Overhead shot of a bowl of rice, shredded slow cooker apricot chicken, and carrots with a fork resting in the bowl, and small bowls of green onions, sesame seeds and sauce next to it
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Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken

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Super easy slow cooker apricot chicken made with 5 ingredients! This apricot chicken makes a great weeknight dinner and freezer dump meal! Serve with rice!

This Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken is stupid easy, and really freakin’ good! Apricots are an underrated fruit, IMO. They bring a unique sweetness that complements savory flavors, and in this slow cooker chicken recipe, apricots bring all the flavor! Juicy, shreddable chicken thighs (or breasts, if that’s more your jam) are slow-cooked in the crockpot in a sauce, so good, you’ll want to lick the slow cooker liner. I’m talking a blend of apricot preserves, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and a zing of fresh ginger. This crock pot apricot chicken will make it on your weeknight dinner rotation. I am sure of that!

A bowl of rice and cooked carrots topped with slow cooker apricot chicken, sprinkled with sesame seeds and chopped green onions, with a small bowl of sauce in the background

What I love about this slow-cooker apricot chicken recipe is how it brings the flavor, let me repeat that – IT. BRINGS. THE. FLAVOR. Plus, it’s different from your typical BBQ crock pot chicken thighs. It’s seriously a hidden nugget of goodness in the world of slow-cooker recipes. The apricot’s natural sweetness pops with the tangy mustard and the deep, umami flavor of the soy sauce—it’s sweet, tangy, salty, and earthy—the whole flavor package, if you ask me! If you like to make sweet and sour chicken in the slow cooker, you’re going to like this.

Plus, this crock pot apricot chicken recipe is a meal prep, freezer dump meal. I like to double the recipe and make one for dinner that night, then toss the ingredients into a freezer bag and freeze for a quick meal another night.

Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken Overview

Cuisine Inspiration: Fusion (American with a touch of Asian influence)
Number of Ingredients: 5 (excluding salt and pepper)
Total Cook Time: 6 hours
Primary Cooking Method: Slow Cooking
Dietary Info: Gluten-Free option available (with GF soy sauce), High Protein
Key Flavor: Sweet and savory apricot
Skill Level: Easy

  • 5 Ingredient Main: This Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken recipe is so easy. With just five main ingredients that don’t even require cutting or chopping, prep is really as simple as measuring and dumping.
  • Perfect Freezer Meal: Not only is this dish a weeknight staple, but it’s also freezer-friendly. Prepare it in advance, freeze it, and you’ve got a ready-to-go meal for those hectic days. Ideal for meal-prepping and busy families.
  • Kid-Friendly and Satisfying: The sweet and savory flavors of this apricot chicken are a hit with both kids and adults, making it a fantastic choice for family dinners.
  • Versatile Serving Options: Serve it over rice, quinoa, or even mashed potatoes for a complete meal.

Ingredients to Make Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken

  • Chicken Thighs: 6-8 boneless and skinless thighs (about 3-4 lbs). Chicken thighs are ideal for slow cooking as they stay juicy and tender.
  • Apricot Preserves: 1 cup for a sweet and tangy glaze. Apricot preserves are easy to find at your local grocery store.
  • Soy Sauce: ½ cup to add depth and a savory umami kick. It balances the sweetness of the apricots perfectly.
  • Dijon Mustard: ¼ cup for a subtle sharpness and complexity. Dijon mustard complements both the soy sauce and apricot flavors.
  • Fresh Ginger: 2 tablespoons, minced or grated, for a warm, spicy note. Ginger adds a fresh zing that elevates the overall taste.
  • Salt & Pepper: To taste, for seasoning the chicken before cooking.
Overhead shot of a bowl of rice with slow cooker apricot chicken and cooked carrots, with small bowls of green onions, sesame seeds and sauce next to it

How to Make Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken

  1. Start with the Chicken: Place the boneless and skinless chicken thighs into your slow cooker. Season them generously with salt and pepper to taste. This is where the flavors begin, so don’t be shy with the seasoning.
  2. Mix the Sauce: In a separate bowl, whisk together apricot preserves, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and ginger. This mixture is the heart of the dish, bringing a beautiful balance of sweet, savory, and a bit of spice.
  3. Slow Cook to Perfection: Once mixed, pour this flavorful sauce over the chicken thighs, ensuring they are evenly coated. Cover and set your slow cooker. Let it cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. This slow-and-low method ensures that the chicken is tender, juicy, and infused with the delicious apricot mixture.
  4. Serve: After cooking, you can serve the chicken thighs whole, or shred them for a different presentation.
A step by step image collage on how to make slow cooker apricot chicken with ingredients, raw chicken seasoned, mixing the apricot sauce, and cooking the chicken in the sauce

Making Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken as a Dump Freezer Meal

Turning the Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken into a dump freezer meal not only saves time but also infuses the chicken with more flavor. It’s a perfect solution for busy days, meal prepping, or when you want a delicious home-cooked meal with minimal effort.

Preparation for Freezing:

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a large zip-lock freezer bag, combine the raw chicken thighs (or breasts), apricot preserves, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and fresh ginger. If you’re using salt and pepper, add these as well. Seal the bag, ensuring you squeeze out as much air as possible.
  2. Mix in the Bag: Gently massage the bag to mix all the ingredients together. Make sure the chicken is well-coated with the sauce mixture. This method allows the chicken to marinate and soak up all the flavors while in the freezer.
  3. Label and Freeze: Write the date and cooking instructions on the bag. Lay the bag flat in your freezer, allowing it to freeze in a way that maximizes space and facilitates even thawing.

Cooking from Frozen:

  1. Thaw Safely: Ideally, transfer the bag from the freezer to the refrigerator at least 24 hours before you plan to cook it. This ensures a safe and even thaw.
  2. Cooking Time Adjustment: If you’re cooking the chicken directly from frozen, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time. Set your slow cooker on low and cook for 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. The key is to ensure that the chicken reaches the safe internal temperature of 165°F.
  3. Serve as Desired: Once cooked, serve the chicken whole or shred it, depending on your preference. Enjoy over rice, quinoa, or with a side of vegetables.
  • Different Chicken Cuts: If you prefer, swap out the chicken thighs for chicken breasts. The recipe is versatile, so you can use whichever cut of chicken you like best or even a mix of both.
  • Apricot Alternatives: No apricot preserves? Try peach or plum preserves for a similar fruity and tangy flavor profile.
  • Soy Sauce Swap: For a gluten-free option or a lower sodium dish, use tamari or coconut aminos in place of regular soy sauce.
  • Mustard Varieties: If you don’t have Dijon mustard, feel free to use whole-grain mustard or even honey mustard for a different twist.
  • Spice it Up: Add a kick with some crushed red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce if you like a bit of heat with your sweet.
  • Extra Veggies: Toss in some sliced bell peppers, onions, or carrots for added nutrition and texture. Add these during the last hour of cooking so they maintain some crispness.
  • Garnish Galore: Before serving, sprinkle some chopped green onions, sesame seeds, or fresh cilantro on top for an extra pop of color and flavor.

Tips for Making the Best Slow Cooker Chicken

  1. Choosing the Right Cut: While this recipe uses thighs, remember that chicken breasts can also be used. Thighs tend to be juicier and more forgiving in a slow cooker, but breasts are a great leaner option.
  2. Layering for Flavor: When adding your chicken to the slow cooker, consider layering. Place half the chicken in, pour some sauce, then add the rest and cover with the remaining sauce. This ensures every piece gets a good coating of that flavorful apricot mixture.
  3. Avoid Overcrowding: To ensure even cooking, don’t overcrowd the slow cooker. Each piece of chicken should be in contact with the sauce and not stacked too high.
  4. Low and Slow: Resist the urge to cook on high to save time. Slow cookers are designed to bring out the best flavors when used on a low setting, especially for meat recipes like this one.
  5. Thickening the Sauce: If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the cooked chicken at the end and mix a cornstarch slurry into the remaining sauce in the cooker. Heat it on high for a few minutes until it thickens, then pour it over the chicken.
  6. Resting Before Serving: Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking. This allows the flavors to settle and the juices to redistribute.
  7. Freshness Counts: Fresh ginger has a more vibrant flavor than powdered. If you have access to fresh ginger, it can really make a difference in the overall taste.
A bowl of rice topped with shredded slow cooker apricot chicken and cooked carrots, with a fork resting on the side and small bowls of green onions, sesame seeds and sauce in the background

How to Store & Reheat Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken

Storing:

After cooking, let the Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken cool to room temperature. Transfer the chicken and any remaining sauce into an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Reheating:

  • For best results, reheat the chicken gently in a microwave or on the stovetop.
  • In the microwave, cover the chicken and heat on a medium setting to avoid drying it out. Stir periodically for even heating.
  • On the stovetop, place the chicken in a pan over medium heat. Add a splash of water or chicken broth if needed to keep the chicken moist.

Sample Meal

If you need menu inspo on what to serve with your egg and potato casserole to make it a complete meal, I’ve got you! Go for a side of Butter Rice, Steamed Baby Carrots, and finish with Avalanche Cookies!

Other Options To Serve With Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken

  1. Quinoa or Couscous: For a healthier twist, try serving the chicken over quinoa or couscous. These grains offer a nutty flavor that complements the sweet and savory chicken.
  2. Steamed or Roasted Vegetables: Broccoli, green beans, carrots, or a mix of your favorite seasonal veggies, either steamed or roasted, add color and nutrition to your plate.
  3. Salad: A fresh green salad with a light vinaigrette can balance the richness of the apricot chicken. Think mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds.
  4. Noodles: Egg noodles or soba go well with this apricot chicken. They offer a different texture and a nice contrast to the sauce.

Frequently asked questions

Is it possible to make this recipe in an Instant Pot?

Yes, this recipe can be adapted for an Instant Pot. Use the sauté function to brown the chicken (optional) and then cook under high pressure for about 10 minutes with a natural release.

How can I thicken the sauce?

To thicken the sauce, you can create a cornstarch slurry (mix equal parts cornstarch and cold water) and stir it into the sauce towards the end of cooking. I’d start with 1 tablespoon water to 1 tablespoon cornstarch and add more if needed.

Can I use frozen chicken for this recipe?

Yes, you can use frozen chicken, but it’s recommended to thaw it first for even cooking. If cooking from frozen, adjust the cooking time as needed.

My chicken Came Out Dry. what can i do?

If your chicken is on the dry side you will want to shred it all and then add it back to the sauce and coat. While it won’t fix the chicken completely it will add moisture back.

Close up of a bowl of rice and slow cooker apricot chicken with carrots with a fork piercing a piece of the chicken

This slow cooker apricot chicken is one of my families favorites and I hope it will become ones of yours!

More Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes

I want to hear from you! If you try this easy Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken recipe or any other of my easy recipes on Dinner in 5, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! I read all the comments and respond!

Overhead shot of a bowl of rice, shredded slow cooker apricot chicken, and carrots with a fork resting in the bowl
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Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken

Super easy slow cooker apricot chicken made with 5 ingredients! This apricot chicken makes a great weeknight dinner and freezer dump meal! Serve with rice!
No ratings yet
Author Jackie
Servings 6 servings
Course Main Course
Calories 250
Prep Time 5 minutes
0 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 6-8 chicken thighs or breasts boneless and skinless, about 3-4 lbs
  • 1 cup apricot preserves
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger minced or grated
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Place chicken thighs into the slow cooker. Season them well with salt and pepper.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the apricot preserves, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and ginger. Once mixed, pour the sauce over the chicken thighs, ensuring they are evenly coated.
  • Set the slow cooker on low heat and cook for 6 hours, until the chicken is tender and infused with the apricot mixture.
  • After cooking, serve the chicken thighs whole, or shred them for a different presentation.

Freezer Meal Prep Instructions

  • Combine Ingredients the raw chicken thighs (or breasts), apricot preserves, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, and fresh ginger in a large zip top freezer bag. If you're using salt and pepper, add these as well. Seal the bag, ensuring you squeeze out as much air as possible.
  • Gently massage the chicken in the bag to mix all the ingredients together. Make sure the chicken is well-coated with the sauce mixture. This method allows the chicken to marinate and soak up all the flavors while in the freezer.
  • Write the date and cooking instructions on the bag. Lay the bag flat in your freezer, allowing it to freeze in a way that maximizes space and facilitates even thawing.

Cooking from Frozen:

  • If you’re cooking the chicken directly from frozen, you’ll need to adjust the cooking time. Set your slow cooker on low and cook for 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours. The key is to ensure that the chicken reaches the safe internal temperature of 165°F.

Notes

*Nutritional information uses chicken thighs.
Apricot chicken pairs really well with rice. Garnish with a sprinkle of chives, green onion, or sesame seeds for extra flavor and a burst of color.
  1. Choosing the Right Cut: While this recipe uses thighs, remember that chicken breasts can also be used. Thighs tend to be juicier and more forgiving in a slow cooker, but breasts are a great leaner option.
  2. Layering for Flavor: When adding your chicken to the slow cooker, consider layering. Place half the chicken in, pour some sauce, then add the rest and cover with the remaining sauce. This ensures every piece gets a good coating of that flavorful apricot mixture.
  3. Avoid Overcrowding: To ensure even cooking, don’t overcrowd the slow cooker. Each piece of chicken should be in contact with the sauce and not stacked too high.
  4. Low and Slow: Resist the urge to cook on high to save time. Slow cookers are designed to bring out the best flavors when used on a low setting, especially for meat recipes like this one.
  5. Thickening the Sauce: If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the cooked chicken at the end and mix a cornstarch slurry into the remaining sauce in the cooker. Heat it on high for a few minutes until it thickens, then pour it over the chicken.
  6. Resting Before Serving: Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after cooking. This allows the flavors to settle and the juices to redistribute.
  7. Freshness Counts: Fresh ginger has a more vibrant flavor than powdered. If you have access to fresh ginger, it can really make a difference in the overall taste.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5lbs, Calories: 250kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 107mg, Sodium: 1311mg, Potassium: 373mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 115IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine American

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