Boneless chicken thighs are browned and cooked low and slow in a flavorful sweet and sour sauce until fork tender. Colorful bell peppers and chunks of pineapple round out this better-than-takeout Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken.
I had a house full of sickos this weekend. A pretty serious cold hit our house and it hit hard. I had light symptoms but everyone else was miserable, so what to do? I spent the entire weekend in the kitchen recipe testing and I came up with a couple of delicious dinner ideas that I think you guys are really going to love.
Feed a cold, starve a fever? Well, definitely feed a cold!
Of course, they’re all feeling better today and the darn thing hit me like a truck yesterday. So, this morning I’m snuggled under a blanket watching The Today Show with the pups at my side and thought I’d share the results one of my recipe tests this weekend.
I love trying new things in the slow cooker just to see if I can make it work and this Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken works spectacularly.
The sticky, sweet sauce is reminiscent of the takeout version and I was so impressed by the texture of the chicken. It cooks just until it is perfectly fork tender but still holds its shape.
The first step is to whip up the sauce which consists of some of the reserved pineapple juice from a can of pineapple chunks, chopped onion, rice vinegar, ketchup, honey, soy sauce, fresh ginger, garlic, and salt.
You’ll save those pineapple chunks from your can of pineapple for the very last step in this recipe.
Store unpeeled fresh ginger root in a small resealable plastic freezer bag in your freezer. Peel and use a microplane zester or cheese grater to grate the frozen ginger root for recipes, when needed. Ginger root will keep well in the freezer for about a month.
I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe. They are super economical but also have more flavor than boneless breasts and get SO tender in the slow cooker. They are halved and coated in cornstarch and do a quick turn in a non-stick skillet with just a little oil to get that lightly golden brown texture we are after. The cornstarch also helps to thicken the sauce as it cooks.
Brown the chicken in batches and transfer it to your slow cooker.
Pour the flavorful sauce over the top and cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 5 to 6 hours or until the chicken is fork tender but not falling apart.
At this point, add some chopped bell peppers. A variety of colors makes this a gorgeous dish.
Stir the bell peppers down into the sauce and add the pineapple chunks right over the top. Cover and cook on HIGH for an additional 30 minutes, or until the bell peppers are tender.
It’s during this last cook that you can get your rice started.
With the help of the cornstarch coated chicken, the sauce cooks down to the perfect consistency.
Spoon it over rice with a sprinkling of green onion over the top. Colorful, flavorful, and so tender that no knife is needed!
Check out my full collection of Slow Cooker Recipes.
Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat and sliced in half
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch, divided
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 8 ounces pineapple chunks in pineapple juice (not syrup)
- ½ cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, or tamari for gluten free
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger root
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 to 3 bell peppers, assorted colors, seeded and chopped
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- Place half of the chicken thighs in a large zippered plastic storage bag and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Seal the bag and shake until chicken is evenly coated.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH. Add the coated chicken and cook 3 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Transfer the browned chicken to a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker.
- Repeat the coating and browning process with the remaining chicken, cornstarch, and oil.
- Drain and reserve the juice from the can of pineapple chunks. Cover and refrigerate the drained pineapple chunks for later.
- Combine the finely chopped onion, rice vinegar, ¼ cup of the reserved pineapple juice, ketchup, honey, soy sauce (or tamari), ginger, garlic, and salt in a medium bowl. Pour the sauce over chicken in slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 6 hours, until chicken is tender and cooked through. Stir the chopped bell pepper into the chicken and sauce and spoon the reserved pineapple chunks over the top. Cover and cook on HIGH for an additional 30 minutes, or until the bell pepper is fork tender.
- Serve over rice garnished with green onions.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated using generic ingredients, and is an estimate not a guarantee. For more accurate results, please refer to the labels on your ingredients at home.
Questions and Reviews
Can chopped up rotissere chicken be uses
No. Cooked chicken would not work in this recipe.
I can’t wait to try this! Looks soo good. Could I use ginger paste instead of ginger?
Absolutely! Just sub an equal amount of paste. I’m ALL about kitchen shortcuts. 🙂
I want to make this but only have boneless skinless chicken breasts. How can I make that work or should I get the thighs the next time I go to the grocery store?
Hi Lorraine. I haven’t made this recipe with boneless chicken breast and although I do think it’s better with thighs, it should work ok. Let me know how it works out for you!
Can you use pork instead of chicken
I think it should work fine. Let me know how it turns out for you if you try it. 🙂
Wow this was delicious! I omitted the onions just due to personal preference and used boneless chicken breasts since that’s what I had on hand. Amazing flavor and love that there wasn’t sugar in the recipe.
Oh my gosh, this is so good! I love trying new recipes, but am not really to successful with the final product. This was so easy, so delicious – was looking forward to left overs, but my very picky eater beat me to them. A big win in our house! I look forward to trying more of your recipes!!
Can you use flour for the cornstarch?
I wouldn’t recommend using flour. The cornstarch works really well to crisp up the chicken and thicken the sauce without clumping.