How to Make the Best Sweet and Spicy Crockpot Chicken

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Sweet and Spicy Crockpot ChickenA crockpot is one of the best tools you can have in your kitchen arsenal. It’s similar to a smoker because it lets you cook dishes for your family or friends without requiring that you stand nearby and keep a close eye on the device. Though Crockpot is a trademarked brand name, you can also use a slow cooker.

The benefits of using a slow cooker or a crockpot are numerous. You can toss your ingredients in the pot the night before and wake up to a delicious dish. They’re also great for cooking dishes while you’re at work.

One of the top recipes that we recommend is a sweet and spicy chicken dish. It tastes like something that just came from your favorite Chinese restaurant and has a combination of both sweet and spicy flavors. You can use the following recipe with fresh chicken or chicken that you cooked in your smoker.

Making Sweet and Spicy Chicken in Your Crockpot

This simple recipe will appeal to your friends and family as well as adults and kids. Though it uses chicken and fresh vegetables, you can add any of your favorite veggies to create a custom chicken dish.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 cups of mixed fresh vegetables
  • 8 ounces of sweet and sour sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
  • 6 ounces of barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon water, if needed
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions

  1. 1
    To make sweet and spicy chicken in a slow cooker, simply place the chicken in the bottom of your crockpot. Scatter the garlic over the chicken and add your mixed veggies. You'll then pour the two sauces over the top and stir until everything is well combined.
  2. 2
    After cooking the dish for at least seven hours on low, mix the water and cornstarch in a small bowl or cup and add to the mixture. This creates a slurry that you'll stir into the dis to make a thick sauce. You need to let the dish cook for another 10 minutes to cook off the cornstarch and create that sauce.
  3. 3
    Depending on how hot your slow cooker runs, it can take up to nine hours for the dish to fully cook. If you have access to a meat thermometer, you can insert it into the chicken. The chicken should reach a temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit before it's safe to eat.

Choosing the Right Chicken

  • A nice reason to use this recipe is that you can use any type of chicken. While some like chicken thighs because they have a little more fat on them, others prefer chicken breasts. You just want to make sure that you use chicken that does not have bones or skin. 
  • Butchers can remove the skin and bones for you. You may want to do this step at home as you can save the bones to make chicken stock later.
  • A fun way to kick up the spicy tones of the dish is with the addition of smoked chicken. Our guide on how to cook a turkey in a smoker gives you an introduction to cooking poultry outside. You can follow the same steps to smoke a chicken but let the bird cook for less time.
  • When you smoke the chicken ahead of time, you'll want to store it in your refrigerator overnight. As the chicken is already cooked, you do not need to run the crockpot for as much time. It may take as little as four hours to cook the dish on a low setting. Keep in mind that you still need time to cook the vegetables though.

Recipe Tips

  • You can customize this crockpot dish in dozens of ways depending on how much spice you like. If you want to increase the spice level, consider adding a few teaspoons of minced or pickled jalapenos. Habanero peppers work just as well. As these peppers are much spicier though, you'll want to add less.
  • Cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes work well too. If your loved ones have different tolerances for spice, you can set out dishes and let them add more heat. A few dashes of your favorite hot sauce can kick up the spice level also.
  • You also have the option of adding any vegetables that your family likes. To make this more like the Chinese dishes you get from restaurants, you might opt for a combination of red and green peppers. We also recommend using zucchini and carrots. You can experiment to see which vegetables you like best in the thick sauce.

Some of the other tips you can use when cooking this dish include:

  • Creating a slurry to thicken the sauce from equal parts water and arrowroot. Powdered arrowroot is a common thickener used in Chinese cooking.

  • Protecting the inside of the slow cooker with a cooking bag. Several companies make bags that fit inside the crockpot and will not stick to the sides. After putting away your leftovers, you can throw out the bag and wipe down the sides of the slow cooker before putting it away.

  • Swapping out the prepared sauces for homemade sauces. We designed this recipe for people who have less time on their plates, which is why we recommended using prepared sauces. Not only can you exchange those sauces for your favorites, but you can use homemade sauces too.

  • Serving the finished dish with pasta or rice. For an authentic Chinese dish, you'll want to use plain white rice. Brown rice is a good option too because it will absorb some of the sauce. You can also think outside of the box and serve the dish with pasta.

Make the Perfect Sweet and Spicy Crockpot Chicken

This recipe is merely an outline for how you can make sweet and spicy chicken in your crockpot or slow cooker. You can have fun replacing the veggies and sauces to create new versions of this classic dish for your family.