Chicken tocino is a popular Filipino breakfast dish, but it can be served any time of the day (all-day breakfast is one of our favorites!). 

Not very familiar with Filipino food? Don’t worry! This recipe uses a sweet, homemade marinade and the chicken is just so juicy and delicious!

a plate full of chicken tocino with red sauce on top, rice and fried egg on the side

Do you enjoy trying new recipes but feel a bit intimidated by a dish from a different culture? A great tip is to look for a slow cooker version. Crock Pot recipes are notoriously easy to make, and probably the simplest for cooking chicken that’s juicy and flavorful.

Sometimes, you can just dump everything in, give it a stir, and come back in a few hours to a delishious meal! This recipe requires one extra step – making a quick marinade of ketchup, pineapple juice, soy sauce, garlic, and some seasonings. So easy!

Host A Filipino Dinner Party

Many home chefs don’t vary from cooking the style of food they grew up eating. And it makes sense because that’s what you’re comfortable with! But you shouldn’t feel afraid to try cooking Filipino recipes or other food that originates from a culture that might be different from yours. Especially this one – it’s the easiest chicken tocino recipe, I’m positive!

You never know who you may end up hosting for dinner and cooking a comfort food dish specifically from your supper guests’ culture can make them feel loved and welcomed.

Serve the tocino with garlic fried rice, tomato and cucumber slices, a fried egg, and slices of mango.

What is Chicken Tocino?

Homemade chicken tocino is a delicious Filipino dish made from marinated and sweetened chicken. It’s a variation of the more common pork tocino, which is made with marinated and sweetened pork belly. “Tocino” is actually a Spanish word that means “bacon” or “cured meat,” but in Filipino cuisine, it refers to a sweet and savory cured meat dish. 

Why You’ll Love This Tocino Recipe

  • Great Flavor: First, you’re going to love the flavor. Sweet and tangy, the marinade is made from a perfect blend of ingredients that give tocino a flavor that’s easy to enjoy. You don’t have to worry if this is a recipe your guests will like because, while it might not be a common dish, it’s definitely one that’s easily palatable by everyone, even kids.
  • Easy Slow Cooker Meal: It’s a slow cooker recipe, and you know we all love easy dinners! You can toss everything into the crockpot and have more time for visiting with guests or getting your family wherever they need to be.
  • Sweet and Savory: It looks as good as it tastes, too. The sugar in the marinade gets all golden and thick, creating a caramelized exterior when cooked. The thick sauce coats the chicken and it has this gorgeous, deep red color from the paprika that looks beautiful when served. Plus, you don’t need any excess oil to make this like you would on the stovetop or grill.

Filipino Chicken Tocino Ingredients

ingredients for chicken tocino made in a slow cooker

To make this easy Crock Pot chicken tocino recipe, you’ll need:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts – If you prefer, you can use boneless chicken thighs as an alternative.
  • Pineapple juice – This provides the sticky sweetness this recipe is famous for. A can of juice will work perfectly.
  • Brown sugar – The rich flavor of brown sugar is delicious in this dish, but white sugar will work in a pinch.
  • Soy sauce – If you need a gluten-free version or a substitution, use gluten-free soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos.
  • Ketchup – If you notice you don’t have quite enough ketchup in the fridge, you can use tomato sauce (not pasta sauce). Add a touch of extra brown sugar for sweetness and a teaspoon or two of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar for a bit of a tangy flavor, too.
  • Annatto Powder – It’s primarily used to give the sauce a vibrant red color. You can substitute with paprika instead.
  • Red gel food coloring – The color gives the sauce a red hue, but you can omit the color and the dish will taste the same.

What is Annatto Powder?

Tocino is often made using annatto powder, which comes from the seeds of the achiote tree. It’s sometimes called the lipstick tree because the bright red color of the seeds can be used to make homemade makeup! It gives the dish a slight earthy flavor, but it’s real purpose it to give it a deep gorgeous red and golden brown color. You can use annatto powder instead of the paprika and food coloring in this recipe if you want. Annatto powder can be a bit daunting to find, so I made a quick substitution, but if you can find it, it’s a more traditional option.

📝 Note: You can find the full recipe with ingredients and measurements in the recipe card located at the bottom of this post.

How to Make This Chicken Tocino Recipe Step-By-Step

  1. Slice your boneless chicken breast into 2-inch wide strips or whatever size you prefer. Cutting them in half also works. Just be sure they are close to the same size so they cook evenly.

Pro Tip: For slow cooker chicken, you can leave any bits of fat on the chicken. It will help to keep it juicy in the slow cooker.

raw chicken breasts cut into 2 inch thick strips on a cutting board
  1. Next, make your marinade. You’ll need a large bowl or plastic container. Combine pineapple juice, ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, paprika, red food coloring, salt, and black pepper.
  2. Place all the chicken into the marinade and push it down until it’s completely covered. Then, cover the bowl with a lid or tightly cover it with plastic wrap. Place it in the fridge to marinate for 2-3 hours.
chicken tocino in a plastic container marinating in the red sauce
  1. When you’re ready to cook, get out your slow cooker and turn it to high heat. Pour the chicken mixture into the pot and place the lid on top. Cook on high for 3.5 hours. Let the slow cooker work its magic! You don’t have to stir or lift the lid at all. 
raw chicken tocino in the crockpot ready to cook
  1. After 3.5 hours, grab a jar with a lid and measure out 1/3 cup of water. Add the cornstarch and shake really well to dissolve it into the water (this is called, making a ‘slurry’). Remove the Crock Pot lid and whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce. Return the lid and cook for 30 seconds more. The slurry will thicken the sauce.
  1. After 30 more minutes, turn off the slow cooker. Remove the lid and serve hot.

Tips and Helpful Hints

How to Serve Filipino Tocino

This delicious chicken tocino is traditionally served for breakfast, but it can be served all day long. In America, it’s common for us to enjoy bacon and sausage for breakfast, but in many other cultures, chicken is quite normal. 

If you prefer this recipe for dinner, serve it over white or brown rice (this coconut rice would compliment the sweet flavor nicely). You could also serve it with fried potatoes, like homefries, or over mashed potatoes. Add a simple tomato and cucumber salad, and traditional sunny side up fried egg or even scrambled are yummy with this sweet, savory chicken.

a plate full of chicken tocino with red sauce on top, rice and fried egg on the side

How can I cook chicken tocino without a slow cooker?

  • If you need this recipe to cook slower, you can set your crockpot to low and cook for 6-8 hours. Mix in your cornstarch slurry 1 hour before you plan to serve the chicken.
  • You can make this marinade the day before or even marinate your chicken for up to 24 hours if you need to save even more time.
  • ​For some extra zippy flavor and a bit of a bite, you can add a few tablespoons of chili sauce to the marinade.

You can follow this cooking process to make this recipe in the oven. 

Go ahead and marinate the chicken as directed. Then, instead of placing the chicken in a slow cooker, place the uncooked tocino in a single layer in a casserole dish with about 1/2 the marinade. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 350°F. Meanwhile, pour the remaining marinade in a small pot or non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot and slightly bubbling, stir in the cornstarch slurry, whisking fast until it’s combined. Let it bubble until it’s nice and thick, then pour it over the cooked chicken before serving.

How do I know if my chicken is done cooking?

Chicken is done when the thickest part of the meat no longer looks wet and shiny, and the juices run completely clear. To be sure, you can use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat. It should read 165°F or higher.

How to Store and Use Leftovers

  • In the fridge – Leftovers will stay fresh for 3 days in an airtight container. 
  • In the freezer – You can easily freeze your leftovers. Let them come to room temperature, then place the chicken and the sauce in resealable bags, like Ziplocs or an airtight container. Place in the freezer and store for up to 3 months. Let it thaw in the fridge before reheating.
  • How to reheat –  Place your leftovers in a baking dish and cover it with foil. Heat at 350°F for about 15 minutes or until it’s hot through. You can also use the microwave. Cover your dish with plastic wrap so the sauce doesn’t dry out or splatter.
  • How to use up leftovers –  Leftovers will make another meal or can get served in a wrap with rice, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber. This chicken also makes a delicious pizza topping!

Did you enjoy making this recipe?

Could you be a gem and leave a comment and rating ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ below? This helps others find yummy recipes to make for their family and friends. Calling all food paparazzi 📸 share your creation on IG, and tag me @intentionalhospitality.

a plate full of chicken tocino with red sauce on top, rice and fried egg on the side
No ratings yet

How to Make Sweet & Juicy Chicken Tocino (Easy Crockpot!)

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
marinate: 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 6
This simple slow cooker recipe for easy chicken tocino is sweet and tangy, and can be served any time of the day. Made with a simple homemade marinade and a quick and easy replacement for annatto powder, you can make this economical recipe in minutes (while it bubbles away in the Crock Pot all afternoon). Perfect for hosting guests or making a quick and easy family dinner.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

Ingredients
 

  • 2 lbs chicken breast, boneless skinless
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons annatto powder, paprika can be substituted
  • 4 drops red jell food coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

Instructions
 

  • Slice your boneless chicken breast into 2-inch wide strips or whatever size you prefer. Cutting them in half also works. Just be sure they are close to the same size so they cook evenly.
    2 lbs chicken breast
  • Next, make your marinade. You’ll need a large bowl or plastic container. Combine pineapple juice, ketchup, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, paprika, red food coloring, salt, and black pepper.
    1 cup pineapple juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, ⅓ cup ketchup, 2 teaspoons annatto powder, 4 drops red jell food coloring, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Place all the chicken into the marinade and push it down until it’s completely covered. Then, cover the bowl with a lid or tightly cover it with plastic wrap. Place it in the fridge to marinate for 2-3 hours.
  • When you’re ready to cook, get out your slow cooker and turn it to high heat. Pour the chicken mixture into the pot and place the lid on top. Cook on high for 3.5 hours. Let the slow cooker work its magic! You don’t have to stir or lift the lid at all.
  • After 3.5 hours, grab a jar with a lid and measure out 1/3 cup of water. Add the cornstarch and shake really well to dissolve it into the water (this is called, making a ‘slurry’). Remove the Crock Pot lid and whisk the cornstarch slurry into the sauce.
    3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Return the lid and cook for 30 seconds more. The slurry will thicken the sauce.
  • After 30 more minutes, turn off the slow cooker. Remove the lid and serve hot.

Equipment

Notes

Notes:
  • If you need this recipe to cook slower, you can set your crockpot to low and cook for 6-8 hours. Mix in your cornstarch slurry 1 hour before you plan to serve the chicken.
  • You can make this marinade the day before or even marinate your chicken for up to 24 hours if you need to save even more time.
  • ​For some extra zippy flavor and a bit of a bite, you can add a few tablespoons of chili sauce to the marinade.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 297kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 97mg, Sodium: 832mg, Potassium: 693mg, Fiber: 0.3g, Sugar: 25g, Vitamin A: 117IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: Filipino
Course: Main Dish
Author: Gina Dickson
Join Us!Our tables are a gathering place where we can relax, show love, and encourage others while enjoying a meal together. Be sure to Sign Up to get the newest recipes and easy entertaining tips.