CrockPot Vietnamese Roasted Chicken Recipe

A nice mixture of both sweet and salty, Vietnamese Roasted chicken cooks in it's own marinade in the crockpot and slowly roasts to perfection. 

You can place the chicken on a small rack or use foil balls if you'd like to keep the skin on, or you can simply skin or use skinless chicken and dump it all in.

Originally written in 2008, during my Year of Slow Cooking

Vietnamese Roasted chicken cooked in the crockpot slow cooker

Day 182.

We eat a LOT of chicken in our house. 

 I grew up on boneless, skinless chicken, and we had it quite often. When I started cooking and shopping for my own family, I followed suit and make sure that we have plenty of chicken parts in the freezer.

The problem with eating a lot of chicken is that you get bored.

Really bored. And you start to hate chicken.

and maybe you begin to kind of want to gouge your eyeballs out with a fork at the idea of another boring dry chicken meal.

This is not a boring dry chicken meal. 

 This is the opposite. 

 This chicken is juicy, full-of-flavor, and downright adventurous.

The Ingredients.

serves 4 to 6

Ingredients for Vietnamese chicken: soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, sugar, vegetable oil, black pepper

4 to 6 chicken thighs (bone-in is best, about 2 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (found in condiment aisle, or in Asian cooking aisle)
1 1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
--foil (optional)

The Directions.

Use a 4 or a 6 quart slow cooker.

I tried the foil trick of balling up pieces of aluminum foil to line the bottom of the crock in order to create a crispy skin.

 It didn't really work, but it was a fun experiment.

I put the chicken on top of the foil balls.

You can also use a tiny little rack, like this one.

Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl, and pour over the top of the chicken.

Cover and cook on low for about 6 hours, or on high for 3 to 4 hours.

 The cooking time is dependent on how thick your chicken pieces are, and if they are fresh or frozen.

In a 6-quart I would set the timer for 5 hours on low, and in a 4-quart I'd set it for about 7 hours on low.

The Verdict.

Make this. Eat this.

The skin didn't get crispy the way that I was hoping it might by using the foil balls.

 But, the chicken was moist and fell apart---the sauce is an amazing flavor that I haven't had before. I will definitely make this again.

I'd like to try the sauce on drumettes as an appetizer.

We ate it over white rice---and practically licked the remaining sauce out of the crock.

super yummy.

Looking for more Take Out Fake Out Recipes? Here you go!

The sauce on this chicken is AMAZING!! Vietnamese flavors are the best -- it is a mix of sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, and a bit of garlic and oil -- the chicken is moist and perfect and is a perfect recipe for your busy family! I love this chicken. <3

Do you love this recipe?

Please share it with your friends!

Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at June 30, 2017

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What they say about this recipe

  1. Anonymous6/30/2008

    I just called dh to stop and get fish sauce on his way home. This looks OMGgood!! Keep up the good work!!

  2. How coincidental, I just got two whole chickens today for making in the crockpot. I was going to do one the old standard way, but you think this would work with whole chicken as well as it did with chicken pieces?

  3. Thanks, Sarah, it really was!

    Dora, what a nice guy---I love on-the-way-home store pick-ups.

    Angela, I do. The sauce infused very nicely into the chicken. Let me know how it works!


  4. Anonymous6/30/2008

    I have been reading your blog for a couple of months now. I write a regular crockpot cooking column on but you are my hero!! I love the variety of recipes that you come up with! And the fact that they are gluten-free is awesome, too. My roommate in college was allergic to gluten, and it was tough for her to cook sometimes.

    Anyway, like I said, I've been reading but have never commented. Thank you for this!! Keep it up!!

  5. woah, S.C.! I JUST TODAY bookmarked your gyro recipe to test out.

    the universe is full of suprises.

    I can't wait to eat a gyro---I haven't had one in about 15 years.


  6. Hello, I am connie from Texas. I am new to your blog and so glad to have found it. I found it the other day but I don't think I left a comment then, if I did just forgive me, I am getting

    I love to cook with my crock pot but don't have many recipes to use. I will be coming back often. Thank you. connie.

  7. wow, I love this!
    I cannot wait to make it, I know I'll love it.

  8. I searched my grocery store high and low and could not find fish sauce. The closest thing I found was Oyster (flavored) Sauce. Is this close enough to substitute, or asking for a disaster?

  9. Hi Amanda, ick. I hate not being able to find things. I found this substitution guide online. I hope it works for you!


  10. Oh, thank you so much! It didn't even cross my mind to google a substitute. Thanks for doing the leg-work for me!

  11. Just found your blog via SueAnn of Giabella Designs - love that I can make Viet chicken in the crockpot!

  12. hi Stephanie...

    this dish sounds great!!!

    i m wondering whether stainless steel racks (my mom uses them as a prop for steaming stuff usually) would so a better job than the aluminium balls??

    they look like these ones:

    and are round usually...


  13. Amanda -- I also couldn't find fish sauce and picked up oyster sauce thinking it would be similar (although according to that substitution list it might not be). I'm using it mine (cooking as we speak) and will let you know how it turns out.

  14. Anonymous7/01/2008

    WOW this is delicious. My two year old loves it. I had to hunt and hunt to find the fish sauce, but finally found it. Thank you so much. I have a nice cool house and a delicious dinner for everyone no matter what time they get here for dinner!

  15. Verdict on the oyster sauce: I'm not sure how the taste differs with fish sauce, but my chicken turned out delicious! My husband I both loved it and it was SO easy to make!

  16. Anonymous7/01/2008

    I did this today, but I didn't have fish sauce, I had oyster sauce and low-sodium soy sauce and a whole chicken. I did the aluminum foil. I was in a hurry and just poured the soy sauce and oyster sauce over the top of the whole chicken. It worked very well, the meat fell off the bone and the kids liked it. There's no greater praise. :D

  17. Brittany and Kathy, thank you SO much for reporting back about the oyster sauce!
    so very good to know.


  18. Anonymous7/02/2008

    I have never tried the aluminum foil balls but I often cook my whole chickens in the crock-pot on top of small unpeeled white potatoes (2 to 3 inches round) or thin unpeeled sweet potatoes. I use unpeeled because the grease stays on the outside of the potato. You have to own a crock-pot that is deep enough for the chicken plus the potatoes.

  19. Anonymous7/04/2008

    Hi Stephanie,
    If I make this with boneless skinless breasts, do you think I need to add more liquid?

  20. Hi Lucy,

    what a great question! You know, I think that isn't a bad idea at all. I usually try to have about a 1/2 cup of liquid in the crock with skinless chicken breasts. Maybe double the sauce?

    If your breasts are fresh and nice and juicy looking, you are probably fine, but if they are frozen and are usually dried out after cooking, doubling the sauce is probably the right thing to do.

    I hope it works!


  21. I just saw you on the Rachel show. What a great idea. Thanks so much for this. I too love using my crockpot. It's been one of my best friends for at least the last 20 years. I can't wait to begin trying this recipe and the others.

  22. Anonymous7/14/2008

    This looks YUMMY!! I was wondering though, I read somewhere (who knows now) that you should not use frozen meat in a crockpot, you should defrost it first. In this recipe you use frozen chicken. Do you know if this is true or not?

  23. Arin: I think the concern with using frozen meat is that not all recipes call for it, and thus, your meat might not get cooked. Since this recipe calls for it, it's okay. (And let me add, that I followed this using frozen chicken quarters and it turned out delightfully.)

    I also wanted to add that I using the fish sauce sub. that was linked. It worked great!

  24. While searching for crockpot recipes I found your blog! Very inspiring and wonderful! Thanks so much for the recipes and review. I think I'll try the Vietnamese chicken tomorrow. Thanks again!

  25. Anonymous7/18/2008

    Hi Stephanie,

    I made this last night and I LOVED it!!!!!! The kids really enjoyed it, but said that it tasted fishy :) (They did not know that I had used fish sauce either, so it wasn't a figment of their imaginations). Dh isn't a huge fan of southeast asian cuisine, so he liked it but didn't love it. I LOVED it and thought that the fish sauce gives it a nice depth of flavor that just using soy sauce wouldn't give. I did write up a review on my blog (of course :)) so check it out! And have I told you recently how much I LOVE your blog? I do want to share that since finding your blog and using my crockpot more in the past 10 days we have not gotten takeout or fast food!!!! Last night dh and I went out on a date, and he asked where I wanted to go for dinner....I told him I wanted to stay home, but go out for dessert and walk around our downtown that is what we did :) HAD to eat at home to taste the yummy chicken :) THANK YOU!!!!!!! You have saved our family probably $60 in the past 10 days!


  26. I made this dish and it was really good. I wasn't crazy about the fish sauce so when I make it again, maybe I'll substitute soy sauce(?) for the fish sauce? Any other suggestions?

  27. I guess it would have been helpful to read ALL the comments before leaving mine, huh?!! Thanks for the substitution guide. I'm going to try this again with light soy sauce instead of fish sauce. I like your idea of using this sauce on drumettes too. I'm so bummed that I missed you on Rachael Ray because I had to work that day and I seem the be the only neanderthal left in the world without Tivo, DVR or some other version. My poor deprived children...LOL!!

  28. Hi! I just wanted to thank you for all your recipes! I love my crockpot as well. However, I did modify this recipe just a little wanted to share. Instead of sugar, I added honey and some hoison sauce. And I tripled the sauce so that we could have gravy for the rice. Also, I stuck the chicken under the broiler after it was done so that the skin could get crispy. But let me tell you, my fiance loved this dish! I'll be making it again. Thanks so much!

  29. I tried this yesterday and both my husband and I liked it!! I had him take some of the leftovers into his office to give to a co-worker who is Vietnamese and came to the US back in the 70's as a young boy. HE LOVED IT and said it was excellent!! I used chicken breast as that is all I had. I will make this again. I served with couscous and sugar snap peas.

  30. Anonymous8/01/2008

    yum!! I made this yesterday,but without the foil balls and with chicken breasts... then it was so tender I shredded the meat and had it over rice, it was very good, my family really liked this!!

    Thank you, thank you!! I am also gluten free!!

  31. Anonymous8/15/2008

    This is SOME chicken!

    Have had this in my 'to try' pile and finally made it today. Am I ever glad I did.

    Oh, the FLAVOR! Wonderful. We loved it!! I think I'm going to make it again next week.

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank You!

  32. Anonymous8/20/2008

    This has been in my to try list for a while, and I finally made it last night.

    I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, and did not read the comments about doubling the sauce. It definately needed more.
    It was really good, but I needed to help it out, since it was a little too dry. I added Hoisin sauce, Sriracha, the juice of a lime and fresh cilantro. I set it to warm and left it to heat through.
    OMG was it good. It tasted like Pho. Loved it!
    Stephanie, you rock!

  33. I am giving this a try tonight...Have linked to you on my blog.

  34. This was a success. So good. 6 out of 6 in the family loved it. Yippee.

  35. Anonymous10/09/2008

    A fellow mom from my meetup group posted about your blog, so every couple of days I check back to see what you've created. I decided to try this recipe and it turned out great! I did use the oyster sauce too and added a tsp. of grated ginger. I can't believe how flavorful this is with so few ingredients.
    I've NEVER made an asian dinner and decided to make it again, but I've finally found one we all love! Thanks, Jennifer

  36. Anonymous10/23/2008

    This is my second time attempting one of your recipes. (The first one was Pizza Soup. Delish.) I have never owned a crockpot in my life and went out to buy one after discovering your blog. I work long hours as a technical editor and when I come home, the last thing I want to do is cook (even though I love homecooked meals).

    I was dubious about the fish sauce (because I've seen how it was made on Bizarre Foods) but I tried the Viet Chicken anyway. I just came home from work and OMG. My apartment smells AMAZING!

    I *love* my new crockpot. And you by association. Please extend your mad crock pot skillz past 365 days. I'm enthralled!!

  37. Just a suggestion for a more Vietnamese flavour: crush the garlic together with chopped shallots and lemon grass (you should be able to find this in most grocery stores in the produce department) and rub onto the chicken before cooking. Chop the lemon grass finely before crushing. Leftover lemon grass can be wrapped tightly in a baggie and frozen.

    Trust me, you will not be disappointed. This is excellent on the B-B-Q as well!

  38. It truly has to be frozen chicken pieces.

  39. Anonymous11/30/2008

    I made this tonight. My husband said it was the best chicken he's ever had! Thanks!!


    PS - I used Braggs liquid aminos instead of soy sauce.

  40. Anonymous12/02/2008

    Thank you for a delicious recipe. My whole family enjoyed it and went back for seconds. I added some chopped scallions to the mix which worked out well. We eat out Vietnamese food on average once or twice a week and this is a fantastic do at home affair. Kudos.

  41. This recipe is great! My super picky kids loved it. I was given strict instructions from my 4 1/2 year-old- "Make this again, but next time make more so that we can have leftovers!"
    So I have 14 thighs in the crockpot right now. That should satisfy her!

  42. Well we didn't try the aluminum foil, but it turned out wonderfully moist. I added a little water since I was heating it on high, but it turned out too watery, so I added just enough yogurt to thinly coat the meat. It added a nice creaminess, but apparently I don't like fish sauce much.

    Hubby loved it though! Thanks for the super easy hit :)

  43. Anonymous2/16/2009

    I have a question about the measurements for this. You have a lower case "t" for the white sugar & black pepper. Is that for tsp. or just a typo for Tablespoon? Thank you for doing this. You are so funny.

  44. Hi LuLu,

    nope, it's a teaspoon. I'll add the "sp"---it's kind of confusing.


  45. I did this with a whole chicken. I just poured half the sauce onto the top and poured half into the cavity the night before, and let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight. It was WONDERFUL! So easy to do, with really good flavor. I used the leftovers last night by cooking some rice in the rice cooker with a little chicken broth and soy sauce, then when the liquid was boiled down, I put the chicken on the top to heat it through.

  46. Anonymous6/30/2009

    Just found this recipe and went shopping for ingredients. Kroger's has fish sauce in the oriental foods section. Can't wait to make it.

  47. I made this last Wednesday for a group of 20! Everyone LOVED it! Thought it was amazing!

    I followed the direction exactly minus the foil and skin on the chicken.

    It was fun after to tell them it had fish sauce in it which most of them were very skeptical of previously!



  48. Lucy E8/13/2009

    So I finally tried it and I loved it but hubby didn't. Booo. He didn't say it was bad just not what he expected from the delicious smelling aromas in the house. Boo again. Oh well, me and my 2 yr old loved it!

    I did the foil but removed half way when I thought the chicken wasn't getting immersed enough in the juices for flavor. I also used oyster sauce substitute.

  49. Lucy E9/09/2009

    I made this again and it was again a big HIT! Hubby really liked it the second time around (I didn't give up on such an easy and yummy recipe). He couldn't believe how moist and delicious it was.

    I didn't change anything from the first time I made it but we all know hubbies can be weird! LOL!

    Thanks for another successful day in the kitchen!

    Today I'm making the whole Turkey in the slow-cooker, I can't wait!

  50. I must have done something wrong, because I followed the instructions to the letter and was disappointed at how this came out.

    It was fairly tasteless and greasy -- There definitely wasn't enough salt.

    What am I missing with this recipe?

  51. I made this with boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 of them) and doubled the sauce. My husband LOVED this! I liked it a lot, but not quite as much as he did. I made a coleslaw to go with it...angel hair shredded cabbage (packaged) with some carrots that I shredded into it and mixed up with some Kraft Light Asian Toasted Sesame Dressing (low fat!). The chicken together with the coleslaw was AMAZING! It would be good with cold chicken mixed up in it, too. This was the easiest thing yet to make in the crock pot...I just wish it hadn't taken me so long to find it.

  52. A. Tripp4/01/2010

    I just made Vietnamese Chicken this morning in my mini-crockpot and it was fantastic! Another awesome recipe from Steph! It was so good I actually posted a pic to my FB page. Ha!

  53. I have made this twice now. I make it with boneless, skinless chicken thighs. My whole family loves it - even my extra picky 8 yr old who won't eat anything. I have to make a double batch as dh eats it like everything and I want leftovers - going to try it cold in that coleslaw someone mentioned for lunch tomorrow. Yum. I can't wait. Hopefully dh will leave enough in the fridge for my lunch!

  54. Hi Stephanie,
    I've made dinners from a bunch of your recipes. This is probably the best. My whole family loved it!!! Thank you! I used frozen bone-in skinless thighs and cooked on low for 8 hours.

  55. I baked it in the oven (sorry!), but it was still good. Details are on our blog (click through my signature).

  56. The taste....nom, nom! Waking up to the smell on a Monday am? Not so ouch. But this was divine. The hubs loved it, and so did the toddler! Hubs said it had an interesting taste he couldn't identify ( I didn't dare tell him it was the fish sauce!). Definitely a lick the bowl dish.

    Oh, and I bought both your books, and have marked them up a plenty. The crockpots have been removed from their exile under the oven, although I am going to trade them in for a newer model (shhh....).

  57. My favorite of all your great recipes. I'm making it for friends today, in fact. And nice to know I'm not the only one who doesn't tell my husband that there is fish sauce in it! (The bottle is hidden on a lower shelf in the fridge door. He'll never find it!) thank you!

  58. DivaSonda12/18/2011

    Ok, this was seriously the best chicken ever!!! My Husband smelled it as soon as he came in the door from work, it was sooooo delicious. I realized after starting the dish that I was nearly out of soy sauce so I substituted Bragg's Liquid Aminos, I also had a half of cup of white onions that were already cut up in my refrigerator that I threw in there too. It was simply awesome my husband wished I had made more, especially of the delicious sauce. For those concerned about the Fish Sauce it doesn't taste fishy at all. This one is definitely a keeper!!! We served it over brown rice.

  59. reader2/27/2012

    I am half Vietnamese and I do not cook Vietnamese food, but was thrilled to find something I could make that reminds me of my mom's cooking. I have made this twice now and the kids love it. I serve it over white rice with a side of shredded carrots and chopped cucumber and it feels authentic! My kids said that I cook like their grandma. Thanks for the recipe

  60. HeyAllie4/09/2012

    I'm Filipina, so I had everything on hand. Did NOT use the foil balls, just threw in two large pieces of frozen rock solid chicken breasts (skin on, bone in) and doubled the sauce. Instead of white sugar, I thew in some Stevia packets, used low-sodium soy sauce and only put in a few drops of the vegetable oil. Skipped the black pepper too.

    DELICIOUS. Tasted like a sweeter version of the Filipino dish called chicken adobo. This was so easy. I threw everything into the crock pot at lunchtime and used a crockpot liner for an even easier clean-up. I got home, made fresh hot jasmine rice, steamed some brocoli, and VOILA. Healthy meal!

  61. Have been using your recipes for about a month, off and on, now. Found this one today, going to try making it with a whole chicken that I just happen to have in the freezer , but had no idea what to do with it.
    will let you know :)

  62. Just made this for dinner with boneless skinless thighs and a couple alterations: I added lime juice, hoisin, and sriracha. I think the hoisin was too much salty/savory for the delicate balance, but the lime and sriracha were brilliant ideas by previous posters. The meat just fell apart, and really soaked up that delicious salty-sour-funky flavor. Thanks, this will go into the regular rotation!

  63. I used this recipe - doubled the sauce and used it as a marinade. Marinated the chicken for 2 hours or so and then BBQ'd it! It was SOOOO GOOD!!!!!!!

  64. Have you ever tried this with boneless & skinless breasts or thighs?

  65. Just made this yesterday night, absolutely delicious. Can't find a better recipe than this. Love it.

  66. Hi Stephanie, I found your blog back in 2008 and got your cookbook in 2009. Today in July 2020, I'm making this vietnamese roasted chicken for the 100th time, I don't know how many times but it's just that good. I marked my cookbook "delicious 8/2010" There aren't many recipes I'm still making 10 years later.
    FYI, it's also tasty with pork chops, or cooked in the oven if you forget to prepare it early enough.
    All the best and many thanks!