Slow-Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken & Vegetables

Given as a wedding present nearly ten years ago, my slow-cooker hasn’t seen nearly enough use. I tend to reach for my cherry red Le Creuset French oven for braising and stewing. However, as our family is growing and appetites are expanding, I can see the practical side of having a large crock pot and keeping it busy.

Still, I could use some help. I’m no seasoned slow-cooker chef, and can count my fails up there with my winning dishes. That is one reason why I was happy to have Kelsey contact me to participate in her week-long Slow-Cooker Challenge.

January is the perfect month to give that slow-cooker a permanent place on the counter top and our challenge is sure to fuel you with plenty of inspiration. Don’t own a crock pot yet? Both The Naptime Chef and my friends at Big Girls, Small Kitchen are giving one away this week! So hurry over and enter.

Chicken and vegetables in the slow-cooker is pretty predictable, I admit, but thanks to a fragrant spice blend and a good dose of aromatics such as ginger root and garlic, this dish sings with flavor. It’s mellowed out with rich coconut milk and served over steamed rice; comfort food at its finest.

Note: This dish is not overly spicy as I serve it up to my kids. If you’d like a little more kick, double the ginger and add a 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes.

Slow Cooker Coconut Ginger Chicken & Vegetables
3.9 from 43 reviews
Recipe type: Main
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves/Yield: 6-8 servings
Serve this creamy and fragrant stew over Jasmine or brown rice. I like to top mine with a few chopped scallions. NOTE: My slow cooker bowl can be used on a burner which can then be transferred to its electric base to cook further, but if you have a different type, then simply prepare the first few steps of this recipe in a heavy bottomed pot or skillet and transfer the ingredients to the slow cooker when the liquids are added.
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 inch cube of ginger (about 30 grams), roughly chopped
  • 1 small sweet onion, peeled, quartered
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into four
  • 2 cans coconut milk, not shaken
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 can of baby corn cobs
  • 1 cup peas or frozen vegetables of your choice
For the spice blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground tumeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Combine ingredients from the spice blend together and set aside.
  2. In a mini food processor, combine garlic, ginger and onion and pulse until it forms a paste.
  3. In the bottom of a slow-cooker placed on a burner (see IMPORTANT note above), heat olive oil and melt butter. Add pureed aromatics and stir well. Cook for a few minutes, then add spice blend. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.
  4. Move aromatics to one side of the pot and add chicken pieces to the pot. Cook chicken slightly on all sides, using a sturdy wooden spoon to move it around the pot. It should get thoroughly coated with the spice mixture.
  5. Open the cans of coconut milk and remove the cream from the top using a soup spoon. You should have about 1 cup. Pour the coconut milk over the chicken and with both cans, it should just barely cover the chicken.
  6. Drain the corn cobs and chop in half. Add to the slow-cooker.
  7. Place the slow cooker in the base and cook on low for 4 hours.
  8. Whisk cornstarch with coconut cream until smooth and add to the chicken. Stir well. Add frozen peas or other vegetables of your choice. Cook for another half an hour or until you deem the chicken cooked and the vegetables hot.
You can certainly use boneless, skinless chicken breasts in place of the thighs, but I prefer the dark meat and find it to have more flavor than the breast. It’s more affordable, too! In the recipe I call for peas, but you can use any cooked or frozen vegetables you have on hand. In the version photographed above I tossed in a bag of my homemade stir fry packages of vegetables, which worked perfectly with the dish. My slow cooker bowl can be used on a burner which can then be transferred to its electric base to cook further, but if you have a different type, then simply prepare the first few steps of this recipe in a heavy bottomed pot or skillet and transfer the ingredients to the slow cooker when the liquids are added. Finally, this dish is not overly spicy as I serve it up to my kids. If you'd like a little more kick, double the ginger and add a 1/2 teaspoon of chili flakes.


What is your go-to slow-cooker favorite? Feel free to leave a link to a recipe in the comments.

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. I halved the coconut milk, and doubled the veggies (snap peas, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, baby corn, bell peppers). It’s bubbling away in my slow cooker right now, smelling like heaven!

  2. Where did the “coconut cream” come from?

  3. This was a pretty good meal. My crockpot insert isn’t stovetop-safe, so I had to do the first half in a large saucepan, which made this messier than most crockpot meals that I make. I was surprised at how mild it tasted, considering the amount of spices and aromatics – it was great for the baby, but my husband and I usually like a more intense flavor.

  4. What do you do with all the leftover coconut cream? I’m cooking this right now, looks like it’ll be wonderful!

  5. This was THE most amazing dinner I have ever made!
    I made a few adjustments based on other comments and the fact that I don’t have a slow cooker or crockpot. Here’s what I did differently.

    1) Doubled the quantity of all spices

    2) Added 2 teaspoons of curry powder

    3) Cut chicken into cubes

    4) Slightly cooked cubed chicken on stove top with a dash of olive oil, before I added it to the spices (see step 4).

    5) I didn’t understand the “coconut cream” reference in the recipe (see step 8), because the directions didn’t say to set the thick top part of the coconut milk, the cream, aside (so of course I dumped it down the drain). Nothing was lost by not including the cream or corn starch.

    6) Ditched the baby corns- these freak me out!

    6) I used frozen store brand stir-fry veggies (included sweet pea pods, carrots, water chestnuts, and broccoli) and cooked them up with coconut oil (just to add more coconut flavor).

    7) Because I don’t have a slow-cooker or crock pot, I performed steps 3-6 on the stove top, over med heat. Once all of my ingredients were added, for step 7 I placed the large pot with lid into the oven on 250 for about an hour. After an hour, I checked on the chicken and found it was cooked perfectly! Very tender and lots of flavor. I then removed the pot from the oven, placed it on the stove top and kept it covered. I wasn’t serving dinner for another couple of hours. About 10 minutes before I wanted to serve it up, I heated up the frozen veggies and simultaneously re-heated the chicken and sauce. Finally, I added the veggies to the pot, mixed, and poured over hot white rice.

    Final thing to note, this dinner made an even better lunch the next day!

    I highly recommend this recipe :) Happy cooking!

  6. This was awesome! It makes a ton!

  7. This will be a go to recipe. I added 2 tsp curry and a chopped jalapeño for extra kick. We like it spicy so I may do two peppers next time. Used peppers (jalapeño and bell) and zucchini from the garden plus the snow peas and broccoli from the store. It turned out great!

  8. Pieceocake says:

    I make this recipe all the time because it is awesome, my husband loves it, the kids eat it, etc. My slow-cooker doesn’t go on the stovetop, so I just do the whole thing on the stove in a dutch oven. Sometimes it cooks on low for several hours, sometimes only an hour, but tastes great every time. It is slightly better when you cook it longer though. As far as ingredients- cook it just like the recipe says! It is great!

  9. Lula Surber says:

    When I saw the great looking photo for this recipe I thought it must have curry in it. Needless to say I followed the suggestion to add 2 tsp of curry. Our household also likes loads of flavor so I (again) followed the suggestion to double the spices (I did NOT double the salt or black pepper though). The only cookware I use anymore is cast iron. Rather than use a crockpot I used my dutch oven. My husband grilled the chicken breasts separately (he grills a batch and then you can use what you need and refrigerate the rest for later in the week). I used the food processor for the garlic & ginger but NOT the onion. I used my food processor to chop onions before and ended up ruining an entire batch of soup. It extracted too much juice out of the onion and made it over powering. I merely hand chopped the onions. Because the chicken breasts were fully cooked I could simmer a much shorter time (while my rice steamed 45 minutes). I used 2 bags of Birdseye stir fry vegetables. Next time I will take the authors suggestion and double the ginger and add pepper flakes for more kick. The added curry was perfect! When I served this over rice I also served each person a small bowl of green grapes to be eaten with the meal. The grapes are a perfect sweet/tart complimentary flavor to the spices (IMO). FYI I used 1 chicken breast per person and then added 1 extra. The chicken breasts I used weren’t terribly large. All in all I probably simmered this for around an hour. I realize this was designed for a slow cooker but for others out there that don’t have one I hope this helps. I found many of the suggestions here to be quite helpful. I rated this 4 stars because of the extra tweaking I did. It’s a great basic recipe that has room for a bit of tinkering if you so desire. Lots of good flavor, protein & vegetables too. I will be making this again.

  10. I suggest editing step #5. It should specify to reserve the cream! I’m not going to get a true tasting of this dish tonight since I dumped mine down the drain while cleaning up from cooking. :(

  11. What size coconut milk cans? The standard 14.5oz or the smaller 5.5ish oz ones?

    • Have the same question. I used the 14.5oz cans and have a LOT of liquid. Guessing the 5.5ish oz cans are what was expected.

      • She did say that there should be about 1 cup of the milk. She didn’t specify whether to use the liquid part or the solid part, but I’m assuming the solids is what she meant. That would be where the most flavor and creaminess is.

  12. This sounds amazing! Do you think I could do it in a rice cooker?

  13. I linked to this in my March Real Food Monthly Meal Plan post. I expect this will have lovely flavors and look forward to it.

  14. I have a question about this recipe? A friend had a new baby and we would like to bring her dinner and I was thinking of serving this. I would like to if possible cook it at home and then either reheat it or bring it over partially cooked and then finish cooking it there. Do you have any recommendations?

  15. I really love this recipe ! Although if you are not a garlic and cream fan, I use to put black pepper – just enough to feel it and not too much to burn your mouth – and add a little more of coconut milk and Italian cheese like parmiggiano reggiano. This a perfect meal to gather with your friends and family.

  16. I’d like to adapt this recipe to make it vegetarian–do you think chick peas or edamame would work instead of chicken? Looks yummy!

  17. So the way the instructions are worded in this recipe are a little confusing. To get coconut cream I chill my cans the night before. The clear liquid at the bottom I rarely use, so calling it coconut milk vs coconut cream is confusing. Also two of the regular size coconut milk cans are waaay to much liquid. I ended up with a lot of liquid, and not much else. Each step would be better spaced out with annotations beside them to clear up confusion. Also, much more spices are needed, I couldn’t taste anything and I am not a spice person. :(

  18. People-ALWAYS read a recipe all the way through before you start. That’s Home Ec 101. I thought this recipe was absolutely delicious, though I doubled the amount of veggies (peas and edamame) I put in and added a red bell pepper and a hot pepper. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  19. So, I tried this recipe today. After reading the comments, I made the following modifications:

    – Chopped onion, garlic and ginger instead of pureeing them.
    – I used boneless skinless chicken breasts
    – Used light coconut milk; just one can
    – Doubled spice mixture and added a teaspoon of chili flakes
    – For veggies, I used a small head of cauliflower, three carrots, a red pepper and frozen peas. I put the fresh veggies in with an hour left to go
    – I also had to use an extra tablespoon of cornstarch mixed in with the coconut cream.

    So, it turned out pretty good, but it’s a little too peppery for my taste. I would probably omit pepper completely from the spice mix if I made this in the future. I’ll be adding yogurt to it to tone down the pepper flavour a bit. I also find the sweetness of the coconut milk to be lacking. I think with a little tweaking, the recipe will be really good.

  20. This was really good! I did tweak it a little. I used a bigger onion and pureed half with extra garlic and ginger and thinly sliced the other half and cooked it longer in the butter and oil with a Serrano pepper. I cook a lot of Indian and use these same spices… So, I did double Coriander, cumin, Turmeric and added Garam Masala and chili powder. I let the chicken and coconut milk mixture reduce some before I added the vegetables and cream. It had such a nice, smooth taste. Thanks for a great new meal idea!

  21. This had absolutely no flavor to it. Now that I’m looking more closely at the reviews, the only people who seemed to like it were the ones who doubled or added extra spices. I even tried the recipe three days later and it was still as bland as day 1. I’d never make this again.

  22. Thanks so much for the great recipe. One very minor suggestion, mention above that you should save the coconut cream for later. Thankfully I saved it, but it was only by chance.
    David Kravitz’s last post: You Create Your World

  23. This was great. I also doubled the spices except salt, and added curry powder. I added lemongrass to the onion mixture in the food processor. Also added Thai basil. Used tons of peppers and other veggies. Didn’t bother with the corn starch. Served it over ginger infused rice. The flavors were fantastic.

  24. How much of the reserved coconut cream do you mix with the cornstarch? Reading the recipe, you would think you use ALL of it which can’t be right. That would be an incredible amount of fat!

  25. This was totally bland and tasteless.

  26. Thanks for a great dinner that my husband, myself, and my boys (age 5 & 1) really enjoyed! I did double the spices as reviewers suggested and used one 14.5 can of coconut milk. It was delicious!

  27. the basic ingredients of this meal will result in a fantastic taste. For those who find it too bland, the answer is simple……change the amount of spices as you would in any Indian dish…..make it to your own taste. My wife and I are very fond of Indian food and found that this recipe produces a wonderfully aromatic dish. One complaint….we are trying to diet and this dish is very difficult to stop eating. Thank you so much for the recipe.

  28. Your recipe says a can of coconut milk. What size can is this. I am Australian and there are many different sizes of cans where I live. Thanks heaps.

    • okay . . . see where someone else says the size can they used . . . so I’ve got it. Can’t wait to try this recipe . . . love coconut, love ginger and love curry . . . it’s got to be good.

  29. Jennifer S says:

    This recipe was easy to follow. I actually just set the crock pot on to mix the aromatics and spices and it worked great. It cooked through and smelled delicious. However, we didn’t love the taste of this recipe though. It was much too mild. It didn’t have the deep flavors and spice that we’re used to in curry-type dishes.

  30. We just had this tonight and really enjoyed it! I subbed half a chopped diakon for the baby corn since I’m not a fan. It retained some crunch, but took on the flavors. Yum! We also added a little chili spice to ours individually. The coconut milk I used was by So Delicious in those cartons instead of cans. I opened them up to see if the milk separated, but it does not. I just put one in with the chicken at the beginning, and my husband whipped up the rest with the cornstarch at the end. Will definitely make again, and maybe try some of the spice suggestions. Thanks!!!
    Parrish’s last post: Ho’oponopono

  31. First, I must thank you for taking the time to post this. I have been looking for some great crockpot recipes. Plus I really like Indonesian food, which this recipe seems to be inspired from.

    As a man in his early 50s who is still living like a college student and always short of money, and also now concerned about health, it is of utmost importance that I start cooking more at home. Problem is, I really don’t have an adequate kitchen, or space for storage although I do have some great equipment, including crock pots and iron skillets!

    This recipe is similar to many of those great old go-to’s —very much like southern cooking. It is a mistake to just follow any one recipe to the letter. It’s all about individual tastes and cooking skill. That is probably why so many posters here had issue with their final products.

    Because I don’t have a fully stocked pantry with loads of spices lying around, I had to figure the cheapest and most convenient way to prepare this. I actually did all my shopping at my local Walmart grocery. I was able to buy organic chicken parts, frozen veggies…even the baby corn (which I love!) they had there in cans.

    In lieu of all the spices recommended, I purchased a couple of pouches of asian “simmering sauce”, one in mango/ginger and one in a chili base. I used a small amount of these in the prepping of the aromatics and then more during the stewing of the chicken. And only to taste! There was plenty left over that went into the fridge for further use.

    I was also a little confused about the “coconut cream skimming” and the use of the actual milk. I just guessed the cream/cornstarch toward the end is primarily for thickening. I actually prefer my broth to be a little thinner. However, as I write, everything is almost done and smells divine! The meat is falling off the bones.

    In the future I do plan to be a bit more conscious of the actual caloric content and the source of the ingredients. For those watching fat and salt consumption, this recipe can be overindulgent if not careful. Also I need to find a source of canned coconut milk (and the baby corn) that is free of BPA chemicals in the lining of the can (which is one reason I never eat from cans). I would imagine the cream is not found in a cartoned milk? Walmart actually had two brands, one from Thailand and one from India, I believe.

    As far as that extra cream? I jarred and refrigerated it for use in my oatmeal and teas. Coconut oil is a great supplement for those with chronic pain…..

    (use of those pre made spice liquids did result in a slightly darker stew, probably because of the chili base…but I certainly don’t mind!)

  32. Yummy recipe I think I am going to replace the olive oil for this oil do you think it can work?

  33. Stephanie says:

    Can you use lite coconut milk instead of full fat? I don’t use a lot of coconut milk, so I don’t know how the two compare. Thanks!

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