Crock pot chicken thighs have never tasted so good as when you slow cook them with spicy sweet Korean Gochujang sauce. Tender juicy chicken in the most addictively delicious sauce. Next time you're looking for an easy dinner with fantastic flavors, give this slow cooker chicken thighs recipe a try.
If you've ever cooked chicken thighs in a crock pot you know how amazing they are. The low and slow cooking process results in the most juicy, tender chicken that practically falls off the bone. Add sweet and spicy Korean gochujang sauce and the result is off the charts!
I discovered Gochujang when I made this Korean Chicken Stew and it's since become one of my pantry staples. If you don't already love Korean gochujang sauce, this slow cooker chicken thighs recipe will win you over.
When it comes to complex flavor, there really is nothing quite like gochujang. Made from fermented soybeans and chilies, this sauce has a complex range of sweet, spicy, salty and umami flavors. If you want to know more, here's a great ode to gochujang, written by a blogger.
You can purchase Korean Gochujang online, at Asian markets, and in the Asian section of many grocery stores.
As gochujang is very intense, it's generally used in combination with other ingredients to balance out the flavor. For this recipe gochujang is mixed with ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar.
How To Make These Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs
You'll need only 20 minutes to prepare this dish. The slow cooker will do the rest.
- Season the chicken thighs with salt and sear them in a hot skillet, skin-side down, until golden, then transfer them to a slow cooker, skin-side up.
- Roughly chop the ginger and garlic and add to a blender with the gochujang, soy sauce, sesame oil and brown sugar. Blitz the sauce and pour it over the chicken.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for three hours or until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is tender.
Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and enjoy!
Questions you might have about this recipe
Pan searing adds color, crispness and a layer of flavor to the chicken thighs. If you don't have time or you prefer to skip the this step, this dish will still be delicious but I suggest you remove the skin from the chicken thighs before cooking.
Yes. If you use boneless thighs, when serving you'll probably want to shred the meat into the sauce and serve it over rice.
Yes. If you're not using a machine to puree the sauce ingredients, instead of roughly chopping the garlic and ginger, mince it finely, then combine it with the rest of the sauce ingredients and pour it over the chicken.
I don't find this dish too hot or fiery and I'm sensitive to spicy food - it has a nice kick.
I've tried many different brands of gochujang and they do vary quite a bit in flavor and level of heat. My favorite brand, available on Amazon and in some grocery stores, is Chung Jung One O'Food. If you can only find a large container, no worries. Because it's fermented, gochujang will keep for two years in the fridge.
This dish calls out for rice or noodles - something to help soak up all the delicious sauce. I also love serving something tender and green on the side such as sautéed spinach, kale or zucchini.
If you try this slow cooker chicken thighs recipe, I hope you'll come back to leave a star rating and a comment. I'd love to know what you think!Print
Slow Cooker Chicken Thighs Korean Style
- Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 generous main dish servings 1x
Crock pot chicken thighs have never tasted so good as when you slow cook them with sweet spicy Korean gochujang sauce. This recipe is perfect for those busy times when you want a great meal without having to spend hours in the kitchen.
- 8 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil*
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅓ cup gochujang (Korean chili paste)*
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of roughly chopped ginger root (from a 3-inch piece)
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped garlic (about 6 large cloves)
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
- 3 scallions thinly sliced crosswise, to garnish
- Heat oil in a heavy cast skillet over medium high heat until very hot. Season chicken with salt and sear 4 thighs skin-side down until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove chicken from the pan and add to the crock pot, skin side up. Repeat with the 4 remaining thighs.
- In a blender or food processor, add the gochujang sauce, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, sesame oil, brown sugar and water. Blitz into a sauce and pour evenly over the chicken. Put the lid on the crock pot and cook on low for 3 hours, or until the chicken is cooked and tender.*
- Top with sesame seeds and scallions. I suggest you serve this with white rice and sautéed spinach, kale or zucchini.
*For high heat sautéing, it's best to use a high smoke point oil such as light olive oil, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil or canola.
*Slow cookers are supposed to cook at a temperature of 190º-200ºF when set to "low," however they are not always reliable. 3 hours at around 200ºF is the perfect amount of time for this recipe but please check for doneness after 3 hours and, if need be, continue to cook the chicken for up to one hour longer, until done.
My favorite brand of gochujang on Amazon
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 3 hours
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Slow cook
- Cuisine: Korean
Keywords: slow cooker chicken thighs with Korean gochujang sauce, crock pot chicken thighs with gochujang sauce
Made this tonight with boneless, skinless thighs. So easy and so delicious! Served it with stir fried veggies and white rice.
Hi Meryl - I'm so glad you enjoyed! Great to know the recipe works well with boneless thighs. Thanks for the rating and note 🙂
Ray in Winnipeg
I've done this recipe and the three hours on low cooking time was perfect. I commented already how wonderful this recipe is.
I'm curious why other similar recipes for bone in thighs call for five hours on low? Anyways, just an observation I have seen for other crock pot bone in thigh recipes.
This was absolutely delicious and my wife loved it too. I made a few tweaks but I am sure it would be delicious to specs above too. I only had 4 thighs totaling 1.5 lbs. So I made the sauce in a 2/3 ratio of the amount above to ensure enough to cover but not too much. I recommend not salting the chicken since gochujang is so salty. You won't miss it. I also subbed honey for the brown sugar since I didn't have any sugar on hand. Lastly, I broiled the chicken after it was done cooking to truly crisp the skin.
Quick-pickled cukes were the perfect accompaniment to refresh the palate after the spice. Keep the extra braising liquid to pour on leftover rice and veggies!
Wow! Just tried this recipe out last night for the first time. I followed the recipe exactly and the chicken came out perfect! Totally tender and so flavorful. This will be a new go-to dish for me and my wife, who also loved it!
Thanks for trying my new recipe and for coming back to leave a rating and comment - much appreciated. I'm so glad this dish was a hit with you and your wife!
I followed the recipe as is, except I reduced the amount of gojugang by about one third, because my husband does not appreciate spicy foods. It was perfect. I served this with spinach. I am glad I made this with a huge bag of Costco chicken. Now, we have plenty in the freezer. Delicious. I will make this again. Very reliable recipe and directions as always Lisa.
Hi Catherine - I'm so glad the recipe worked out well for you. Thank you for your note and rating - much appreciated.
Made as instructed minus sesame oil that wife doesn't care for. Came out great.. entire family cleared plates!
Hey Gordon- that's great news! I'm so glad you and your family enjoyed this dish.
Absolutely loved it! Next time I am going to add some broccoli during the last hour of cook time for a more complete meal.
Great idea to add broccoli - I bet that will be good. I'm so glad you enjoyed this dish!
Ray in Winnipeg
I'll be making this today. However, I am substituting gochujang with Vietnamese chili garlic sauce since I wasn't able to find the gochujang. Wish me luck 🤞
Also plan on doing your Chanakhi recipe next weekend.
Hi Ray - I'm very excited to hear how both recipes turn out for you. I hope you'll keep me posted!
Ray in Winnipeg
It was great, the chili garlic sauce worked very well as a substitution. I also added a few tablespoons of honey. I will definitely make again once I find some gochujang!
Ray - I also used the Vietnamese chili sauce and it was fantastic!
Ray in Winnipeg
Excellent, Michael. I agree, it worked out really well!
This recipe sounds exciting! If I doubled the recipe, would you put one layer of thighs, top with the sauce and could you add another layer of thighs and sauce on top? If I am wrong, how would you go about cooking this for more than 4 people?
Hi Susan - I think your idea about using two layers of chicken thighs, with sauce over each layer, is a good strategy. You may need to cook the chicken a bit longer if you double the amount - plan for 4 hours instead of 3. I've never tried doing this and most recipes call for putting the chicken in a single layer, however I really think this will work! Can you let me know how it turns out? I hope you enjoy!
Hi Lisa, Can you use a dutch oven instead of a crock pot for this recipe. I hope you are well. Deb Nemetz
Yes. Put everything in the Dutch oven but add an extra 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook at a low simmer for 2 1/2 hours or so. Check occasionally and add a bit more water if the pan looks dry. I hope you enjoy!
So excited to make this - it looks incredible!!
Thanks Sheryl 🙂 I hope you enjoy - keep me posted!
If I use chicken breasts, is the cooking time the same?
Hey Bonnie - If you're using whole bone-in chicken breasts, I suggest you use the same setting and timing - low for 3 hours. I hope you enjoy!