Slow cooker bang bang chicken is a delicious take-off of the traditional Szechuan dish. Tender and juicy chicken chunks are slow cooked to perfection in yummy sesame sauce and served over fresh veggies.
Total transparency: this recipe is not authentic. It is nothing like the popular bang bang chicken recipes found at Cheesecake factory or Bonefish Grill.
There are tons of great copycat versions of those recipes all over the Internet. Those have long lists of ingredients, including mayonnaise and fried chicken, and involve multiple pans and cooking instructions.
This easy recipe is the lazy crockpot version of bang bang sauce. It is more closely based on the Szechuan version of traditional bang bang chicken. But, once again, it is not fully authentic as those recipes use a wok.
Now that you know what it isn't, I can tell you what it is: DELICIOUS!! It is one of those new recipes that will be quickly adopted into your regular rotation. It is a great way to make a family-pleasing, easy dinner.
To make this bang bang chicken recipe you will need:
- Boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs - (I recommend thighs) cut into small pieces
- Soy sauce
- Sesame paste - tahini works well if you can't find traditional sesame paste
- Sesame oil
- Rice vinegar
- Sugar - brown sugar or an equivalent substitute like Swerve are great too
- Garlic - fresh is best, but garlic powder will do in a pinch
- Sriracha sauce - or red pepper flakes
and for serving:
- Toasted sesame seeds - I generally toast my own
- Green onions - sliced
- English cucumber or shredded Asian cabbage slaw
For best results, the first thing to do is spray your crockpot with a non-stick cooking spray. It makes clean-up sooo easy! My favorites are olive oil or coconut oil.
Cut chicken up into bite-size pieces and place in your greased slow cooker. Add all remaining wet and dry ingredients - other than those used for serving - and stir to combine. Cover and cook.
slow cooker bang bang chicken in crockpot before cooking
When finished, remove cooked chicken from the crockpot and top it with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onion. This dish is traditionally served on a bed of julienned English cucumber. The lazy version (as pictured) is served over a bag of pre-shredded cabbage/Asian slaw (which adds delicious flavor).
A note about chicken
Chicken in the slow cooker can be a bit tricky. Boneless chicken breast meat can dry out and get tough if overcooked. Dark meat is a little more forgiving and flexible and won't dry out quite as fast.
I find that the best way to ensure slow cooker chicken is juicy and tender every time is to use a meat thermometer. Toward the end of cooking time, use the thermometer to test the internal temperature of larger chicken pieces. Chicken is safe to eat once it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees f.
Serve this family favorite the traditional way - over julienned English cucumber or shredded Asian slaw. It's delicious! Some different ways to serve include using it to make white rice bowls, quinoa bowls, rice noodles bowls, or zoodles. The unique flavor of this dish makes it especially yummy served in lettuce wraps.
The excess sauce in your slow cooker makes a wonderful dipping sauce for steamed broccoli or cauliflower. It is also great spooned over mashed cauliflower.
Leftover chicken can be stored in an airtight container or freezer bag. It will last 3-4 days in the refrigerator and several months in the freezer.
If you love this recipe, please let me know in the comment section below!
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😉Hints & hacks
- Would like your sauce a bit thicker? Make Bang bang chicken sauce thicker by adding in a traditional corn starch slurry during the last 30 minutes of cooking or so.
- All slow cookers are different and may have a slightly different cook time. The first time you make this dish note how long it takes for your chicken to reach 165℉. This will make your timing easier to gauge the next time you make it.
- Store leftovers in individual serving-sized containers for easy grab and go future meals on a busy day.
- We aren't fans of super spicy, so we only use a splash of hot sauce. Feel free to tailor the amount of sriracha/red pepper flakes to your heat preference. This dish is traditionally a pretty spicy sauce.
- This is one of the best slow cooker recipes to use with a slow cooker liner. If you use a liner, you can skip spraying your slow cooker with non-stick spray.
- In the market for a slow cooker? I love mine!
Can this dish be prepped in advance?
Absolutely! combine all ingredients in a small bowl or bag and store in the refrigerator. When you are ready to start cooking, dump contents into your sprayed slow cooker. It will quickly become a plan ahead favorite meal of the whole family.
Why is it called bang bang?
The name 'bang bang' comes from the noise street vendors made. They traditionally bang the chicken with a baton or rolling pin to tenderize it.
Slow Cooker Bang Bang Chicken Recipe
- 3.5 quart slow cooker or larger
- measuring cups and spoons
- non-stick cooking spray
- 1.5 lbs chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
- ¼ cup soy sauce low sodium is my choice
- 3 tablespoon sesame paste If you can't find sesame paste, tahini, or smooth, unsweetened peanut butter works well.
- 1.5 tablespoon sesame oil or toasted sesame oil
- 1.5 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 1 tbsp sugar or sugar free equivalent like Swerve
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 2 teaspoon ginger paste or grated
- 1 teaspoon Sriracha or red pepper flakes
- toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onion for topping
- julienned Asian slaw vegetables or English cucumber
- spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray of your choicenon-stick cooking spray
- cut chicken into bite sized pieces1.5 lbs chicken thighs
- place chicken into bottom of slow cooker. add in all remaining ingredients other than toppings and stir to combine.¼ cup soy sauce, 3 tablespoon sesame paste, 1.5 tablespoon sesame oil, 1.5 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon garlic, 2 teaspoon ginger, 1 teaspoon Sriracha
- cover and cook on low until the inter most piece of chicken reaches 165°F. This usually takes 3-4 hours, but each slow cooker is slightly different.
- Serve chicken onto of julienned veggies or cucumbers top with sesame seeds and green oniontoasted sesame seeds and sliced green onion, julienned Asian slaw vegetables or English cucumber