Slow cooker satay chicken is a flavorful, versatile meal the whole family will love! With a short list of ingredients, this slow cooker Thai peanut chicken is a delicious and easy dinner recipe is not only quick to prepare but also a great meal prep protein option, and you wont believe how flavorful the end result it.

Overhead shot of an oval baking dish with cooked chicken thighs. The baking dish is surrounded by a lime cut in half, fresh herbs, and containers with sauce, lime wedges, and peanuts.

5 star review

“Absolutely loved this one! Used chicken thighs, added cilantro, lime, and peanuts on top and it came out delicious! Could eat the sauce with a spoon!”

– Stephanie

About Slow Cooker Satay Chicken

Dump and go slow cooker recipes are popular recipes on the blog because truly there aren’t any easier dinners or meal prep recipes!

I mean, hello, what’s better spending just five minutes on prep and getting the most flavorful succulent chicken as a result?

This crockpot satay chicken is another one to add to your simple slow cooker dinner repertoire because it’s easy to make, customizable to suit your tastes, and a great option for meal planning.

My family loves to serve this Thai-inspired peanut chicken with a side of rice or noodles (slow cooker stay chicken noodles anyone?) and cooked veggies for a complete and nutritious meal. 

And, leftovers are so delicious and easy to reheat and enjoy for lunch or dinner the next day.

If you’re not a fan of curry paste or fish sauce, if don’t have these ingredients, or if you want more of a complete one-pot meal, you can make my slow cooker pulled chicken and veggies with peanut sauce, which is equally delicious.

Origins of Satay Chicken

If you’re not familiar with satay chicken, it’s a popular Southeast Asian dish that typically features grilled chicken skewers served with a flavorful sauce of peanut butter, coconut milk, curry paste, sugar, lime juice, and fish sauce. My version is not authentic satay, but is inspired by the Thai version of this dish, featuring the key flavors.

Visual Guide: How to Make Satay Chicken

Jump to Recipe Instructions

Easy Prep Tips & Tricks

What makes my slow cooker satay chicken stand out is my signature slow cooker method to keep the flavor fresh.

The chicken (either chicken breasts or thighs work), is cooked slowly in the crockpot with only a third of the sauce to infuse it with the flavors.

When the chicken is done cooking, remove the cooking liquid and pour in half of the remaining sauce and toss to coat.

Adding all the sauce at the beginning leads to sauce that’s bland and overly cooked, while adding fresh sauce at the end, livens up the dish and adds that delicious fresh flavor.

Unlike many of my other slow cooker chicken recipes, I don’t recommend shredding the chicken after cooking. 

Instead, I recommend cooking the chicken on the lower side so it’s cooked, but not shreddable.

Then, if you want to take the dish to the next level, place the sauce-coated, cooked chicken on a broiler pan and broil for a couple of minutes – just watch it so it doesn’t burn!

Since traditional satay chicken is grilled, this gives it a little caramelization and authentic inspiration.

Overhead shot of a white dish with cooked chicken thighs. The baking dish is surrounded by limes, fresh herbs, and containers with sauce, and peanuts.

Key Ingredients and Substitutions

Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken thighs for this recipe, but you could also use chicken breasts in their place, or a mix of both. If you want to use frozen chicken, be sure to thaw it fully before adding to your slow cooker.

Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store. It has a subtler flavor. Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.

Peanut butter: I used unsweetened, creamy peanut butter, but you can use crunchy or creamy and sweetened or unsweetened.

Canned coconut milk: Make sure to use canned coconut milk, not coconut beverage. I used full fat coconut milk, but you can use light.

Thai red curry paste: This is what makes it a satay sauce. You can find it in the Asian section of the grocery store. It does have some spice, so for a less spicier dish, use less paste. If you don’t have Thai curry paste or don’t want to use it, I recommend making my slow cooker pulled chicken with peanut sauce instead.

Brown sugar: You can also use coconut sugar or white sugar.

Fresh lime juice: Fresh lime juice is best. It adds a bright, fresh and tangy flavor.

Fish sauce: While fish sauce is traditionally used, you can substitute it with soy sauce or gluten free tamari.

Make It Peanut Free or Nut Free

To make a peanut free version of this dish, use almond butter instead of peanut butter. For a nut-free version, replace the peanut butter with sunflower seed butter.

What to Serve with Satay Chicken

Slow cooker satay chicken is delicious served with a side of your favorite rice or cauliflower, or even rice noodles and add your favorite toppings.

While the toppings I suggest are optional, I highly recommend them!

Fresh toppings such as lime and cilantro add a fresh touch to a slow cooker dish, and the chopped peanuts add a contrasting crunch.

To complete the meal, add a side of steamed vegetables.

Overhead shot of an oval baking dish with cooked chicken thighs. The baking dish is surrounded by a lime cut in half, fresh herbs, and containers with sauce, lime wedges, and peanuts.

How to Store & Freeze

Slow cooker satay chicken makes excellent leftovers, hence making it a great meal prep recipe.

It keeps well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container. This recipe also freezes well, stored in a sealed freezer friendly container for up to 2-3 months.

This Recipe is…

Follow my step-by-step video:

Overhead shot of raw chicken tighs covered in an orange sauce in a slow cooker.
5 stars (13 ratings)

Slow Cooker Satay Chicken

Slow cooker satay chicken is a flavorful, versatile, and simple recipe that the whole family will love!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, or boneless skinless breasts
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

For the Satay Sauce

  • cup peanut butter, creamy or chunky
  • cup canned coconut milk
  • 1-2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce, or tamari

Optional Serving Suggestions

  • Chopped roasted peanuts, fresh lime slices, fresh cilantro, steamed rice

Equipment

Instructions 

  • Add the chicken to a 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle the salt evenly over the chicken to coat.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, coconut milk, curry paste, sugar, lime juice, and tamari until very smooth.
  • Pour ⅓ of the satay sauce over the chicken, tossing gently to coat. Set the remaining sauce aside. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or low for 4-4, or until the chicken is cooked through and very tender but not falling apart.
  • When the chicken is cooked, uncover and carefully drain the cooking liquid. Pour over half of the remaining satay sauce, tossing to coat.
  • Optional, but recommended: Place the cooked and sauce-coated chicken on a broiler safe pan or baking sheet. Place under a broiler for 3-5 minutes or until browned, then flip and broil 2-3 more minutes to brown the other side. Keep a close eye on the chicken, as the sugar in the sauce can brown very quickly.
  • Serve the sauce coated chicken with the remaining satay sauce on the side for dipping. Garnish with cilantro, fresh lime slices, and peanuts if desired.

Notes

If using chicken breasts, you may need to add an additional hour, so 3-4 hours or high, or 5-6 on low.
Use 1 tablespoon red curry paste for a milder satay sauce, and 2 tablespoons (or more!) for a spicy satay sauce.
See blog post, above, for substitution suggestions, serving suggestions, storage, and more. 

Nutrition Information:

Serving: 1 (of 6), Calories: 308kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 144mg, Sodium: 528mg, Potassium: 501mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 432IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 30mg, Iron: 2mg
Nutrition disclaimer
Did you make this recipe?If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

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