Slow Cooker Garlic & Brown Sugar Chicken

I’m back!  One thing my grandma truly loved was food, and she would not want me to stop sharing recipes.  I may not have adopted her Southern ways of cooking, (no fat-back or collard greens for me, thank you) but I do share her love of all things food.  I even taught her a thing or two…for example, she thought she hated pumpkin until my pumpkin breads and muffins 🙂

Today, I wanted to share a crock-pot recipe.  I love using my crock pot, and have been trying lots of different recipes to build up a good rotation.  For a while, it seemed like everything I slow-cooked (mainly chicken!) always came out tasting the same…bland.  Of course, a lot of the recipes have had similar ingredients, b/c I just can’t be too creative with my family.  They have really boring taste buds 😉  This chicken dish, found at Six Sister’s Stuff, was a hit with everyone. Except Mr. Three, who eats nothing worth mentioning.

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Slow Cooker Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken 

adapted from Six Sisters’ Stuff

4-6 chicken breasts *I used 2 lbs boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1 cup packed brown sugar *I used 3/4 cup
2/3 cup vinegar  *I used apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup lemon-lime soda *I used Sprite Zero
2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic *I used about 1 1/2 T. fresh minced garlic
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 Tablespoons corn starch
2 Tablespoons water

Red pepper flakes (optional) 


  • Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. (Crock pot liners are also great!)
  • Place chicken (frozen, thawed or fresh) inside slow cooker. 
  • Mix together the sugar, vinegar, soda, garlic, soy sauce, and pepper, and pour over chicken. 
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4 hours. (Frozen chicken will obviously need a longer cook time.)
  • Remove chicken from slow cooker (it should basically fall apart) and pour remaining sauce into a saucepan over high heat. 
  • Mix together corn starch and water, pour into saucepan, and mix well. Let sauce come to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes, or until it starts to thicken and turns into a glaze. 
  • Remove from heat and let sit for a minute or two (it will continue to thicken as it cools).
  • Sprinkle red pepper flakes on top if desired.  

This can be served over rice or noodles, but we had ours with a baked potato on the side (It’s good on top of the potato too!)

Verdict? Everyone enjoyed this.  I liked it because it was not too sweet like some of the other recipes I have tried, and the red pepper flakes gave it a nice little kick.  I bet it would be good with a little sriracha too!  The kids, of course, skipped the spice, and enjoyed it as is.  This, along with Sticky Chicken, will be made again.

I’m linking this up over at – Holly’s Stamping Addiction, The Dedicated HouseHomemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, Skip to My Lou, Making the World Cuter, Project Inspire, Moms Crazy Cooking; The Gooseberry Patch

140 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Garlic & Brown Sugar Chicken

  1. I have the same problem with my Crock Pot. The chicken always comes out really bland and dry (how that's possible I don't know). I'm definitely going to have to give this one a try.

  2. I have sweet and sour chicken in my slow-cooker as we speak…wish I saw your recipe BEFORE I threw it in! I'm adding this to my list and will be trying this next week! Thanks for the great recipe share! Pinned and following! Hope you're having a great Monday!

  3. Yum…I almost always use chicken thighs in the slow cooker when I make chicken dishes in there. I find breasts just get a weird texture once they are in there for awhile. With that being said, this looks like a winning recipe…but I think I'd use thighs. :0) and for the record, I'm not a huge fan of dark meat, but in the crockpot, it can't be beat!

    1. I agree, I prefer chicken thighs when using my crockpot. More tender and juicy 😊 This is a must try!!
      Thanks, Jan

  4. I'm glad it tasted good at least! I don't remember it smelling bad…but it's been a while since I made it, I might not have been home while it was cooking. Thanks for the feedback!

  5. Thank you! Are you talking about the water used to mix in the corn starch? I just use a couple of tablespoons of cold water to dissolve the corn starch before adding to my sauce. You may be able to add the corn starch directly into the sauce without the water, but I'm not sure if it will dissolve as well.

  6. I'm not sure why the soda…I guess since dark sodas are used frequently in BBQ sauces, someone thought it would be a good idea. I don't see why you couldn't sub it with any liquid of choice bc there is plenty of brown sugar for sweetness, and cornstarch as a thickening agent. I've only tried it as it is written here, so I can't be sure. Let me know your results if u try it!

  7. I made this yesterday, and it turned out really, really good! I think I would use chicken thighs next time, though, as the breasts dried out a little bit. Nonetheless, thanks for the great recipe – I agree that it would make a great stir fry or sweet and sour meal as well!

  8. Thanks for letting me know how it worked for you! I agree, thighs would probably work well. I have JUST started (like this week) using thighs in addition to breast meat. My kids and husband love them, and they do stay more moist and tender.

  9. Making this today with a couple of small Pork Sirloin Tip Roasts that I got from Costco. We prefer pork over chicken, so we will so how it turns out. Thanks for the yummy looking recipe!

  10. I have this in the crockpot as we speak!!! I diced some jalepeños and threw them in there for a little kick. Can't wait to eat it! Thanks for the recipe!

  11. We give it 2 thumbs up! Just had it for dinner tonight with mashed potatoes. Next time we'll have it with rice. I definitely think it would be good with pork.
    I cut the chicken into chunks when I was removing the liquid to thicken it. I think next time I"ll cut the chicken into chunks when I first put it into the crock pot so it can really absorb all that juice!

  12. Everything is in the crockpot now 🙂 hope it's as yummy as it sounds. One quick question though, it says to mix cornstarch with water for the glaze, how much water it doesn't say??? -Thank You!!

  13. Soak your chicken in salt brine overnight. Dryness will disappear. Or, if you don't want the extra salt, add a little olive oil and water to the ingredients, and marinade the meat in that overnight. That will work for pork as well.

  14. Hi Kayleigh! No, I didn't add any additional liquid, other than the vinegar and soda called for in the recipe. It was plenty to keep it from drying out, and you end up with enough liquid to make the sauce at the end. Let me know how it turns out for ya!

  15. Sorry for the delayed response, I tried to reply on 2 different occasions on my iPad and the comment just disappeared! It's bad when you can't reply on your own blog 🙂

    To answer the question, I haven't frozen this particular recipe, but I don't see why you couldn't. I think I will be trying that as well, the next time I buy chicken in bulk.

  16. I've got this in the crockpot right now, and I'm excited for dinner! Thinking we'll put it over either quinoa or brown rice. I do have to say, in response to someone else's comment, it does smell like hamburgers in my house while I'm cooking this! Weird

  17. I made this but left out the soda, and put in a couple table spoons of sweet chili sauce (found in the Asian aisle) instead of red pepper flake. My two boys, 5 & 8, were raving and made me promise to make it again!!!!

  18. I was just going to ask about leaving out the soda to make it healthier and looks like someone else thought of it too. I like the flavor combination. I am going to have to remember this one. Thanks Kim!

  19. I will try this without the soda, and add the green peppers/pineapple. But should I add the Sweet Chilli sauce(instead of the red pepper flakes) at the end or with the other ingredients?

  20. I tried this and I had only lemon solo and I only used the same amount of sugar as u did also I only cooked it for half the time it was really nice but the vinegar was a bit over powering I don't know if its because it wasn't cooked as long but it was still nice and chicken was delicious I did add extra lemon solo as it would of dried out thankyou for a nice rfecipe

  21. I am trying this tonight, Going to use it as the base for some dumplings with some shredded cabbage, carrot and spring onions. I'll let you know how it turns out.

  22. Only thing is I wouldn't cook it as long as it say cuz if you using boneless chicken breast they cook fast and it seems to dry out, so I would only cook it for 3-4 hours. The sauce was delish, I didn't have soda so I used ginger ale lol but it was good.

  23. I have this cooking right now, it doesn't smell very good, so hopefully it will taste good. I just looked through the lid and some of the garlic that is on the chicken looks blueish. I used fresh, why would it do that?

  24. I made this today & it was very very YUMMY! I followed the recipe exactly & mine smelled delish while cooking. My mother in law happened to come by & even complimented me on the smell of my food while it was cooking so I'm not sure what the others were talking about. I have a very picky 6yr. old & he gobbled it right up. So thank u for the recipe. 🙂 I will def. be making this again.

  25. It's cooking and I hope it's good. I put the red pepper flakes in the crock pot oops. I used regular sprite. I used the first amount of ingredients because I'm cooking 6-pieces of chicken. Will let you all know how it turns out later.:)

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  27. Made this tonight w/ the only change being swapping out soda for chicken stock (just b/c I didn't have soda on hand and someone else mentioned the chicken stock). Anyways, it was AWESOME and will make again and again. Made it with brown rice and green beans.

  28. My crockpot has become extremely temperamental so I'm planning to try this with thighs on the stove in my Dutch oven. Has anyone tried this that can give a ballpark on the cooking time? TIA

  29. Oh, this looks yummy. As someone who also uses less sugar than a recipe calls for, I appreciate the changes you mentioned and made. I also highly applaud any food blogger that shares their source of the original recipe. Thank you! You've got a follower in me!

  30. I dropped my crock this morning and it broke so this recipe went in the Dutch oven on the stove. I used thighs and had to add quite a bit of salt and pepper to get the flavor where I wanted it. Next time I will saute the garlic and red pepper flakes in oil prior to adding the chicken and will season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper before adding the rest of the sauce. I like the concept of the flavors but had to do a good amount of tweaking to get what I wanted.

  31. Made this for supper today. Followed the recipe exactly but used about 2T of garlic which was not too much. I used 1.8lbs frozen chicken breast & cooked on high for 5 hours which was too long in my crockpot. I have a 4, 6, 8 & 10 hour setting. I used the 6 hour setting but only had it in for 5 hours. My husband came home from work & said it smelled horrible but it tasted much better than it smelled. Will make again but either cook for less time or on 8 or 10 hour setting. Does anyone know which would be better? Thanks for the recipe!

  32. I just made this. I did it with chicken breasts for 2.5 hours on HIGH. It was so juicy and amazing overall! Wasn't bland at all.

  33. I just put this in my slow cooker and also used some frozen chicken thighs. I am gonna make some rice and probably some green beans. I look forward seeing how this turns out. I love using my slow cooker and I am always looking for great recipes. Thanks for sharing this.

  34. I'm in college and I love making this chicken for a variety of meals…i've used it as BBQ pizza topping,on top of rice, and in a burrito BUT my FAVORITE thing to do with it is use half the sauce and mix it with all the shredded up chicken. I then put some on a tortilla shell with some sharp cheddar and then top it with another tortilla shell and throw it on my pizzazz to make a well non-Mexican quesidilla! It's so good!!

  35. I made this about a month ago & really liked it (I wrote the review on 2-6-15). My husband said not bad (he prefers his chicken breaded or battered). He said it smelled horrible while it was cooking. I would like to make this for a birthday party & was wondering how it would be if I made this the day before. I thought I could cook it, shred it & mix it with the glaze to store in the fridge all night then the day of the party I could keep it in the crockpot on low/warm to warm it back up. Have you every done that? I'm worried it'll get too dry. I thought they'd make good little sandwiches.

  36. Hi Heather, I think it would be fine to reheat the next day. You may have to add a little liquid to it if it gets too thick, but I don't think the chicken will get dried out (provided it's on the warm/low setting). I have leftovers of it in the fridge right now! As far as the smell, the first couple of hours were very garlicky smelling, but after that I thought it smelled good. No one in my house complained, but I would think you would have to be a fan of Chinese/Asian foods to not mind the smell as it is pretty fragrant. Hope your party goes well! Also, just as an FYI, if anyone likes spicy…I added Sambal Oelek (chili paste) to mine & it was yummy!

  37. Made this today with an 8lb Pork Shoulder (Butt) Roast-Bone in. I cut in in a few large chunks and quadrupled the sauce ingredients to cover the roast in my extra large crock pot. Came out AWESOME! Pulled the meat out, shredded it a bit, poured the sauce into a pan and thickened it up, mixed the meat back into the gravy and served it over my favorite thick home style egg noodles, Everyone loved it and it was enough to feed 8 large eaters each who had seconds and still have some left over! A keeper recipe for sure. Thanks!

  38. I made this today and was a concerned with the amount of Cider Vinegar so I flip-flopped the Vinegar and Soda. 2/3 cup of 7-Up and 1/4 cup of Cider Vinegar. I used 2 Skinless/Boneless Chicken Breasts. WOW!!! This was Awesome!!! I also added the Red Pepper Flakes on top of the Chicken and turned them over after 3 hours and checked with a Meat Thermometer after 4 hours and it was done. I had the Crock pot set for 6 hours. Thank You for the Recipe. I'm a recently retired man with a working wife, looking to add to his Recipe Box and this received All Thumbs Up!!!

  39. Absolutely delicious! Had to double sauce ingredients, although brown sugar total was only 1 cup and 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar (as I reduced these due to reviewer’s comments). Cooked for 3-4 hours on high; meat just fell apart. Added chilli flakes to sauce ingredients. Used 3 large chicken breasts and lemon-lime mineral water (as couldn’t find lemon-lime soft drink). Would definitely have again. All gave this 10!

  40. Are you able to put small red potatoes in the crock pot too while the chicken is cooking? I am a beginner cooker 🙂

  41. I have this cooking now; I’m so excited, can’t wait to try it! I have a generic crock pot question for you….my slow cooker always cooks chicken to 165 degrees in about 3 hours on low but it’s never falling apart when I take it out. If I were to let it go the full 6 hours, would it be falling apart or just overcooked and inedible??! Thank you!

    1. In my experience, cooking chicken for longer periods of time in the crockpot will cause it to fall apart. It shouldn’t be overcooked on low, as long as it doesn’t dry out. I’ve not had any trouble cooking this recipe for the full time, but every slow cooker is different. Hope you enjoy it!

  42. I am making this recipe for 15 people. Should I double or triple the recipe? Do you think it will taste as good with that much in the crock pot at once?

    1. I think you could double this without any trouble. I’m really not sure about tripling it, I feel like this would be too much in the crockpot & I would be concerned that all of the chicken would not cook evenly. I think using 4 lbs of chicken will yield approx 8 cups of shredded chicken of that helps. You may could even go up to 5 lbs in a full size crock pot. Since I haven’t tried this myself, I can’t tell you for certain, but I hope I’ve helped a little!

  43. Delish. Halfed it and tried it tonight, only needed to cook for 3 hours on high, any longer and it would have burnt up, so make sure you pay attention to cooking times! Will be saving this for the future for sure!

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