Slow Cooker Mandarin Chicken – Low Carb and Gluten Free

A low carb slow cooker chicken recipe from Mellissa Sevigny of I Breathe Im HungrySo I know that some of you have been busting out low carb slow cooker recipes all summer – I mean Carolyn over at All Day I Dream About Food made CHOCOLATE CAKE in the slow cooker a few weeks ago!  Color me impressed!

For me though, busting out the slow cooker is like saying goodbye to Summer.  I have a mental block against it, but I’m trying to overcome my aversion.  With kids heading back to school in the next couple of weeks, the slow cooker is making a comeback in my kitchen – and earlier in the season than usual.

You just can’t beat the convenience of throwing your ingredients into a slow cooker and coming home to dinner being ready hours later.  So I’m getting on board, and working on some keto friendly slow cooker recipes to make the back to school transition/chaos a little easier to deal with.

This low carb chicken recipe is one of my new faves.  A little sweet, a little spicy, and with a decidedly Asian flair, I could eat this all week long (and I will!)  It would be perfect served over my low carb coconut cauliflower rice!

A low carb slow cooker recipe for Mandarin Chicken from Mellissa Sevigny of I Breathe Im Hungry

I usually hate the extra step of browning my meat first, and will avoid it if possible – I don’t recommend skipping it for this recipe though, because the browning of the meat adds a lot of flavor.  It also crisps up the skin which keeps it from being flabby and unappetizing after 6 hours in the slow cooker.  The couple of minutes it will take you is definitely time well spent!

low carb chicken thigh recipe from Mellissa Sevigny of I Breathe Im Hungry

While your chicken is browning, you can throw the sauce ingredients into a bowl.  Make sure you get no sugar added mandarin oranges in water.  They are plenty sweet and low enough in carbs to work in this dish.  If you don’t have access to fresh red chili peppers, you can use dried red pepper flakes instead.

mandarin orange sauce

Then just nestle your chicken thighs in the slow cooker and pour the sauce over it.  Cook on low for 6 hours (or high for 4 if you’re short on time) and you’re good to go.

slow cooker chicken thighs from i breathe im hungry

Before serving, I recommend removing the thighs from the sauce first.  Then transfer the remaining liquid to a magic bullet or blender and add about 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum.  Blend for about 20 seconds and you’ll have a beautiful sauce to serve with your chicken and cauliflower rice (if using.)  That step is optional, but I find that when you blend and thicken it, the sauce sticks to the chicken better and feels more authenticly Asian.

Hope you guys like this one as much as we did!

Slow Cooker Mandarin Chicken – Low Carb and Gluten Free

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 chicken thigh, 2 Tbsp sauce

An Asian inspired low carb chicken recipe made in the slow cooker - lchf, keto, and Atkins diet friendly recipe!


    For the chicken:
  • 6 chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp Chinese Five Spice Powder see example
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 cup no sugar added mandarin orange slices see example
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp sliced red chilis (or red pepper flakes)
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp granulated sugar substitute
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce see example


  • Rub the chicken thighs with the five spice powder and salt. Sear skin side down over high heat for about 3 minutes. Turn and sear the other side for 3 minutes. Place the chicken skin side up in the slow cooker. Add all of the sauce ingredients (except for the xanthan gum) to a small bowl and stir. Pour over the chicken in the slow cooker. Cook on high for four hours, or low for 6 hours. Remove the chicken from the slow cooker to a serving dish. Pour the remaining sauce into a magic bullet or blender and add 1/2 tsp xanthan gum. Blend for about 20 seconds. Pour over the chicken on the platter and serve warm. Cilantro garnish is optional.


Approx. nutrition info per serving: 392 calories, 23g fat, 3.5g net carbs, 37g protein

a keto friendly slow cooker chicken recipe from mellissa sevigny of i breathe im hungry

Looking for more great low carb chicken thigh recipes?  Try my Easy Roasted Chicken with Tomatoes or Chicken Paprika with Sour Cream Gravy – both equally delicious and easy to make!
Also, be sure to enter my August Bulletproof Coffee Bundle Giveaway for your chance to be one of my TWO winners this month!


  1. Kathy says

    Just looking at the ingredients makes my mouth water, will have to dig out the cooker and try this one for sure, thanks Melissa!

  2. Sue says

    This does look wonderful! I’m thrilled that you plan to do more slow cooker recipes!!! Thank you!!!
    My husband intensely dislikes chicken with bones. Can I make it with boneless chicken thighs? hat about skinless?

  3. Resa says

    This looks amazing–can’t wait to try it! BTW, your chicken with sour cream gravy is one of my absolute favorite recipes!

  4. says

    You can never have enough slow cooker chicken thigh recipes, and this looks incredible. I’ll have to grab some mandarin slices next time I’m at the store. I don’t use the slow cooker so much in the summer either, so I think this will be absolutely perfect in a month or two.

  5. Dita says

    This looks like a great recipe. One question: do we drain the mandarin oranges or use making sauce. Don’t want to mess this up. I love your site and your great recipes!!!!

    • says

      Great question, I should have been more clear! Don’t drain them, spoon the oranges into your measuring cup and then fill in the extra space with the liquid to the one cup mark. Hope you like it!

  6. Beth says

    The directions mentions xanthan gum, but it’s not in the ingredients list. How much is supposed to be used? And what is its purpose?

    • says

      Thanks for catching at, I’ll add it to the recipe! It thickens the sauce so it sticks better to the chicken, but it’s not crucial to the recipe, your sauce will just be thinner without it!

  7. Hélène says

    I’m having a hard time finding no-sugar-added mandarin oranges. Is this one of those speciality-order-from-amazon items?

    • says

      No I got mine at our local food lion which isn’t known for its variety! In a pinch you could probably use the regular, rinse them well, and add some extra water and sweetener to taste!

    • Beth says

      I found mandarin oranges in monk fruit juice, too. These are no sugar added. That generally comes in the little individual cups, though.

    • Beth says

      I’ve found them in my local grocery store. Try the individual cups they sell. Some of the mandarin oranges are sold in monkfruit juice now. It’s no sugar added. I find those have an odd aftertaste, but it’s better after they’re rinsed.

  8. Adrienne says

    Help! what can I use instead of xanthan gum…. can not find this anywhere and I want to thicken my sauce… not a fan of runny sauces and reallllly wanna try this :)

  9. Malainie says

    Mellissa, I have a crockpot that’s insert can be used on the stovetop to brown the meat in. One fewer pan to clean up! This looks scrumptious!


  1. […] Place the chicken skin side up in the crockpot , and then get to the business of mixing up the sauce ingredients. Pout it over the chicken when complete and then set the cooker for six hours on low. Separate the meat from the sauce, pouring the latter into a blender with an artificial sweetener and mix them together for added flavor. Pour over the chicken, serve with cauliflower rice. (8) […]

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