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Slow cooker soy-braised chicken recipe

Slow cooker soy braised chicken, so good you'll want to double the recipe.

Halfway through the cooking time for this soy-braised chicken, as the aroma filled the kitchen and spilled out into the living room, I began to have regrets. I regretted finding only one package of chicken thighs in the freezer. I regretted not doubling the recipe. I regretted offering to share what I did make with my husband Ted. I want you to make this dish, without feeling the way I felt, so please, pull out your 4- or 5-quart slow cooker and double, triple or quadruple the recipe. Most everything you need is already in your well-stocked pantry. Serve the chicken warm, over rice, or wrap it in lettuce leaves or in a spring roll, with shredded lettuce and bean sprouts. Just be sure to cook enough chicken. You won't regret it.

Slow cooker soy braised chicken, on The Perfect Pantry.

Slow cooker soy-braised chicken

From the pantry, you'll need: chicken stock, dark soy sauce, shao hsing wine, garlic, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger root, black pepper, star anise, cayenne or dried red chile pepper, arrowroot or cornstarch.

Adapted from Slow Cooker Comfort Food, this recipe serves 3-4 (with rice); can, and should, be multiplied.


2/3 cup low-sodium chicken stock (I use Swanson 99% fat-free)
1/3 cup dark soy sauce
2 Tbsp shao hsing wine
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp minced ginger root
1 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 tsp fresh black pepper
1 star anise (Use a broken one. It's fine.)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper or 1 small dried red chile pepper
1-1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
1 Tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch, dissolved in 2 Tbsp water
3 cups cooked rice, white or brown, for serving
Sliced scallions, for garnish


In a glass measuring cup, combine the chicken stock, soy sauce, shao hsing wine, garlic, rice vinegar, brown sugar, ginger root, orange zest, black pepper, star anise and cayenne. Mix well.

In a 3-quart slow cooker, place the chicken, and pour the sauce over. Cook on HIGH for 2-1/2 hours, or on low for 5 hours, until the chicken is falling-apart tender.

Remove the chicken from the cooker and strain the liquid into a small saucepan. Bring to the boil. Whisk in the arrowroot mixture, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the sauce thickens to a deep brown lacquer. Pour it over the chicken, and serve over rice, garnished with scallions.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Slow cooker Filipino chicken adobo
Slow cooker pomegranate chicken salad
Slow cooker hoisin chicken and slaw sandwiches
Slow cooker chicken vindaloo
Slow cooker Thai green curry chicken with broccoli and mushrooms

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Honey lemon chicken, from Cooking On the Side
Chicken adobo, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Soy glazed black pepper chicken, from Viet World Kitchen
Star anise and ginger chicken, from Leite's Culinaria
Tea eggs, from Chinese Grandma

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Wow, sounds wonderful. I can almost smell it now, so gotta try it.

My mouth is watering. Can't wait to give this recipe a try.

Cheryl, Donna: I just know you will love this chicken. I served it warm, over rice, and also cold, rolled in lettuce leaves. Can't really choose one over the other, they were both so tasty.

Miraculously, I had everything for this except the anise, which I skipped. I threw it all together before I left for work this morning!

Kim, I'm always preaching the gospel of a well-stocked pantry, and it sounds like you've got one. Enjoy!

I am making this by the end of the week! Everything about this recipe appeals to me: the flavors, the slow cooker, the thought of chicken so tender that it's falling apart. I'll be sure to report back.

Agree with others; everything about this sounds delicious!

Keeping this one in mind when I see a good deal on family packs of chicken thighs.
Where would I find (and how do you pronounce) shao hsing wine? I've seen mirin at the Asian market in Cincinnati but I haven't known to look for shao hsing yet. Of course, I'm still trying to find jarred Thai basil and galangal and utterly missing the Asian grocery stores of Northern Virginia . . .


Cookin' Canuck, I think your boys will really enjoy this dish.

Kalyn, better than the takeout Chinese food I can get around here!

Kirsten, you'll find out a lot about shao hsing wine by following the link under "From the pantry, you'll need.." It's pronounced SHOW (rhymes with CHOW) SHING, and you'll find it in an Asian grocery store.

that looks so perfect. *drools*

Would chicken breasts work? Maybe cooked for a shorter time. I have a ton of them in the freezer and I normally don't buy thighs.

Cheryl, chicken breasts do tend to dry out much more quickly in the slow cooker. That said, I'd go ahead and try it, and start checking in half the cooking time stated in the recipe. I always have more breasts than thighs in the freezer, too. Please let me know how it comes out.

Oh my, Lydia! Oh my! This looks finger-licking, flavorful, and so damn good! Wow! Geez I need to learn to morph your slow cooker recipes to stove top because this looks too good not to make. And I'd definitely double it!

Can't get Shao hsing cooking wine in my area. I've read that pale dry sherry or Gin is a close substitute. Which would you use and in what proportion?

Jamie, you can definitely do this stove-top. Of course, I'm still trying to convince you to get a slow cooker.

Lew, sherry, gin, vermouth -- all would work. I would use the same amount as the shao hsing.

I made this last night and it was *amazing*!

We used the sauce for a stir-fry and then threw in the chicken. It ended up on the salty side, probably from the extra reducing in the wok, but I would make it again in a heartbeat. I found you on pinterest, and I'll be going through your old posts now!

I love soy sauce chicken Lydia - great for cold weather and I love the idea of making it in the crockpot. I always double the amount of chicken I use - my boys are big eaters so I'm lucky if I get a bite at dinner!

Yummy! What brand of Soy Sauce do you use?

Jen, you can always find the brands I use by following the links under "From the pantry, you'll need..." at the beginning of each recipe. I use Amoy Dark Soy.

Loved reading your post, loved the sounds of that recipe, and loved the surprise of finding a link to Leite's Culinaria. All of us at Leite's greatly appreciate it. And we've just added a slow-cooker variation to the chicken with star anise recipe you kindly drew attention to above, so now it's even more tempting. Long live slow cookers! Again, many thanks. Loved reading your post.

This sounds great! I only have frozen breasts. Think I'll thaw and make on stovetop for dinner. Thanks for the idea! Can't wait!

Okay, I made this for my family. My boys (ages 8 and 11) both said, "Mum, this isn't good" (pause for dramatic effect while my heart sinks) "It's great!" Everybody loved it! I did add an extra tablespoon of brown sugar, but that's just what was right for our taste buds. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe, Lydia.

This was a big hit with our family! I used gin in place of the wine and it was delicious. I'm making it again tomorrow, but am trying it with pork (I bought the wrong thing at the store!).

Hi - can you do this with a whole chicken? I'm worried it might be a bit fatty?


Justine, you surely can use a whole chicken, though that is also fatty. If you trim your chicken thighs well, and cook them for a long time, they're actually going to be quite lean. But a whole chicken will work. Be sure to turn the chicken several times (which will mean you'll have to extend the cooking time), to make sure all of the chicken gets basted with the sauce.

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