Slow Cooker Thai Chicken
I had so many thoughts the first time I shoved this chicken into my mouth. It started with, OHMYGOD HOT, and then, HOW have I never put coconut milk in the slow cooker before? How? How? Why does this taste so magical? Why does it taste like melted butter? Why can’t I stop eating this? Does that Thai place down the street know about this? Should I tell them? I really did burn my tongue, bad. But I couldn’t stop.
I could bathe in this chicken.
I often think of coconut as a spring or summer flavor – it’s light, slightly sweet and makes me feel like I need a Hawaiian vacation. This still makes me feel like I need a Hawaiian vacation, but it's a dish I'll make all winter long. It just makes you feel all warm and cozy and it also somehow tastes like chicken that’s been soaking in melted butter. I don’t know why, but it does, and I don't ask questions.
Now, let's talk about cooking chicken in the slow cooker real quick. If you’re working with a pound of chicken breasts, do not cook them all day long. Do not believe the internet. 8 hours on low is going to make that chicken dry and ratchet. I personally think 4.5 hours is the sweet spot, but I’ll give you flexibility and say 4-5 hours.
"But what if I like to cook chicken on high?"
Plz stop. Don't do that. Chicken has almost no fat so it needs to be cooked slooooooowly or it’s going to suck. So that’s not an option. If you’re doubling or even tripling this recipe, then you can cook it a little longer, but I still wouldn’t go over 6 hours.
This Slow Cooker Thai Chicken would go great with lots of extra red bell peppers or mixed into a big veggie stir-fry. I also LOVE to eat it over rice, because the sauce is so addicting and the rice just soaks it all up. Rice is a great mopping agent.
Coconut milk fat is bae.
Please don’t be afraid of the fat in coconut milk. And just so we’re clear, I’m talking about the pure coconut milk that you buy in a can in the International Foods aisle at the grocery store. Not the stuff you get in the refrigerator section now – that stuff is waaaay too watered down for this recipe and you’ll ruin everything if you use it. The fat in coconut milk is so so good for you, and because there is nothing else in this recipe that contains fat, except for a very small amount in the chicken breasts, it’s important that you get the full fat version! We’re not using a lot, it tastes so much better, and you’re going to get all the benefits from healthy coconut fat.
OK, I don’t really feel like I need to talk about coconut milk because unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 5 years, you know that coconut is the cure for just about everything. Except maybe cancer. MAYBE. Who knows, I’m waiting for it. But in case you need a refresher, the fat in coconut milk is mostly medium chain triglycerides (MCT), which is not digested like other fats in our diet. It’s broken down much more easily, making it much easier to use as energy. And we’d prefer to use fat as energy over using it as storage, right? Right.
What I love most about this recipe, well, aside from the fact that I just can’t stop eating it, is that it’s something I can make just about any time I’m craving it because it contains foods that I always have on hand, with the occasional exception of the red pepper. But if I don’t have a red pepper, broccoli or cauliflower are also REALLY good options, and I always have those on hand! If you aren’t keeping coconut milk in your pantry, add it to your list. I believe it’s so important for your health that I even included it on my Top 10 Foods to Keep in Your Pantry.
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken
Author: Megan Kober
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 5 hours
Total time: 5 hours 10 mins
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into strips
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 lb chicken breasts
1 c canned coconut milk (full fat)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cumin
1 T fresh ginger, sliced thin or 1 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 T lime juice (juice of 1/2 lime)
cilantro, chopped, for garnish
Layer into slow cooker in order: bell pepper, garlic, chicken, coconut milk.
Sprinkle salt, cumin and ginger on top.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours.
Shred chicken and add a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Top with chopped cilantro.
Notes: If you can find canned ginger, pick it up! It’s so much easier than slicing or grating fresh ginger, but still has a fresh ginger flavor. And it keeps for a really long time in the fridge. I typically find it in the produce section.