Slow-Cooker Hot-Honey Chicken Sandwiches Recipe (2024)

By Sarah DiGregorio

Slow-Cooker Hot-Honey Chicken Sandwiches Recipe (1)

Total Time
4 to 5 hours and 20 minutes
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These simple sandwiches are reminiscent of a lazy summer cookout — but doable on a weeknight. Though slow cookers are often associated with winter, they’re great in hot weather because they don’t heat up the kitchen like ovens do. For this recipe, there is no need to add liquid to the pot before cooking, because the chicken will release moisture as it cooks. If you have a lot of liquid remaining when the chicken is done, that’s absolutely fine; just incorporate it into the shredded chicken. But if you have a little extra time, before you shred the chicken or add the honey, remove the chicken to a bowl with tongs, pour the juices into a small saucepan, and simmer until the juices are reduced by half to intensify flavor and thicken the sauce. After that, simply pick the recipe back up at Step 3.

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Yield:4 servings

  • 2pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2teaspoons red-pepper flakes, plus more to taste
  • teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1teaspoon onion powder
  • 1teaspoon ground sweet paprika
  • ¼teaspoon ground smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • ¼cup honey
  • 2teaspoons cider vinegar, plus more to taste
  • 2heaping cups shredded green cabbage (about 8 ounces or ¼ medium green cabbage)
  • ¼cup mayonnaise, plus more for the buns
  • 3scallions, sliced
  • 1tablespoon lemon juice
  • 4rolls or buns (preferably onion rolls)
  • Vinegary hot sauce, for serving

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

612 calories; 26 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 9 grams monounsaturated fat; 10 grams polyunsaturated fat; 44 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 22 grams sugars; 50 grams protein; 849 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Slow-Cooker Hot-Honey Chicken Sandwiches Recipe (2)


  1. Step


    In a 6- to 8-quart slow cooker, combine the chicken, oil, 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, the onion powder, sweet paprika and smoked paprikas. Season with 1½ teaspoons kosher salt and several generous grinds of black pepper. Stir well to combine all ingredients. Cover and cook on low until the chicken is very tender, 4 to 5 hours. (The chicken will keep well on warm for another 3 hours.)

  2. Step


    At any time before serving, combine the honey with the remaining 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes and ½ teaspoon garlic powder in a liquid measuring cup or a small bowl. Cover and reserve at room temperature until the chicken is done.

  3. Using two forks, finely shred the chicken with its cooking liquid. Pour in the spiced honey and the cider vinegar and toss to coat. Taste; it may need a little more salt, to sharpen the flavor. Also add more red-pepper flakes and vinegar, if you like.

  4. Step


    In a medium bowl, combine the cabbage, mayonnaise, scallions and lemon juice; season the slaw to taste with salt and pepper.

  5. Step


    Toast the buns, then spread with mayonnaise and a few shakes of hot sauce. Mound the chicken on the bottom buns and top with the slaw.



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Cooking Notes


Look at the Chipotle-Honey Chicken Taco recipe on NYT-Cooking. It has both a slow-cooker and an Instant Pot version. I think the same modifications might work well to convert this to Instant Pot. For 1-1/2 lbs it's high pressure for 13 minutes plus 5 minutes natural pressure release - and then shred the chicken. Maybe a touch longer for this recipe since 2 lbs is recommended. But I've not done it. That chipotle-honey taco recipe is a favorite regular in our house.

Sarah R

I cooked it in my Dutch oven at 325 for 1.5 hrs. It worked out really well and I didn’t need to add any additional liquid.


Could this work in an Instant Pot??


Made the mistake of buying breasts but it turned out great! The flavor is surprisingly subtle… I assumed it would have more heat. Next time I may make some bonus hot honey to add to sandwiches later. It’s tasted great as leftovers too! Nice and easy. (And for those asking - I didn’t need to add extra liquid. The chicken produced enough on its own!)


Served this at a party last night. Lots of raves! Tripled the recipe; used two separate slow cookers, 3 lbs chicken in each. Made 3 days in advance. Shredded the chicken into a 13x9 pan, then reduced and added the liquid. Refrigerated. Yesterday put all the meat into large slow cooker and reheated on low. Added the honey mixture and vinegar; made the slaw fresh. Only used 1 tsp of red pepper flakes. Served on toasted onions rolls with a variety of hot sauces and TJ’s chili Mayo on the side.


Very tasty, I used buttermilk ranch on the cabbage, added pickled onions, slicked cucumber and avocado. Served on Challah.


I did end up making this with chicken breasts. It was absolutely delicious. I highly recommend using Trader Joe’s Everything (seasoning) ciabatta rolls for it. YUM!


Many slow cooker recipes call for dried herbs and spices because the longer (slow) cooking times tend to dull the flavor of fresh ingredients.

carnival in my mouth

How about cooking this in a dutch oven? At least two of us are keen on adapting this recipe to the old-fashioned way of stewing. Without the proper new-fangled gadgetry, those of us with simple pots & pans will have to employ some guesswork. Hope to read about adapting this recipe, please. Wild Gratitude -- this sounds delicious


Like Dave said, the chicken will release enough liquid. If you use air-chilled chicken it'll work perfectly. Chicken with water added might actually come out too wet.

Dave Obremski

I was concerned about this as well but still left the crockpot alone for two hours while I ran some errands. When I returned I checked the pot and there was a surprisingly amount of liquid from the thighs. No need to worry. Recipe came out great bythe way. Definitely saving this one.


It means don't worry about refrigerating it - just let the sauce hang out covered until the 5-hour chicken is ready.


I accidentally mixed the honey in with the spices in Step 1, which was silly of me, but this still turned out delicious. This may have been why we ended up with so much liquid in the slow cooker at the end of its cook time, but we drained it and followed the rest of the recipe to the letter. I definitely needed more red pepper flakes than were called for! But the end combination is excellent and overall very easy to make.


For Instapot, just add the hot honey with the chicken. The honey + fat from chicken thighs will be enough liquid. Then, high pressure for 14 minutes + 5 minutes natural release. I removed the chicken to a separate bowl since there is a lot of liquid. You'll want to still add more hot honey mix with apple cider vinegar plus as much liquid as you want from the Instapot to keep it perfectly moist. Awesome and easy for weeknight or to pack up and take to the park.


Once the chicken is on the sandwich with the slaw, it's just right. Neither too picante nor too sweet. (But I did add more vinegar and salt than called for.)

Michelle W

Don't skimp on reducing the juices after the chicken is done! Truly makes all the difference and really intensifies those flavors. Also felt like taking this already lazy recipe to an even lazier level by using store-bought hot honey instead of making it :-)


1-3 tsp honey Few flakes red pepper


1-3 tsp honey Few flakes red pepperAdd loveage 1/2 tsp Oregano sprinkle


1-3 tsp honey Only few flakes pepper


Thinly sliced apples added to the coleslaw adds a pleasant crunch


I have made this recipe many times, and it is always a crowd pleaser. It is great for thr beach, where you can assemble the ingredients and go off to the beach and come home to a delicious meal. You just need to pull apart the chicken, easily done while everyone is showering. I wasn’t wowed by the slaw component, and I’ve experimented with different slaw versions. The one I’ve finally settled on to complete this dish is a mango-broccoli slaw, anther NYT recipe, if I correctly recall.

Insta Pot Tip

Followed this to a tee but used the instapot. Just a heads up bc I got a “burn notice” when I popped the chicken in so I added some chicken stock (didn’t measure) and it helped. My tip is to add a cup of chicken stock and cook for 20 minutes. then reduce the remaining liquid by half per the notes I. The recipe. It was perfecto!!


Delicious and great for a crowd on a hot day!


Mistakenly omitted the vinegar and added one tsp. smoked paprika. I'd rate it a 6 out of ten.Next day, in order to eat leftovers, I needed more slaw, so I picked up a bag of Asian slaw mix with spicy dressing at Wegmans. WOW. That's how I'll make this recipe going forward. Try it !


Used instant pot instead on high pressure for 17min and 10 min release (could have done a little less I think). Used less honey as I am almost out! Added a decent amount of salt and double the vinegar. Delicious.


For instant pot - 14 min high pressure, 5 min natural release for 2 lbs. Add 1/4 c broth in with chicken & spices to prevent burning, add honey after done cooking. Reduce liquid in Instant pot with low/med saute after removing chicken and add 1/4 tsp potato starch to thicken. Great as a rice bowl (black rice) with the slaw

Lindsey VM

This is one of our go to summer recipes. I actually prefer this with chicken breast. Both work well. Delicious with a quick homemade Alabama white sauce.

Amy Hickman

I made this when we had our family pictures done, so it would be ready when we returned. I went mild on the spice, afraid of making it too spicy for my family, but next time I am going add some more heat! A spicy mayo might be nice too! Loved it! We will be making this again.

Katie W

Followed the recipe as is and did not love it. Found it to have an "off" taste - not sure what it was. I love hot honey flavor on pizza, chicken, etc. so don't know what it was about this recipe. Texture of chicken was great, but just not a great flavor.


This was so easy and delicious. Chicken thighs are so good in the crockpot. Rather than make sandwiches, I used this chicken to top my kale/broccoli slaw salad from Costco. It makes for a simple and healthy work lunch.

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Slow-Cooker Hot-Honey Chicken Sandwiches Recipe (2024)


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