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 54 reviews
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Recipe type: Main
Author:
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.
Ingredients
  • 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
Instructions
  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.
Notes
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. Itโ€™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.

ย 

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 Aimรฉe'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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Comments

  1. Some S/WAHM friends and I started a cooking club and we use our slow cookers nearly every day. It’s wonderful! This recipe is on my list for next month’s meals. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I substituted shrimp for the chicken with great results. I made the broth part of the recipe and let it simmer with some vegetables (red bell pepper, carrot) for four hours, and then I added raw shrimp, chopped spinach, and frozen peas about one half hour before serving the dish. A splash of lime juice is good at the end of cooking. We ate it over rice with some chopped cilantro for garnish. Yum-O! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. I just made this and it is amazing!

    I don’t have a slow cooker so cooked it on the stove, following your directions until the mixture is transferred to the cooker — instead simmered it on low until the chicken and veggies were cooked through.

    Changes I made (due to allergies and intolerances):
    – Extra clove of garlic and about half an inch extra ginger instead of the onion
    – Brown rice flour instead of the cornstarch

    YUM! Definitely a keeper. Thank you!

  4. Could you just throw everything in the crockpot on the morning and cook on low all day? I am a vegetarian so I would substitute Edamame for Chicken anyways. This sounds delicious!

  5. I made this last week (in my French oven because the timing in my slow-cooker doesn’t work for a ‘working outside the home’ cook). I put it in the oven at 325deg. for an hour and I used fresh broccoli, carrots & snow peas added during the last 15 minutes. It was DELICIOUS! Everyone in the family really liked it and that almost never happens with this kind of dish. Thanks!

  6. I made this last night, and my family and I loved it! I ended up cooking mine on high for 3 hours, then adding the veggies for another hour on high and it turned out perfect. I may double up on some of the spices next time or maybe add some hot sauce for a little more of a kick. Great recipe indeed! Thank you!

  7. Okay–I’m supper confused about the instructions about the coconut milk. When my coconut milk separates there is super-thick creamy part on the bottom of the can, and a liquidy part on the top. Is it the liquidy part that goes in the crock pot initially?

    If so, the super-thick cream is so thick, it seems like it’s going to be really hard to whisk in the corn starch. ???

    Thanks!

  8. I made this tonight and it was pretty bland. I couldn’t taste the spices at all… and they were fresh. Perhaps my cans of coconut milk were too large (14.5 oz cans)? Or maybe I should double up on the spice blend and ginger? My sauce didn’t have the same color as the photo either. Need to try again.

    • Alina G Brooklyn NYC says

      I am sorry to say that this recipe needs some help….even after doubling the spice mix pretty bland. Added 3 tablespoons of salt and still no flavor. I added 1 whole red pepper and a ton of cilantro and still sad.

      First, I if I did this again I would marinate the chicken with the garlic, cilantro, a bit of lime juice and the spice blend/salt (doubling of course) for at least 30 minutes or preferably over night. (Any meat is always better when the flavors are absorbed overnight or at least 30 min). Then when ready to brown would warm butter and the olive oil and brown chicken and continue to follow recipe as suggested.

    • I had a problem with it being too bland/not flavorful enough as well. I’ll double all the spices and aromatics next time and see if I can get my family to eat it next time. For me I think the recipe is a good starting point. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This meal looks very tasty indeed! Think I will add it to my weekly shop next week. Have tried it yet, on looks will rate a 5.

  10. So I tried this recipe tonight and it was fine, but very bland. I added extra garlic and ginger, but it did not have much kick to it. The turmeric gave it a really yellow-color, also.

  11. Just wanted to let you know that you CANNOT put the crock portion of your crock pot on a gas flame. Unfortunately I followed this recipe and learned the hard way. I was cooking the meat and heard a loud pop and then a crack. I was lucky it didn’t explode, as my five year old was nearby and eye level. I recommend you put a note IN THE RECIPE so this doesn’t happen to anyone else. Bummer, my crockpot is only a few months old : (((

    • Jane, I am SO sorry that you had to go through that. I actually can put my crockpot insert on a flame or burner – that is how is is designed. However, this is not a universal practice for crockpots.

      I did write a detailed note about this in the post, but you are right, it should have been included in the printable recipe. My apologies.

      Here’s the note and it has been added to the print recipe:

      “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.”

      • Thank you! I called Kitchenaid today and they are going to replace my crock for FREE – yea, Kitchenaid! BTW, I was able to continue with the recipe and it was delish!

      • What brand of crock pot do you have? I have been looking for a crockpot like yours for awhile but have not seen any. Thanks

  12. Jennifer C says

    Has anyone tried this recipe with the coconut milk that comes in the dairy section, instead of canned? Curious how it would turn out (since I have some in my fridge ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. I made this just the other night when I had my book club to dinner. It was so good and got rave reviews from my friends.
    I agree with others about the spices being a bit mild. I doubled mine and it was perfect. I also used fresh veggies (mushrooms, asparagus, red bell peppers, and frozen peas) and cooked it on the stove, but in 1/3 the time.
    This is a delicious recipe that I’ll definitely make again!

  14. ohhh this looks delish! I will definitely give it a try ๐Ÿ™‚
    I am a BIG fan of my slow cooker and just it every winter.
    Here is a recipe I did recently which is perefct in the slow cooker or in the Le Crueset in the oven!
    http://tarynejakobi.co.za/2012/04/winters-on-its-way-what-does-it-take-to-get-you-going-in-the-morning/

  15. Wondering how this would taste with some curry instead of turmeric and a few chunks of pineapple thrown in……..

  16. this was honestly not good.

  17. I made this and have to say that I was sorely disappointed. The spice blend was not reminiscent of Thai flavors in the least and the dish, as a whole, was quite underwhelming and bland. I threw it out.

  18. I love Thai food but I do agree this wasn’t spicy enough for me. I doubled up on the cumin, coriander and turmeric, added extra salt and pepper and and an additional clove of garlic. Then I added some cilantro, crushed red pepper and some Sriracha. It had the right amount of heat and gave the dish tons of flavor. I will definitely be making this again!

  19. For anyone who said this was bland read my post- it might be long, but you won’t be disappointed! I knew this recipe had good bones! First off, I made this stovetop- didn’t have time for the crock pot- total time 1hr. I doubled the spice mixture (I only had coriander seeds so I crushed those), added 1 tbsp sugar to enhance the sweetness of the coconut, 1tbsp or more red chili/garlic paste (not sweetened- just chili/garlic paste- this adds heat so you may want to start out with less and adjust to your taste), 1tbsp of lemon grass paste (in a tube in the produce section- hard to find fresh and dried won’t taste the same), and I added shrimp and scallops (I won’t bother with chicken next time). Also, I used one can of lite coconut milk so I only ended up with 3/4 cup of the reserved coconut cream which I added at the end. I served this with rice and the chili paste as a condiment so people could add more heat if desired. This turned out really well and spicy! Two thoughts I had but didn’t try- adding torn basil leaves at the end and using a good fish sauce in place of the salt. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I wish I had read this comment before I attempted this. I was trying something new and guess I didn’t want to doubt the spice mixture and recipe. Disappointed. Oh, if only I could go back and brown the chicken more at the beginning, with the red peppers, etc. Doubled the spices and added your suggestions.

  20. Made this tonight and oh mY WORD, I am EcSTATIC. “I” made something that tastes like this. I thought it was out of this world fantastic and I cannot wait to make it again. THANK YOU THANK YOU. And bonus, a crock pot meal. WHOOP.

  21. Consider warning readers about the potential for cracking the crockpot when heating it on the burner as I just did. Did I misunderstand the recipe? Was my crockpot faulty?

    • Sorry, I just read your note at the bottom…. revision of my comment: consider telling your readers earlier in the post, please. ๐Ÿ™

  22. Soooo yummy! I learned that the crock pot does not do well on the stove. It completely exploded all over the stove top. I was able to continued with the recipe and it was delicious! No leftovers after party guests got seconds and thirds:)

    • Oh NO! About your crock pot, I mean. Included in the notes I said that if you had a different slow cooker than mine, to brown everything in a skillet and transfer to the slow-cooker after. (Mine is stove top friendly.) I need to move that up to the top of the recipe, i guess. So sorry! ๐Ÿ™

  23. I’m currently making this for supper tonight. First of all I didn’t read all the details of the
    Recipe and threw away the heavy cream part of the coconut milk; wished the recipe said reserve for later :(.
    Also after reading all the comments I tasted the sauce and kind of dont like it. I’m so nervous my husband and kids won’t like it. Also agree with a previous post that it doesnt taste very “Thai” to me. :(.
    Hopefully some of my own spices will liven it up.

  24. I was so excited about this recipe that I didn’t read the bottom of it and my crock pot cracked so badly on top of the burner! live and learn. Anyway the results were fantastic!

  25. I made this with extra seasonings and curry paste and served it as soup without rice it was DELISH!!!!!! My whole family loved it thank you for sharing this!!!

  26. Hi,
    My daughter has a dairy intolerance and was excited to see that this uses coconut milk, but do you have a suggestion for what to substitute the butter with?
    Thanks!

    • Domestic Dive North says

      try coconut oil! Just replace the oil and butter with coconut oil to drive up the coconut flavor and get a healthy, dairy free result ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Loved the recipe, made a few changes after reading through the comments. I decided to add fresh vegetables (in place of the frozen), and only added them the last 20 minutes of cooking. It was delicious.

  28. Emily Alley says

    Thought this was going to be amazing – but I thought it was really yucky ๐Ÿ™ Def not kid friendly either.

  29. I made this today and it was really tasty, but I made several modifications to make it healthier and add flavor. As others suggested, I doubled the spice mixture. I only used one can of coconut milk, and I used lite coconut milk instead of regular. I ended up needing 1 extra Tbsp. of cornstarch as a result in order to really thicken the sauce. I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of dark meat (about 2 lbs.). They softened nicely in the coconut water and have a great flavor. Finally, I would suggest putting the vegetables in after 3 hours, not 4. I put my veggies in as suggested and had to cook the whole thing an extra hour in order to get the veggies cooked enough to eat. Despite that, this dish had a nice flavor. If you want some spice, I’d add some red pepper flakes or chili paste.

  30. My fav crockpot recipe is Malaysian Beef curry. Here’s where to find my recipe: http://adhocgourmet.com/08/what-to-cook-on-those-busy-days-curry-in-the-slow-cooker/

  31. So disappointed in the recipe. It was so bland!!! ๐Ÿ™

  32. Aimee, I fell in love with your photo and recipe and so I just had to share (crediting you and your blog) on my blog. Thank for such a great recipe!!

  33. Domestic Dive North says

    This recipe looks great, and I will incorporate some of the changes suggested.
    My favourite crockpot recipe is Crockpot Butter Chicken. Such great flavours, no cream soups and so delicious served over rice or with naan

    http://domesticdivanorth.blogspot.ca/2012/08/crockpot-butter-chicken.html

  34. What size cans for the coconut milk?

  35. Hello, I am also very confused on the instructions regarding the coconut milk. Is it the initial cream being removed the one that needs to amount to one cup? And is the coconut cream what is left on the bottom of the can after scooping out the first cup?

  36. Does this freeze well? Or are the veggies gross if you do that?

  37. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    It’s nice to see recipes where the ingredients are ACTUAL ingredients and not all from bottles or pre packaged cans ( as I have found a lot of American sites are, no offence to any Americans reading this).

    Looks amazing- all going in the crockpot tonight!

  38. I made this and I’m going with great bones but as written it’s “meh”… very bland.
    I was expecting more for the amount of work involved.

    A few tips, because the recipe does have good bones.
    Double ALL of the spices / aromatics
    Use regular coconut milk (sweetened), not light. Do not do unsweetened. Or add sugar.
    Don’t put the baby corn in at the beginning, put them in at the end with the soft veggies (mushrooms, peppers, pea pods, corn). Root veggies ONLY at the beginning.
    The recipe requires acid at the end, you need to serve it with a lime wedge or add some in immediately prior to serving.
    Desperately needs more salt, and sugar… and i dont’ typically cook with ANY salt so this is saying a lot.
    Once you add salt, sweetness, and acid, the flavors do come out. The color is pretty. A
    3 stars because it has potential, but as-is written, maybe 2 stars.

  39. Made this in my Dutch oven. browned the chicken in a frying pan so that I could get the purรฉe & seasonings going in the Dutch oven. I added more spices until the flavor suited my taste. Used two cans of baby corn, fresh green beans and peas. At dinner I used a touch of hot sauce on mine. It’s a wonderful recipe, pretty and tasty and easy. Thank you for sharing.

  40. Awful recipe, ended up completely bland. Totally hated it.

  41. I have to agree it has potential, but needs work. Bland, but I am going to retry it using the suggestion by JODI or Rachel

  42. Cooked all on stove. Substituted tofu for chicken. Cubed tofu and sautรฉed with yellow curee. Added used mushrooms, broccoli, and green peppers as vegetables. Doubled all spices. Turned out as one of the best Thai dishes I’ve ever had.

  43. cristinahaines says

    I’ve noticed some people are confused. I would be too if I didn’t already know that Asian food can be cooked WAY better without a Crockpot, and it doesn’t even take that much time. The reason the coconut milk should be separated instead of shaken is because usually when you make Thai curry, you use a technique called “bhuning,” which is when you cook the spices (usually in the form of a curry paste, which is basically mashed up spices and onions) first and add the coconut milk little by little. You add the thick part of the coconut milk first, mix it slowly in so it’s ALWAYS HOT (cook it on HIGH) little by little until all of the coconut milk is incorporated. Your Thai curry will be creamy goodness if you do it this way. Then you can add the pre-cooked vegetables and chicken to the dish, along with a little fish sauce, sugar, and lime juice. Add a mint leaf, cilantro, or Thai basil for garnish. Yum!

    I’ll be honest, I’ve tried making Thai curry in the Crockpot before. It was really bland and nowhere near as good as the real thing, which takes 20 minutes *tops*โ€”the same amount of time you’ll spend sitting there cooking the chicken in your Crockpot burner. Thai curry paste (with the spices already mixed for you) can be bought at any Asian grocery store in little cans. You can make it pretty mild if you only use about 2 Tbsp. I’ve never encountered a recipe before where the real way is easier than the Crockpot way!

  44. A teaspoon of curry paste adds lots of flavor and a little spice!

  45. I am back making this recipe again. I really like it. My alterations are as follows: double all of the aromatics, swap curry for tumeric (that\’s all I have on hand), use 1 can of coconut milk and then add several tablespoons plain yogurt at the end (a tip from my Indian co-workers), use fresh carrots and snow peas and red peppers for the vegetables, add a handful of unsweetened coconut, and use bone-in chicken which packs more flavor than boneless skinless. I de-skin the chicken before cooking and then carefully pull out the meat to cook for de-boning and shredding while the veggies stay in the pot to cook. If I weren\’t making it for small kids I\’d add in red pepper flakes and a dash of hot sauce but I do find that even without the heat I like the blend of spices. My method is a little more time-consuming but I enjoy the cooking process so it\’s ok. Maybe you\’ll see something in my method that you\’ll like or want to try based on what you have on hand. Thanks for the recipe.

  46. I just made this for tonights dinner. The sauce was a little bland, so i added a pinch or two more salt some black pepper and lime juice. Kicked up the flavor and i am totally obsessed! Thanks! People- The lime juice kicks up the flavor!

  47. After trying many recipes on Pinterest, I was pleasantly surprised that I finally found one that you could make, pretty much as is. I did make mine stove top though…simmering it for 2-3 hours. I ended up doubling the spices ( use more red pepper flakes ) and using about 4 lbs of chicken thighs. I added fresh red pepper, pea pods and scallions, about 5 minutes before serving because we like them crisp tender. We had this over jasmine rice, garnishing with peanuts and dried cherries. Awesome, and enough for several meals for the two of us ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. I agree about this being a little bit disappointing in taste, although it looked delicious. I thought it would be much more flavorful. With that said, I would probably try it again with the suggestions above, especially adding sugar. I also cooked it with Lite Coconut Milk which I won’t do again. Overall, it has the potential of being a favorite dish, just needs a few more tries to perfect it!

  49. Made this last night after finding it on Pinterest. The flavor was just right for our 6yo, though we would definitely double the ingredients if it was just for my husband and I. I threw in the frozen peas, some spinach leaves I had in the fridge, and some frozen stir fry mix from the store. I’ll definitely make this again, with some fresh veggies (and more kick!). Thanks!

  50. I tried this recipe yesterday, and it was WONDERFUL!!! The only thing is that I had to add a tiny bit more salt for flavor. I sent this dish home with my sister for her husband, and she said he LOVED it! Thanks so much for this recipe.

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