Sweet Chili Chicken


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Chicken in a bowl with rice

Sweet Chili Chicken is a delicious tribute to the sticky, sweet, tangy Thai dipping sauce our house loved putting on everything in Thailand. It’s also a slow-cooker recipe that takes 10 minutes to put together. Served over rice with roasted broccoli or sautéed green beans, this is a quick, crowd-pleasing dinner.

I’ve been a predictable cook this month, content to cook the things I know over and over again.  We spent some time in a log cabin on a mountain in Eastern Tennessee which only fed my craving to slow down and settle in.  Sit on the porch, watch the sun set, wrap my hands around a warm bowl of soup.  Repeat.

Sauce for Sweet Chili Chicken in a white bowl

The slow-cooker has been the backdrop of this year’s transition of seasons.  I use it all through the hot months when I don’t want to turn on the oven, but there’s something about its soft steamy sound and the way it fills a whole house with heady, hunger-inducing smells that makes me want the slow-cooker doing it’s thing all fall.  And I’ve been doing my best to make that happen.  For nearly 48 hours I slow-cooked local apples down into a deep caramel-color, rich apple butter that needed no added sugar at all.  This week it was chicken stock that became so fragrant while cooking overnight that I had a dream I was floating in a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

Pouring Sauce over chicken in a white bowl

Sweet Chili Chicken has a bit more happening than a bunch of chopped apples but, like the best throw-it-all-in-and-turn-it-on slow-cooker recipes it takes 10 minutes to put together.  Combine ingredients for the sauce, add chicken, flip the switch on.  This entire dish is a bit of a tribute to the sticky, sweet, tangy Thai dipping sauce that I ate on just about everything while we lived in Bangkok.  It’s comfort food with a kick.  My recipe below has a spicy bite, like many Thai recipes, but reduce the red pepper flakes if you prefer.  I like this dish made with chicken breasts, which tend to get a bit dry in the slow-cooker, but are not at all dry once tossed with the sauce.  Served over rice with roasted broccoli or sautéed green beans, this is a quick, crowd-pleasing dinner.

Chicken in bowls over rice

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5 from 2 votes

Sweet Chili Chicken

This sweet, spicy, tangy chicken in a rich, sticky sauce comes together fast in the slow-cooker.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 3 hours 30 minutes
Total: 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 6-quart Slow Cooker


  • 1 lb Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4 cup Soy Sauce (sub Tamari for gluten-free)
  • 1/4 cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
  • 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (this makes a sauce with a fairly good kick, so add or reduce to preference)
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 stalks chopped Green Onions, for topping (optional)


  • Season chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper and place in the bowl of a slow-cooker. Whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, garlic and red pepper flakes. Pour sauce over the chicken and slow-cook until the chicken is cooked through, 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
  • When chicken is cooked, remove from the slow-cooker and allow to cool on a cutting board.
  • Whisk cornstarch with 1/4 cup hot water and add to sauce in slow-cooker. Turn heat to high and continue slow-cooking, covered for 30 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
  • While sauce is finishing, roughly chop chicken. Just before serving, toss chicken with hot sauce. Top with green onions. Serve over rice.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 389kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 1326mg | Sugar: 27g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Calories: 389
Keyword: chicken dinner, easy dinner, gluten free, slow cooker recipe
Like this? Leave a comment below!Jump to Comments

Molly and Clara have a newfound love of fountains, which they call “bubbles”.  Might have to put one of these in the backyard.  Should be easy enough.  Right?


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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at InquiringChef.com. She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    I really appreciate the way you made it in such a simple way. It helped me to make the recipe at home. And I made sweet chill Chicken for the first time. Looking for more such yummy recipes.

  2. This was so delicious! Super easy and the flavors were perfect balance of sweet and spicy. My house smelled amazing all day.

  3. I definitely feel the pull of the slow-cooker right now. It’s so nice to have a hearty meal cooking away while you just sit back and sniff the air appreciatively! : ) This sweet chili chicken would certainly hit the spot. And with a slow cooking doing the work, there’s more time to go outside and play with the “bubbles”. : )

  4. This chicken recipe looks great. I don’t have a slow cooker. Do you think I could slow poach it over a stove burner? By the way, maybe you should wait until Spring for the bubbles in your yard. I also rush to the ends of your posts to see what the girls are up to. So enjoy their photos. Thanks

    1. Yes, definitely Kit! I’d simmer the sauce separately and then poach or just pan-sear the chicken breasts. Chop and toss in the sauce and you should have a very similar result. And thanks so much for the kind note about my girls…good point on the delay until warmer weather. 😉