You'll love making Slow Cooker Apricot Chicken for dinner this summer! Easy to make in a crock pot with fresh apricots and no unpronounceable ingredients. Flavored with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce. You're family will love this summer recipe!
Apricot Chicken is the perfect summertime recipe, when the backyard apricot tree is full and your stomach is empty. A sweet and sticky chicken recipe from yester-year. Of course with a few modern recipe tweaks. The original retro recipe has too many processed ingredients, and no fresh apricots! That's not helpful during apricot season, so I created a healthy, made from scratch Apricot Chicken recipe.
What is Apricot Chicken?
Apricot Chicken is a recipe that I can't quite nail down the origins of. It's very popular here in Australia, especially since the 1970's. I've heard there are versions in the UK and America. Commonly made as a crock pot recipe.
Think of this as a retro 1970's and beyond, dinner recipe. Often Dried Onion Soup packet mix features prominently, with apricot nectar, dried apricots and apricot jam. While in theory, using onion mix doesn't sound terrible. I have a French Onion Potato Bake that's very popular. But when using fresh apricots, it's tastier to make it all from scratch, the real way!
Some American recipes use Catalina Salad Dressing, or French Dressing, onion soup mix and Apricot Jam as the base. Real Apricots will always taste better than a jam. This recipe is perfect when it's Apricot season, as they ripen so quickly!
How to Make Apricot Chicken From Scratch
This Apricot Chicken recipe is made from scratch using fresh Apricots. Sautéed onion, garlic and apricot are the base for this chicken dinner recipe.
Sear the chicken thighs before placing them into the slow cooker. This gives them better flavor. Pour the sauce over the chicken, leave for a few hours and there you have it! Oh and I almost forgot my secret ingredient.... Thai Sweet Chili Sauce. A sweet and spicy chili sauce that's made from mostly peppers and garlic. It's the perfect addition for a bit of a spicy kick and works perfectly with this recipe. If you like it spicier, add a fresh chili pepper.
- sear chicken thighs in a bit of oil, and place in slow cooker.
- sauté onion and garlic, add fresh apricots
- mix in sugar, stock, spices and Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
- pour over chicken thighs in slow cooker and cook on high for 2½ hours
- thicken with a corn starch slurry
All Asian grocers have the Sweet Chili Sauce, and it's carried by most supermarkets. When you add the chili sauce into the Apricot mix, just taste and adjust the spiciness if necessary.
How to Thicken the Apricot Sauce
Yes, it's best to thicken this recipe when it's done. I find the Apricot sauce a bit too runny for my liking. I mix 1 heaping teaspoon of corn starch with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix it into a slurry and add it into the cooker, just before I'm ready to feed my hungry family. When serving Apricot Chicken, I place the chicken over the rice, then spoon over the thickened sauce. It looks much more appetizing, especially when I garnish with a bit of chopped parsley.
Chicken Breast or Chicken Thighs
I suggest using boneless, skinless chicken thighs. When the slow cooker cooks the meat, the thighs fall apart, tender, juicy and full of flavor. They're perfect bit size pieces that are easy to eat.
However, you can also use bone-in thighs or chicken drumsticks as well. Dark chicken meat is more flavorful and juicy. Chicken breasts can overcook and feel dried out, so I always default to using chicken thighs. It's your choice, use your favorite cut of chicken.
What to Serve with Apricot Chicken
Apricot Chicken is always served alongside or on top of a starch. Use your favorite starches, here are my suggestions;
- white rice
- mashed potatoes
- egg noodles
- brown rice
- pearl barley
Classic Apricot Chicken
Not everyone has access to fresh apricots, or they might not be in season. Don't worry, you can make this recipe year round with a few changes.
- substitute fresh apricots with apricot nectar (400g can or 14oz)
- substitute onions and garlic with powdered onion soup mix
- sear the chicken pieces and place in the slow cooker
- pour apricot nectar, onion soup mix, spices and add Sweet Thai Chili Sauce over the chicken in slow cooker
- cook on low for at least 5 hours until chicken is cooked and falling off the bone
- thicken with a corn starch slurry, serve with rice or noodles
Apricot Chicken Recipe Tips
- Instead of Apricots, try substituting with mango or canned peaches
- Skip the Sweet Thai Chili and add your favorite spices, like curry or cumin, a teaspoon of dijon mustard and a teaspoon of fresh ginger
- Add dried apricots if using apricot nectar for more flavor
- Apricot Chicken leftovers are easy to freeze, cool and place in a ziploc bag for an easy prepared meal
- Use ripe Apricots. If you are using unripe Apricots, you will need to add a bit more chicken stock and extra sugar. Substitute 2 cans of canned apricots, if you don't have fresh apricots
- If using chicken drumsticks or bone-in chicken thighs, increase your cooking time to 4 hours, as meat with bone takes longer to cook compared to boneless meat
Dinner Recipes You'll Love
- Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
- Slow Cooker Ribs
- Instant Pot Hamburger Helper
- Savory Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- One Pot Cheeseburger Gnocchi
Your family will love this easy mid-week crock pot dinner recipe. Watch them lick their fingers and ask for seconds. It's the perfect blend of sweet and savory. Bon Appetit! Приятного аппетита!
- 2 lbs /1kg boneless chicken thighs
- 2 lbs /1kg fresh apricots without seeds
- 1 large onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ cup sugar add extra ¼ cup if necessary
- ½ cup chicken stock
- ¼ cup of Sweet Chili Sauce
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste
- 1 teaspoon corn starch for slurry
- Sear the boneless chicken thighs then place inside the slow cooker.
- Caramelise the onions and garlic. Add the ripe fresh apricots into the pot. Cook down together for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Using a wooden spoon, break down the ripe apricots as they cook, until they start to resemble a jam.
- Add the sugar, mix and taste. Add more if necessary.
- Add the chicken stock, paprika, black pepper and Sweet Chili Sauce. Taste and add more Chili Sauce if required.
- Pour over the boneless chicken thighs in the stock pot and cook on high for 2.5 hours.
- To make a thicken slurry, mix the 1 heaped teaspoon of corn start with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix until there is no lumps. Add to the Apricot Chicken sauce to thicken. Mix it in the slow cooker for about 2 minutes to allow to thicken.
- Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.
©Peter's Food Adventures