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January 25, 2021

Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki (Paleo, Whole30)

This Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki with healthy ingredients is a great substitute for take-out teriyaki chicken, and is so easy to make in your own home! Made with chicken breast, garlic, onion, coconut aminos, and pineapple juice to sweeten the sauce. Serve over cauliflower rice for a low-carb, but filling dinner. Paleo, Whole30 compliant, gluten free, and refined sugar-free too!

Chicken teriyaki garnished

Get ready for some tender, juicy, and sweet slow cooker teriyaki chicken. Instead of grabbing take-out, cook this healthy teriyaki chicken at home.

Fun fact: Did you know that the word Teriyaki is actually a type of Japanese cooking? The word Teri means luster (a gentle sheen or soft glow) and the word Yaki means grilling or cooking.

To make a traditional teriyaki dish, meat is grilled, or pan fried, and then basted in a sauce that contains: soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar and loads of sodium. These ingredients aren’t great for you and can leave you with a ‘takeout hangover’.

This teriyaki chicken recipe is made with clean ingredients without all the sugar and sodium that you can feel good about serving to your family–and there is no ‘takeout hangover’ involved!

Why this recipe is so good:

  • This teriyaki chicken has sweet and savory flavors that everyone will love, even kids!
  • It’s the easiest dump and go crock-pot recipe. Simply dump all the ingredients in the pot and walk away.
  • Ditch the soy sauce and added sugars! The recipe is soy free, low-carb, refined sugar-free, paleo, gluten free, and Whole30 compliant.
  • The chicken is great for meal prep. Prep it in the crock pot and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. Pair it with some roasted broccoli, cauliflower rice or white rice.
Close up of teriyaki chicken and cauliflower rice

Let’s Talk Ingredients:

Just a few simple ingredients for this easy dump and go recipe.

  • chicken breast – you can also use boneless chicken thighs.
  • coconut aminos – If you don’t have coconut aminos, use gluten free soy sauce instead.
  • apple cider vinegar – if you don’t have apple cider vinegar substitute with apple juice. If you want something less acidic, use organic rice vinegar. You won’t taste the vinegar in the recipe.
  • medium onion – use red or yellow onion
  • garlic cloves – use garlic powder (about 2 teaspoons) if you don’t have fresh garlic on hand.
  • fresh gingergrate ginger using a cheese grater or microplane grater.
  • tapioca starch – to thicken the sauce. You can also use arrowroot starch.
  • raw or toasted sesame seeds – for garnish
  • green onion – chop fresh green onions and use as a garnish
  • optional add-ins: 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sesame oil, pineapple chunks from can, honey (to sweeten, omit for Whole30)

How To Make

Step 1: Place Ingredients in Slow Cooker

Add all the ingredients into the slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours. I do not recommend cooking for longer than the suggested time, unless you notice that your chicken is not tender or shredding yet. Cooking for longer time will cause the chicken to dry out.

Two forks with shredded chicken on cutting board

Step 2: Shred Chicken

Next, using tongs, remove the chicken from the slow cooker and transfer onto a plate or cutting board. Shred the chicken using two forks, holding a fork in each hand to pull the meat apart.

Step 3: Thicken the Sauce

Place a strainer over a small sauce pan. Pour the liquid from the slow cooker into the strainer to strain out the garlic and onions. Dump the garlic and onions back into the slow cooker.

Heat the sauce, over medium-low heat, on the stove, bringing it to a simmer (gentle bubbling in pan). Add the tapioca starch slurry to the liquid and whisk for 1-2 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Teriyaki sauce simmering in pan

Step 4: Serve

Place the chicken back into the slow cooker (on warm) and pour the thickened sauce over the chicken. Toss together to evenly coat the chicken.

Serve the teriyaki chicken hot and garnish with green onions, and sesame seeds. Pair with a bowl of gluten-free white rice, cauliflower rice or some roasted broccoli.

How To Make In The Instant Pot

If you are short on time, making teriyaki chicken in the Instant Pot is a must. It only takes 8 minutes to cook, so you’ll have dinner served in no time.

Start by adding all the ingredients (except the chicken, and arrowroot starch) to the Instant Pot and stir. Then, add in the chicken.

Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the valve to “SEALING”. Press the manual button (older models), or pressure cook button (newer models) and set the timer to 8 minutes. Once the timer beeps, move the valve to release the pressure, and then open the lid.

Shred the chicken with two forks either in the instant pot or transfer the chicken to a plate to shred. Once shredded, stir the chicken around inside the instant pot with the teriyaki sauce. When serving, spoon the sauce over the chicken and garnish with sesame seeds and green onions.

To Thicken The Sauce

Transfer the chicken to a plate and shred it with two forks. Turn the Instant Pot to the SAUTE setting. Once the liquid begins to simmer, whisk in the arrowroot starch and water mixture. Continue whisking until there are no longer any lumps.

Cook and whisk until the sauce is thickened to your liking. About 1-2 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot off and add the chicken back to the pot and toss to coat in the sauce.

Is Teriyaki Chicken Healthy?

Yes! This recipe is a healthier version of the traditional Japanese dish because there is no soy sauce. Coconut aminos are a great alternative to soy sauce. It still has a salty, umami flavor, but contains less sodium.

Teriyaki chicken in slow cooker

Storing, Freezing, And Reheating

To Store – Let teriyaki chicken cool before placing it in a air tight glass container. You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

To Freeze – This teriyaki chicken freezes great! Let teriyaki chicken cool before placing it in a air tight freezer safe container. Store it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To Reheat – Reheat teriyaki chicken in the microwave or in a skillet on low heat. Reheat frozen teriyaki chicken by letting it thaw in the fridge over night.

Tips And Variations

  • Make it sweeter – add 1-2 tablespoons of honey to make the sauce sweeter. If you are on Whole30 you can use dates to sweeten.
  • Cook no longer than 4-6 hours on low heat, or 2 hours on high. Slow cooker times will vary, so I recommend watching the chicken if cooking it longer.
  • Serve slow cooker teriyaki chicken with white rice, broccoli, bell peppers, green beans, or cauliflower rice.
  • To meal prep – this teriyaki chicken is so easy to meal prep! Just place the chicken into an air-tight glass container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  • To add vegetables – if you would like to add vegetables to slow cooker such as broccoli, snow peas, or bell peppers, add during the last 2 hours of cook time.
  • Frozen chicken – if you are cooking frozen chicken in the crock pot, add another hour or two to the cook time.
Slow cooker teriyaki chicken served over cauliflower rice in white bowl

More Slow Cooker Paleo Recipes:

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Teriyaki chicken served over cauliflower rice in white bowl

Slow Cooker Paleo Chicken Teriyaki


  • Author: Abbey Blackwell
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This Slow Cooker Paleo Chicken Teriyaki with sweet and savory flavors will be a family favorite. With healthy ingredients, this is a great replacement for take-out teriyaki chicken, and so easy to make in your own home. It’s also Whole30 compliant, gluten free, refined sugar free, and low carb. 


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, or chicken drumsticks, chicken thighs
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice, drained from a can of pineapple chunks in 100% juice
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • fresh chopped scallions, to garnish
  • sesame seeds, to garnish

To thicken the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch
  •  2 tablespoons water

Instructions

Slow Cooker Instructions

  1. Place chicken breast in a single layer at the bottom of your slow cooker. Top the chicken with diced onion and minced garlic.
  2. In a medium size separate bowl, whisk together apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, ginger, pineapple juice and cold water. Pour the sauce over the chicken breast in the slow cooker.
  3. Cook on low for 4-6 hours, or high for 2-3 hours until chicken is tender and starts to pull apart.
  4. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and onto a plate to shred. Shred the chicken using two forks, holding a fork in each hand to pull the meat apart.
  5. Place a strainer over a small sauce pan and pour the liquid from the slow cooker into the sauce pan, straining the garlic and onions. Dump the onions back into the slow cooker.
  6. Bring sauce to a simmer on low-medium heat. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the tapioca starch and cold water until the starch is dissolved and no longer lumpy. Pour the tapioca starch into the sauce pan and whisk to combine.
  7. Simmer the sauce for 1-2 minutes, or until thickened. Remove the sauce pan from the heat and pour the sauce back in the slow cooker with the onions and shredded chicken. Toss to combine.
  8. Serve warm and garnish with green onions, and sesame seeds.

Instant Pot Instructions

  1. Add the onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, coconut aminos, ginger, pineapple juice, and water to the bottom of the instant pot and stir. Then, add the chicken.
  2. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and turn the valve to SEALING. Press the manual button (older models), or pressure-cook button (newer models) and set the timer to 8 minutes. Once the timer beeps, move the valve to release the pressure, and carefully open the lid.
  3. Transfer the chicken to a plate and shred it with two forks. Turn the Instant Pot to the SAUTE setting. Once the liquid begins to simmer, whisk in the tapioca starch and water mixture. Continue whisking until there are no longer any lumps.
  4. Cook and whisk until the sauce is thickened to your liking. About 1-2 minutes. Turn the Instant Pot off and add the chicken back to the pot and toss to coat in the sauce.

Notes

  • For sweeter teriyaki chicken: start by adding 1 tablespoon of honey (not Whole30 compliant) to the slow cooker and stir.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Slow cooker
  • Cuisine: Japanese

Keywords: Paleo teriyaki chicken, whole30 teriyaki chicken, healthy chicken teriyaki

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I’m Abbey. I’m a real-food foodie that loves to cook delicious meals that nourish the body. I love talking about all things holistic living, too. I’m so glad you’re here!

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