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Valeries Home Cooking Photography Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling Margaret Dickey; Prop Styling Lindsey Lower

Slow-Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

© Paden Reich

This is Chinese takeout at home. What I love about this, besides the fact that it’s a favorite of mine, is that the slow cooker does all the work. When I have a long day on the set, I put everything in the slow cooker before I leave for work and then I have a ready-to-eat meal when I return at night. The chicken stays tender, and I can vary the seasoning to taste depending on whom I’m feeding that night, whether it’s Tom and me, who enjoy more acute flavors, or less- adventurous house guests. The chicken can also be made ahead of time and reheated and served over a bed of white rice. With an egg roll, it’s convenient and still satisfying when you feel like ordering in without picking up the phone.


1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the chicken to the skillet, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place the chicken in a 4- to 5-quart slow cooker.

2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet. Add the bell peppers and onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add the vegetables to the slow cooker.

3.Whisk together the vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, cornstarch, and sugar. Pour the mixture over the chicken and vegetables in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 3 hours and 30 minutes to 4 hours. Serve the chicken mixture over the hot cooked rice topped with the scallions and sesame seeds.


Ingredient note

Chicken thighs have more flavor and are more forgiving during cooking, staying juicy.


2 tablespoons canola oil
8 (8-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 white onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/4 ketchup
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 cups hot cooked white rice
1/4 cup sliced scallions
1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

serving size

4 People

Hands on time

30 Minutes

Total time

4 Hours


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