and canned things. This is another one of my recipes where you can use the main recipe as a starting point and I'll tell you a bunch of substitutions and variations I make with it:

  • Cook the chickenand vegetables in the oven. I cook them in separate pans, so the juice from the chicken doesn't soften the veggies. That way they get nice and crispy-roasted and are so good.
  • Instead of putting the veggies in for the last hour, bake them in the oven on 400 for an hour instead and they are so good and roasted.
  • I also like to cook the veggies on my husband's Traeger. It's a smoker/grill and they turn out really good.
  • There are tons of different things you can serve this over, depending on your diet and preferences - white rice (Jasmine is my favorite), short grain brown rice *, quinoa *, cauliflower "rice" (do you have any other ideas?)
  • I also like to make this in the Instant Pot *. Just put the chicken and sauce in the Instant Pot and push Meat/Stew and it takes 35 minutes, plus time to get to pressure. Cook the veggies separately using one of the methods above. The chicken turns out so tender, but the sauce isn't as thick and nice as when you do it in the crockpot. So sometimes I'll cook the chicken separately in the Instant Pot and make the sauce separate in a saucepan.
  • Oh, I love to throw a handful of whole garlic cloves in with the chicken. Roasted garlic is the BEST.
  • I also usually put some pineapple on top. It gives it a bit of a Hawaiian flair and a freshness.
  • I often substitute the honey with Grade B maple syrup and it gives it a deeper flavor and I don't feel like you need as much syrup as honey. It could be my imagination, but I'll often only put about 2 Tbl. of maple syrup and I think it's fine, but I don't like sweet food and I really try to limit my simple sugars.

OK. Now it's your turn. I would love your ideas for substitutions and variations on this chicken thighs recipe. Please let me know what works. I'm sure the other readers will appreciate it!

What are your favorite things to do on a cold winter day? We love to stay inside and play games or watch a movie together. Share in the comments what you like to eat or activities you enjoy doing in the cold winter days to make it more enjoyable.

Healthy Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Recipe - My Natural Family (2)



Healthy Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Recipe - My Natural Family (3)

Healthy Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Recipe

★★★★★5 from 5 reviews

  • Author: Rebecca Baron
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 250 minutes
  • Total Time: 265 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Paleo
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This is quick, simple and healthy and ends up with a delicious depth of flavor.



  • 8 Chicken Thighs (bone-skin removed)
  • ⅓ Cup Balsamic Vinegar
  • ½ Cup Real Maple Syrup *
  • 4 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1 tsp Real Salt *
  • ¼ tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 2 Bell Peppers (red, yellow or orange, sliced)
  • 1 Yellow Onion (Sliced into thick pieces)
  • 1 Zucchini (Cut into 2-3" spears)
  • 1 Tbl Arrowroot Powder *
  • 1 Tbl Water
  • ¼ Cup Fresh Cilantro (chopped)


  1. Place the chicken in the base of a crock pot. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, syrup, garlic, salt, and chili flakes.
  2. Pour over the chicken.
  3. Cover with the lid and cook on high for 3 hours.
  4. Add the onion, sliced peppers, and sliced zucchini to the crock pot. Cook for one more hour.
  5. Mix the arrowroot powder and water together to form a smooth mixture.
  6. Pour into the crockpot and mix into the cooking liquid by tossing around the chicken and vegetables. Let cook for another 10 minutes, or until liquid thickens enough to coat the chicken and vegetables. Add cilantro to the chicken and toss to distribute.
  7. Serve alone or with your favorite side.

Keywords: Quick, Simple, Healthy

Healthy Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Recipe - My Natural Family (4)

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Reader Interactions


  1. Elaine Watkins

    This sounds so yummy!
    Can't wait to try it!
    Thank you.


  2. Beth

    My husband and I both loved this recipe. It reheats well also. Thank you for the recipe.


    • Rebecca

      I'm so glad you like it. Thanks for commenting!


  3. Alyssa

    Can you substitute the vinegar for coconut amino’s?


    • Rebecca

      I haven't tried it myself, but I would think it should work great.


    • Jacqueline De la cruz

      Can I substitute arrowroot for tapioca bc I just realized I'm out of arrowroot?


      • Rebecca Baron

        Since this recipe uses such a small amount you should totally be fine - or you can even leave it out and have the sauce be a little runny.


    • Rebecca

      Maybe, try it and let me know how it tastes.


  4. Susan

    This looks real good. Since it doesn't the whole day to cook I could put it together after my kids get to school and I get things done that need to get done around the house and errands run. Then I could make this just before lunch and it would be done for dinner. I love the idea of not having to rush around to make dinner after the kids get home from school. I can just relax and rest when I would normally be rushing around making dinner.


  5. Lee

    I don't like dark meat at all, so I'm trying this recipe with breasts. I think it'll still taste great!


    • Rebecca

      Thanks for commenting. I'm sure you're not the only one who wants to try this with breasts and they will be glad to know it works. Did you cook it for less time?


  6. Sarah

    Just a little confused... The ingredients read, "8 Chicken Thighs (bone-skin removed)". Is that supposed to be "bone-in, skin removed" or "bone and skin removed"? I wouldn't normally worry about it but leaving the bones in can affect the time and temperature of meats.

    Thanks a lot!


    • Rebecca

      It means boneless and skinless.


  7. Elaine

    Can this be assembled aheah of time and frozen for later?


    • Rebecca

      Probably. I've never done anything like that. But I'll post your comment in case others can help you.


  8. M

    Can you cook the chicken and then let it cool and refigerate overnight and finish it the following day by adding the veggies and cooking another hour?


    • Rebecca

      Probably. I haven't done that myself, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. But you would probably need to let it cook a little longer than an hour so that the chicken can get up to temperature first, then cook for an hour.


  9. Danielle

    Hi Rebecca!

    If I wanted to start this before leaving for work in the morning, do you think it would be okay on the lowest setting? I could add in the vegetables when I return home, but do you think one hour on low will be long enough? Thank you so much for sharing all of your awesome recipes!


    • Rebecca

      Well, I'm late answering, but generally you half the time for cooking on low, so it would be about 6 hours on low and then 2 hours on low for the veggies, or if you crock pot cooks a little slow, you could probably do 8 hours on low while you are at work and then high for an hour for the veggies. The chicken may be a little over done, but I like overdone chicken thighs. At this point, maybe you could just tell us all how it turned out for you . . .


  10. Lisa

    Is the total cooking time three hours? Or after three add the vegetables for another hour, making the total cooking time 4 hours?


    • Rebecca

      The total cooking time is 4 hours 10 minutes.


  11. V Bryant

    Very good recipe will definitely make regularly!


    • Merilee

      This is one of the most mouth-watering delicious dinners I ever made!! Making it for church dinner (doubling recipe). Hope there is some left to bring back home.... but I doubt it!!


      • Rebecca

        I'm so glad you like the recipe. I love how it's easy to throw everything in and how it has a lot more flavor than plain chicken thighs for not much more work.


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Healthy Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Recipe - My Natural Family (2024)


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