You'll love the complex flavors of Thailand in this mouthwatering Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken Thighs recipe. This easy-to-follow recipe combines tender chicken thighs with a rich and creamy peanut sauce, all simmered to perfection in your slow cooker or on the stovetop. Make it ahead and freeze for busy days!
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- Easy, "dump-and-go" crockpot chicken recipe: Combine the peanut sauce ingredients right in the bowl of your slow cooker, then add the chicken, set it and forget it!
- All your favorite Thai flavors in one easy weeknight meal. While it's a quick and easy recipe, it doesn't fall short on taste!
- Not too spicy: As written, this recipe is not spicy, but it's easy to bump up the heat level with an extra ingredient or two.
- Meal prep: This recipe is a great option for meal prep. Make ahead and freeze the sauce for busy days.
- Slow cooker recipes like this one can be a lifesaver and they're usually a meal the entire family will love.
If you love chicken satay with peanut sauce, you'll love this easy crockpot Thai peanut chicken, too!
🛒 Ingredients and substitutions
You'll find a complete list of ingredients with quantities in the recipe card below. But before we get to the full recipe, here are a few notes about the ingredients.
- coconut milk: Canned full-fat creamy coconut milk makes a rich, flavourful sauce for the chicken thighs.
- peanut butter: Smooth, natural creamy peanut butter makes the best peanut sauce.
- tamari (soy sauce), gluten-free: You can substitute low-sodium soy sauce if you don't need this recipe to be gluten-free.
- honey: Honey helps to balance the salty, savory flavors in this recipe. If you'd like more heat in this dish, substitute the honey with Thai chili sauce. Start with one tablespoon, and add more as needed.
- rice wine vinegar
- toasted sesame oil: Just a hint! Use regular sesame oil if you don't have toasted sesame oil on hand.
- fresh garlic cloves, minced
- fresh ginger: minced
- boneless, skinless chicken thighs: You'll cut each of these into 3 or 4 pieces, depending on their size.
- cornstarch: You'll use cornstarch mixed with water to make a slurry to thicken the sauce in the last 15 to 20 minutes of cooking time.
- lime juice: freshly squeezed is best. You'll add this for a punch of flavor just before serving.
- roasted, salted peanuts. Chop roasted peanuts and sprinkle them on top of the finished dish for a crunchy garnish!
- green onions: A garnish of thinly sliced green onions adds a pop of color and flavor to this Thai Peanut Chicken.
Here's an overview of what you'll do to make this recipe perfectly. You'll find complete instructions for this crock pot peanut chicken in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Combine the Thai peanut sauce ingredients in the bowl of your slow cooker.
- Add the chopped chicken pieces. Cook for 3 to 4 hours on Low or 1 ½ to 2 hours on High.
- Thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry, then add a squeeze of lime juice.
- Serve over rice or noodles, garnished with peanuts and sliced green onions.
🔁 Possible Variations
- Add veggies: You can add vegetables to the sauce when you add the chicken. Red peppers and sliced onions add both flavor and texture.
- Add greens: Add some healthy greens! Just before thickening the sauce, stir in a couple of large handfuls of baby spinach leaves.
- Load up the garnishes: Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with extra lime slices.
👍🏼 Helpful Tips for Saving Time
- You can prepare the sauce ahead of time and refrigerate it in a covered container. Slice the chicken thighs, and refrigerate them in a separate covered container.
- When you're ready to start the slow cooker, simply combine the sauce and the chicken pieces in the slow cooker bowl and set it to cook. Just before serving, thicken the sauce with the cornstarch slurry, add the lime juice, garnish, and serve.
- Cook rice in an Instant Pot (equal parts Thai Jasmine Rice and water) for 4 minutes with a 10-minute natural release.
This peanut chicken recipe is easy to adapt to cook on the stovetop.
1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl, and cut the chicken thighs into pieces.
2. Brown the chicken in a tablespoon of oil for 3 to 5 minutes, then add the peanut sauce and stir to coat completely.
3. Cook over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes or until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F. when measured with an instant-read meat thermometer.
4. Garnish as suggested in the recipe card with chopped peanuts, green onions or cilantro and fresh lime slices.
As written, this recipe is very mildly spicy, only from the ginger. To make it spicier, I suggest substituting Thai chili sauce for the honey, starting with a tablespoon and adding more as needed.
Alternatively, you could add a teaspoon or two of red curry paste, or half a teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes, or a splash of Sriracha if you'd like a little kick or a bit of heat in this dish.
🍽 What to serve with Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken
- It's delicious with Never-Fail Thai Coconut Rice or with Thai Jasmine Rice
- Try it over Pad Thai noodles, rice noodles, or gluten-free noodles.
- Add a side salad, like Thai Cucumber Salad or this refreshing Thai Mango Salad.
- When Asian pears are in season, this Asian Pear Slaw with Ginger and Lime makes a perfect side.
- For a vegetable side dish, you can't go wrong with these Sesame Ginger Green Beans, Easy 5-Minute Sesame Asparagus, or Sesame Miso Air Fryer Asparagus, or lightly sautéed snow peas or snap peas.
⏰ How to store chicken with peanut sauce
To store: Store leftover peanut chicken in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.
To reheat: Gently reheat it in a skillet on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
Freeze it: Freeze leftovers in a freezer-safe, airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
🗒 More slow cooker recipes
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Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken Thighs
- 1 cup coconut milk, full fat
- ½ cup peanut butter, smooth, natural
- 3 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce), gluten-free
- 2 tablespoons honey, or Thai chili sauce
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 3 or 4 pieces
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ cup water
- 1 medium lime, juice of
- ½ cup roasted, salted peanuts, chopped
- ¼ cup green onions, sliced
- To the bowl of a 6-quart slow cooker, add the coconut milk, peanut butter, tamari, honey, rice wine vinegar, toasted sesame oil, minced garlic and ginger. Whisk together until smooth.
- Slice the chicken thighs into either 3 or 4 pieces, depending on their size. Add these to the bowl and stir to thoroughly combine until all pieces are coated with the sauce.
- Cook on Low for 3 to 4 hours or on HIgh for 1 ½ to 2 hours or until chicken registers 165°F.
- In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water. Whisk until completely smooth with no remaining lumps. Stir this into the chicken with peanut sauce and continue cooking for 15 to 20 minutes until sauce has thickened. Squeeze the lime and add the juice to the slow cooker bowl.
- Serve over rice or rice noodles or gluten-free noodles. Garnish with chopped peanuts and thinly sliced green onions, then serve.