Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken

Thai Peanut Chicken made in the slow cooker features tender chicken stewed in a flavorful coconut milk and peanut sauce, served over rice or rice noodles!

Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken with text overlay

For more easy Asian-inspired dinners, you might enjoy Instant Pot Teriyaki Chicken, Easy Fried Rice, Instant Pot Egg Roll in a Bowl, or One-Pan Asian Beef & Rice Skillet.

Need an effortless, delicious dinner idea? This slow cooker spin on Thai Peanut Chicken turns out soooo yummy, friends. As a bonus, it's ridiculously easy to make.

What is Thai Peanut Chicken?

Chicken breasts are slow cooked in a sauce of coconut milk, peanut butter, and other goodness.

Once cooked through and fall-apart tender, the chicken is shredded and briefly returned to the sauce to soak up all of the goodness.

Then it's simply a matter of garnishing and serving over rice noodles (seen here) or white or brown rice.

If you're feeling especially virtuous, you can even use this recipe as a filling for lettuce wraps!

The flavors in this dish actually remind me a lot of a crockpot Pad Thai, except there are no eggs or tofu or fish sauce involved.

Tweak the Heat

Along those lines, though, I like my Pad Thai rather spicy. So while I kept this recipe fairly mild for the kiddos, I particularly enjoy it myself when I generously sprinkle my portion with extra crushed red pepper flakes.

If you like a little spice, there are other ways you could jazz it up as well. Sriracha, anyone?

So feel free to experiment...but only if you think you can handle the heat!

Thai Peanut Sauce Chicken

Ingredients

I bet you've already got most of these ingredients in your fridge and pantry, especially if you enjoy cooking with Asian flavors.

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts. Or you could use boneless skinless chicken thighs. Or a combination of the two. For moister chicken, you could even opt for bone-in chicken breasts or thighs (with or without the skin), then remove and discard any skin/bones before shredding. Just remember that bone-in chicken requires a longer cooking time than boneless chicken, and thighs require a longer cooking time than breasts. At the end of the day, use what you like. Slow cooker chicken recipes are pretty forgiving.
  • Coconut milk. Meaning the real stuff from a can. I use full-fat coconut milk, but light coconut milk should work as well. Be sure to shake the can well before opening it. I actually like to flip the can over and use a can opener to open it from the bottom. Since the thick coconut cream settles to the bottom of the can, this makes it easier to scrape it straight off the "lid" that the can opener removed.
  • Peanut butter. I prefer chunky, although creamy would be fine. And I use all-natural peanut butter, but whatever you've got will work.
  • Garlic. Glorious garlic...don't skimp!
  • Honey. For natural sweetness.
  • Soy sauce. For Asian saltiness.
  • Lime juice. A bit of acidity helps balance the fat and creaminess from the coconut milk and peanut butter.
  • Rice wine vinegar. More acidity, plus extra Asian flavor. If you don't have rice wine vinegar, you may use apple cider vinegar instead.
  • Crushed red pepper flakes. For a nice touch of heat. Alternatively, sriracha would work as well.
  • Chopped peanuts + fresh cilantro. Optional yet highly recommended garnishes.
  • Rice, rice noodles, or lettuce leaves. For serving.

Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken in a bowl

How to Make Thai Peanut Chicken

As with most good crockpot recipes, this Thai Peanut Chicken is quick and simple to toss in the slow cooker ahead of dinner time. Then when it's time to eat, you're just a couple of quick steps away from getting it on the table.

  1. Arrange chicken pieces in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  2. Stir together the sauce and pour over the chicken.
  3. Cover and cook until cooked through and tender.
  4. Remove the chicken and pull into chunks. Return to the crockpot, stir into the sauce, and allow to reheat for a few minutes.
  5. Serve chicken with sauce over rice or rice noodles, garnishing with chopped peanuts and fresh cilantro.

Ta-daaaa! Who needs take-out? Dinner is done.

Crockpot Thai Peanut Chicken aerial view of bowl

A Note on Cooking Time

When I first published this Thai Peanut Chicken, a few commenters noted that when they made it, their sauce burned or their chicken dried out. I apologize to anyone who had that problem.

As a general rule, cooking time for boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a slow cooker is totally dependent on your model of slow cooker and how hot it runs. Older model, cooler running slow cookers take longer to cook and can go for 6 to 8 hours without burning the sauce or drying out the chicken. Newer model, hotter running slow cookers can cook chicken breasts as quickly as 3 hours. You need to be familiar with your slow cooker in order to determine the appropriate cooking time for this recipe (or any slow cooker recipe involving boneless, skinless chicken breasts).

When I first developed this recipe, I was using a 10-year old slow cooker and a 6 hour cooking time was appropriate. However, I now have a newer model slow cooker that runs hotter and cooks faster and, as a result, when I make this recipe now, I cook it for a shorter duration.

Therefore, I decreased the overall cooking time in the recipe instructions, since many people these days own modern (hotter running) slow cookers. If you still have an old, cooler running slow cooker, you may need to cook your chicken closer to 6 hours (or longer).

In a bowl garnished with peanuts and cilantro

If you like Asian flavors, I hope you love this Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken! It's simple. Satisfying. Delicious. An easy weeknight dinner you'll definitely want to put on repeat. 😉

More Slow Cooker Dinners

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken with Peanut Sauce over rice noodles

Slow Cooker Thai Peanut Chicken

Thai Peanut Chicken made in the slow cooker features tender chicken stewed in a flavorful coconut milk and peanut sauce, served over rice or rice noodles!
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 448kcal
Print Pin Rate

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • ¾ cup natural peanut butter, crunchy or creamy
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less to taste
  • cup chopped peanuts, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Rice, rice noodles, or lettuce leaves, for serving

Instructions

  • Arrange chicken breasts in the bottom of a large slow cooker. In a medium bowl, stir together coconut milk, peanut butter, garlic, honey, soy sauce, lime juice, rice wine vinegar, and red pepper flakes; mix until (mostly) smooth) Pour over chicken.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 5 hours (or until chicken is cooked through and tender but not overcooked, depending on the strength of your slow cooker). Reduce slow cooker temperature to WARM. Remove chicken from slow cooker, cut into chunks, and shred. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker to allow it to absorb sauce and heat through.
  • Serve chicken and sauce over cooked white or brown rice, cooked rice noodles, or stuffed inside large lettuce leaves, as wraps. Garnish with chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro, and additional red pepper flakes, if desired.

Video

Nutrition

Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 788mg | Potassium: 755mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 35IU | Vitamin C: 4.5mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 1.9mg
Made this recipe? I'd love to see on IG!Mention @FiveHeartHome or tag #FiveHeartHome!

 

Recipe originally published on May 14, 2015, and updated on October 13, 2019.

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124 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Man! This is so good! I’d never made anything like this before but this recipe just called to me, really glad I answered!