How To Cook Honey Orange Chicken Thighs In Slow Cooker



One good thing about that craving you always have for that take-out honey orange chicken is that you can actually cook your own honey orange chicken thighs in that slow cooker in your kitchen. Who would not crave to dig into this awesome dish, with its sweet-tangy honey orange sauce? Being that the chicken is slowly cooked, it comes out very tender and extremely delicious. With the fact that you can actually save money when you cook your own meals at home, not to talk about the sweet aroma you will savor while the chicken cooks, ordering take-outs should just be on hold.

Eating out Chinese restaurants can be fun and less expensive if it is just you but if you have a long list of loved ones who enjoy Chinese meals as well, the best you can do is learn how to cook a few of these meals and with the honey orange chicken thighs cooked in slow cooker, you will always be a winner. This recipe is a healthier version since instead of oil, you get to use honey and at the end of the day, your heart and those of your loved ones will surely thank you for getting the same Chinese take-out taste with little or no oil. What about the unique combination of the honey and orange? Wow! It’s simply an amazing burst of flavors never imagined.

The first trick you should learn in cooking the honey orange chicken thighs in slow cooker is understanding how to alternate between varied temperatures because this way, your chicken will surely cook quickly and nicely too. When you gradually reduce the temperature from high to low, the chicken is not overcooked but most importantly, your sauce gradually thickens to a nice consistency. If you are adding chicken breasts to the lot and would prefer to cook on high temperature, then the chicken breasts should be left whole. This way, it does not overcook.

So, if you are a mother of three very active kids, you already understand how nerve-racking it can be keeping up with their antics when you decide to eat out at the restaurant. You would rather be saving yourself a lot of stress by staying home and preparing this delicious meal of honey orange chicken thighs on slow cooker. This recipe is so versatile that it can easily go with any dish. It can be rice or any other stable. You can also use various fresh veggies to garnish the chicken before and after cooking. If you have any left-over salad in the fridge, why waste it when it can be used to garnish this super meal? What about that remaining red pepper or broccoli? You won’t regret the burst of color and most of all, spiciness.

If you are ready, here we go with the recipe for preparing that home-made honey orange chicken thighs dish that would surely taste better than what you have ever had. Yes, seriously.

Things You Need To Cook Honey Orange Chicken Thighs In Slow Cooker

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3-4 Hours

Total Time: 3-4 hours, 10 minutes

Servings: 4-6


  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 3 cloves garlic, all minced
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh ginger, all minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 12 medium pieces chicken drumsticks, skin peeled

Equipments needed

  • 5-6 quart slow cooker
  • Cooking spray or
  • Slow cooker line


You will start by combining the honey, orange juice, orange zest, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar, crushed red pepper, and ginger in a small mixing bowl. Set this aside. If you are using slow cooker liner, you will then need to line the insides of the cooker with the liner. If on the other hand you are using cooking spray, then take your time to spray the insides of the slow cooker. Add the drumsticks and carefully pour in the mixed sauce. Mix thoroughly in order to properly coat the drumsticks. Cover and cook on high heat for about 2-3 hours.

Second stage

This stage is for those who already have skillet. Turn off the slow cooker and transfer all the drumsticks to a bowl. Transfer the liquid to a skillet, medium or large, depending on the size you have at home. Boil it over high heat for about 10-15 minutes. This will reduce the liquid and transform it from runny to syrupy liquid. Turn off the heat and pour the thickened sauce over the drumsticks so that they are properly coated with it. Garnish with cilantro and the sesame seeds before you serve.

For those who do not own skillets, you can cook the honey orange chicken for additional 1 hour to enable the sauce get syrupy. In order to avoid overcooking the chicken, you can transfer them to a covered bowl while you continue boiling the sauce on high heat.

Tips to further enhance your experience

Cooking the drumsticks with their skins on means more calories and if you are watching your weight, then it is safer to peel the skin off the chicken thighs before you cook. There are several methods on how to effectively do this. You can go here and here to get useful tips on how you can easily peel the skin from your chicken thighs.


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You are also better off if you line up the insides of your cooker with slow cooker liner. These heat-resistant and disposable liners help minimize chances of your chicken getting stuck to the bottom and sides of the cooker. It also makes cleaning up the cooker easier than when the meal is prepared directly inside. Here is a video tutorial on how to apply liners like a professional.

If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease or your body reacts badly to gluten, you should ensure that the soy sauce you use in preparing your honey orange chicken thighs are those labeled as “gluten-free”. A good number of soy sauces are known to be sweetened or flavored with gluten-containing agents.

Nutritional information

To further ensure that you have an idea of the quantity of calories you are consuming, here is helpful nutritional information for serving your awesome honey orange chicken thighs. They are as follows:

2 drumsticks:

  • 7 grams of fat
  • 18 grams carbohydrates
  • 29 grams protein
  • 150 mg cholesterol
  • 15 grams added sugars
  • 8 mcg folate
  • 16 grams sugars
  • 4 mg Vitamin C
  • 91 IU Vitamin A
  • 416 mg sodium
  • 30 mg calcium
  • 352 mg potassium
  • 2 mg iron

Total is 253 calories per serving of 2 chicken thighs. You should also know that of the 7 grams fat content, 2 grams is saturated fat. There is zero fiber.

Other important notes

Since this recipe strongly calls for soy sauce, which is known to be a common ingredient in most Asian cuisines, it is important you go for the one with low-sodium content. On the other hand, you can also make your own soy sauce at home. This is especially if you are looking forward to preparing more Korean, Chinese, or Japanese meals in the future. You should be warned that even though it takes simple ingredients to prepare your own home-made soy sauce, it takes a lot of patience and hard work. However, the look of satisfaction on the faces of your loved ones as they relish the meal is enough compensation for all the troubles you had to go through to make this condiment. Here is a detailed recipe for making your own soy sauce.

To add variation to your honey orange chicken thigh recipe, you can add butternut squash. Apart from the fact that it is packed full of Vitamins A and C, it also has this sweet flavor that would do your chicken dish a lot of good. It seeds also offer not just protein but heart-friendly fats as well. If you choose, you can bake or roast yours before adding to the main dish. Here is a tutorial on how to prepare butternut squash.

Adding a dash of cooked quinoa will also give a unique twist to your honey orange chicken thighs dish. If you have never cooked quinoa, it is no big deal as there are lots of tutorials on how to achieve perfectly cooked quinoa. Here is one of the many tutorials.

The meal is ready

With your meal ready, all you need do is lay the table and dish the food. For some, a chilled glass of red wine is one way to complement this great dish. If you are confused on the type of wine that would go with your meal, here is a link to learn more on choosing the appropriate wine for your meals.

What’s your take on this tutorial?

Which honey orange chicken thighs cooked on a slow cooker make amazing one-pot meals, they can also be used as garnishing for other meals, putting your caloric intake into due consideration. This dish also makes a great appetizer. Preparing some veggies as side dishes will also complement your honey orange chicken thighs dish. Here and here are some veggies-based side dish recipes.

Don’t forget to share this recipe and tutorial with your loved ones. Also leave your comments below to let us know what you think about this tutorial on how to cook honey orange chicken thighs in slow cooker.

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