Give yourself a pat on the back because your taste buds are going to come alive when you taste Slow-Cooker Brown Sugar Apple Chicken!
This recipe not only looks amazing, it tastes amazing! With just a little effort you can have this chicken on your table for dinner tonight. I recommend serving it over rice and with a side of baked beans.
How to make Brown Sugar Apple Chicken
Slow-Cooker Brown Sugar Apple Chicken starts with bone-in skin-on chicken thigh pieces seasoned with salt, pepper, and paprika. The chicken pieces are briefly cooked, skin side down, to help render some chicken fat out pre-slow cooker, and to add additional flavor and color to the chicken. Remember, browning equals Flavor.
While the chicken browns in the skillet, fill the slow cooker with brown sugar, minced garlic, and a couple dashes of Sesame oil or Soy Sauce. You may notice that I have a liner in my slow cooker. Best. Idea. Ever. I always use Reynolds Metals Slow Cooker Liners 13"X21" – 3 Pack (12 Liners Total)” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>slow-cooker liners so I don’t have to wash out the heavy AND bulky ceramic insert.
Once the chicken skin is nice and golden brown, nestle the pieces into the slow cooker over the sugar mixture. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
Broil for crisp chicken skin and reduce drippings for amazing sauce.
You can serve the chicken as-is when it’s done, but I like to take it a step further and broil the chicken for just a few minutes to crisp up the skin.
While the chicken is under the broiler in the oven, I will skim off the excess fat left on the liquids in the slow-cooker, then strain what’s left and add the apple cider. Place over high heat and boil it until it’s reduced by about half to thicken and increase the flavors.
Serve by gently pouring the reduced sauce into a corner of the chicken dish (aka NOT over your just-crisped chicken skin) and sprinkling the chicken with freshly minced chives. Serve over rice if desired.
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Slow-Cooker Brown Sugar Apple Chicken
This delicious and easy Slow-Cooker Brown Sugar Apple Chicken gives you fall-off-the-bone tender chicken bathed with a savory-sweet sauce.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 5 or 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- salt and pepper
- 1–2 tablespoons paprika
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 6 minced garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil or soy sauce
- 1/3 cup of apple cider
1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt, pepper, and paprika. Place chicken thighs, skin side down, into the skillet. Without moving them or flipping them over, cook for about 5-7 minutes or until the skin has turned a deep golden brown color.
2. While the chicken cooks, place the brown sugar, garlic, and sesame oil into the bottom of the slow-cooker. When chicken is done browning, place into the slow-cooker, skin side up. Set to low and cook for 8 hours.
3. Carefully remove the chicken to an oven-safe dish, keeping the pieces skin-side up in a single layer. Set your oven to broil. Remove as much fat as you can off the surface of the broth. Pour broth into a saucepan and add the apple cider. Boil on high until the liquid has reduced by about half. While the sauce reduces, place chicken thighs under the broiler until the skin is crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Pour reduced sauce into the chicken dish and serve.
This recipe can be easily converted to a holiday-friendly Slow-Cooker Brown Sugar Cranberry Chicken recipe by substituting cranberry sauce + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar instead of apple juice in step 3 and ensuring you substitute soy sauce instead of sesame oil in step 2.