Tony and I moved into our home back in 2016 because we fell in love with the Chicago neighborhood. It’s very diverse and has some of the most amazing food in the city. When we first moved and started trying all of the delicious restaurants I immediately fell in love with one of the Thai restaurants that served a wonderful dish filled with noodles, a coconut-peanut sauce, scallions, cilantro and usually pork or chicken.
Of course, anything that resembles peanut butter flavor has my heart.
Because I loved it so much, I decided to turn it into a slow cooker meal you could make any time of year right at home. A creamy true peanut butter sauce made with either coconut or almond milk is poured over chicken in the slow cooker to create the ultimate comfort food. Serve over rice and you’ve got yourself a nutritious well-balanced meal.
When I first started making this Thai-inspired slow cooker peanut chicken Tony requested that we have this at least 3x a month. That must mean it’s pretty damn good, right?
An AK twist on Thai peanut sauce
Thai peanut sauce is often used for dipping chicken and other proteins, like in chicken satay, and is a wonderful balance of sweet and savory. It’s typically made with:
- A curry paste (often red curry paste)
- Coconut milk
- Natural peanut butter
- Soy sauce
- A sweetener like regular sugar
- And an acid like apple cider vinegar
Some recipes also call for fish sauce for an extra savory flavor. In my take on peanut sauce, I use:
- Natural peanut butter (use the code ‘AMBITIOUS15’ for 15% off my favorite brand, Wild Friends!)
- Low sodium soy sauce, or tamari or coconut aminos
- Sriracha or chili paste
- And lite coconut milk from the can for extra creaminess
Instead of using the sauce as a dip, we’re actually cooking chicken right in the sauce using a slow cooker until it’s juicy, tender and filled with that peanut butter flavor.
What is purple sticky rice?
Purple sticky rice is also known as black rice, or sometimes forbidden rice. It’s slightly sweet in flavor, a little sticky and chewy, and absolutely delicious. Black or purple rice also boasts one of the best nutritional profiles when it comes to rice; each serving has around 5g protein and it’s lower in carbs than brown rice or white rice! I toasted mine in a little coconut oil to enhance the flavor and it was unbelievable — especially with the Thai-inspired peanut chicken on top.
Truth be told, black or purple rice can be hard to find, but this is typically the brand I use. If you can’t find it or don’t want to order it online, try searching for black or forbidden rice at Whole Foods or in the Asian cooking section of your grocery store. Still can’t find it? Then I recommend using short grain brown rice. (Please know that if you use brown rice, the cooking time will vary, so just pay attention to the package.)
Make this Thai-inspired peanut chicken in your slow cooker
This slow cooker Thai peanut chicken makes the perfect weeknight dinner because it’s hands-off and perfect for meal prep. Here’s how to do it:
- Mix your sauce. Add all of the ingredients for the peanut sauce into your slow cooker and whisk until smooth.
- Cook the chicken & veggies. Next, add your chicken breasts whole, plus the red pepper slices. Cover the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high.
- Shred the chicken. Once it’s done cooking, take the chicken out, shred it, and add it back to the slow cooker. Mix it all up in that peanut sauce.
- Cook the rice. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve the peanut chicken, make the rice by toasting it in a little coconut oil and then adding water to simmer it on low. Once it’s done, remove it from the heat and let it steam for about 5 more minutes.
- Serve & enjoy. Distribute the rice and chicken into four bowls (or meal prep containers) and top with hot sauce, peanuts and cilantro if you’d like!
More ways to serve this healthy peanut chicken
If you don’t have purple rice, there are plenty of other delicious sides that you can serve with this Thai-inspired peanut chicken recipe! Here are some of my favorite other sides:
- My favorite coconut rice
- Fluffy quinoa
- Cauliflower rice (for a grain free, low carb option!)
- Rice or ramen noodles
- In lettuce cups or wrapped in a collard wrap
Storing & freezing tips
- To store: store this peanut chicken in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Simply reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.
- To freeze: let the chicken cool completely before transferring to a freezer safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 2 months. I would recommend making the purple rice before serving the chicken rather than freezing it. To reheat, thaw the chicken in the refrigerator and then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
More healthy slow cooker recipes to try
- Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
- Amazing Slow Cooker Turkey Tacos + video
- Slow Cooker Yellow Chicken Curry
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Peanut Butter Chicken Soup
- Mom’s Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Get all of our delicious slow cooker recipes here!
I hope you love this Thai-inspired peanut chicken recipe! If you make it, be sure to tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram! I love seeing your creations! xo.
Slow Cooker Thai-Inspired Peanut Chicken with Sticky Coconut Purple Rice
Slow cooker Thai-inspired peanut chicken served over a scrumptious sticky coconut purple rice. This healthy peanut chicken recipe is packed with protein and veggies for the perfect meal prep or a weeknight dinner. This is a dish you'll make again and again!
- 1/3 cup creamy natural peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey, coconut sugar or brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (gluten free, if desired)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon sriracha or chili paste
- 1 cup lite coconut milk (from the can)
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1 cup thai sticky purple rice
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- Cilantro and chopped peanuts for garnish
Add peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, garlic, hot sauce and coconut milk to the slow cooker and whisk until sauce is well combined.
Add chicken and red pepper slices to slow cooker and spoon sauce over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
Once done cooking, remove chicken with a slotted spoon, shred with two forks, then return to the slower cooker; stir to combine the shredded chicken with the sauce.
About 30 minutes before you are ready to serve the chicken, make the rice: Place a medium pot over medium heat and add in coconut oil and purple sticky rice. Toast rice with the coconut oil for 5 minutes; stirring frequently to toast the rice and infused the coconut oil flavor in.
After 5 minutes add in water and bring mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes. (If you are not using thai purple sticky rice, then cooking time may vary. For instance, brown rice takes about 45 minutes.)
After rice is done cooking, remove heat, then re-cover and let stand for 5 more minutes. Once done, season with a little salt to taste.
To make the bowls, evenly distribute rice and chicken on top. Add hot sauce, peanuts and cilantro on top, if desired. If you are making for meal prep, simply divide into 4 containers (leave off toppings until ready to eat). This recipe can also be doubled if you are making for a crowd. Makes 4 servings.
To store: store this peanut chicken in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container. Simply reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until heated through.
To freeze: let the chicken cool completely before transferring to a freezer safe bag or container. Freeze for up to 2 months. I would recommend making the purple rice before serving the chicken rather than freezing it. To reheat, thaw the chicken in the refrigerator and then reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
I have never seen purple rice before, so cool! It looks really special haha. Anyway, I’m into Thai food lately and I love those slow cooker meals! So I’m going to be saving this for later 🙂
this looks awesome! i recently moved to mpls and have yet to find really great thai restaurant gem here – making it myself at home is slowly becoming my favorite! adding this recipe to the rotation, for sure.
Lemon Grass in Brooklyn Park is the best! My husband is Laotian and gets crabby if he doesn’t get his weekly fix!
This recipe looks insanely comforting and delicious! I adore thai food and all the fresh flavors that it offers! I’m a sucker for the chicken and peanut combo!
Haha when the boys ask for it over and over again it is a sure winner!
I’ve got to try that purple sticky rice, this bowl looks so so good.
When did you add the unsweetened almond milk?
Sorry about that! You add it with the PB — i’ve updated! Thanks for catching!!
I went to Israel on Birthright while I was in college, and it was the most AMAZING experience of my life. You’ll never be able to eat falafel in America again after tasting it in Israel. They do breakfast very different there… every hotel I stayed in, there was CHOCOLATE CAKE at the breakfast buffet. It’s heaven. Have an amazing time and I can’t wait to read about your trip when you return!
at korean restaurants, they have a purple rice, but they add red beans to give it the color and it’s not sticky. and because of this, somehow i forgot about black rice! it sounds perfect to soak up all that sauce (:
I need this meal in my life!
OMG this looks incredible! I’m drooling over the black rice, how have I never tried it with coconut?! I’m vegetarian so I’ll try subbing chickpeas for the chicken.
Israel is incredible! Some of my favorite restaurants are Shila Bar in Tel Aviv and Blue Rooster. Benedict is the best for breakfast! Another little known fact is that Israel has amazing wine! Pelter is a great winery in the North. Also, don’t miss out on Jajo! It’s an underground cave wine bar in Tel Aviv, rated one of the most beautiful interiors in the world. Hope this is helpful. Have a great trip!!
This is so brilliant- Thai flavours in the slow cooker! Love the addition of almond milk for a little creamy-yumness.
Dat sticky rice though! MAKE THIS FOR ME WHEN I’M IN TOWNNNNN.
Do you think I could use maple syrup instead of honey?
Im looking forward to making this soon! It looks so delicious! Instead of almond milk usually I would just use regular milk (I don’t usually halve almond milk on hand), but would coconut milk work? Thanks- I love your blog!
I made this tonight with light coconut milk instead of almond, and it was delicious.
This looks amazing!! I cant wait to make it!! I love love love peanut butter and Thai food is also delicious. Extra points for it being a crockpot meal! Thank you!
What could I sub for the almond milk? Reg milk or canned coconut milk?
The coconut sounds good to me! Maybe with cilantro on top?
I’m SO making this!
Yes you can use canned coconut milk. 🙂 I light the light version, but do whatever you like best. Cilantro on top for sure!!!
Can this be doubled and finished in same cooking time? Teenage boys eat a lot and this looks wonderful for a working mom.
I made it in my slow cooker with 3x sauce and 4 lbs of chicken – it was divine! My husband has diet restrictions so I subbed in 1 tsp agave syrup for the honey and used 1tsp hot chili oil instead of the sriracha. Everyone loved it -highly recommend!
Have you ever made it with frozen chicken breasts and / or coconut milk (tree nut allergy)?
I can’t eat peppers could I replace them with onions? Any other suggestions?
What size of slow cooker did you use?
Do you have a version that uses powdered peanut butter – PB2?
I don’t and I wouldn’t recommend PB2, because the peanut flavor won’t be as strong. However if you’d like you can use about 1/2 cup of PB2 and 1/4 cup more almond or coconut milk!
Made this last night! Absolutely phenomenal! Can’t wait to try some other recipes of yours!
Excited to have you here, Kelli!
Will need to substitute Braggs Aminos for soy sauce to make this gluten free.
Made this tonight for my parents and we absolutely loved it! Thanks for an easy and delicious meal!
Have you tried making it with additional veggies?
I ADORE this recipe!!
However, I’m a type 1 diabetic and don’t always eat the chicken with rice– do you happen to know the nutrition information for 1/4 of the chicken portion of the recipe? (Sans the rice?)
How much water do you add when cooking the rice?
Hi, greetings from London! This looks delicious! How would you suggest cooking if no slow cooker? Many thanks 🙂
This was easy and delicious. I used brown rice instead. For me the peppers sort of turned to mush so I plan on adding them later on the next time I make this. Thanks for a great easy recipe!
oh yummy! This looks amazing! This recipe is fast to prepare, moist, and delicious. This is making me hungry. Regards Bingomagix
oh yummy! This looks amazing! This recipe is fast to prepare, moist, and delicious. This is making me hungry. Bingomagix
I really like the flavor profile of this dish, but thought that the chicken was a bit too sweet from the honey. That said, my husband loved it and added gobs of extra Sriracha to it. Thanks for introducing us to purple rice as well. We loved the earthiness of it and it complimented this dish nicely.
Can i make this vegetarian if i get imitation chicken? Also will it still have to go into the slow cooker ?
I’ve made this twice and my husband and I LOVE it!! So yummy and easy! The second time I added some carrots (yay for extra veggies!), so good!
How many cups of water for the rice?
Hi Maria! I used 2 cups of water 🙂
Hi there I jus tried a similar recipe and it appears ur liquid is less. I came home to burnt sauce and really dry chicken
I did about 3 breasts was that too many? Please help cuz it sounds good
Hi Marguerite! The recipe as written should have just the right amount of liquid with about 2 chicken breasts!
If I substitute the chicken for chickpeas, lentils or quinoa – what would the cooking time change to?
Because you’re just adding everything to the slow cooker, a different protein will be about the same (or a bit less because you don’t need to fully cook chicken!)
I just made this and adapted it for my Instant Pot instead of a slow cooker – turned out great!
Perfect! Such a great dinner to meal-prep.
How did you adapt for the instapot? I’d love to try this.
This was incredible! Served into over sweet potato noodles. Thanks for the awesome recipe!
Sweet potato noodles sound delicious in here! Glad you enjoyed 🙂
Do you think this would work with tofu? Any suggestions on how long to cook it for, and would you keep it as a block or cut it up?
Absolutely! Feel free to cube your tofu and then follow the same instructions. You could also simmer it on the stovetop for about 20 minutes – super easy!
Can this be frozen?
I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure you could.
This sounds amazing! Any suggestions on how to adapt this for the Instant Pot? Thank you!
I’ve never tried this in an Instant Pot so I’m not sure! Let me know if you try it 🙂
I don’t know what happened, but my almond milk (regular, unsweetened or flavored, walmart brand…don’t judge) seperated! :(((((
I had it on low for 4 hours before I noticed that it looked curdled. Apparently acid can cause it to seperate… 🙁 We’re going to eat it, but I am so sad!
Has anyone else had this happen? Advice?
Hmm that’s so odd and I’m sorry. It could have been the brand, or sometimes this happens with peanut butter. Perhaps your slow cooker runs a bit warmer. I suggest keeping it to three hours and next time I recommend coconut milk or regular milk!
did anyone try this in an instapot yet?
Delicious recipe!! I used my instapot & it came out great. I cooked 5 frozen chicken thighs in the sauce for 15m on high & then 5m natural release. Thanks for another super flavorful, healthy recipe!!
Perfect! I’m glad this worked out in your Instant Pot. One of my fav weeknight dinners 🙂
What better way to use purple rice than this recipe? Yum!
I made this a couple of weeks ago and my husband devoured it. He actually ate the sauce from the bowl. I’d say that is a win. Making again tonight and cant wait to dig in! I have used coconut milk instead of almond milk and it is ohh soo good. I am adding mini corns this time too for some extra veg.
Isn’t that sauce amazing? So glad you two love this one! Great idea with the coconut milk.
hi! Usually slow cooker recipes can adapted to a stove pot. What would your recs be for doing on the stovetop for this recipe? i want to make sure i don’t miss out on ANY flavor or goodness!
Pretty much the same as the slow cooker if you do it in a dutch oven 🙂
This was one of the most disappointing recipes I’ve made yet! I don’t know if it was the rice or the chicken/sauce, but overall the dish was very bland and increasing sriracha didn’t seem to improve it any.
Sorry to hear you didn’t like it. Perhaps try a different brand of peanut butter that’s more flavorful?
This is very rich. I added broccoli florets and red onion about an hour before finished. I ended up squeezing a lemon on just before serving and that cut the richness and it was very tasty. Added a lot more siracha as well! Served with Trader Joe’s whole wheat couscous. Filling! Will make again.
Sounds great! Glad you enjoyed!
Not the first time I made this…I just moved and it’s perfect. Throw it in the slow cooker and you have meals for the week. Serve it with the rice, put it on a salad….possibilities are endless!
Absolutely! This is great for busy weeks.
Yet another amazing recipe from Monique! We have a toddler and a newborn so easy recipes are our best friend right now, but we don’t want to compromise on taste. Thankfully, Monique has us covered in that department! This recipe was not only easy to throw together, it was so delicious my husband and I each ate two servings in one sitting! Only modification we made was the purple sticky rice. We couldn’t find any in our grocery store so we got black Pearl rice instead. Next time we make this, we’ll order purple sticky rice online so we can see what it’s like!
Amazing! I’m glad that rice worked out well. Such a great dinner!
This is a very nice dish, but it is certainly not Thai food! Perhaps you could call it Indonesian slow cooker satay? The title is misleading and um…culturally insensitive. Also in your description you say that this was inspired by a Thai restaurant and that they had pho. Pho is actually Vietnamese. Not all Asian food is the same and it doesn’t all use soy sauce. That said, it was tasty and worth a try. I might try again with a satay mix. It’s nice to use a slow cooker and come home to a yummy dinner.
I’m so sorry! You’re completely right. We’ll definitely clean up this post and do better in the future when it comes to our recipes and cultural appropriation.
Honestly didn’t change a thing! I was perfect! Both my husband and toddler loved it!
Amazing! So happy you guys loved it 🙂
I made this without the rice – just the chicken, bell pepper, and peanut sauce. We really enjoyed it!
Nice! So glad you loved it, Melinda!
Delicious and so easy! I multiplied everything by 1.5 (and used 2 red peppers), and threw in some fresh green peas towards the end of the cooking time. I am a spice wimp but still used ~1 tsp or so of sriracha, and I’m so glad I did because the heat is a critical part of the flavor.
Note – before I shredded the chicken, it looked a bit liquidy and curdled – don’t be worried if yours does, too! It looks and tastes great after mixing in the shredded chicken.
Where has this recipe been all my life??!! It’s so good, and seriously effortless in the slow cooker. Will 100% make it again!
YAY I’m so thrilled you loved it, Liane!
I love this recipe! But did you change it? I could have sworn it called for a smaller amount of almond milk, not a whole can of coconut milk. I feel like it turned out too soupy.
Yes I feel like it’s changed recently too. I’m sure it used to use almond milk? Can’t remember quantities though…
Hi, Liz! Yes, we updated the recipe to use coconut milk but accidentally wrote 1 can instead of 1 cup. It’s updated now!
Hi, Hannah! So sorry about that! Yes we updated the recipe to use coconut milk (I think it has better flavor) but you’re right — it should be 1 cup, not one can. Apologies! We just updated the recipe 🙂
The flavors in this are delicious but 6 hours on low was waaaaay too long for only one pound of chicken and one pepper. The peppers almost disintegrated and the chicken was in tiny shreds. I actually cooked up an entire additional pepper in a different pan with some of the sauce while the rice was cooking and added it back to the crockpot.
That being said, I loved the flavors so much that I’ll definitely try it again and cook for less time. Maybe my crockpot just runs really hot?? (I wasn’t home to check on it and stop it early.) I couldn’t find thai sticky rice so I used regular forbidden rice that wasn’t sticky but had a delightful texture!
Thanks for the feedback! That’s so strange, I’ve never had that happen. Maybe yours runs hot! Good call to cook it for less time. But happy it still tasted great 🙂
This is delicious and SO EASY! I am 6 weeks post partum and was searching for a nourishing, yummy, and EASY recipe to have for the week; this did not disappoint. I subbed almond butter for peanut as it’s all we had on hand but otherwise followed exactly as suggested! I added zucchini the last 20 minutes of cooking for extra veggie and it was great! Reheats beautifully as well (usually add extra veg ). YUM!!
Aw congrats, mama!! SO happy for you ❤️ Glad this one was easy to make and delicious!
This was literally DELICIOUS! I followed the recipe but added frozen broccoli in the last 15 or so minutes for a little more veggie action and it was so good. Hard not to eat two..three…bowls 😬 Going to me in our rotation for sure!