Jessica Gavin’s Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken

$7.97 recipe / $1.99 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.65 from 17 votes
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It’s always very exciting when my friends publish cookbooks, but the new cookbook Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking by Jessica Gavin is one that I’m extra stoked about. You see, science is one of the reasons I love cooking and Jessica is a Certified Culinary Scientist, so her new book is full of all sorts of fun science-y extras to help you become a better and more intuitive cook. Jessica was kind enough to let me publish one of the recipes from the book, Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken, on my site, so I really hope it sparks some interest in you and you go check out the rest of the book. It’s one that I highly recommend for all new cooks, or those who just love the science behind cooking, like me. :) This is NOT a sponsored post, I’m just excited about it and I think you’ll love it!

Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken on a bed of white rice with cilantro

The Book…

But first a little about this book and why I think you should check it out. If you’re a new cook and you find yourself a little lost, Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking needs to be on your shelf. This is a beginners level look at the science behind different cooking techniques, tips for how and when the different cooking methods should be used, plus a collection of recipes for each method that are not only simple, but also elegant. Once you understand the why behind each cooking method, the how becomes so much more intuitive, and that’s how you become a good cook! Take a look at the table of contents to see all the subjects Jessica covers:

Jessica Gavins Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking open

The Recipe…

The recipe I chose to share is the Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken, which is a super simple slow cooker recipe that you could throw together before you go to work in the morning and have ready when you get home. This recipe highlights the science behind slow cooking, which is one of the moist heat cooking techniques. The low, slow, and moist cooking environment breaks down the fat and connective tissues in the bone-in chicken thighs to produce incredible flavor and a melt-in-your-mouth texture. The sugars from the honey caramelize in the slow cooker producing a wonderfully deep flavor and an almost candy-like quality in the chicken skin. It’s heaven. Pair this chicken with some cooked rice and steamed broccoli and you have the easiest meal prep ever!

Honey Hoisin Garlic Sauce being drizzled over a piece of chicken on a bed of rice.
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Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken

4.65 from 17 votes
This Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken from Jessica Gavin’s new cookbook is salty, sweet, and mouth-wateringly tender. 
This Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken from Jessica Gavin’s new cookbook is salty, sweet, and mouth-wateringly tender.
Servings 4
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 4 hours
Total 4 hours 15 minutes


  • 2 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs* ($5.59)
  • pinch salt and pepper ($0.05)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.08)
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce ($0.60)
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce ($0.32)
  • 1/3 cup honey ($0.64)
  • 2 Tbsp hot water ($0)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger ($0.10)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced ($0.32)
  • sesame seeds for garnish (optional) ($0.05)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro for garnish (optional) ($0.22)
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  • Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add the vegetable oil and swirl to coat the surface of the skillet. Add the chicken, skin side down, and sauté until golden brown (about 5-6 minutes). Flip the chicken and cook 2 minutes more. Transfer the chicken to the slow cooker.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, water, ginger, and garlic. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook the chicken on high for 3-4 hours, or low on low for 5-6 hours. Flip the chicken half-way through to make sure all of the chicken infuses with the sauce.
  • To serve, spoon the chicken over a bed of rice, drizzle the sauce from the slow cooker over top, then garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro (if desired).

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*While bone-in, skin-on thighs provide the best flavor for this dish, you can use boneless and skinless thighs or breasts. If using skinless meat, you can skip the sautéing step and add the meat straight to the slow cooker. Keep in mind that white meat can dry out faster than dark meat and the cooking time may need to be reduced accordingly.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 1231.23kcalCarbohydrates: 38.55gProtein: 25.18gFat: 109.88gSodium: 1810.93mgFiber: 1.65g
Read our full nutrition disclaimer here.
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How to Make Hoisin Honey Garlic Chicken – Step by Step Photos

Brown Bone-in Skin-on Chicken

Bone-in, skin-on chicken creates the best flavor for this recipe, although you can use boneless and skinless thighs or breasts. I used about 2 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. If using skin-on chicken, you’ll want to brown it first for maximum flavor, but you can skip this step if you’re using skinless chicken. Heat a large skillet on medium-high, then once hot add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil. Swirl to coat the surface of the skillet, then add the chicken pieces skin side down. Sauté for about 5-6 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown. Flip the chicken and cook for about 2 minutes more.

Place Browned Chicken Thighs in Slow Cooker

Place the browned chicken in the slow cooker.

Honey Hoisin Garlic Sauce

To create the sauce, whisk together 1/3 cup hoisin sauce, 1/3 cup honey, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 1 tsp minced ginger (I actually grated mine because it was frozen), four cloves of minced garlic, and 2 Tbsp hot water.

Add Sauce to Slow Cooker

Pour the sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker.

Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken ready to cook

I made sure to get some of the sauce over the surface of each piece of chicken. The sauce will not completely cover the chicken, but that’s okay because you’ll flip the chicken half way through.

Cooked Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken

Cook the chicken on high for 3-4 hours, or on low for 5-6 hours. Flip the chicken once half way through to make sure all of the meat gets infused with the awesome sauce. And keep in mind that if you’re using skinless white meat, like chicken breasts, you may need to cook for less time to prevent the meat from drying out.

A piece of Honey Hoisin Garlic Chicken on a plate with rice and cilantro

To serve, spoon the chicken over a bed of rice, drizzle some of the sauce from the slow cooker over the chicken, then garnish with cilantro and sesame seeds (OMG I forgot my sesame seeds! 😭)

Jessica Gavin's Easy Culinary Science for Better Cooking Book Cover

And THAT’S how easy cooking is when you know how and when to use the right technique. Seriously, check out this book and up your kitchen game. This one is definitely going on gift list for holidays and new grads. Oh, and while you’re at it, check out Jessica’s blog! She’s got a ton of great info and recipes online as well. :)

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  1. This was so easy, and SO good! It’s the perfect weekend dinner to have bubbling away in the crock pot while I get on with other things. This seriously took about 15 minutes of hands-on time, from getting out the ingredients to plating it. 3 hours and 20 minutes was just about perfect in the slow cooker (on High). This fed three people (along with some steamed rice & sautéed bok choy), with plenty of leftovers.

  2. I haven’t tried this recipe yet but all these ingredients are ones I already have on hand. The only thing that’s stopping me is that nutrition breakdown. Is one thigh really 1230kcal?? This recipe looks and sounds delicious. I just can’t get behind eating the majority of my calories in one sitting :'(

    1. Nutrition information calculated from a database can sometimes be very inaccurate because they calculate the total of all ingredients used, even if a lot of those ingredients don’t end up in the served portion. So anything with a marinade, breading where a lot of the breading doesn’t end up on the meat, or something like this where there is a lot of liquid leftover in the slow cooker, is just not going to be accurate.

  3. This is one of my favorites!! Used the pressure cooker instead of slow cooker because it’s what worked for us and it was delicious! Had it with basmati rice, and steamed broccoli. Cannot wait to make again!!

  4. Made this w/o the ginger and it was great! So easy if you’re thinking about making it just make it! 

    2 lb Chicken thighs cost me about $3.50 … I would definitely recommend adding cilantro as a garnish.

  5. Hi, is there an oven version? This sounds amazing but my crockpot broke :( most other dishes I’ve managed in my Dutch oven. I’d love to try this in there. Thanks 😊

    1. Unfortunately, I don’t have an oven version, but you can try Googling “slow cooker to oven conversion chart” to get a general recommended time and temperature.

  6. Everyone wanted seconds, so that’s how I know this is a keeper.
    -My chicken was skinless so I skipped the whole pre-frying bit.
    -I mixed the ingredients in the bowl of my slow cooker. One less thing to clean up!
    -After 3.5 hours my chicken was 170 degrees so I pulled it out, and poured the juice in a pan where I reduced it and added a bit of corn starch to thicken it. I cut the chicken into cubes and put it back in the slow cooker, then poured the juice over it. It stayed on warm while my rice and broccoli were cooking.
    All in all, a good slow cooker meal.

  7. I made this exactly as recommended and while it smelled absolutely amazing cooking, none of that flavor really came through in the meat. We ate it and decided to not revisit it, was sad D;

  8. Absolutely amazing! This has turned into one of my favorite dinners. Huge crowd-pleaser.

  9. Loved this one. I shredded it and added a dash of more of hoisin and soy sauce. Definitely a keeper!

  10. I’l like to make this recipe. Would it work in an instant pot? I’d rather spend less time cooking if possible.

    1. We haven’t tried it in an instant pot. However previous readers have noted “You can saute in it then cook it. Pressure cooker can get it done in like 30 minutes if you don’t have time to slow cook. It also has a slow cooker option as well if thats what you want to do.”

  11. This was easily the best slow-cooker recipe I’ve ever tried. Would definitely make it again. The chicken literally fell off the bone as I was trying to pick it up. And I drizzled some of the sauce over rice, and it was delicious. I’m definitely making this again. Thank you for the amazing recipe!

  12. I like it a bit sweeter so I added a Tbsp or two of brown sugar to the sauce, and also added cornstarch to thicken the sauce up a bit. The chicken was so wonderful and tender!

  13. Oh, I love hoisin. I don’t have a slow-cooker, but I’m thinking I’ll try your method for the slow-roasted lemon pepper chicken legs. Beth? What say you?

    1. That might work! My only worry is that the sugar might burn. Since the slow cooker is a closed environment it holds in the moisture a lot more than oven cooking (even with that foil cover), which helps keep the sugars from burning.