Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

I have eaten this honey sesame chicken more times in the past month than you’d probably believe. It’s been on our menu once a week, and the recipe yields enough to feed us three nights in a row (if not more) every time I make it. In case you don’t feel like doing the math, that means this dish has been served at least 12 times in the past 30 days. I guess you could say we’re a little bit obsessed with it :) Also, any need we once had for variety in our meals has seemingly gone right out the window…

Truthfully though, since we resolved to eat healthier meals, it’s been a bit of a struggle to find dinner ideas both Shane and I can get excited about. So when we do find one that fits the bill, it goes into heavy rotation. I’m hoping that as time goes on that pool of weeknight meal options will grow, but in the meantime we really love the handful we do have, enough that the monotony isn’t bothering us one bit!

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Anyway, if you’re on Pinterest, it’s likely that you’ve seen a version of this recipe floating around, it’s quite popular. This adaptation comes from Gina at Skinny Taste, whose goal was to create a version that wasn’t quite as sweet as some of the others. The result is just slightly sweet; it’s perfect for us because Shane’s not big on adding lots of sweetness to savory dishes. Aside from the usual suspects – soy sauce and honey – there’s quite a bit of tomato paste in this recipe, which adds tanginess. I think a lot of the other recipes out there use ketchup instead, but having never made any of them, I can’t say how they compare. I just know we love this one, even more so because a decent-sized portion is under 200 calories (see Gina’s site for the full nutrtional info).

Oh also, this is not one of those slow cooker meals you want to throw in before you go to work and let cook away all day. The original instructions said 3-4 hours on low, but in my slow cooker (which always seems to cook things more quickly than recipes suggest), the chicken only needed two. My slow cooker has a timer and will switch to “keep warm” when it is done cooking so that’s an option if yours is similar, but if not I suggest making the recipe on the weekend instead. You’ll have a simple, delicious dinner for several nights later in the week :)

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken

Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken
barely adapted from Skinny Taste

{Note: as written, this dish is not at all spicy – you could add more sriracha or even red pepper flakes if you wanted to increase the heat.}

2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I’ve used tenderloins too)
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sriracha chili sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
sesame seeds (for garnish)
scallions, thinly sliced (for garnish)

Season the chicken with black pepper than add to your slow cooker in a single layer. Whisk together the soy sauce, honey, tomato paste, rice wine vinegar, garlic, ginger, water, sesame oil, onion powder, and the chili sauce in a small bowl. Pour the mixture over the chicken in the slow cooker. Set to low and cook until the chicken is cooked through and very tender (in my slow cooker it only needs 2 hours).

Transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup water until combined, then add to the sauce in the slow cooker. Cover, set your slow cooker on high, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened slightly. Meanwhile, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces.

Add the chicken back to the slow cooker and toss to coat with the thickened sauce. Serve garnished with the sesame seeds and scallions, if desired.